There’s both distressing and uplifting news out of Westeros today, which is par for the course when we’re talking about the world that George R.R. Martin created.
First, our friend Kim Renfro of Insider posted a red-carpet interview from the Season 8 premiere with Jerome Flynn (Bronn) that left us feeling a little uneasy about our favorite lovable scoundrel retaining the “lovable” part.
“I don’t know, they might not love him as much as they do right now,” Flynn said. “But I hope they still do. He is who he is and what he says, isn’t he? And he’ll do what he needs to get his castle.”
Flynn also dropped a tantalizing bit of information about his experience filming Season 8. While the bulk of the remaining cast has spoken at length about the grueling conditions and pace of the eighth and final season, Flynn seemed to have a surprisingly easy time of it.
“It wasn’t that stressful or strenuous for me,” Flynn said. “Yeah, that’s all I’m saying. I wasn’t that stressed or strained.”
Interesting…does this mean Bronn won’t have a big role in the war to come? Will he walk away from Jaime and/or Tyrion for good — perhaps just when they need him most?
EW posted an interview with another low-key fan favorite, Gendry (Joe Dempsie), who talked with James Hibberd about the Baratheon bastard’s role in Season 8, the intensity of filming the “big battle” (in which he also wields a new weapon, apparently), and his character’s long-awaited reunion with Arya Stark (Maisie Williams).
Gendry will take “an active and fairly predictable role” in preparing for the great war against the Army of the Dead and fighting in the brutal big battle, Dempsie told Hibberd. “It was certainly the most daunting block of shooting that I’ve ever seen,” he says, referring to the 11 weeks of night shoots to film the massive Winterfell attack. “You become nocturnal. Every night there’s a tipping point around 2 a.m. where everybody starts behaving a little bit weird.”
“The stuff we were shooting was incredible to be a part of,” he continued. “Whenever anybody asked over the years, ‘What would you like for Gendry?’ I’ve always sort of said that all I really want was to be there for the end game. So to be swinging a mace around — that’s my weapon this year — it’s in the middle of the night. You’re out there with 200 actors, freezing cold… it’s no acting required. We’re probably never going to see something like this again.”
As for Gendry’s reunion with Arya, who he last saw in season 3, “He’s reunited with Arya again. So a lot for Gendry is those two catching up and reconnecting and finding out what they’ve been doing. I really enjoyed working with Maisie in seasons 1-3 and I even said back then she’s one of the most talented actors I’ve ever worked with — not just young actors, but actors in general. To watch her get even better, not just Thrones but in various other things, I was looking forward to getting back on set with Maisie.”
Dempsie also touched on the fact that after being gone for three seasons — we saw him rowing away from Dragonstone in Season 3 and didn’t see him again until 7 — it made sense that he was sporting a new, super-short haircut, meant to make his black Baratheon hair less obvious. But he divulged that one of the other reasons for the new look was to distinguish him from Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman). Yes, apparently that really happens.
“It made sense to me his black hair was kind of his signifier,” Dempsie said. “He was lying low in the intervening years. And it makes more distinguishable to Pod — which is helpful because we get confused all the time. All the time. There have been numerous occasions where someone will say, ‘You’re in Game of Thrones aren’t you?’ And I’ll be like, ‘Yeah,’ and they’re like, ‘You’re the clumsy dude!’ And I’ll say, ‘No, but he’s great.’ ”
Finally, The Hollywood Reporter posted an interview with composer Ramin Djawadi about several “key musical moments” throughout eight seasons of creating incredible music for Thrones.
“I really get emotionally attached to the pieces I write,” he said. “When I use these themes, it really affects me in the way it’s supposed to affect any viewer watching the show. I guess that’s my personal rule: I need to be affected myself by the music that I write, and then hopefully, it’ll do the same to the viewer.” (I think I speak for all of us when I say that yes, yes we are affected by it.)
Djawadi talked with THR about seven themes in particular, including:
Main title: “The idea was to really capture the overall mood of the show. I didn’t want to be specific to any house and character. I wanted to create a theme or piece of music that says: ‘This is Game of Thrones. The show’s starting, and this is the mood you want to be in.’ The words that were described to me were, ‘Make it a journey. There needs to be some mystery, some adventure. All these characters are traveling or separated, and then they [will] get back together.'”
“A Lannister Always Pays His Debts” (aka “The Rains of Castamere”): “They told me about the Red Wedding, which wasn’t even happening until season three. But they told me about it after season one, because we needed to establish this new theme which we’ll introduce in season two, and by the time we get to season three, it’s a known theme that viewers will identify with the Lannisters — so when you hear it, you will know something is off, and that this melody does not belong at this wedding.”
“Mhysa”: “I actually liked that we didn’t have lyrics that really meant anything. … I’m not always good with words, I’m not always articulate, but I like when instrumental music makes you interpret a feeling without saying words. For me, personally, I just hear these syllables and sounds that match the feeling of what I wrote. There are some little Valyrian notes that I took from the language and modified so it doesn’t mean anything, but it [represents] Daenerys’ army growing, her powers growing, everything positive that’s developing about her character.”
“Light of the Seven”: “When I write my music, I never think about a piece becoming successful or being well-received. I just try to do my best. But it’s absolutely fantastic when it gets such great recognition, just like the main title, when all these cover songs started popping up. It’s very rewarding. It means I did my job well and I achieved something special in a certain scene. With ‘Light of the Seven,’ for example, because there isn’t much dialogue at all, the music really needs to carry you through that scene and reveal things as they become more clear. What’s really about to happen? It definitely made me excited when people responded to it so positively.”
“Needle”: “The instrument [hammered dulcimer] has this very pointy sound to it. I thought it was very fitting. When she gets her sword-fighting lessons, that’s when we started using it first. It was very fitting for where she was.”
“The Winds of Winter”: “Just like how the main title is supposed to get you into the show, this cliffhanger should really get you excited about watching more and making you wait for the next season to come. It always was meant to be this big, last moment for the show, and therefore, I tried musically to set up the next season.”
“Truth” “[It] was a matter of working with David and Dan, knowing that we were going to end up on this boat scene with Jon and Daenerys falling in love,” he says. “I wrote theme fairly early on, actually. I normally go in sequential order, but I actually wrote the last scene and the last episode fairly early on, and then we went back from that and started placing this new theme earlier, but not playing it as a love theme. We just played it as a new theme, here only because these two characters are meeting. We played it in a more neutral way, so it wouldn’t give away their relationship. As the episodes went on, we started to open it up a big more and give it more warmth and more emotion — and then it formed into this love scene.”
What will Djawadi have up his sleeve for the final season? We can’t wait to find out — maybe more instant classics in the works!