We were lucky to grab Ellie for a quick interview at this years Collectormania event at Milton Keynes. Ellie plays the somewhat tomboyish character of Meera Reed in the phenomenally popular Game of Thrones TV show based upon George RR Martin’s series of books. If you’ve never seen the TV adaptation of Game OF Thrones and are maybe wondering why Ellie looks so familiar, it may be down to her excellent portrayal of Anne Frank in the BBC’s mini series “The Diary of Anne Frank” or indeed a role in “Being Human”.
So you’ve either read the books or are still going through them?
I’ve read all of the books, but I had to re-read recently my characters story in them. So that’s what I’m most familiar with now, the old ones I had kind of skimmed through them a long time ago.
Did you find “Feast of Crows” a bit tough going?
Yeah, it’s pretty intense, right!? It takes quite a long time to wade through, but it’s worth it isn’t it! It’s pretty good.
What was it about the Game of Thrones series that was so appealing to you?
I like Game of Thrones because it’s like a huge world inhabited by such complex characters. I think that the characters are all really well drawn and different. There’s a real talent that George RR Martin has for characterisation which I think is pretty rare. And that’s what I like about them.
Where were you when you got the phone call telling you that you had the role of Meera Reed?
When I got confirmation of the role I was in my house, I had just finished my finals at University (Cambridge), English Literature, and I discovered that I had the part. I was so exhausted! I was like “oh my god”, I was overwhelmed as I had had no sleep and had just done 5 exams. But it was amazing, the best way to finish my degree ever knowing that I had this job to look forward to. It was fantastic. I rang my mum up straight away, she’s always the first person I tell.
(Laughs) No, no tears, but whoops of joy, that I wasn’t going to be unemployed and destitute, out on the streets.
And you learnt archery from a chap who looked like Merlin?
Oh yeah! There’s a little camp out in Belfast where you can ask to get weapons coaching when you’re doing Game of Thrones, and because my character shoots a bow, obviously, did that. It’s an amazing talent, and I’m not good enough at it yet, but I am getting better! And there was this guy who was amazing, and like a wizard. taught me a little bit of archery. It’s amazing, I love it.
When you see things like The Hunger Games or Arrow, do you pick apart the techniques?
I haven’t actually watched The Hunger Games yet, sadly, but yeah, you do start to notice don’t you, when it’s true and when it’s not.
With sets all over the world, and the extensive use of CGI, does it all come as a bit of a shock when it’s all pulled together and you see it on TV?
Yeah, it was certainly a surprise. Yes, we had the Dire Wolves in our scenes, and they weren’t around, and sometimes they’d have a big fluffy wolf which they’d just put in the middle of the scene, so that we could look at it (laughs). But yes, it’s amazing when you see the finished product and it’s so different. It’s great seeing all the scenes with the CGI put on top. It’s fantastic.
Given it’s quite a tight group of actors, are there any practical jokes played behind the scenes?
God, you know what, we all work so hard out there, we’ve not had much time for practical jokes! No, I had a really good time with Nat, Isaac and Thomas who I was filming with, and we did lark around the hills of Belfast. It was great. But sadly, no jokes spring to mind. But it was good, a really fun time.
We first of all would like to thank Ellie for taking time out of what I am sure was an extremely exhausting and busy weekend. Sadly it would have been great if we’d have had more time to chat about her current projects such as “Chickens”, but it’s a hard balance in trying to get a few questions in whilst not holding up the paying fans for too long. And as such, we’d like to thank all those people who patiently waited behind us in those massive queues while we quizzed Ellie. We’d also like to thank Gemma at Showmasters, and the wonderful army of volunteers who make these events possible.