Game of Thrones Star Jerome Flynn: Real-Life Animal Rights Warrior
Jerome Flynn is about as similar to his mercenary Game of Thrones character, Bronn, as a dragonfly is to a dragon, but he’s definitely a real-life swashbuckler for animals. He has starred in PETA videos urging fans not to support the exploitation of farmed animals or to buy direwolf-like huskies. A vegetarian (now vegan) for nearly 40 years, he reflects here on the far-reaching effects of a compassionate lifestyle.
PETA UK: If an animal were to win the Game of Thrones, who would it be?
Jerome Flynn: For me, lions are like the true royal family of the animal kingdom, humans included. How sickly ironic that we are now farming, enslaving, and slaughtering them, for petting, hunting trophies, and aphrodisiac potions. The King of the Jungle has become a resource for us: There are more farmed lions in Africa than wild. But I sense we are beginning to see that the so-called profit at the heart of our cruel and ruthless exploitation of all living things is, in truth, just a tragic loss for us all.
PETA UK: What turned you vegan?
Jerome Flynn: I had a crush on someone at college who happened to be a vegan. She kinda growled at me if I sat next to her with a sausage. I started to ask questions, and she brought in educational leaflets – some I think were from PETA – and that was all I needed.
Jerome Flynn: My mum rescued the injured and orphaned: fox cubs, kestrels, a stoat, or a donkey. Cats, too. We lived in the beautiful Kentish countryside and took in fox cubs whose parents had been killed by farmers. We once took in four fox cubs from one family and, after a year or so, slowly introduced them back to the wild. At first, they would disappear for days and then turn up for some food. To this day, when I visit my mum, I walk those woods and fields and sometimes glimpse or smell a fox and consider the likelihood of them being great-grandchildren of our beloved clan. My animal friends were not only a source of delight and playful companionship, they taught me about love and letting go and they helped me understand my connection to and place in nature. After way too long living in London, I’ve returned to the country and live with two cats I found as tiny kittens abandoned in an Irish graveyard. Their companionship and presence is as precious and valuable to me now as it was when I was a kid. And I am lucky enough to have wild creature companions on my coastal doorstep: sea birds, peregrines and buzzards, the occasional porpoise or dolphin, and seals. Encounters with wild animals are precious gifts.
PETA UK: There are other vegans in the Game of Thrones cast, including Nathalie Emmanuel and Peter Dinklage. What was the vegan food like on set?
Jerome Flynn: Nathalie and I have spoken quite a bit about being vegan and swapped notes on favourite restaurants. The food on set started off pretty dodgy for everyone but definitely improved as the show went on. Plant milk is now pretty much accepted as cool to have around, which is something that’s definitely changed since GoT started 10 years ago.
PETA UK: Why do you think we don’t yet live in a vegan world?
Jerome Flynn: The corrupt and dysfunctional system our leaders are embroiled in means that very few with authority will call out our fishing and farming industries as the main culprits for pollution and climate change – in fact, they are still subsidising them. We surely have to be encouraging and subsidising locally owned, organic, cruelty-free, plant-based farming – the science is overwhelming.
PETA UK: Do you have a favourite saying or something that motivates you?
Jerome Flynn: Jerome Flynn: I like “We are the ones we have been waiting for.” Also, “I love you. Please forgive me. I’m sorry. Thank you,” is a powerful, ancient Hawaiian healing tool called “Ho’oponopono” that can be used for any situation of inner and outer conflict, anything that feels like it needs fixing or healing. It’s based on taking responsibility for everything that we have drawn into our lives, from a domestic squabble to animal cruelty. It’s great to do at night if you’re troubled or just can’t sleep.
Jerome Flynn has also joined the advisory board of a vegan lifestyle project that has launched its own crypto token: Vegan Nation.