The 21-year-old Irish actor is nothing like his evil character on the HBO hit
Credit: Macall B. Polay/HBO

Major spoilers ahead. Game of Thrones fans should proceed at your own risk!

After three years of mounting schadenfreude, King Joffrey Baratheon, son of Queen Cersei and her brother Jaime Lannister, finally got what he deserved when he was fatally poisoned at his own wedding reception.

While Game of Thrones fans cheer Joffrey’s gruesome fate, they must also say goodbye to the talented actor who took utter delight in his almost gleeful portrayal of the evil king.

Here are five things to know about Jack Gleeson:

1. The 21-year-old is from Cork, Ireland, and began acting when he was 8 years old, in the Irish Independent Theater Workshop.

2. He intends to leave acting now that his reign as Joffrey is over. Despite receiving a scholarship to study theology and philosophy at Trinity University, Gleeson told EW he’s not sure what he’ll do next. “I just stopped enjoying [acting] as much as I used to … When you make a living from something, it changes your relationship with it. It’s not like I hate it, it’s just not what I want to do.” As for academia, which he had mentioned in a presentation at Oxford last year, he said, “I wanted to be an academic when I was 19 or 20. But, I’ve gone off that idea. The lifestyle is kind of lonely and isolated. I don’t think that would suit me.”

3. The most horrible thing he’s ever done was read his sister’s diary when he was 7 (she was 13).

4. In taking on Joffrey, he looked to Gladiator and FernGully for inspiration. “Joaquin Phoenix s Commodus in Gladiator; certainly for my characterization of Joffrey, that had a big impact, the smirk,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “And the monster Hexxus from FernGully, certainly as a childhood fear that was a big one.”

5. He is actually nothing like his TV character and was one of the most courteous people on set. Once the cameras stopped rolling, Gleeson would apologize to extras he had to berate while playing Joffrey.

Says costar Pedro Pascal (Oberyn Martell), “He is one of the most gentle, intelligent, courteous, thoughtful people that I have met, like in life. He’s a really, really special guy. He’s also really smart. He’s one of those people that, despite them being much younger than you, you’re like, ‘This guy’s smarter than me. Just accept it.'”

Adds Lena Headey, who plays Cersei, “Jack is the biggest diva. No, I’m kidding. He is perhaps the kindest, most generous person on set.”

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