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Burly Facts About Iain Glen

Kyle Climans

Iain Glen has to be one of the most consistent actors in the entire run of Game of Thrones. His portrayal of Jorah Mormont has turned him into a fan favorite over the years, no matter what people might think of the show’s quality. However, Game of Thrones is far from the only thing that Glen has done in his life. Glen has been a working actor for decades, and you might be surprised to find out all that he’s done. Continue scrolling to learn more about Iain Glen’s storied life and career.


1. Welcome to the World

Iain Glen was born on June 24, 1961, in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh.

2. Prestigious Start

Glen made his feature film debut with the 1988 film Gorillas in the Mist. The film stars Sigourney Weaver as Diane Fossey, a noted scientist who spent much of her adult life observing, studying, and protecting gorillas in the jungles of Africa.

3. Rite of Passage?

Prior to his role in Gorillas in the Mist, Glen had appeared as a guest actor in an episode of Taggart. In case you’re not from the UK, Taggart was a long-running television series that deals with a police department investigating murders in the Scottish city of Glasgow. Running from 1985 until 2010, Taggart was one of the longest-running series in the history of British television.

4. My Student Days

As a child, Glen attended the Edinburgh Academy, an independent school for boys. Since then, the Edinburgh Academy has become co-educational.

5. Bro in High Places

Glen’s older brother, Hamish, was formerly the artistic director of the Dundee Repertory Theatre, and now serves as the artistic director of Coventry’s Belgrade Theatre.

6. Home Sweet Home

Despite being Scottish-born, Iain Glen resides in the south London district of Dulwich. We at Factinate do not take any responsibility, however, for anyone bothering him, and we harshly judge anyone who’d be so thoughtless.

7. Certainly Beats Riding a Horse!

Aside from his film and television acting, Glen has also loaned his voice out to advertisements. Specifically, he provided narration in an ad for the Vauxhall Mokka in 2015.

8. Good Old College Years

Iain Glen began his post-secondary education at the University of Aberdeen, which you can find in three guesses where.

9. Man for the Stage

Glen has had a very diverse and accomplished theatre career alongside his exploits in the world of film and television. He’s appeared in countless plays, including Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, and at least four adaptations of plays by William Shakespeare (because of course he did!).

10. Well Done!

Speaking of Glen acting in The Crucible, it was that performance in the winter of 2007 that earned him a nomination for a Laurence Olivier Award. It wasn’t his first nomination either. In the 1990s, Glen was nominated for two other Laurence Olivier awards for his performances in Martin Guerre and The Blue Room.

11. Was That a Paid Internship, Then?

In 1990, Glen landed the role of Hamlet in a Tom Stoppard film. Of course, it wasn’t a traditional adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play, but rather the comedy film Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Never fear, however, because Glen went on to play Hamlet again on stage in the real deal just a year after the film came out.

Iain Glen FactsRosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990), Cinecom

12. Married with Children

From 1993 until 2004, Iain Glen was married to actress Susannah Harker. Since 2005 and to the present day (as of publication), he’s been in a relationship with actress Charlotte Emerson. From these unions, Glen’s had three children thus far.

13. The Warrior King

You might be surprised to know that Glen had a cameo appearance in Ridley Scott’s big-budget Crusader film Kingdom of Heaven, in a pretty notable (if small) role. He appears in the epilogue of the film as King Richard the Lionheart. Given Richard’s role in the Crusades, it’s a pity that Glen never got to star in a sequel.

14. With Honors

Among Glen’s credentials is the fact that he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. It was during these studies that he won the Bancroft Gold Medal.

15. Crossover, Anyone?

British readers will probably be aware of the historical crime series known as Ripper Street. The series is set in London, specifically Whitechapel, during the aftermath of Jack the Ripper’s rampage. Iain Glen is one of a whopping 11 Game of Thrones actors to appear in Ripper Street. We’re suddenly curious if anyone is going to watch Ripper Street just to see who the other ten are!

16. Art and Reality Blended

Recently, Glen appeared in a two-part miniseries titled Mrs. Wilson. The mini-series follows a woman who discovers that her husband has spent years lying to her about what he does and who he is. What made the experience especially trippy for Glen was that it was based on a true story, and his co-lead was none other than Ruth Wilson, the granddaughter of the man that Glen was playing!

17. Cautiously Curious

In 2014, while he was in the grips of working on Game of Thrones, a reporter asked Glen whether he would attend a wedding in Westeros. Despite the obvious reference to how often weddings turn into disasters within the series, Glen admitted that he’d be too curious to witness a major event to stay away from a Game of Thrones wedding. He did clarify, though, that he would make sure to hide in the shadows with his sword in hand.

18. Suitable Name

While we’re talking about Iain Glen and his sword, another reporter asked him what he would call that metaphorical sword. Presumably without any hesitation, Glen responded, “Daenerys.” To be honest, we were betting on “Khaleesi,” but oh well.

19. What a Man!

It turns out that it isn’t just fans of Glen’s who find themselves swept off their feet by his charm and charisma. None other than Nicole Kidman found herself tongue-tied when the two worked together on the stage production The Blue Room. In 2002, she admitted that she could barely speak to him out of shyness. Glen must have been rather baffled that one of the most famous actresses in the world was so taken by him!

20. Do We Know Each Other?

Iain Glen has been in two major productions with British-Australian actor Noah Tyler. The first was the 2001 film Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, while the second was Game of Thrones (Glen played Jorah Mormont while Tyler played Locke, the man who cuts Jaime Lannister’s hand off). Interestingly, the two men shared no screen time in either one of those productions.

21. Titan

Glen made headlines by getting a huge role in the second season of Titans, a live-action, gritty adaptation of the DC Comics series Teen Titans. Glen plays none other than Bruce Wayne, AKA Batman, who’s already appeared from behind and in shadows during the first season without ever showing his face. We can only assume that he’ll be getting a massively updated role in the show from here on out.

22. Great Job, Gramps!

After Christian Bale, Glen is the second non-American to portray Batman in a major film. Also, with his casting in Titans at the age of 58, Glen is now the oldest man to portray Batman on screen. Eat your heart out, Robert Pattinson!

23. This is Getting Meta

What’s especially funny about Iain Glen appearing in Titans is the fact that the show acknowledges the existence of Game of Thrones! In the first season, a character actually watches the hit HBO show. We doubt we’ll get a scene where someone points out how similar Bruce Wayne and Jorah Mormont look, but we can definitely hope!

24. I’m Cool With it

While many people expressed their disappointment with how Game of Thrones’ eighth season concluded, Glen himself has expressed no disappointment with how his character meets his end. On the contrary, he felt that Jorah’s characterization was well done, and it was fitting that he dies protecting the woman he’s done so much for over the long seasons of the show.

25. Grim Subject Matter

In 2009, Glen co-starred in a BBC-produced miniseries about the life of Anne Frank and her family’s tragically unsuccessful attempt to hide from Nazi persecution. Glen portrayed Otto Frank, who later became essential to having his daughter’s diary published.

26. Do We Have Any Screen Time Together?

Speaking of The Diary of Anne Frank, Iain Glen and Ellie Kendrick, who plays his on-screen daughter in the miniseries, both later acted on Game of Thrones as Jorah Mormont and Meera Reed, respectively.

27. Take Your Family to Work Week

According to Glen, his favorite memory of working on Game of Thrones was when he was filming the Fighting Pits sequence during the fifth season. What made it stand out wasn’t what happened in front of the camera, however, but what happened behind it. Glen’s family attended, staying with him as he worked. On one special occasion, one of Glen’s children got a mini-Jorah costume and was allowed to sit with the director while Glen was filming his scenes. We can only hope that they only added the fake blood after the kids were off the set!

28. Iain the Lyricist

As well as acting, Glen has contributed to the soundtracks of two of the films he’s worked on. He wrote a song for the film Silent Scream (though he went uncredited) and later wrote two more songs for the film Paranoid.

29. Not Exactly High Art

In 2007, Glen co-starred in the film Resident Evil: Extinction. His character, Dr. Isaacs, is based on the character William Birkin from the video game series upon which the film adaptations were based.

30. What a Coincidence!

Speaking of Resident Evil: Extinction, Glen’s character in the series shares a somewhat parallel fate to his most famous character. Dr. Isaacs is infected with a virus from a super-zombie (roll with it) and he mutates into a monstrous figure known as the “Tyrant.” In Game of Thrones, Glen’s Jorah Mormont is also infected by a virus from one of the zombie-like “stone men” in old Valyria. He too begins to mutate into a monstrous stone man himself, although he is ultimately cured by Samwell Tarly.

31. Stone Men, Indeed!

We’d be remiss not to point out a third production where Glen has to deal with mutations, though this one doesn’t involve him transforming. In the Doctor Who episode “Flesh and Stone,” Glen’s character must witness the soldiers around him turning into monsters called Weeping Angels. The Angels’ disguise is to appear like they’re statues when people look at them. So while Glen’s character became a metaphorical “stone man” in Game of Thrones, the term is much more appropriate in Doctor Who.

32. Acclaimed Actor

Arguably the most prestigious award that Glen has won thus far in his career is for his unhinged performance in the 1990 crime film Silent Scream. Glen portrays a man with a deeply troubled background who is eventually convicted and imprisoned for murder. The film played at the Berlin Film Festival and earned Glen a Silver Berlin Bear for his troubles.

33. Is That You?!

According to Glen himself, he often finds himself recognized by Game of Thrones fans when he’s out of the house, even when he’s traveling abroad. Among the diverse reactions from fans, Glen noted that he is sometimes grabbed and kissed before he can even react. Just a reminder to anyone who became entranced by the romance of this lovelorn knight’s life, remember that the actor isn’t the character in real life!

34. The Power of Pedals

Luckily, Glen’s found a solution to this kind of invasive fan devotion. Always a fan of bicycling, Glen pointed out in an interview that people never associated actors with bike riding. Therefore, he finds a bizarre form of anonymity by riding his bicycle through town. And of course, if someone does recognize him, they’re hardly going to run after someone riding a bike!

35. Slow Burn

Beginning in 2010, Glen has starred in the TV3 Ireland series Jack Taylor. The series features Glen in the titular role as an ex-cop who now works as a private investigator. The second season came in 2013, with the third coming out in 2016. Since the fourth season hasn’t come out yet, we can assume that they’re taking their time for once!

36. The Cause

Regarding Jack Taylor, Glen has expressed his motivation for taking on the mantle of the private investigator. A long-time fan of the detective film Chinatown, Glen stated that he’d always wanted to play a private eye in the vein of Jack Nicholson’s Jake Gittes.

37. Read Us a Bedtime Story!

Aside from his work on Game of Thrones as Jorah Mormont, Glen has also lent his voice to audiobooks of George R.R. Martin’s work. He has narrated Martin’s Dying of the Light, The Princess and the Queen, and The Rogue Prince. We here at Factinate have done our due diligence and listened to the latter two audiobooks, and we can confirm that Glen should make narrating audiobooks his second career!

38. Branching Out

Glen has lent his voice to more authors than just George R.R. Martin. If you want to hear him read Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Chronicles or Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun, you can find them online!

39. Last Words

As you’re all probably aware (spoilers ahead), Glen’s character Jorah Mormont dies during the eighth season of Game of Thrones. At the character’s funeral, we see Daenerys tearfully whispering something to the dead man, but we don’t hear what she says. To make it even more fascinating, Emilia Clarke didn’t have a microphone for the scene, so nobody but Iain Glen knows what she actually said. Glen confirmed that she said something “entirely sincere and true to the moment.” However, that’s all the hints he’ll give us, as he plans on keeping it a close secret between himself and Clarke. To be honest, we’re content with that.

40. Disaster

Before Glen could film his big death scene in Game of Thrones, the production suffered a number of troubles due to weather and concerns over the pyrotechnics used for the Battle at Winterfell. Things went from bad to worse when Glen found out that his wife, Charlotte Emerson, had suffered a brain hemorrhage as she herself was in dress rehearsal for a play.

41. First Responders

When Glen found out about his wife’s brain hemorrhage, he was in the middle of rehearsals as well, surrounded by such people as his co-star Emilia Clarke. According to Glen, cast and crew alike all provided support, even as he himself had an emotional breakdown over the terrible news. It must have been particularly haunting for Clarke, given her own struggles with brain hemorrhages during the early seasons of the show.

42. All’s Well That Ends Well

To end this article on a positive note, Glen was able to get back as soon as he could to be with his wife in the hospital. After her recovery, the couple went back to Belfast together so Glen could shoot the remainder of his scenes. Since it all turned out okay, we won’t feel too bad about pointing out the irony of the couple having to go back to film Glen’s deeply emotional death scene after their real brush with death was averted!

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29


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