Cavalcade of Game of Thrones actors share their personal reactions to Season 8 finale

7x03 - Varys, Melisandre Dragonstone

When it comes to Game of Thrones, the show is shrouded in such secrecy that every interview seems to be a challenge the actors set for themselves; how much can they tease without getting in trouble with their PR reps or the HBO juggernaut? We may just find out in a new interview with much of the cast, who tease the season as usual but are also frank about their reactions to the ending and how they expect it to be received.

Conleth Hill (Varys) doesn’t mince words with RadioTimes about the insurmountable hype building up to the finale, and how it will all end: “Oh, fuck the fans,” he casually offers. “That was a joke! But I don’t know, I don’t know if you can please everyone.” And we know this much is true – in many of the interviews we’ve seen, there’s been a constant of doubting that everyone will love the ending. Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark) agrees with his co-star: “Not everyone’s going to be pleased, because it’s such a big show, and it’s divisive.” I honestly find it refreshing to hear this more down-to-earth approach to the likelihood of expectations being dashed, as opposed to the nonstop hype machine of “IT’S CRAAAAAZY” we always get. Says Wright: “I think we have wrapped it up as convincingly and honestly and as cleverly as we could hope.”

Carice van Houten (Melisandre) is a bit more determined about the ending: “It’s been building up so much. But [the ending]’s great, as well, it’s going to surprise you.” While van Houten is ready for the fans to embrace the ending, there’s at least one person who is tired of the actors providing the same answers every year to hype up the season. It is of course none other than Rory McCann (Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane): “Well we come out with the same thing every year – ‘it’s going to be bigger and better.’ But of course HBO are going to throw everything at it in the last year, so. That’s what it’s going to be.”

In quick, rapid-fire order, what was the overall consensus on the season 8 finale?

Rory McCann: “I remember reading [the ending] going, ‘Wow, thank you David and Dan. Thank you George. What a gift.’”

Carice van Houten: “I know how it ends but I’ve avoided the detail…I just want to watch.”

Conleth Hill: “It was all quite numbing…[f]or us, because it was the end of 10 years.”

Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion): “Personally speaking I love my journey…I love what Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff] have done. The arc, the journey, every character.”

Isaac Hempstead-Wright: “I think everyone would agree in terms of saying they think their character endings are just and are the best way to wrap the characters up.”

Well, dang, that’s some awesome teasing…anybody else ready to fast forward to April 14th?

45 responses

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    1. “I remember reading [the ending] going, ‘Wow, thank you David and Dan. Thank you George. What a gift.’”

      What a generous thought. But if George Martin had his way, poor Mr. McCann would still be filming material from AFFC.

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    2. I cannot bear the thought of not being able to depend on seeing Rory McCann in a series every year. He was the actor I was most excited about being cast. I can DEFINITELY say that I would delay this season even longer if I could! 😆

      And nice to know that Richard is happy with it. There’s a character I didn’t expect to be seeing so long, and am glad we did!

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    3. Cumsprite:
      “I remember reading [the ending] going, ‘Wow, thank you David and Dan. Thank you George. What a gift.’”

      What a generous thought.But if George Martin had his way, poor Mr. McCann would still be filming material from AFFC.

      Can we stop hating on GRRM and just enjoy the damn series ?

      Let’s not forget none of this would exist without George. It’s annoying how some people love to constantly make mean-spirited remarks about his pace, as if he’s nothing but a slow, incompetent old buffoon.

      The man has written more pages of brilliant storytelling than the average person reads in their lifetime.

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    4. Can we please stop using the word “hating on this and that” (hating on GRRM, Sansa, Dany…)?
      People using “hate” and “hating” seem so aggressiv to me! These are so strong words! They are not appropriate while talking about a fictional world.

      If criticism should be the same as hatred – where will mankind in a nearly civilized world go to???

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    5. At the rate these cast interviews are coming at us, what will they have to talk about after the show is over, the Breaking Bad reunion?

      ^p^

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    6. I know the ending will be “bittersweet” ie some characters I love will die-I’ve accepted that (Unless its the Hound, Davos, Jon, Sam, Tormund, Brienne, Gendry… I’ve mostly accepted that.) But every time I hear one of them say “not all the fans will be happy” I instantly internalize and imagine all the things that wouldn’t make me happy.
      -Cersei surviving
      -Never finding out why the Night King keeps staring at Jon and not killing him
      -Not knowing what Varys heard in flames and what his actual motivation is
      -What’s in the crypts?! (okay that’s more of a book thing probably, along with the Howland Reed, what’s up with Winterfell and Isle of Faces questions)
      -Arya not seen using the literally years of training she’s now had with Syrio, Yoren, archer from Brotherhood, Sandor, Faceless men etc. She’s fully leveled up and Nymeria has a giant wolf pack at her disposal, so I’m hopeful for a boss fight side by side with her favorite brother-cousin. 🙂

      On my wish list are a few more flashbacks of the past, Gendry and Arya wedding, Brienne being told she’s loved, The Mountain dying, Tyrion on a dragon, Davos and Sam being in charge of all things, and a final explanation about the strange weather patterns of Westeros, but I’m not holding my breath.

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    7. We’re so close now. These interview snippets reinforce it. As such, here are my informal entries for our annual episode title guessing game. I suspect I’ll be completely mistaken this time. 😛

      8×01 “Crossroads”
      8×02 “A Time for Wolves”
      8×03 “Battle for the Dawn”
      8×04 “Azor Ahai”
      8×05 “Burn Them All”
      8×06 “A Dream of Spring”

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    8. Quinton O’Connor:
      We’re so close now. These interview snippets reinforce it. As such, here are my informal entries for our annual episode title guessing game. I suspect I’ll be completely mistaken this time. 😛

      8×01 “Crossroads”
      8×02 “A Time for Wolves”
      8×03 “Battle for the Dawn”
      8×04 “Azor Ahai”
      8×05 “Burn Them All”
      8×06 “A Dream of Spring”

      I don’t know if you’re right but I love all those titles.

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    9. As far as all of the actors feeling that their ending was just… I have the impression from Emilia’s interviews that she was pretty shaken and upset about whatever happens with Daenerys. Perhaps her end will be “just” in the context of the story, but it may be shattering and disappointing to some of us nonetheless.

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    10. RG:
      … But every time I hear one of them say “not all the fans will be happy” I instantly internalize and imagine all the things that wouldn’t make me happy.
      Cersei surviving
      -Never finding out why the Night King keeps staring at Jon and not killing him
      -Not knowing what Varys heard in flames and what his actual motivation is
      -What’s in the crypts?! (okay that’s more of a book thing probably, along with the Howland Reed, what’s up with Winterfell and Isle of Faces questions)
      -Arya not seen using the literally years of training she’s now had with Syrio, Yoren, archer from Brotherhood, Sandor, Faceless men etc. She’s fully leveled up and Nymeria has a giant wolf pack at her disposal, so I’m hopeful for a boss fight side by side with her favorite brother-cousin. 🙂

      On my wish list are a few more flashbacks of the past, Gendry and Arya wedding, Brienne being told she’s loved, The Mountain dying, Tyrion on a dragon, Davos and Sam being in charge of all things, and a final explanation about the strange weather patterns of Westeros, but I’m not holding my breath.

      I’d only be slightly disappointed if Cersei survives. Exile or living the rest of her days as a crone at Casterly Rock would be just fine.

      That said, I’d be legit pissed if she remains on the throne.

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    11. cos alpha:
      Can we please stop using the word “hating on this and that” (hating on GRRM, Sansa, Dany…)?
      People using “hate” and “hating” seem so aggressiv to me! These are so strong words! They are not appropriate while talking about a fictional world.

      Yes, and it’s just “hate”, not “hate on”. A horrid little construction that seems to have taken hold.
      You hate somebody, you don’t hate ON them.
      You wouldn’t say you love on somebody, would you?

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    12. Quinton O’Connor

      Love it!!!!
      What about these…. Lots of “The” .. but hey ho.

      8.01 – Winterfell
      8.02 – The Crypts
      8.03 – The Great War
      8.04 – The Long Night
      8.05 – The Iron Throne
      8.06 – A Dream of Spring

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    13. As long as there are no Mach 4 ravens and ice chains from nowhere, I think the season will be fine. 😉

      The finale won’t make everyone happy, nor should it.

      I wish you all good fortune in the wars to come.

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    14. Grandmaester Flash,

      Let me start by agreeing that “hate on” and “love on” are terrible constructions. Language evolves and I love how a new word can arise, resonate and sometimes become a new part of the language. This happens for many reasons, one of which is that they provide language for an experience that is new and still unnamed. This is why the best new terms come from crowded urban communities and as people meet and mix.

      So I have heard the use of “love on” in the context of engaging an infant. And I got it.

      The person needed a word to describe playing with an infant in a particular way. It was more than cuddling nor chasing nor tickling nor with a toy. The person was playing with the child by using a series of amusing physical engagements – kissing, rubbing face against baby’s back and making sounds; massaging, tickling feet with the mouth, blowing farts against baby’s stomach. It was just a range of activities showing love to a laughing infant in a very physical, wholesome, funny way. The infant laughed so hard that hiccups were engaged. Playing did not quite capture it – you needed another word..so “loving on” was deployed.

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    15. Those “nors” should be “ors”.

      I edited the first part of the sentence but not the rest. That first part went from “It was not” to “It was more than”……but I forgot the rest of the construction.

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    16. I just finished Season 4 in my re-watch, and wow, that season 4 finale was nucking futz.

      But, my problem is I am thinking about just watching ‘Hardhome’ and skipping the rest of season 5 to get to S6…

      Bring on S8 already

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    17. Dicky McSquishersbane:

      I’d only be slightly disappointed if Cersei survives.Exile or living the rest of her days as a crone at Casterly Rock would be just fine.

      That said, I’d be legit pissed if she remains on the throne.

      I hope she survives and is exiled, much better then her being killed by Jamie (which at this point is just too predictable). Maybe she slowly goes insane and ends up like Maggie the Frog, we can go full circle here!

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    18. Fast forward? I feel like I am back in the days before digital compact discs- ya know. Stop, Rewind, play the tape- flip the side. Which brings to mind a sort of post-analog apocalypse nostalgia… I miss albums, I miss engaging with the artwork, I miss the crackle of vinyl and the hiss of tape. One day soon I’ll miss looking forward to the next season, the next episode.
      I’m in no hurry to have it all be over yet….

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    19. Anon,

      I think Cersei will go out in a blaze of wildfire…or dragonfire. It would be poetic justice since she killed her rivals and own daughter-in-law with wildfire. Maybe poison too, but who knows.

      I personally don’t think the valonqar will happen in the show, but I could certainly be wrong. I think Jaime dies up North protecting the Starks and never sees Cersei again.

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    20. No one is curious about the scroll Sophie said they gave her?
      I think it has to do with her political arc, myself.
      Maybe she uncovers treachery or something.

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    21. When this thing ends, I’m going to eat every f—ing chicken in the house.

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    22. Grail King,

      I haven’t seen anything about that. I would guess it’s probably the infamous scroll that caused drama between the Stark sisters last season, but I don’t know.

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    23. Pigeon,

      Couldn’t agree more . . . Sandor’s arc and resolution are what I’m looking most forward to. Reunions with Arya, Sansa, and his brother . . . The Lord of Light has plans for Sandor Clegane!

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    24. Mr Derp:
      Grail King,

      I haven’t seen anything about that.I would guess it’s probably the infamous scroll that caused drama between the Stark sisters last season, but I don’t know.

      Sophie said in the video it’s season 8 spoilery

        Quote  Reply

    25. Quinton O’Connor:
      We’re so close now. These interview snippets reinforce it. As such, here are my informal entries for our annual episode title guessing game. I suspect I’ll be completely mistaken this time. 😛

      8×01 “Crossroads”
      8×02 “A Time for Wolves”
      8×03 “Battle for the Dawn”
      8×04 “Azor Ahai”
      8×05 “Burn Them All”
      8×06 “A Dream of Spring”

      Love your titles for 8.04, 8.05 and 8.06 and will adopt them as my choices as well!😊
      As for the first three:
      8.01 The Last Hero
      8.02 The Third Dragon
      8.03 Kings Of Winter

      BTW D&D might go with A Time for Wolves as the series finale (the original ending title from GRRM before the change to Dream Of Spring)

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    26. Rizzo T:
      I just finished Season 4 in my re-watch, and wow, that season 4 finale was nucking futz.

      But, my problem is I am thinking about just watching ‘Hardhome’ and skipping the rest of season 5 to get to S6…

      Bring on S8 already

      Season 5 is much better on rewatch and retrospect , actually.

      Except for the scenes in Dorne after Jaime and Bronn get to the Water Gardens, all those are terrible. And skippable. Otherwise, it’s fairly solid actually.

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    27. Mr Derp,

      What about Tyrion?

      The only way is we Jaime doing it is to stop Cersei from doing something even more terrible that blowing up the sept, mirroring the act that got him the name kingslayer

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    28. Sister Kisser:
      Mr Derp,

      What about Tyrion?

      The only way is we Jaime doing it is to stop Cersei from doing something even more terrible that blowing up the sept, mirroring the act that got him the name kingslayer

      Im pretty torn on all of this.

      On the one hand, I can easily see a scenario where Jaime comes full circle and stops Cersei from doing something terrible, similar to the Mad King, except this time he gets recognized for the heroic act instead of vilified. I think this is probably the most widely accepted theory out there right now. There was the scene in season 4 where Joffrey was taunting Jaime about the lack of great deeds mentioned in that book and Jaime said “there’s still time”. Brienne could be the one who survives and fills in the pages.

      On the other hand, Jaime’s arc with Cersei might’ve ended already at the end of season 7 when he abandoned her to go North. The rest of his story might be all about fulfilling his oath to protect the Stark girls. Both he and Brienne, who share the two halves of Ned Stark’s sword, may die protecting them during the Battle of Winterfell. I recall Brienne said to Catelyn in season 2: Who wants to die defending a Lannister?” I’ll let you decide if that’s foreshadowing or not.

      To me, it all depends on whether Jaime survives the battle at Winterfell or not. If he does, then I think I’d have to go with scenario #1. If not, then I think Tyrion may be the one to kill Cersei. THough, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cersei takes herself out in a blaze of wildfire glory either.

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    29. Kevin1989:
      Making the 8,

      You know that word is forbidden here right 😉

      Wondering if carice is in the final. Or she saw the ending in the flames.

      Heehee…maybe the latter. Or else, if she is in the last ep, she apparently only read her scene(s.) For the whole season, I guess. x-) Or maybe glanced briefly at the very end, or just heard basically about how it winds up. I don’t know whether I would’ve had the willpower to resist reading the whole danged thing…! Good on her. Honestly I love all their responses, even Isaac’s warning. >3

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    30. 08×01 – The Crypts
      08×02 – The Golden Company
      08×03 – Here I Stand
      08×04 – God’s Eye
      08×05 – The Mad Queen
      08×06 – A Dream of Spring

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    31. Wait does Carice confirm she hasn’t read the ending i.e. her character is killed off beforehand? Probably no surprise with that though.

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    32. Dicky McSquishersbane:

      I’d only be slightly disappointed if Cersei survives.Exile or living the rest of her days as a crone at Casterly Rock would be just fine.

      That said, I’d be legit pissed if she remains on the throne.

      I honestly don’t desire for Cersei to die, probably due to the excellent acting of Lena. Sure she’s not a nice character and will almost certainly perish but she’s no where near a Joffrey, Ramsay or even Euron in my opinion.

      As for the Jamie speculation in other posts, I reckon he’s dying too, it’s just a matter of when and in what context. Before it happens I fully expect him to gain some honour though, there’s been way too much foreshadowing to ignore it.

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