Game of Thrones has a habit of tightening narratives at the expense of characters still playing important roles in the books, something Alexander Siddig’s Prince Doran Martell practically became the posterboy for. Siddig was apparently none-too-thrilled with his exit either, saying there was “something wrong” about leaving the series at least three episodes early.

You’re warned of Game of Thrones Season 6 spoilers from here on out, but Siddig offered a surprisingly candid interview with, the subject of which inevitably turned to the erstwhile Dr. Bashir’s time in George R.R. Martin’s world. Not only did the actor suggest that HBO itself was likely behind some of the leaks in past seasons, but also that creators killed off Prince Doran at least three episodes before they’d initially meant to:

It’s funny, I’m not really sure what happened there. I was contracted to do at least four episodes this season, but then I was in L.A. doing publicity for something else, and I got a call at the Chateau Marmont and there were familiar voices on the other end of the phone. It was one of those guys, and because they didn’t introduce themselves it was like, “Hi, it’s me.” I was like, “Is that David or Daniel?” Anyway, they said, “You know what this phone call is about.” I was like, “Yeah, well, I guess I do.” “So we were going to kill you off at the end of last season, but we decided that we’re going to have to kill you off at the beginning of next season.”

I was like, “Okay, life goes on.” But there was something wrong about that because I had been contracted for four episodes in the following season, so if they were going to kill me off at the end of the last season why would they contract me for those four episodes? Because it costs them money whether I do them or not, so it’s not great business sense to do it just in case.

Moreover, Siddig suspects that the initial excitement of his casting might have influenced creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss to sideline his character, or perhaps make an example out of him:

There was an enormous amount of fan excitement when I got named to be on the show, and everyone was like, “Oh my god, yes, Doran Martell. He’s going to be great as Doran Martell.” That might have been the kiss of death. Maybe they didn’t want quite that much attention on that character. Maybe they thought, “Well, let’s prove that we’re going to stray from the books. We’re going to do something else, and he will be our first example of that.” So maybe that could have been the case. Or maybe I just screwed up. Maybe I said the wrong thing to the wrong person.

Siddig isn’t the only Game of Thrones star put off by an early exit, as Ser Barristan Selmy portrayer Ian McElhinney also previously spoke out against the series ignoring ripe material from the books. All told, Siddig called the exit a “blessing in disguise” anyway, as “You don’t earn as much as you would if you were doing another show, because they’re Game of Thrones, and they don’t have to pay anyone.” Yikes.

Game of Thrones fans will likely never forgive creators short-changing the Dorne side of things, but will Season 7 start to right their wrongs?

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