'GOT's' Alfie Allen sees 'Harlot's' TV-return as a natural progression from Theon Greyjoy

Alfie Allen (Photo: Getty)
Alfie Allen (Photo: Getty)

Cape Town - After Theon Greyjoy's heroic death in the Battle of Winterfell on Game of Thrones, Alfie Allen makes his triumphant return to TV on the period-drama, Harlots.

Created by Alison Newman and Moira Buffini, this hidden gem on Showmax is predominantly female-led, as well as written and directed entirely by a female crew. 


Harlots is set against the backdrop of 18th century Georgian London and follows the ins and outs of rival brothels, which make their livelihood in a world that caters to men.

In season three (now streaming on Showmax), Charlotte (Jessica Brown-Findlay), who works as the bawd of the Greek Street brothel, learns that running a lucrative brothel brings enemies as well as friends - including new pimp in town, Isaac Pincher (Alfie Allen).

I talk to Alfie from my office in Cape Town, where unlike his character Iosef Tarasov, who ordered the death of John Wick's dog, the English actor is snuggled up close to his French Bulldog, Ata.

Before signing on to Harlot's, Alfie says he had watched several episodes and was very conscious of the fact that the Hulu drama was helmed almost exclusively by women.

About joining the female-led team, he says: "It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful and I wouldn't say that it felt different from any other project that I've worked on."

What he loves about Harlots is the "great writing," saying: "It is extremely entertaining, and even though it is a fantastic drama, there are great comedic performances." 

"Harlots celebrate the empowerment of women and speaks of a world which is usually run by men. Even though the story takes place in the 18th century, the themes are still relevant today," he adds. 

Back in London after fighting in the Seven Years War, Alfie's character Isaac wants to take over London. He, and his brother Hal lease a tavern, the Saracen's Head, which serves as a front for their ever-growing pimping business.

"Isaac is a complex character, and there are dark things within him," says Alfie. 

Isaac is driven by his ambitions to achieve wealth and power, and this is also reflected in the elaborate costumes and hair.

"He is trying to appear gentry. I asked the costume department if they could make it seems like he is fancier than what he is. This is achieved through the elaborate waistcoasts," he says. 

Although Alfie didn't have much knowledge about being a pimp, he says that a big part of the job description entails running a business, and that is what he embraced.

A big challenge when portraying the character was bringing out Isaac's human side, especially when taking into consideration that his dealings are rather unsavoury at times.

But what he admires about Isaac is his spontaneity and romantic side. "Perhaps if you caught us both on a good day, we would be friends," he laughs. 

According to Alfie, Isaac feels like a natural progression after saying goodbye to Theon.

"Harlots worked at a different pace, tempo. I worked with different people, and it was a different environment. It felt like it flowed naturally," he says, adding: "I enjoyed the challenge, and to play a thought-provoking role."

Theon and Isaac share several similarities: both go down for crimes they didn't commit, have complicated relationships with their siblings, and struggle to find their place in the world.

But nothing will prepare you for the most glaring similarity of all...