Daniel Portman, the actor best known for playing the faithful squire Podrick Payne on Game of Thrones, has revealed he has been sexually assaulted by fans obsessed with his character.
“I’ve been grabbed by so many… like the amount of like older, older women who are very…” Portman told Esquire, making a grabbing gesture with his hand.
“What can you do? You know? Obviously tell them not to do it,” Portman told the magazine. “It hasn’t happened for a while. In this day and age you’d think that people would be able to separate reality from fiction.”
In the show’s third season, Portman’s character, who’s often just called Pod, sleeps with prostitutes, who then refuse payment because of his supposed sexual skills. The brief moment, which is played for laughs on the show, spurred a ton of fan coverage of “Pod the Sex God.”
But Portman said many fans’ behavior has crossed the line.
“I don’t want to say [being groped] comes with the territory, but, you know, people are crazy about it,” Portman told Esquire. “It’s certainly not cool.”
Portman isn’t the first male celebrity to reveal this year that he’s been sexually assaulted by fans.
In February, Bachelor star Colton Underwood said he decided to leave a San Diego charity event after being “grabbed and touched inappropriately” by fans.
“I’m sorry if you didn’t get a picture at the event last night, but at one point during the event I was grabbed and touched inappropriately while people were throwing cameras in my face,” Underwood wrote on Instagram.
“I didn’t sign up to be a piece of meat or a zoo animal,” Underwood said.
Despite the inappropriate behavior by some Game of Thrones fans, Portman told Esquire that he has also benefited from his character’s reputation.
“I was 20 when that happened, so it was kind of like a kid in a candy shop,” he said. “When you tell a 20-year-old actor, who’s sort of stumbled onto this big TV show, that all of a sudden you’re meant to be Casanova, people all over the world wonder whether or not it’s true. I would be lying if I said that that hadn’t been fun.”
The actor also revealed he had no idea he’d be asked to sing in the second episode of the show’s final season, which aired on Sunday night.
“They just put it in the script and they didn’t really tell me,” Portman said of the song, “Jenny of Oldstones,” Pod sang during a fireside drinking session with other characters as White Walkers descended on Winterfell. “I was terrified to be singing in front of all these people with this camera in my face.
“And something like a billion people have seen the first episode,” he said. “So thinking about that many people seeing me singing was terrifying.”
What the Daenerys/Sansa Conflict Could Mean for the Fate of the Iron Throne
Daenerys of the House Targaryen, the First of Her Name, The Unburnt, Queen of the Andals, the Rhoynar and the First Men, Queen of Meereen, Khaleesi of the Great Grass Sea, Protector of the Realm, Lady Regent of the Seven Kingdoms, Breaker of Chains and Mother of Dragons has no room in her heart for insolence. She might have once. But years into her stalwart quest for the Iron Throne, she’s no longer interested in brokering deals with other realms in the Seven Kingdoms. She doesn’t care much for questions about her claims or entitlement. She’s keen to protect Westeros from the threat of the White Walkers, but only—it seems—so there will be people left to worship her.
For Sansa Stark, Lady of Winterfell, entitlement feels different. Though she grew up with the dream of being a princess, she never imagined she might find herself head of her ancestral home, after the deaths of her parents and true-born brothers. And while Jon is technically King in the North, it’s clear that Sansa is keeping the Stark stronghold in operation. She’s new to her place of power, and she isn’t about to give that up.
While catty tension between female characters can often be a lazy trope used to create drama, the tenuous relationship between Daenerys and Sansa makes sense. These are two intelligent leaders with largely clashing ideals. Their moment in the second episode of the final season, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” laid those issues on the table.
“We’ve both known what it means to lead people who aren’t inclined to accept a woman’s rule,” Dany says to Sansa in a private meeting. “And we’ve both done a damn good job of it from what I can tell. And yet I can’t help but feel we’re at odds with one another. Why is that?”
It’s because Dany wants claim to all of the Seven Kingdoms, including the North, which swore—under Jon and Sansa’s guise—to never bow to an outsider again. When Sansa asks what will become of the North if the battle against the undead is won, Dany recoils. She’s beginning to realize it will take more than defeating the White Walkers to secure her place on the Iron Throne.
The moment between Dany and Sansa is rich with character drama, but it’s also the latest hint that the show may end with the destruction of the Iron Throne. Sansa questioning the fate of the North doesn’t feel like a simple bit of character-driven conflict. It also brings up a question viewers have been speculating on for years now. Instead of one fateful ruler, will Westeros instead break into separate kingdoms, each with a different ruler?
That may not be what Dany wants to hear, but she is the one who, back in season six, told Tyrion that her intentions were not to continue the great wheel of conflict in her native land, but to “break the wheel.” From her point of view, that meant creating a more just and noble reign. But what if she was instead prophesying her involvement in the destruction of the monarchy, breaking the wheel of common logic and bringing democracy to Westeros?
It’s hard to say how things will shake out between Jon and Dany, but we can’t imagine his revelation that he’s the rightful king won’t put a dent in Dany’s plans, even if he has no desire to rule. It’s possible one or both of them will be killed, but it’s also possible they’ll make the joint decision to prioritize their love and together create a new system of government. If the Iron Throne is destroyed or done away with, and if Jon publicly acknowledges his Targaryen heritage, that would make Sansa the rightful heir of Winterfell and the default Queen in the North. (The title would go to Bran, but Bran isn’t Bran anymore.)
It’s also possible that the conversation in “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” between Dany and Sansa is planting seeds in Dany’s mind. Maybe, instead of it being a moment of conflict, it’s the first time Dany is realizing that the best way to bring peace to her home country is to let the people already there rule it for themselves.
Of course, it’s just as possible that she’ll turn evil and side with the Night King. Anything is possible at this point, and that’s part of the excitement of this closing chapter of Game of Thrones. We hope both ladies survive and find a way to work together, but that seems far too easy for a show that eschews happy endings whenever it can.
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