There is a memorable scene in the final episode of Season Six of Game of Thrones where the chubby, bookish Sam, with his Wildling squeeze Gilly and her spawn-of-incest baby in tow, arrives at The Citadel, the repository of knowledge for the entire Seven Kingdoms. Sam presents a letter from his master, Jon Snow, seeking to gain entree into this world of higher learning.
But first Sam must get by the supercilious and dyspeptic librarian, played, by rising Canadian actor Rex Murphy, Jr., with a bug-eyed biliousness instantly recognizable to consumers of Canadian media bloviation. Most critics agree that his was a tour-de-force performance of pompous disdain worthy of his famous father, amateur roustabout and renowned climatologist, Rex Murphy, Sr.
“And all I had to do was act naturally,” says Murphy, Jr., with a chuckle. Murphy, Jr., is a graduate of the Dorking Academy of Dramatic Arts and Linoleum Sciences in England, where he moved in the 1990s, after flunking out of Newfoundland’s Dildo Junior College. “All I had to do to get into character was imagine the old man at a global warming conference or a Trudeau fundraiser.”
For Murphy, Jr., the 41-year-old lovechild of Murphy, Sr., and an unidentified oilpatch roughneck, it’s his first big career break. After years of playing carvival geeks, bus conductors and corpses in regional theatre productions throughout Britain, Murphy was spotted in 2015 in Great Snoring, Norfolk, by Game of Thrones casting director Nina Gold.
At the time, Murphy, Jr., had a small part as a sanctimonious victim of histoplasmosis in a production of Dewey!, a drama about Melvil Dewey, the American librarian who came up with his eponymous decimal system. Gold immediately envisioned Murphy, Jr., in the role of a priggish pranny who happens to be head shusher of The Citadel.
When asked for a comment on his son’s belated success, Murphy, Sr., responded that he had none, unless there was a cheque attached. “Normally, I refrain from commenting on the tawdry business of show business,” he said, “unless, of course, it involves Leonardo DiCaprio, Jane Fonda or Madonna, in which case I’m all over it like molasses on a touton.”
Murphy, Jr., meanwhile, is contractually mum on whether his potential breakout character—he’s already been honored by the British Library Association—will have an expanded presence in Season Seven. “All I can say is, I’m pretty excited,” he says. “Do you have any idea what you could do in those days if someone’s library books were overdue?”
Stay tuned, folks.