How I became a Rory McCann fan

My daughter’s dad, Ex-House Male, and I were in a sort of platonic co-parenting housemates situation from ’09 to ’21. I’ve known him since ’02. Over the years we developed our little quirks. One of those quirks was that he liked to sort of take over the TV and pick whatever he wanted to watch and hardly ever asked me what I wanted to see. If we’d had normal cable TV, he would have been a channel-surfer. I must count my blessings: it was weird YouTube videos instead of football and beer ads.

Anyway. My typical coping mechanism when he did this was to half ignore anything he had on TV. It prevented a lot of arguments. Not enough, obviously, or I’d probably still be living there, but life at least was that much less hellish while it lasted.

At the same time, my coping mechanism kept me from fully appreciating Rory McCann when I first saw him on-screen. It is probably just as well, because my first sighting of him on-screen was in Hot Fuzz, and I have yet to run across the Rory fan who thinks Michael “Lurch” Armstrong is a sex symbol. I certainly didn’t. He was funny, that was it.

My next sighting came when Michelle Gomez appeared on Doctor Who as a female regeneration of The Master…

[If I am spoiling Doctor Who for you, those episodes have been out for years now and it’s your own damn fault. Go live your life like… an interesting adult or whatever and let me get back to my geekery. Thanks. Pbbt.]

…and we thought she was brilliant, so looked her up on IMDB. At that point The Book Group was still on Hulu, so Ex-House Male queued it up. I guess we probably got through the first season (series in the UK), and then he lost interest. I noticed Rory then, but hadn’t paid enough attention to really appreciate him, and moved on with my life.

Then one day I got it into my head to read the A Song of Ice and Fire book series. I had resisted this for years. From 1996 or 1997 I had been a member of the Neopagan organization Church of All Worlds (CAW), of which a certain writer’s girlfriend Parris McBride was a longtime member. We were even on one of their email lists together. I doubt she remembers me; she only popped in to say anything once in a while, often to tell one of her fantastic Old Hippie stories, and occasionally she would mention these books her boyfriend George was working on. I have this weird aversion to reading creative things that people I personally know have written; I have no idea why. I didn’t technically know George, but being even distantly acquainted with his girlfriend felt too much like “knowing” him, so my weird aversion kicked in. And then I got caught up in interpersonal shit within the organization, mostly to do with failed relationships, and left in 2003. Much to my sorrow, because I have a feeling I’d have had a front-row seat to what went on with George and Parris later, and possibly Rory by extension. But never mind.

Fast-forward to 2017 when the last episode of season 7, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” aired on Game of Thrones. By then I was getting into the books finally. I had had one false start where I kept running into accounts of grown men having sex with thirteen-year-old girls and wasn’t really digging it, but for whatever reason I finally tried again to see what all the fuss was about. And for whatever reason, this time I was in a more accommodating mindset.

I got hooked.

So once I had gone through the series at least once (and that takes me about four months, I think), around the time that episode came out on GOT, I finally said, “Aw, fuck it, I’ll watch the show too,” which I had not intended to do until I read the books first, and of course I hadn’t read the books until that year. So I watched. And then I did my usual “oh hey, that actor looks familiar, who is that?” and wound up IMDBing the entire major cast.

I don’t recall exactly what it was about Rory that caught me first. I know that gradually he sort of percolated into my consciousness. The Wikipedia article about him was sparse but not boring. Some interview I ran across mentioned how he was going to go stay in a cabin that you had to row across a lake to get to, and he said, “It’s not got electricity or anything,” and that REALLY caught my eye for some reason. He sounded like a big kid anticipating Christmas morning. Who was this guy?

And then one day, this was going around the internet, thanks to Tormund actor Kris Hivju:

“Oh, wow!” says I, “he SINGS?!!?!? What an amazing voice!” So I went off looking to see if I could find any more videos of Rory singing. Then I found this.

“But that can’t be Rory,” I thought. “He’s lip-synching. Got to be.” So I went off and tried to find other videos of him singing. Instead, I ran into a bunch of YouTube videos where someone had spliced together all of Rory’s scenes as Kenny McLeod from The Book Group and uploaded them by episode. I hadn’t watched much of TBG the last time around, and hadn’t paid attention either. So I got sucked down that rabbit hole.

It didn’t take long. First episode. This scene.

Aaand my ovaries basically exploded.

I was pretty much a lost cause from then on. I know I had already been collecting pics of him for at least four or five months before I started in on this site. At least.

Ironically, my favorite character of his is Kenny. The one I didn’t really think much about the first time I saw him!

I don’t know how to lay out what I like about Rory McCann without coming off as a complete teenager, and those days are three decades gone. I think I will just go on liking him, and let other fans like him for their own reasons, and let that be that. Less awkward for everyone.

P.S. He wasn’t lip-synching in that karaoke video. If you pay attention, you’ll hear him singing here too. Orange/yellow/purple shaggy suit, orange wig. A bit later in the video, starting with “Should I Stay Or Should I Go.” He’s also dueting on “When Love Comes To Town” and then soloing on “Johnny B. Goode”.


I could listen to him read from the phone book for hours. Hours.


[Last updated: 12 February 2021]

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