Winter is here! And it’s been an agonisingly long wait for fans.
To the die-hards who woke up at 3am to catch the kick-off episode of the eighth and final season of the critically-acclaimed medieval fantasy, Game of Thrones, I hope it lived up to your expectations. Some of us will be catching it later, so no spoilers on social media, please. In the meantime, the cast shares their thoughts.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) said: “The last time we saw him, he left King’s Landing to go north because he wanted to be part of the fight against the undead threat.”
At the time, his relationship with Cersei hit rock bottom. Well, almost.
“She was threatening to kill him. I’ve been in situations like that in relationships. It’s never good to pull that card.”
Jerome Flynn (Bronn), asked: “He goes off and he doesn’t say a word? No mention to his old friend, not even a message?”
Coster-Waldau responded: “Again, let me clarify. Someone called The Mountain was about to chop off my head. I didn’t really have much time to make calls.”
And the banter continued.
Flynn expanded on his character:
“It means Bronn is going to suddenly be like ‘what the?’ and he’s got an interesting choice to make because his employer of the last few years has disappeared on some quest. He has left King’s Landing. Will he go after Jaime? How much loyalty does he have?”
As for the agonising wait for fans, Coster-Waldau said it had to do with the scale of what they did.
“It was unprecedented for television and even for most movies, the number of people involved and characters involved. We’ve shot this whole series where we’ve had all these characters in different parts of this world Westeros. Just shooting scenes with that many people takes time.”
His co-star added: “Part of the wait, initially, was filming later because winter has come: they wanted less clement weather rather than having to use lots of CGI.”
As much as it took its toll on the actors, it was harder on the crew.
“It was tough but it was tougher for the crew than for us actors,” Coster-Waldau said. “We would have three really hard days, then a couple of days off, then we’ll go again. At one point the crew had 50-plus nights in one go and they were still smiling. It was a crazy final season. But because everyone in front or behind the camera loved working on the show, everyone was determined to finish it the right way.”
Since his character’s right hand was chopped off by Locke, Coster-Waldau had to learn to battle with his left hand.
“I’m better with my left hand and I’m better on a horse, too It’s about keeping your focus for those few beats you have, understanding the technical aspect of doing action pieces. You know that if you have to go again, it’s going to be at least another hour before you could do take number two.”
Flynn said: “Having all that stuff to do is like a boy’s dream.”
How much secrecy has there been around the final season? “A lot,” Coster-Waldau said.
“In the past when you needed to remember what happened, you could go back and find the scripts. The script has vanished. I’m not good at keeping secrets but, with this show, it’s been easy because you know you can’t say anything about storylines.”
* Where to watch Game of Thrones S8
Stream new episodes of Game of Thrones on Showmax every Monday at 22.00 or watch it live on M-Net and DStv Now at 03.00 from 15 April.
Binge-watch all previous seasons of Game of Thrones on Showmax. Sign up for a 14-day free trial at Showmax.com