As part of the global Game of Thrones franchise, British actor Finn Jones has been thrust into the spotlight and under the microscope of what is a well known and intense fan base. Fleshing out and developing the popular knight on screen over the past four seasons of the show has seen Jones develop a following of his own, one exemplified at his recent experiences on the fan convention circuits not only in Australia, but abroad. Most recently in Adelaide for Oz Comic Con, I get some time to catch up with Jones post-karaoke and wine tours to talk about the trip, what he hopes to do with the Knight of Flowers next and of course, the current relationship Australians have with Game of Thrones.
“I can’t remember leaving La Sing,” Jones laughs, reflecting on Saturday night’s antic spent at the Adelaide karaoke institution. “I’m pretty sure we got kicked out! We [also] went to this cool bar called Chihuahua Bar, that was really nice and we went to a few restaurants in Chinatown and did a wine tour as well in McLaren Vale.”
This trip isn’t the first Australian visit for Jones, as he notes how his original perceptions of the country and the people he’s met since have altered or remained the same.
“I like Australians.” Jones says. “I feel like the politics may be a little backwards here in this country; I find the media especially to be quite backward. I’ve found the stereotypes of how they portray gay people to be very backward. I’ve had quite a few interviews with various outlets and they were very quick to make jokes at the fact that Loras was gay, and I found that just backward. In saying that, I’ve found Australian people to be really nice; I’ve always found Australian conventions to be the friendliest, the most down to earth and there is great nature here as well. ”
“I enjoy it,” he says. “I would like to get out of the city for a little bit and see some of the more rural parts of Australia, but I’ve not had the time!”
Obviously, Loras and Renly Baratheon’s [Gethin Anthony] relationship brought with it its own share of attention and even though audiences have seen him since becoming the betrothed of Cersei Lannister [Lena Headey], Jones’ portrayal of a man of considerable status and rank being involved in a gay relationship on a prime US television show is an important one to note. Turning focus to how the appearance of more homosexual characters in film and TV today seems to becoming less of a taboo/novelty and more of an accepted presence, Jones talks about approaching the depiction of Loras in the TV series and what he hopes some fans can take away from his role.
“I don’t know how my portrayal as Loras is helping the community, maybe it’s making it more acceptable,” he muses. “I actually think it is. I think there’s maybe plenty of guys and girls who watch the show, they see a character like Loras who is a fighter, he’s strong and he’s fierce; he’s likeable and he’s not camp and yet, he’s in a gay relationship. Hopefully, for some people, it’ll open them up and make them realise that it’s okay to have feelings for guys and it’s okay to experiment. It’s okay to be strong man and still have feelings for guys.”
“I hope that some guys and girls watch it and kind of feel inspired and can make those changes in their lives, if they need to. In saying that, I still feel that there is still…people like to point and laugh, people like to make jokes. I think that people make jokes purely because there’s something deep inside them that they can’t deal with. It’s easier to laugh at that, rather than address it yourself.”
Of course, for many fans out in Australia, the opportunity to keep up to date with Game of Thrones has lured many to the various torrent sites offering up the goods for their next hit of the HBO fantasy drama. While Netflix’s launch in Australia can be seen as somewhat of a band-aid solution for TV fans looking to remain as connected as possible to powerhouse American and British production, it’s no secret that we’re still lacking in efficient and regular access to content. Jones sees both sides of the issue, especially with Game of Thrones – for Foxtel customers, access to the show has been fast tracked but for everyone else, the issue of consuming the content in a quick and legal manner still remains current.
“It’s bad,” he admits. “But it’s also because you’re not given the opportunity to consume the content in the way that you want to. If that’s the case, then of course you’re going to have people downloading it. The system needs to change. Obviously, there’s a demand for the content and people want the content in a different way. If the system isn’t going to provide the people with the way they want to receive content, then they’re going to go around it, so you need to find new ways of giving content to people. There’s HBO Now, which you don’t have and HBO very cleverly have seen that there needs to be a different way in the consumer-product relationship and they’ve addressed it. In Australia, you’re still not allowed to have it and it’s a bit like, ‘Well come on guys, if you want people to stop uploading or downloading…’ But, this stuff takes time.”
Now in the opening episodes of the fifth season (if you’ve managed to stay away from the leaked episodes, of course), Jones is careful not to give too much – or anything – away about what’s coming up in the Game of Thrones universe next, he’s just enjoying the ride as much as any of the current cast members and fans.
“It’s nice.” he says. “I still think there is a lot more development for Loras [to come], so I’m looking forward to that if it happens, I think it will. It’s been nice for Loras to do more in the show than he does in the books; I just think there’s more to come for him.”