August 19, 2019
Renowned as the squire and surprise Casanova in Thrones, the star is now wrestling with audiences in Edinburgh. He talks about his meteoric rise to fame and why he won’t be going back to school
Game of Thrones Daniel Portman: People expect Podrick – thats not what they get
Daniel Portman is soaked in sweat and locked in battle. There is an epic swell of music as he lunges at his opponent. But we’re not in Westeros, where Portman became a Game of Thrones fan favourite as steadfast squire Podrick Payne. He is centre-stage at the Edinburgh fringe, in a red unitard, arm-wrestling an audience member. Portman goes over the top, the crowd cheers and he laps up the applause.
This is Square Go, a late-night rumble of a show in which he plays 13-year-old Glaswegian daydreamer Max, hiding in the school toilets with his mate Stevie, awaiting a fight with a bully. When we meet in an Edinburgh pub, I ask Portman if he always wins the arm wrestles. “Generally, yeah,” he says instantly, with easy confidence, in a voice as deep as his eyes are brown. Occasionally, some “big macho bloke” gets carried away, in which case Portman will remind him: “You’re fighting a 13-year-old boy who’s doing this in his fantasy world. So I’m gonna cheat to win.” He smiles. “Some people take it really seriously.”
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