Andrew McClay, an extra on HBO’s Game of Thrones fantasy drama series, stole the show on Sunday night’s broadcast of the two-hour behind-the-scenes documentary, Game of Thrones: The Last Watch.
Instead of focusing on the leading actors in the Game of Thrones series, the documentary focused on actors playing minor roles, such as Andrew McClay, who was an extra in the series.
Some eagle-eyed fans noticed the actor appearing across the seasons of the show and were already rooting for him long before the documentary aired. But other fans saw the actor for the first time when the two-hour documentary, which aired last night, introduced him.
Game of Thrones’ fans was particularly impressed by the extraordinary staying power of the actor’s character, who survived several bloody battles in series. His name began trending on social media platforms immediately after the show, and he became the subject of memes on social media and Reddit.
Andrew McClay deserves to be a star! #GameofThrones #TheLastWatch pic.twitter.com/Lm1taHqcHu
— David Ligon (@VanLigon) May 27, 2019
If Andrew Mcclay doesn't receive far more roles, just from being in every damn #stark battle. He'd better, after this behind the scenes #GameofThrones show. The dude is cracking me up. Hell, make him a Stark in dang prequel show. pic.twitter.com/4YAwt1uo2i
— Justin B (@jfb880) May 27, 2019
If #TheLastWatch taught me anything, it’s who the one true king really is- and that is Andrew Mcclay, The King in the Background, the King Behind the Camera, Lord of the Extras, and Protector of the Realm. pic.twitter.com/4k67YlWQ9W
— Chello (@chellovate) May 27, 2019
I enjoy the perspective and behind the scenes, but it’s like they made deals with four people and followed only them. I don’t need to hear from Andrew McClay, Sarah Gower, the head of snow, or the food cart lady over and over and over again. I’m not digging it.
— kara ? (@adamnslytherin) May 27, 2019
The moment when you realize you’re going to be searching for Andrew McClay in every Stark extras shot in #GameOfThrones from now on #TheLastWatch pic.twitter.com/nPg5YO8Ugr
— Mary Lynne Nielsen (@emmelnie) May 27, 2019
Let's all congratulate Andrew McClay on his character Harwin surviving #GameOfThrones. He fought with the Brotherhood, Stanis, and finally with the Starks and survived.
He also runs the GoT tour in Northern Ireland. #travel #GameOfThronesFinale pic.twitter.com/7IpvOA64xW
— Mr. Reactionary (@mrreactionary) May 20, 2019
If you watched Game of Thrones: The Last Watch documentary, and you’ve been wondering who Andrew McClay is, here is everything you need to know.
Who is Andrew McClay?
Andrew McClay (Andrew Graeme McClay) is an Irish actor born in Londonderry, Northern Ireland, in 1975, according to his IMDb page.
His film credits so far include an appearance as Quinn’s soldier in Into the Badlands Season 2, episode 2, titled Force of Eagle’s Claw.
He also appeared in An Irish Story (2017).
He played multiple roles in Game of Thrones
Fans get to meet McClay in Game of Thrones: The Last Watch documentary. He introduces himself to viewers, saying that he became an actor because he “didn’t do well in math” at school.
McClay played multiple roles as an extra in Game of Thrones. He distinguished himself as the Stark soldier who survived the bloody battles of the series until the very end.
McClay’s long beard explains his character’s name, Aberdall Strongbeard.
In Game of Thrones Season 5, episode 9, titled The Dance of Dragons, he appeared as a soldier in Stannis Baratheon’s army. He later appeared as a soldier of the House of Stark in Game of Thrones Season 6, Episode 9, titled Battle of the Bastards.
In Battle of the Bastards, Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) and his Wildlings attempt to take Winterfell, but Ramsay Bolton’s (Iwan Rheon) forces defeated them.
However, Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner) and Petyr Baelish (Aidan Gillen) saved the day when they arrived in time with the Knights of the Vale, and Ramsay was defeated and captured.
McClay was in the thick of the desperate and bloody battle between the Stark forces and Bolton forces in which so many soldiers died that their bodies piled up into a wall for corpses. But McClay was one of the Stark soldiers who survived the battle.
He was also one of Snow’s guards who survived the final battle at King’s Landing.
He appeared in several other episodes of the Game of Thrones series, including The Winds of Winter (Season 6, episode 10), The Queen’s Justice (Season 7, Episode 3), Winterfell (Season 8, Episode 1), A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms (Season 8, Episode 2), The Long Night (Season 8, Episode 3), The Last of the Starks (Season 8, Episode 4), The Bells (Season 8, Episode 5), and The Iron Throne (Season 8, Episode 6).
McClay is an ardent fan of Game of Thrones
McClay is an enthusiastic fan of Game of Thrones series. Along with other Game of Thrones extras he received a Game of Thrones Stark jacket with a direwolf on the back and an imprint on the upper sleeve that read, “The King in the North.”
I want this jacket #TheLastWatch #GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/QehqFJ6fSu
— Malissa Tormey (@MalissaTormey) May 27, 2019
McClay eventually gave his jacket to Kit Harrington who played Jon Snow. He said Kit tried to pay for the jacket, but he wouldn’t take the money.
McClay was emotional when the show ended.
“I’m choking up here, man,” he said. “Even though I’m just an extra… [the show] has really changed my life.”
He works part-time as a tour guide for Game of Thrones
Andrew McCay works as a part-time tour guide for Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition in Belfast, Northern Ireland. You can book him as your tour guide on the website of the Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition.
Andrew McClay on my Iron Islands tour! He’s a star on and off screen and truly lovely #GameOfThrones #TheLastWatch pic.twitter.com/owVN7OVYDF
— ™ is emo (@ayytmarcs) May 27, 2019
In 2016, my husband and I went to Belfast and took a @GameOfThrones tour with a brilliant extra from the show, Andrew McClay. So excited to see him in many scenes and as part of #TheLastWatch ! pic.twitter.com/BUDQrQ9Zqm
— Becky Bye (@beckybye) May 27, 2019
Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition takes fans on tours of the “Seven Kingdoms for an up-close and personal look at authentic props, costumes and set decorations from the show.”
He is also associated with Game of Thrones Tours, another company in Northern Ireland that takes fans on tours of sites where the show was filmed, including Winterfell.