Remembrance Day and my silly fan theory

This post really would be better off on a different site that I have yet to get going [kicks self], but this is tangentially related to Rory and his career and it’ll at least get eyeballs on it, so why not.

Let me preface this with an assurance that I am not making light of the sacrifice of our war dead. It just so happens that one of the holidays set aside to commemorate them was what prompted this post. It is coincidence, nothing more. If we had some other holiday that called for turning everything red, I’d have gone with that instead.

(I say “we” as in the West, and particularly the Anglophone countries, though of course Remembrance Day specifically is a UK/Commonwealth day. Our Memorial Day in the United States falls in May. Our Veterans Day coincides with Remembrance Day.)


Since 2019, when I really got hooked on Rory, I’ve gone and studied up about Scotland because I kept hearing references to placenames in his interviews and got really curious. One of my early boyfriends had Scottish ancestry*, but I never got into it then; Americans having the ancestry is of course nothing like current citizens living the culture, anyway. All I knew was Scots wore kilts and made claymore swords. Ex-Boyfriend’s family owned one, in fact. But I didn’t find any of that particularly compelling. I did find Rory talking about it compelling, so undertook a sort of self-education on the subject.

Well, as I went along I started recognizing words and names from, of all things, George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series. You will remember, I hope, that this is the source material for the TV show Game of Thrones, which of course really launched Rory McCann’s acting career in a way that even The Book Group hadn’t quite accomplished (newcomer BAFTA notwithstanding). But seriously, even the map of Westeros makes me think of Scotland or else Great Britain (the island) as a whole. It doesn’t wholly map to either, but if islands could be genetically related to one another, they’d be kin. The name Westeros derives from Wester Ross**, a region in Scotland. The Great Shepherd, the god of the Lamb Men, is a translation of Buachaille Etive Mòr***, the Great Shepherd of Etive, a famous mountain in Glen Coe. The northmen’s habit of referring to clan leaders as “the,” just as they referred to Eddard as The Stark, was lifted straight from the Scots habit of referring to clan leaders or kings as “the” Campbell or “the” Bruce, etc. Speaking of the Bruce, I find it well past coincidental that the Baratheon who ended nearly 300 years of Targaryen rule in Westeros was named Robert. Little things like that. The more you learn about Scottish culture and history, the more you see it. When you learn that Martin spent some time living in Scotland, you really can’t unsee it.

Accordingly, when I started seeing photos of Edinburgh Castle and made note of its large drum tower and the way it just seems to kind of hunker down over its high hill, I wondered whether it was the inspiration for the Red Keep in King’s Landing.

Now that it’s being lit up red, I dunno. You tell me.

Edinburgh Castle on Remembrance Day

You don’t really see this in the show, but in the books the Red Keep is so named because it’s made of red stone.

I’d love to pick Martin’s brain and see if I’m right, but of course even if I could I wouldn’t because that man is too distracted already. But perhaps at some point I’ll stumble across an interview or three that confirm my theory. I’ll be stunned if I’m not right.

*No, I don’t have a type. When you live in the South, basically, throw a rock and you’ll hit a Scots-Irish person. They’re everywhere there. Appalachia too.

**Pay attention to how Sandor Clegane says “Westeros” in the TV series. Rory, as a Scot, knew about Wester Ross long before he ever heard of Westeros, and old habits die hard.

***If you want to know how to pronounce this, watch the first episode of The Book Group and listen to Kenny talk about his trip to Glen Coe with his brothers.

Rank speculation: Annie Griffin

I haven’t been able to travel as much as I’d like over my lifetime, but never fear. My mind does plenty of wandering around for me. So it should be no surprise that when there are too many gaps in my knowledge about an interesting topic (or person), Wandering Brain will go to interesting places trying to fill in those gaps.

As such, Wandering Brain has gone a few interesting places about writer/director/actress Annie Griffin.

If you are now asking “…Who?”, get off my site, ya fuckin’ poser. How do you even fangirl(/boy) about Rory McCann and you’ve never heard of Annie Griffin?

I’m half kidding. You can stay. Like I could stop you. ANYWAY. Point is, I am calling this piece “rank speculation” for a reason. Please take absolutely none of this as personal expertise nor as divine writ from On High. Thanks.

First up, if you have heard of Annie, you’ve heard the story about how she wrote and directed The Book Group, Rory’s breakout work, and that she got the idea for his character after hearing about his accident in Yorkshire. But there are details you may have missed depending on which version of the story you heard:

1. Annie used to go climbing with Rory, and it sounds like he used to tell her all sorts of stories about his life, including but not just his climbing accident. He as much as admits to this and seems to heavily imply that other aspects of his life turned up in the Kenny McLeod character. I’ve heard rumors that, as with Kenny, Rory’s dad really did die of cancer. There is also a certain level of authenticity with Kenny’s relationship mishaps that makes me think Rory and Annie were friends and that she would sometimes serve as a sounding board for Rory’s dating woes. Rory has gone on record saying he is uncomfortable with loud women and implied heavily that he doesn’t do well with weird relationship drama, just to add weight to this notion. I can just SEE it, y’all. That Annie is about nine years older than Rory makes the idea of her being his relationship mentor even more credible.

2. The news stories talking about the origins of TBG never mention (as far as I’ve seen) that this was not Rory’s first role in one of Annie’s works. That honor goes to a character named Angus in a 1999 UK miniseries called Coming Soon* who appears for maybe fifteen seconds, at most, at the end of the final episode. It is just the sort of role one might ask a buddy to fill in. Hypothetically.

3. So it’s not difficult to figure out how Rory knew Annie to take her climbing and tell her his life story. They had history!


My personal hypothesis on how Rory and Annie met is that it was during the one acting seminar he took in Glasgow which apparently comprised the sum total of Rory McCann’s formal acting training. It was just the sort of class she’d have taken… and we know she spent some significant amount of time in Glasgow. I’ll be surprised if I’m wrong.

There’s one more thing I wonder about, too: Did Rory and Annie also date?

I know she’s nine years older than he is, but that doesn’t seem to stop some couples. I have two female former high-school classmates, for instance, who each married a man ten years younger. It’s not really my cuppa, but if no minors are involved (they weren’t) then have fun, y’all.

The other element that has me wondering about this is something you’d probably never pick up on if you hadn’t seen Coming Soon; seeing it occur only in TBG would seem more like a random fluke. To wit, Annie seemed inordinately fond of describing Rory’s characters as well-endowed, or mentioning that particular body part at all. That coupled with her generally affectionate portrayals of Kenny and Angus and the goings-ons in their lives really got my gossip radar pinging.

It wouldn’t have had to have been a serious relationship. Could have just been a sexual friendship. (I’ve done those too.) Either way, she seemed WAY too familiar with him for their relationship to have been strictly casual or professional.

It’s not a big deal by now and I’m aware that I’ll probably never find out if I’m right. But it’s funny to realize that this is at least a strong possibility. Chalk it up to yet another potentially fascinating tale about Rory’s life, like his life wouldn’t be a great story in the first place. I mean, haven’t we seen that demonstrated already?

(Thanks so much, Annie! We appreciate you. Mwah.)

*Not to be confused with a U.S. film of the same name that came out the same year. Be careful searching for the UK one: it was never released on DVD, to my knowledge.

Administrivia: 03 July 2021

Oh wow, this turned out way better than I had any right to expect. This is hilarious. The theme is called Twenty Seventeen, and it is one of the “default” themes that comes with a WordPress install. I’ve been glancing at it and playing around with it a bit off and on for years, but never thought much of it. What do you know. Holy shit.

My ONE complaint insofar as the photo rotation is that it doesn’t work as well on my phone, and I am on an Android system using Chrome. You may find you have a similar experience. To wit, I can’t just reload the page and presto there’s another picture. Typically I have to have gone to other areas of the website first, then when I come back to the home page it’s a different picture.

But this is not a dealbreaker. I can live with it.

The one other issue with the photos is that I’ve got at least one where Rory is not centered in the picture, so if you’re on your phone you’re seeing a whole lot of nothing, just the background and whoever else is in the image. Sorry about that. But like I said, this thing works best on a real computer. I’ll try to be more mindful moving forward as I upload more.

In other news, I had an epiphany last night and I thought I’d share. It’s rather unlikely, but not impossible.

Some of you may have thought of this already. If so, my apologies. The way my brain works, I get a lot wrong immediately when I’m trying to figure out a situation but if I let the data percolate for a while in the ol’ gray matter, I start making interesting connections, figure out the situation more fully, or both. I wouldn’t say I’m slow, but… I’m slow. I get there eventually though.

So you’ve probably all seen the thing about Rory’s boats. Enough of you have seen the thing about Rory’s boats that when people google “Rory McCann boat” it comes up first after the image thumbnails in the search results. Finding that out was great fun. Anyway, I was going back over some pages last night to see how they looked in the new layout and I looked at that page too, and then I thought some more. Hm… Two boats that look very much alike… Apparently muddled sales-ad information… Two boats that look very much alike…


…Oh. Right.

Hm. So I wonder if Rory really does own Wooden Boat. Stay with me, right? And his marina friend maybe owns a different Wooden Boat that is by the same manufacturer and in the same class. So basically Twinsie Boats, right? But the one Rory owns is not the one Marina Friend was selling. Maybe they still mixed up some pictures, but the one we all thought Rory owned (those of us who know the boat name and, again, if you don’t know, don’t ask me) was the one Marina Friend owned, and Rory owns the other one?

Put another way: Let’s say the boat Rory owned was named A, but we thought it was named B. Marina Friend actually owns B. Some exterior photos of A wound up in the sales ad because they were the only nice ones Marina Friend could get a hold of, but the interior photos were of B. And B is the boat Marina Friend was selling.

[edit: I corrected the above paragraph just a little bit because that first sentence made no fucking sense. I trust it’s clearer now. What it is now is what I meant.]

In fact, IN FACT, Rory and Marina Friend could have taken Boat B on that run to Norway just to see how it held up with the understanding that Marina Friend would be selling B at some point, while Boat A stayed home safe and sound. And Rory still has it.

Do you think that could perhaps be it?

…Right. Sorry. I don’t take comments here.

So it’s still entirely possible Rory’s on a boat, and maybe even the boat we’ve all seen him on in photos. And maybe we don’t know what the name of his boat is after all.

Even if we’ve seen him on Wooden Boat with Name B clearly visible at the time, doesn’t mean that was his boat. He could have been on Marina Friend’s boat at the time for some reason.


Anyway. I’m gonna laugh my ass off if it ever comes out I’m right. Meanwhile maybe this will be conversational fodder in fan circles if this hadn’t occurred to any of you. I am not counting on that because, like I said, I’m slow. But JUST IN CASE, y’know, there it is.

This actually occurred to me last night but I stayed up entirely too late for what time I was supposed to get up today and I thought, If I write another blog post it’ll be another hour before I sleep. No bueno. So I wrote a little note to myself and left it next to my chair. I’m pathetic.

Anyway! Enjoy your weekend. More pics forthcoming for header at… some point. Definitely.

Administrivia: 30 June 2021

I saw a sanitized version of this on the internet somewhere and thought, “Nah, no way would he talk like that.”

So I went and dug up the photo and put my own spin on it.

where's ma fuckin kilt

I don’t think I have the patter quite right, but it’s a hell of a lot closer than it was.

Also, I have a veterinary tech on my Facebook friends list and she commented something like, “Silly dog, you’re German.” So this is possibly (probably) not a Scottie, but I think he’s close enough for government work.

Additional note: It is habitual in Scotland amongst patterers to say “How is there no whisky in my bowl” rather than “Why is there no whisky in my bowl”.

If, y’know, two-legged Scottish types drank whisky out of a bowl. Which, at least while sober or not very pished, they do not.

Speaking of whisky, I’m almost done with the Highland Park but putting off finishing it. I don’t think I’m even halfway through the Balvenie yet and I’m deliberately dragging my feet because I could have gotten another bottle this month but other stuff happened first, mostly that my bedsheet set has finally given up the ghost (I somehow wore a hole in the ground sheet, and that’s a neat trick considering all I have ever done with that bedsheet set was sleep in it) and I needed another one. Priorities. Anyway, so far I like the Highland Park better than the Balvenie. I don’t know if you remember me saying there was this weird “gap” in the flavor when I first tried the HP, but that may have been because I was early in the bottle (maybe some of the flavor settled farther down?), or maybe just because I got used to it and no longer noticed it. At any rate I find it really enjoyable now. Don’t get me wrong, the Balvenie is really good too. It’s kind of a little sweeter, or as much as that’s possible when no one added sugar. I’d get it again at some point. I’ll definitely get the HP though. I’ll go back and find one of those beginner lists at some point and figure out what to get for next month.

This not being a whisky blog, some fandom crap now: I had been meaning for some time to find the issue of Rolling Stone that Rory probably appeared in. I think I have zeroed in on it, and someone was selling it on Amazon. If I’m right, that’s now on the way; if not, I spent fifteen bucks for nothing. We’ll see, won’t we? How exciting!

Also, I was on Pinterest the other day and — sorry, Rare Rory Pics — I saw this and got curious.

formal kilt

The reason I was curious is I have seen him in this getup in another photo by a completely other person.

formal kilt again

The account that posted this second pic at Instagram is mark_irvine28. I just went and looked at him and the pic is still there. Here’s the kicker, he’s posted it three times. The oldest instance of it was from early April of 2015. That doesn’t mean that’s when the event happened but it’s likely to be the closest to it. Given the usual fan habit of waiting a day or three before posting that they’ve run into him.

What interests me is that Rory’s completely in formal getup and not only is he wearing a tie, he’s wearing some kind of boutonniere. My brain goes immediately to “wedding,” and in fact to “Rory was part of the wedding party.” Best man? Groom? Who knows. Definitely not just an invitee, they don’t usually dress that formal.

He has the same exact boutonniere in the first photo, so that’s from the same event.

My personal theory based on the scant available evidence is that likely, if this was a wedding, Rory was in the wedding party, but not the groom. Why? His grooming, pardon the pun. The way he hovers between clean-shaven and bearded, and his hair’s kind of in-between too. When he wants to make more of an effort, we’ve all seen that he does. Unless he was about to start filming his comeback episode in Game of Thrones — and I don’t think the timing was quite right for that — but he has a pretty heavy beard so I can’t imagine he needed that much time to grow it out for work. Clearly he hadn’t started filming yet, for sure, because he hasn’t got that weird shaved bit on his right side in these photos.

But anyway, if I were a comic strip character I’d be going around with one of those thought bubbles full of question marks about this. I am intrigued. What was going on here, and what was Rory doing? Maybe one day we’ll find out. Who knows.

Administrivia: 19 May 2021

Just goes to show how closely I pay attention to shit. I just now saw this from two weeks back, going through Google to see if there was anything new on the big man…

Netflix Just Canceled Its 3rd Show in the Last Week

…and yes, they do mean The Irregulars.

It did not look to me as if they had killed off Rory’s character so, owing to the possibility they could have brought him back again, I’m a mite irritated. I mean, they probably wouldn’t have addressed his character again, given the direction the story took in the first season, but now they definitely won’t.

I have some thoughts about this, but before I get into them let me just say hold your damn horses because this isn’t criticism, more analysis, and I’m totally on Rory’s side here. If you think I’m not, that’s your opinion and you alone are responsible for it, but you are not entitled to your own facts. But this is a big reason I backed off from social media. I wanted to be able to say my piece and not have to deal with crazy over-reactors. So here goes.

At one point, getting small roles far between was a source of major frustration for Rory. We all know this; he came out and said so in the media whenever he could. I’ve got a “paper trail,” if you like, of articles where he does. But he’s since had a big multi-year role in Game of Thrones and, although he previously had had a pattern of spend up all the money he earned from a project and then live close to the bone until the next gig, I have a feeling it would have taken him major, major effort to be broke from GOT by now. He was in the introductory credits every single time he was on that show, and that level of pay would not be small potatoes.

So he’s very likely not desperate for work. So the voice acting roles, the little bits in TV shows, I wonder if these things are all we can expect to see from him in the future and whether he wants it that way.

Those who support the notion that he’s married — and he very well could be, we just haven’t seen solid proof yet, just hearsay — would argue he’d want to work less so as to spend more time with his wife, and that’s completely valid (and I would hope he’d be that sort of husband). Or he may just be burnt out from everything he had to do in GOT and various fan conventions, and from the attention from fans, and from the loss of privacy. Knowing what I know of him, which admittedly is not as much as I’d like, I think either possibility has equal weight. We’re talking about a man who will go off to the wilderness and live in caves and tents to get away from people. Hell, he could be dealing with both situations simultaneously, the being married and the being burnt out. Who knows.

If he does want more work, on the other hand, obviously COVID is an issue, but it wouldn’t be the whole story. The entertainment industry is still managing to crank out content; for instance, The Walking Dead was able to finish its most recent season. There has been weird shit going on in the UK with Brexit affecting how actors living in that country can get work, but I doubt it’s been a complete roadblock; couldn’t have been, or they wouldn’t have been able to make The Irregulars.

So I’m wondering if Rory’s age and lack of training are working against him at all.

Men generally get away more with being older in a field of employment, and acting isn’t much different, but I notice that most of the male actors with longevity already had multiple decades’ worth of work stacked up. The older they get the fewer of them the industry wants to work with. Odd, since the older a man gets, usually the easier he is to work with — they are at their most difficult in the same age range that they are the worst drivers! — but ageism is a thing, and men are only just so insulated from it. Rory looks damn good for his age, mind you. I think I’ve mentioned before that I once dated a guy in his late 20s who looked older in a lot of ways than Rory does now. But Rory hasn’t got a very long filmography, what there is is a bit padded with TV episodes, and the parts he did get were mostly bits and supporting stuff with not as much screen time and as often as not, he’d be killed off. Even in his best-known work he was always near the end of the episode intro billing, and he had to take an entire season off. The highest he has ever been billed that wasn’t his first billing in Jack ‘n’ Jill was The Crew, where I think he was listed third, and probably he’d prefer we stopped thinking about that one. It’s a good film, I think, but not one that would have wide appeal.

He has never been a bad actor, only an untrained one; so far as I know he’s had one acting seminar his entire life, not even theater class in the UK equivalent of high school, which he dropped out of anyway, and certainly nothing theater-ish in forestry school later on. I don’t know if he ever planned to get any more training apart from on the job or what obstacles might have been in his way if he did want that. I imagine being broke for most of his career would have been a major problem. I don’t know how nontraditional schooling works in the UK, anyway. He does have charisma, and I’m convinced that’s what got him the Scotts Porage Oats Man gig; yes he’s gorgeous, but he’s got that certain something. But again, ageism is a thing and anyway, if he prefers being bad guys in his roles now, you have to have the right kind of charisma. The kind that says I am one evil motherfucker instead of I smolder better than Dr. “Smolder” Bravestone. Drop your pants, ladies.

Hollywood, she do like her archetypes, and American viewers in particular hate seeing those mixed up.

I wish I understood why.

(Oh, who am I kidding. I probably understand why, but explaining would probably make me an asshole, and I’m not in the mood just now.)

Whatever the fuck’s going on, I’m not ready to jump to any final conclusions about which way I think this will go. I’d like to see us get all the way out of this pandemic and then see how the chips fall. From there, maybe I can make some better-educated guesses.

Especially with all his talk two Octobers ago about wanting to focus more on his career. So I’m probably worried about nothing.

I have to say I’m still holding out a little hope that Denzil Meyrick gets his way and that his DCI Daley books are translated to the small screen. Because I agree, I think Rory could do very well as Daley, and it’d thrill the hell out of me to see him top-billed in something. More Rory! Yay! But only a little hope. And another Jumanji film is still a strong possibility, certainly stronger than a DCI Daley show. So that’s something to look out for, probably.

Okay. I’m gonna go conk now; it’s just after 3:30am as I’m finishing this up. POSSIBLY more Rory screencaps by the end of this week. No promises.