05/18/2012 at 01:00 PM EDT
HBO's Game of Thrones
features a roster of down and dirty men – guys like mud-soaked Jaime Lannister – but they clean up rather nicely.
The latest issue of VMAN
magazine features the actor who plays Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, looking more like Prince Charming.
Whether his King-slaying character is dirtied and beaten-down or scrubbed up for the palace, playing him is a joy, the actor says.
"Working on Game of Thrones
isn't difficult – it's challenging, which is great," he tells VMAN
. "When you do a show where the writing is weak, it's difficult. But on Game of Thrones
we have such brilliant writing. The challenge here is to not f––– it up."
Though the members of the Lannister family are far from fan favorites because of their often ruthless and power-hungry actions, Coster-Waldau, 41, admits there are parts to his character with which he can identify.
"I relate to being ready to go to extremes to protect my children," says the father of two. "And I think Jaime – for all his arrogance and sarcasm – is a man of strong morals. You just have to do a bit of digging to find them."
But while Jaime's true nature remains in question, the opposite is true for costar Alfie Allen's character, Stark friend-turned-foe Theon Greyjoy. And as a result, the actor – who is the brother of singer Lily Allen – remains evasive about his own similarities to the wannabe-lord.
"I'm not saying!" says Allen, 25, when asked how he relates to Theon, though he does reveal which other character on the show he'd like to portray.
"I would like to play King Robert," he says, "as he seemed to have a lot of fun, then died."
For more photos of the King's men, check out VMan.com