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Game of Thrones’ Richard Madden Makes Scruffy Gay Love. Woof!

Game of Thrones fans crushing on Richard Madden (a.k.a. “Young Wolf” Robb Stark) will have to wait till next summer to see if the 25-year-old Scotsman draws his unsheathed sword in the show’s second season. (He will if George R.R. Martin heeds the demands for more man meat.)

But Madden’s been getting frisky and fairly bare over in Merry Old England, where he just wrapped up the debut season of Channel 4′s paramedics drama Sirens. As laddish gay EMT Ashley, Madden’s been getting up to all kinds of naughtiness (including shagging a bloke in a church bathroom, crikey!).

In an interview with Digital Spy, Madden talks about his character:

Did you have any reservations about the show’s racier scenes?
I’ve always got the attitude that if it’s relevant to the show, I don’t mind doing it, but if it’s just gratuitous, I don’t really agree with it. If it’s just trying to get people to watch because there’s some boobs or whatever, I don’t really like that. But in this, it felt relevant that I had to take my clothes off and kiss guys on-screen. That was a different thing for me, playing a gay character. That’s why I quite liked the part, because Ashley is this gay man who isn’t defined by his sexuality.

So is Ashley a gay man who dislikes gay culture?
“Yeah. He’s a gay character who’s kind of straight in every sense of the word, except that he has sex with men. That’s what I was excited by, because I don’t remember the last time we saw that on British TV. We don’t really get to see gay characters who are completely open with their sexuality, but it doesn’t define who they are.”

Check out Madden and his hunky co-stars in the clip below.

If you’re of a more literary bent, enjoy Madden’s GoT character engaging in a spicy fan-fic romp with Jon Snow.



By:           Dan Avery
On:           Aug 18, 2011
Tagged: , , , , ,

    • EdWoody

      I’ve watched these clips already, and what I find intriguing about them is the perceptiveness behind some of the issues the character faces. It seems like there must be a gay man on the writing staff because somebody somewhere knows whereof they write – these are issues that only gay men would face and only gay men would even know about, I think.

      Alas the shagging in the church never actually goes ahead, as you will see in the clip. Although it is fabulously transgressive to even imagine it.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 7:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony

      H-O-T. I find him gorgeous on Game of Thrones, but I’ve got to catch this show…is it on BBC cable network??

      Aug 18, 2011 at 7:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dodgy

      @Tony: Unlikely to be on BBC america because Sirens is not a BBC program. It appears on a different channel altogether, Channel 4, which you may or may not be able to view in the USA on 4OD (4 on demand), over the internet.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 8:06 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE

      Just asking but, what does “a gay man who isn’t defined by his sexuality” even mean?

      That sounds like horsecrap to me.

      Every gay person, in some way or another, is defined by how their sexuality affected their life. Whether it be the fact that they had to hide it for part of their life, or how they came out early and dealt with that, or how they dealt with finding a “significant other”. “SEX” may not define you, but in a greater sense, your sexuality does pretty much help define a large part of your identity.

      I came out early, in the 1970s, and I KNOW that the simple fact that it was hard meeting anyone to have a relationship with means that I didn’t get to have a boyfriend throughout my teen years, the way most of my straight guy friends had girlfriends. That means that defining my role in a relationship of equals came very late for me, rather than having the youthful BF/GF relationship experience all my other friends had.

      I’d say that my “sexuality” defined a great DEAL of who I am because of that.

      “Having sex” isn’t what defined it. Learning about intimacy and interpersonal relationships.. or rather, NOT getting the chance to learn those things early on… THAT defined me.

      “Not defined by his sexuality” sounds like “was able to pass” until he could get some on the side, to me.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 8:15 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fredo777

      I love pics 19 + 20, with the fur over his shoulders. Kinda hot. And cute, b/c of the puppies.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 8:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • meego

      @MikeE: I hear you. I came out in the 70′s too. Back then, as you well remember, it was all about sexual “freedom of expression”. After countless years of repression, suddenly the flood gates were open. Dorothy Bryant’s book, A Day in San Francisco, illustrates this mentality quite well. In the 70′s, you could get laid as much as you wanted and then some. But a relationship? Good luck with that!

      But nowadays, it’s a bit different. I see myself as first and foremost a man…who happens to be gay. Not as a gay man. Meaning that my sexuality does not dominate my every waking hour.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 8:37 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdWoody

      @MikeE: @meego: I agree with both of you, and this is a point I’ve made elsewhere too. “His sexuality doesn’t define him” seems to be the latest buzz-phrase actors and/or creators of gay characters use to try to reassure us that the character won’t be a negative stereotype. I’m sure they don’t mean any harm by it, but the very use of the phrase reveals that they’re looking at the experience from the outside, and simply don’t understand.

      I think what they’re trying to say is that the character doesn’t spend 24/7 doing stereotypically gay things like crimping people’s hair and sashaying up and down the highstreet snapping their fingers and shouting “Hey Gurl!” Rather, that they will have an actual life. It’s just that that’s narrowed down to “it doesn’t define him” for bite-sized convenience, without realising the lack of nuance that reveals.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 8:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      @meego: @EdWoody: I came out in 1978, a Berkeley freshman, from the Bay Area.

      What do you mean you don’t understand the notion “…his sexuality doesn’t define him”? I had plenty of fun meeting guys all over campus, at the Steamworks, various SF baths, dancing at the Trocadero and I-Beam Sundays and all. Nonetheless, I also played every week at the dorm poker game, went to all home football and basketball games, enthusiastically, with my friends, some who knew I was gay, many didn’t, and had the best of times (well, except Cal lost many more games than won).

      I also could call my dad when the Yankees came to town to see if he wanted to play hooky in the afternoon and meet up at the Coliseum, and very happily received invites to go watch the Raiders and 49ers. My four brothers, all straight, never bothered/weren’t interested. And if I were dating someone or any friend, my dad always extended the invite to them — sometimes it was the guy I was dating, sometimes it was a friend, straight, from school.

      Being human, that we all are all the time. Being gay (or straight) we are all the time. But not every time is being gay/straight is what defines who we are and what we are doing; sometimes you are just a guy hanging out with other guys. And once you get home, you get all dolled up and head out for a good ole gay time.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hal Duncan
      Hal Duncan

      @MikeE @EdWoody Talk of “sexuality not defining a character” comes largely from queer writers who’re well aware of the way straight writers can tend to make the story all about the gayness of any gay character, reducing that character to one dimension. It doesn’t mean they’re not shaped by their sexuality, just that their role in the narrative is not delimited by it.

      The character is “defined by their sexuality” when the stories told about them are constrained in this way, when they’re not first and foremost, say, a laddish paramedic who might therefore end up dealing with the situations and problems that might arise for a laddish paramedic, when instead they’re a GAY laddish paramedic and somehow to the writer of little brain that means they must deal primarily (if not sodding *solely*) with the limited number of situations and problems clueless straights can conceive of gays having to deal with. Oh, look! Here’s a storyline about the laddish paramedic coming out at work. Oh, look! Here’s a storyline about him suffering homophobic harassment. Oh, look! Here’s a storyline about his boyfriend catching HIV. And so on, and so on, and so on, ad nauseum.

      It’s not just an empty buzz-phrase. It’s the next step on in terms of integration in the media. Even after you get queer characters into the pages or on the screens, you still have to push for them to be treated equally — rather than have them the sexual equivalent of a ginger character who only ever gets storylines about fricking sunburn.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 10:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdWoody

      @Hal Duncan: “to the writer of little brain that means they must deal primarily (if not sodding *solely*) with the limited number of situations and problems clueless straights can conceive of gays having to deal with.”

      That’s actually exactly what I was saying though – that this storyline DOESN’T fall into that trap. It IS a storyline that could only be done with a gay character, but it’s NOT what they used to think was the only kind of storyline you COULD do with a gay character, if that makes sense.

      It gets to the root of a gay man’s love-hate relationship with straight men – the contradictory feelings of lust for the stereotypically manly qualities and the hatred for the bullying they often put us through. Taking in guilt, self-loathing, racism, public sex, the top-bottom dynamic, and even straight men experimenting with anal sex along the way. That’s not one of the “standard” gay stories, but you certainly couldn’t do it with a straight character either.

      My problem with the “doesn’t define him” phrase is that it almost sounds like they think a gay man’s sexuality DOES define him, and that therefore they need to deny it, and pat themselves on the back for how progressive they’re being. It’s coming from the right place, undoubtedly, and yet at the same time it rubs me the wrong way. If it’s not an issue, why make an issue of it not being an issue?

      Aug 18, 2011 at 11:49 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jimmy Fury
      Jimmy Fury

      @MikeE: I don’t think that’s what anyone means when they refer to a “defining trait” though.
      What you described is something that shaped who you are now. It’s a contributing factor.
      A “defining trait” is much less complicated. It’s more along the lines of if someone asked you to describe yourself in one word.
      I honestly don’t know many people who would answer “gay.”
      Happy, determined, inquisitive, geeky, adventurous… those are the kind of words you expect to hear when you ask that question. Something that describes the sum total of who they are. That doesn’t mean being gay, black, or french wasn’t an important contributing factor to who they are, just that in the grand scheme of their life it’s only a facet of the whole.

      Of course, there’s also the fact that you’re confusing a character with a real person. Real people have years and years of experiences to define who they are.
      Characters do not. Characters are constructs. They are limited by the knowledge of their writers.
      Even then, Television/movie characters have even less to work with than literary characters. Authors sometimes have the luxury of spending years researching and developing a character. TV/movie writers have a few months at best.
      So yes, tv characters are usually much less complex than real people. They can have one trait that defines their entire character. That one thing the writers focus their attention on.
      Problems with that can come up though when you remember that the writer only has their own life experience to work from. A defining trait that marks the character as a minority can end up cliche and stereotypical when the writer doesn’t share that trait. They don’t have the sum life experience to speak from.
      A 23 year old straight male writer would know nothing at all about coming out in the early 70′s. He wouldn’t know what it’s like to spend your important developmental years not experiencing awkward teen romance due to social stigma. A gay character written by him would have a lot less depth than a gay character written by you.
      Look at Glee. Kurt is the only character on that show with any depth. The racial minorities have a tendency to come off cliche. While Ryan Murphy tries to ham up the stereotype to mock them (the stereotypes themselves, not the races), he still ends up focusing on the stereotypes.

      That’s what Madden’s talking about when he says being gay doesn’t define his character and it really doesn’t. Ashley, the character, really is defined by his “laddishness.” He’s naive, indulgent, a touch hedonistic, and fairly immature. He’s been accidentally racist twice. He almost had sex in a church bathroom while his mother was confessing. He was delighted about being robbed because he was fully insured and would get, and I quote, “NEW TOYS!”
      The fact that he’s gay isn’t used to set him apart from other characters. It’s used to show how universal the man-child mentality is.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 12:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MikeE

      @ all of you here

      thank-you for the VERY interesting conversation.
      at least I know my comments did not fall on deaf ears, and that we DO appear to understand one another.

      @ Jimmy
      thank-you for pointing out the aspect I was ignoring: yes, it’s for a character in a TV show/film, and not actually a real person. you are absolutely right. it was a point I was missing.
      Your words were very wise.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 1:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joe

      Gotta love British television. Can you imagine an American network doing a show exactly like that? Victoria Jackson’s little head would explode

      Aug 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Gaytorium

      @Joe: I think you’re exactly right. I can’t see something like this being on American network TV. It’d have to be hidden away on cable and even then it’d face a lot of flak.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 3:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • EdWoody

      Indeed, I think this is one of the most intelligent and bitch-free threads in recent memory on this site.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 3:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hal Duncan
      Hal Duncan

      @EdWoody “If it’s not an issue, why make an issue of it not being an issue?”

      They’re not saying the character’s sexuality is not an issue, period; that’d be nonsense. In a world where you look at the list of the top 50 sci-fi movies on IMDB, (to pick a blockbuster genre at the core of the mainstream,) and every single one of them has a straight white male protagonist, it *is* an issue, very much so — the issue being that ascribing certain traits to a character in cinema or TV all too often locks them into certain narrative roles (and out of others). What they’re saying is that a gay *character’s* sexuality all too often *does* define that character’s *role in the narrative*.

      That doesn’t equate at all to some latent notion that gays in the real world are generally defined by their sexuality. It’s the opposite, a recognition that fiction is failing when it continually churns out storylines with gay *characters* wholly defined by their sexuality, failing precisely because *actual* gays aren’t. We live stories that don’t revolve around us being gay. As per Jimmy Fury’s comment above, “defined by” really means “constructed around” or “focused on” here; it’s really about the crafting of the character more than anything else. This is people who create gay characters talking about how such characters tend to be botched by lazy creators, how they’re trying to not botch them in that way. It’s not an empty buzz-phrase; it comes from gays working in art/entertainment, articulating an issue that’s subtler than stereotyping, and slowly, it seems, getting the gist of it across to straight colleagues. It’s sort of a third wave in integrating gay characters in the media. If the first was to get them in there at all, and the second was to have them as actual protagonists, the third is to have them as protagonists in stories that aren’t all about them being gay.

      Anyway, if you work in anything to do with fiction, I’d say, that phrasing actually suggests Madden’s fairly savvy. Where another straight actor might be chuffed at the chance to play a gay character in some coming-out storyline that gay people will “obviously” find terribly relevant — i.e. well-meaning but a bit clueless — he seems to have some grasp of the discourse in the field right now.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 4:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • slanty

      Omg, what a sexy beard.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 6:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • timncguy

      And here I thought that not being defined by his sexuality meant that the character wouldn’t be a good fit on the show “The A-List”, which is filled mostly with bitchy, flaming, stereotypical queens. And next, I thought how much better The A-List would be with this type of character instead of with the jerks that are on it now.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 7:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting

      I think what people mean by the character on the show is well written from the perspective of being a gay person rather than straight. It does not mean that he represents all gay men. Often times, however, it is hard to even get any realistic views of being gay. For example, this guy although kind of trampy does not like talking about his sex life with his co worker who wants all the sordid details, etc. Its a refreshing character. He’s not every gay man. But it is nice to see a unique one of the telly.

      This character’s sexuality is a part of the story the same way that a straight characters sexuality is. That its part of him. Not just the only story line they choose to cover. For example, they go into his issues with race, and they go into his work a day life, etc. In other words, they go into a lot fo such a short amount of time to do so. Its a great show. I hope it comes back. Its like watching Keith and David on Six Feet Under or the gay character on The Wire. It wasn’t that they weren’t gay. it wasn’t that it wasn’t a large part of their lives. It was that their lives were so many things- from business men, to a drug dealer to whatever else they were and the gay part intermingled with all of the rest of it. This is- hopefully- where TV shows are heading. Not where we are hidden as gay men, but not where they either can’t or refuse to tell complex stories about us either.

      After a while the novelty of being out wears off, and then you got the rest of your life to live with being gay as a part of that greater life- these are the stories that as the gay community matures that I want to see.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 11:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting

      @Hal Duncan: I am a novice writer. I will admit that I have doubts about writing gay characters.

      Not because I don’t want to, but because I don’t know how they will be received since my experience thus far has been negative with writing stories that may even include gay themes as a part of the subplot or a conflict in the main story somehow, but plots are not really centered on being gay with the expected plot beats from Queer as Folk or any of the 80s/90s films. I should say I love watching all that stuff, but it is BORING to write.

      My fear is that there may not be an audience for what I want to write within the gay community. That’s why shows like this give me a sense of hope.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 11:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting

      PS – My style of writing is like “My Beautiful Laundrette” It is not that there is no gay part of that story. It is that there are so many other things going on in the story too.

      Aug 18, 2011 at 11:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Hal Duncan
      Hal Duncan

      @Interesting FWIW, if you write outside the confines of pure mimetic contemporary realism at all (i.e. if you write anything from highbrow pomo experimentalism to magic realism to purebred sci-fi or fantasy) that massive many-headed Hydra of a literary field has some actively friendly markets and some specifically LGBT-oriented ones. I can’t speak for the wider field but in strange fiction there’s a definite audience for that “third wave” approach.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • MattCA81

      They are adapting this show for American television. Unfortunately, from what I have read Dennis Leary will be overseeing the project. Say goodbye to a nuanced gay character.

      Aug 19, 2011 at 9:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bee Gaga
      Bee Gaga

      Every one has a good point but when he says “defined by his sexuality” this guy at least does not mean it the way you guys are saying so because after that he says that the character is pretty much “straight” in every aspect except for the fact that he sleeps with men…wtf is that suppose to mean sounds a bit condescending if you ask me

      Aug 20, 2011 at 2:26 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Interesting

      @Bee Gaga: . We barely have language to describe ourselves in terms of complexity. Why should a straight actor (assuming he’s straight) have better language? I think his performance speaks for itself. He’s not playing the character “macho” or fem. Sexually he plays him as a voracious bottom really into sex and that part is not hidden or kept out of the story. In trying to describe such a complex character- what language would you use not having perhaps previously thought about it? I suspect what he means is that this is a normalization of gay as a story that’s just a story rather than a gay story, but again that’s my guess.

      Aug 20, 2011 at 2:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Jeffrey Fried
      Jeffrey Fried

      @MikeE: I was born with very bad, but not naughty, ADHD and a mild form of ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder), i flunked out of high school because i simply couldn’t stand the isolation so i spent my time shooting pool instead, I spent four years in the Air Force repairing heavy ground radar (this was my first try at an interesting career) during which i earned my high school equivalency diploma and some college credits, I earned my bachelor’s degree in Applied Physics, i did some graduate work in signal processing before deciding i simply wasn’t an academic, i worked for five years on numerical problems relating to earthquake safety at nuclear power plants (this was my second interesting career), after seeing that i didn’t like the companies who would use my scientific talents (AT&T and the like) i started my third exciting career of software development during which i worked for some of the top companies including FileMaker an Apple subsidiary. I have worked hard at developing photography and editing technical skills and expressing some creativity. I am starting to learn how to embroider using software. I have been meditating for roughly five years and teaching it for nearly two. I came to faith in Christ about 30 years ago, and my faith is far more important and defining for me than being gay. There is more, including that i am gay, but the things i mentioned before gay are far more important and define me much more than the fact that the person i want to bond with (note i didn’t say “have sex with”) is the same gender as me. If you are going to focus on sex, rather than love, you really aren’t going to touch anyone deeply.

      Dec 31, 2011 at 6:10 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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