According to an interview with BBC Radio 4, Jonathan Pryce was asked to join the cast from the very beginning. However, the show initially turned him off. “I’d said no … all I did was flip through and look at the names, look on these strange names, strange dialogue,” said Pryce. “And I thought, ‘Oh, it’s not for me.'” It was the High Sparrow’s duplicitous, powerful nature that ultimately changed his mind. Not to mention, how important the character is to the story when he arrives. “He comes into the story [when] everyone’s well established, the goodies and the baddies,” Pryce said. The actor said he was also intrigued by the character’s similarity to Pope Francis, being a religious figure who fashions himself a humble man while also wielding great power.
It’s fortunate that Pryce changed his mind. His ability to imbue the High Sparrow with both charisma and malice made him one of the best characters in the show, despite only being on it for two seasons. His character embodies the calculated lust for power that drives the bulk of the show’s story — a lust that, like many other characters in “Game of Thrones,” ultimately leads him to a grisly fate.