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How Game Of Thrones Affected Kristofer Hivju's Performance In The Witcher

"Game of Thrones" is known for many things, such as its occasionally frivolous violence, infamous botched ending, and the sense that pretty much anything could happen in a given episode. The program also became recognized for its truly gargantuan cast of characters that seemed to expand with each passing episode. Most individuals have their own motives and desires as they attempt to gain some form of power in Westeros, but not all are so dead-set on inching closer to the Iron Throne. As for Tormund Giantsbane (Kristofer Hivju), he has very different motivations.

As one of the Free Folk — individuals who live beyond the towering Wall — Tormund cares little for the affairs of Westeros and its complex political system. All he really wants is to stay alive through harsh winters and ensure that the world isn't destroyed by White Walkers and other dangerous forces. Thus, he teams with Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and other "Game of Thrones" heroes to ward off the Night King's (Vladimir Furdik) forces for the good of both sides of the Wall. All the while, Kristofer Hivju turns out solid performances that range from dramatic to hilarious, making Tormund a bonafide fan favorite.

During his time playing Tormund on "Game of Thrones," Kristofer Hivju learned something very important that he carried with him to the set of Netflix's "The Witcher."

Hivju wants to do right by source material and the fans

In December 2021, Kristofer Hivju spoke with Uproxx about the two fantasy projects he's taken part in, "Game of Thrones" and "The Witcher." While comparing the two fanbases, Hivju shared something important he learned from "Thrones" fans that helped him greatly on "The Witcher." "I had to understand the fans' view and how they look at my character," he said, going on to add, "I tried to dig into what the fans, how they viewed me. It's like portraying a real person." Hivju feels it's still good to put one's own spin on beloved characters, but doing right by the source material should still take importance.

Hivju made his "Witcher" debut during the second season in the role of Nivellen: a companion of Geralt of Rivia (Henry Cavill), who long ago was cursed to take on the form of a beast. Since, much like "Game of Thrones," "The Witcher" is based on books as well as video games, Hivju has done his best to meet fan expectations of the character. Sadly, if a Reddit thread from u/Revolutionary-Ear354 is of any indication, the changes the Netflix series made to his characterization did not sit well with most fans. Some were fine with the changes, but the majority clearly hoped he'd stick closer to his book counterpart.

Whether he's playing Tormund Giantsbane or Nivellen, Kristofer Hivju tries to keep the fans and source material in mind as much as he can. After all, little good ever comes from upsetting a passionate fanbase.