Game of Thrones actor Raleigh Ritchie aka Jacob Anderson is featured in Square Mile Magazine‘s issue 128.
Raleigh Ritchie? Jacob Anderson? Er, Grey Worm? What am I supposed to call him? This is the question I’m confronted with a dozen times before he even arrives on set. It doesn’t matter that he’s instantly recognisable to the hundreds of millions of people who watch him in the most popular show on television. Nor that he collaborated, and is on first name terms with Stormzy, the crowned prince of British music (real name: Michael).
The problem is that Raleigh Ritchie AKA Jacob Anderson AKA Grey Worm from HBO’s Game of Thrones (GOT) seems to have as many personas as he does careers.
He’s best known to GOT’s 30 million viewers as Daenerys Targaryen’s stoic military commander, Grey Worm. But a not-insignificant six million listeners a year on Spotify may know him by a different name: Raleigh Ritchie. The name is, in his own words, ‘disappointingly shallow’ and stems from his love of two characters in Wes Anderson’s film The Royal Tenenbaums (2001).
But as a musician, his album You’re a Man Now, Boy (2016) earned Jacob (as I shall now call him) widespread critical acclaim and resulted in he and Stormzy featuring on each other’s albums. Stormzy raps on ‘Keep it Simple’, while Jacob offers soulful vocals to ‘Don’t Cry For Me’ on the hit grime album Gang Signs & Prayer (2017).
Jacob came to this realisation on a farm in rural Oxfordshire where he retreated to write his second album. “I wrote a song and I’ve said to my manager he has to force me to share it with people. It’s personal stuff. Stuff about my mental health and my family and friendships and things I haven’t really talked about in any detail before. This time round I have and it is a scary experience.”
“I want to be a person who talks about it with a sense of confidence and knowing exactly what I want to say, because I feel like it can be just as irresponsible for me to spontaneously go into stuff that could be damaging for other people.
Fans might think that this is selling his performance short. As Grey Worm, Jacob has added a personality and warmth to a character that, in less accomplished hands, might very easily have been as drab and lifeless as the name suggests.
“I’m just glad that I get to be in something that I really, really like,” he says. “I enjoy going to work, I like the people I go to work with, and that’s the most important thing.”
Game of Thrones returns with new episodes in 2018.