Conleth Hill and Debbie Harry
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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/Getty Images

Game of Thrones’ Varys is so unrecognizable with hair that fans won’t even let him photobomb them

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Apr 5, 2019

The Game of Thrones cast is making the promotional rounds right now to promote the upcoming premiere of the show's eighth and final season. That means that, while we're not getting spoilers from the new season, we are getting a lot of stories about their time as stars of a megahit, and some of those stories raise interesting questions. Today, one of those questions is: Would you recognize Varys if he had hair?

According to Conleth Hill, who plays the bald spymaster on Game of Thrones, the answer is almost always no. Hill shaved his head completely each time he had to go back to film the series, but when he's not playing Varys he has a very full head of silver hair that changes his silhouette quite a bit, which led to some recognizability issues when the show was just starting out, even when he was with his castmates.

"In the old days, it was like 'Why is that security guy so close to the cast?' or 'Why is the wine waiter in the red carpet?'" Hill said on Late Night with Seth Meyers Thursday.

Hill's problem of Varys-with-hair unrecognizability reached its apex when he attended a Manchester United match with castmate and fellow United supporter John Bradley (who plays Samwell Tarly). Fans immediately recognized Bradley and wanted a photo with Sam, but Hill looked so different that he couldn't even manage a photobomb.

"We went to a game. No one recognizes me, which is fine, and it's the only time I want recognition, is there," Hill said. "People were going 'John, can I have a photograph?' And he's very kind, 'Yes, of course.' And I think I'll go in behind, and when they get home they'll go 'Oh my God, that was Varys there.' No! Not a one. It was 'Mate, can you get out of the way? I'm trying to take a photograph.'"

Recognizability issues aside, Hill somehow managed to look cooler than any of his Game of Thrones castmates earlier this week at the show's final season premiere in New York City. At a previous red carpet event, when asked what music would be on Varys' iPod, Hill picked a Blondie song, and explained he's been "in love with" Blondie lead singer Debbie Harry "since I was about 10 in '74."

That quote found it way back to Harry, who tweeted about it and noted that Hill had good taste in music. So, when his manager told him he had extra premiere tickets and could invite more guests, he had a spark of inspiration.

"I just went 'I'll ask Debbie Harry if she wants to come.'"

As you can see from the photograph above, Harry did indeed show up to the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere as Hill's guest, and she brought Blondie co-founder and guitarist Chris Stein along too. So, no matter what happens to Varys in Season 8, Conleth Hill can now say he ended his Game of Thrones experience partying with one of his idols.

"This whole nine years on Game of Thrones has been surreal," he told Meyers.

Game of Thrones returns April 14 on HBO.

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