The Social Ascent of Bronn: a Con of Thrones Interview with Jerome Flynn

Jerome Flynn Con of Thrones 2019

I had the privilege of interviewing Jerome Flynn at this year’s Con of Thrones. We discussed his amiably amoral character, Bronn, what motivated him, and how Flynn imagines Westeros’ future will go with Bronn as its Master of Coin.

Reviewing all eight seasons, it’s quite possible that Bronn had the greatest social ascent of any character in Game of Thrones’ cast of thousands, beginning season one as a sellsword in a country inn and wrapping up season eight as the Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coin of the Six Kingdoms. While other characters’ goals evolved over time, Flynn says that Bronn remained “single-minded” in his pursuits.

“He had a strong intention which lead him through the whole show: he wanted his castle,” Flynn says. “He was clever. He followed the clues that were in front of him and took his chances when he had them. His last chance, when he was handed the crossbow, he turned into the bartering tool that he needed to seal the deal [for Highgarden] with the Lannister boys.”

He hastens to add: “I don’t think he would have killed them but he had to make them think that perhaps it was a possibility.”

Bronn Crosbow 801 Season 8 Winterfell

Bronn and Tyrion’s relationship always did seem to walk a razor’s edge. Flynn believes Bronn did “have a fondness” for Tyrion, which he would have liked to have seen developed further in season eight.

“I got attached to a certain part of him in terms of his relatioships, let’s say, with Tyrion,” he says. “And I think I wanted him to be more heroic. But that was my personal thing. I thought it was an opportunity for Bronn to suddenly turn up next and save Tyrion’s life fighting the White Walkers. But then if I’d been the writer then the whole story probably would have gone completely differently.”

He adds: “I really respect [David Benioff and Weiss] for sticking to a certain element of Bronn that was out for himself.”

Bronn’s approach certainly paid off … literally! Bronn’s appointment as Master of Coin took many viewers by surprise but Flynn seems confident that Westeros’ economy will survive the experience, not because of Bronn’s financial savviness but because Tyrion will have his back.

“I think Tyrion might have taken him to one side after that last table meeting and said, ‘Come on, dude. We’ve got to play ball here, and you can’t just have everything you want.’” Flynn says, referencing Bronn’s push to reopen King’s Landing’s brothels. “I think he’s there because of Tyrion. I think Tyrion understands why he did what he did. So I would imagine Tyrion would be trying to counsel him.”

44 responses

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    1. I think he’s right about Bronn staying in character. Having him save Tyrion’s life would have been a bit cheesy. I really didn’t expect Bronn to survive to the end, so it was good to have expectations confounded again!

      My only regret is that we never saw Lollys again! She was delightful.

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    2. Jaime and Bronn had an employment contract for a castle – he would need to pursue the matter with Jaime’s estate. Tyrion’s promise of the Oleanna’s place was made under extortion. Tyrion should have had Bronn arrested for extortion and assault.

      Why was Tyrion – hand to the queen 1, brother of queen 2 was without guards and could be attacked by Bronn. Jaime, brother to the other queen2 and lover to Sansa’s security chief, yet he was also unguarded. Bronn should have been killed the minute he threatened them and punched Tyrion in the face in that pub.

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    3. Mango,
      You’ve brought this up about guards before, and it’s been answered.
      They had no reason to think they would need guards.

      As for the rest, your talk of contracts and estates is quite amusing. This is a fictional world so it’s silly to look at it in terms of our own society. In any case, Tyrion has always been fond of Bronn.

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    4. Grandmaester Flash:
      Mango,
      You’ve brought this up about guards before, and it’s been answered.
      They had no reason to think they would need guards.

      As for the rest, your talk of contracts and estates is quite amusing.This is a fictional world so it’s silly to look at it in terms of our own society.In any case, Tyrion has always been fond of Bronn.

      Yes, Tyrion is fond of Bronn. He was also fond of Daenerys. He had her killed when she messed up, did he not?

      I do not recall if I raised this issue with Bronn before. Nor why I should not feel free to raise it again when Bronn comes up again. Are we allowed only one post? Or some-one answered and you assume I agreed with the response?

      Since they were attacked, it does confirm that they were vulnerable – wherever they were at the time. They should both be guarded – and where they were attacked certainly and perhaps regardless of where they were.

      I am happy you find it amusing although this was not my intention. Why should Bronn not raise it with Jaime’s estate in any society unless GOT established that this option was unavailable then. I do not recall that. Given the importance of family “Houses” in the GOT society, this is exactly what I expect would happen.

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    5. Grandmaester Flash: That made me LOL.
      Perhaps it’s time you found something else to watch.

      I am not much of a TV watcher but I am fascinated by GOT and the related book. Both as products but also cultural events.

      However, I do enjoy a very healthy cultural life. Thanks for the suggestion to watch other things. I may lookout for something on TV in the fall when the evenings are longer.

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    6. What I liked about that Bronn scene in E4 is that he is kinda right. Every great House did start with some cutthroat.

      I think if theories about Jane Goldman’s show are right we will see exactly that with foundation of House Lannister.

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    7. Mango:
      Jaime and Bronn had an employment contract for a castle – he would need to pursue the matter with Jaime’s estate. Tyrion’s promise of the Oleanna’s place was made under extortion. Tyrion should have had Bronn arrested for extortion and assault.

      Why was Tyrion – hand to the queen 1, brother of queen 2 was without guards and could be attacked by Bronn. Jaime, brother to the other queen2 and lover to Sansa’s security chief, yet he was also unguarded. Bronn should have been killed the minute he threatened them and punched Tyrion in the face in that pub.

      I do think Ned would always travel with guards when he was HOTK. Arguably, he made himself much more vulnerable when he sent some of his guards to help others (I believe he sent some to help in the search for the mountain?) But yes, he always had some guards even if it wasn’t enough. So I would ask the same question about why Tyrion wouldn’t have guards.

      That being said, TV often forgets about these things. I watch a daily soap that has a mob boss who seems to leave his door unlocked and his body guards are nowhere to be found.. People barge in on him all the time… But admittedly, that soap isn’t held to the same standards as GOT. I think people are passionate that GOT should try not to jolt us out of the world they created by doing something that wouldn’t be part of the world… And I do think guards would be part of the HOTQ world that Tyrion is in.

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    8. Tron79,

      Lol on the mob boss! As you are quite right TV often forgets these things – and we should not always hold it against them. We suspend “reality” and relax and enjoy for what it is.

      Seemed reasonable to me that Tyrion should be guarded.

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    9. Bronn is what he is thanks to you Jerome. He is not nearly as relevant in the books.
      We did have some great philosophical lines. Never will we forget.

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    10. I like Bronn (thank You, Jerome), he is always clear, especially to people he is kind of fond of and does not hide his intentions in any way. One may not like his intentions ;o),
      nobody really knows, where they come from – most likely from poorest childhood -, but he doesn’t pretend to be better than he is.
      I don’t know, but I can imagine, that Bronn grows in his his role as Lord of Highgarden and Master of Coins, that all he needs is to have his status, his in social, material and literal aspect “home”, to give his talents over to the benefit of the new realm.
      Of course, just thoughts :o)

      Btw: please don’t attack Mango. May be he/she unfolded his/her theories before – I didn’t read them at that point. I think, it’s an aspect, one should think about. I didn’t before.
      May be, Tyrion, Jamie and Brienne felt save. Ned at his time didn’t, he was in King’s Landing. Nobody was save there, especially no Northerner.
      Tyrion was with his mighty Quinn – uh, Queen, surrounded with Dothraki and Unsullieds, bodyguards en masse, Jamie and Brienne were worriors and bodygaurds themselves. Do bodyguards think, they need bodyguards?

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    11. cos alpha,

      I mean it’s just plot convenience to move the plot forward. Hardly the first time this show used it, but it became popular to nitpick everything about the last season.

      The first time (that I can think of) would be when that assassin somehow sneaked In Bran’s room in E2 of S1. So everyone left for that fire, no one was there to protect little lord? Not a single guard? Castle was completely empty and a person can just come into lord’s chamber without being interrupted? It’s that easy to kill a lord?

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    12. Jack Nabble,

      Your insults, veiled or direct, to almost the same posters every time are repetitive as well. It’s positively creepy at this point. Get a hold of yourself.

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    13. Mr Derp,

      “Disaster is always around the corner”— doesn’t sound like he’s confident in his new ideas to be honest. True Detective was a hit and miss with the seasons and Westworld was bleeding on the ratings for season 2 if I recall correctly. So putting everything on it and Watchmen is risky.

      Personally I’m looking forward to His Dark Materials but I’m not sure when that will be released. Also this Euphoria is not to my liking btw and I didn’t hear a lot of rave reviews. Ugh, I sound like a Debby Downer myself.

      Looking forward to hearing some good news on the prequel front. Like maybe it gets picked up for a season…

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    14. I did like Bronn’s reference to Lann the Clever and his commentary about cutthroats, but I would’ve preferred if the scene played out as less of a threat, maybe Bronn being like “you’re sister sent me to kill you and I could’ve, so just remember that.” It does seem a bit wonky that Tyrion follows through on the major promise after being threatened when he had no reason to, no matter how much he liked Bronn. Other people in the leadership would think it’s cool to give Bronn all that land and title plus Master of Coin just for shits and giggles? I think not.

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    15. Young Dragon,

      Yeah that’s not literal though, it’s a two sided coin. They pay their debts, whether monetary or for revenge. Tywin Lannister claimed his loyalty was with the Mad King and what did he do when the gates were opened for him?

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    16. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      It is literal. That’s why people continued to do the Lannister favors, because those words carry meaning. That’s how Tyrion got Mord to do him a favor and deliver Lysa Arryn his message. When Tyrion was in prison for Joffrey’s murder, he could have lied to Bronn and told him he could get him a bigger castle than Cersei to get Bronn to fight the Mountain for him, but he didn’t. Why? Because those words mean something to Tyrion. Tyrion has always given Bronn everything he promised him. Everything. This is no different.

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    17. Young Dragon,

      The Lannisters are treacherous. They don’t simply just honor every bargain. You changed your argument now to Tyrion. Following through on a promise to give Bronn entire Kingdoms just because he threatened you with a crossbow is super lame and poor writing. Maybe under some other circumstance I could buy it, like where the stakes are much higher, but not that one. And then he just walks out and leaves? It’s a good example of the lazy writing from D & D in the latter seasons.

      Let me ask you something, do you dislike anything about the show?

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    18. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      What are you talking about? The argument was about Tyrion honoring his arrangement to Bronn. I didn’t change anything. Throughout the story, whenever the Lannisters promised something, they gave it. The Freys were given the Riverlands in exchange for the Red Wedding, Margarey was made queen in return for the Tyrells help against Stannis, Mord was given a bag of gold in exchange for him delivering a message, etc. A Lannister always pays his debts is a famous saying throughout Westeros. Bran knew it, Robb knew it, Oberyn knew it. The reason the saying is so famous is because it’s true. It’s not lazy writing to stay true to your character. It’s the exact opposite, actually.

      Yes, there are several things I dislike. The Dornish storyline in season 5, the Winterfell storyline in season 7, Theon’s storyline in season 3, Littlefinger brothel scenes in season 1, Euron Greyjoy. There are negatives in GOT, but the positives by far overshadows them.

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    19. The phrase ‘You need better guards’ was used more than a few times in Show GoT, was it not?

      Asking for a friend.

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    20. I find all of Mango’s posts perfectly fine. In fact I quite enjoy them and I don’t understand why certain other posters are allowed to continue with their insulting behavior to others.

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    21. “sticking to a certain element”
      It’s true that D&D invested in Bronn’s character; not really brave but still brave in his willingness to survive, skillful and cunning and determined to take the best for himself. They relied on him to introduce some lightness and change the air in difficult scenes, but he’s also used to point out hard truths, like that one in ep 8.4 (which lord didn’t become a lord by murdering people?). He’s one example how the lords play with smallfolk unmindful of human lives, only he’s determined to use that for gaining sth himself.
      Bronn already has his castle in the books, and a wife and a child that is not his; he compromised but got the better end of the deal by becoming a lord himself; this is how people ascend socially, by being integrated in the social fabric that already exists. The author’s world is complicated, not as simplistic as the show showed us, but the show is ok too. Had it not been for all the female nude scenes that frame Bronn, he’d be perfect.
      Having said that, I have to note that Bronn’s role in season 8 was significantly simplified but this is bound to the overall structure change of the entire season. Back in season 7 it was foreshadowed that Sansa would be kidnapped or that there would be an assassination attempt against her. The lines “you need better guards”, and “if they want another Stark prisoner, they can come get me” point to a more complicated story for season 8 (also, why on earth did Cersei call Sansa to come to the Dragonpit meeting? lol, it makes no sense unless one thinks about this other plot).
      In the show universe it is rather strange that Cersei orders to have her brothers executed now. Cersei has been shown to have a soft spot for both her brothers throughout the seasons, and she knows that Tyrion had nothing to do with Joffrey’s murder. And she still loves Jamie and has his child. Would she kill them? No, she wouldn’t. (well, perhaps she’d kill Tyrion, but not Jamie)
      But she would try to get her hands on Sansa. Sansa was framed by LF; when he had Dontos killed, he threw her necklace on his dead body, so Sansa was never exonerated for Joffrey’s murder. Now in season 8 Cersei would have another reason: the only way to break the alliance of Jon with Daenerys would be to try to pull Sansa to her own side (admittedly it’d be stupid to have her killed, because she’s the lady of WF and all, Sansa is a political power on her own).
      But they took a shortcut from this plot to another, simpler, because they didn’t want ten episodes. Another plot would give Cersei a real role in s8, and Jon would be upgraded to a political player instead of a terrified Dany follower.
      Whatever. It’s a show.

      And stop attacking Mango. Mango is far too polite to answer you the way some posters in here deserve.

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    22. it doesn’t matter whom i’m quoting here. just, this one is a fine example of how some of us maybe have to do more of the homework the show gave us with the final season:

      “Other people in the leadership would think it’s cool to give Bronn all that land and title plus Master of Coin just for shits and giggles?”

      yes, i wrote “homework”. my personal point of view is that the final season may have been rushed in execution, but a bit of discussion afterwards, a bit of interpreting may add the missing links that are needed to make the whole thing look more complete. sometimes, a few aspects show up late in the discussion (see eg Sandor / white horse idea).

      here’s an aspect of Bronn becoming such a powerful person in the end that i’m not sure of if it has been mentioned yet: he is the last living person from the Cersei age who had influence, connections and knowledge of KL interna. which is pretty nice to have if you want to rule a town that has just been completely destroyed. and even if you just want to rule, it’s nice too.

      with Pod and Tyrion, Bronn has two buddies on the counsel he might trust, so he won’t end up in a “me against those suckers” edge. he might turn out to be pretty loyal.

      one of those lots of details i call the homework D&D left for us in order to really understand the season better. (another one would be the impact of killing something with her own hands in a battle on Dany’s psyche… don’t know if that aspect found a way to the list of persona changing traumata).

      so, Bronn is imo the right choice for a job that needs inside knowledge of who is who in KL. we all just have to consider this the thought Tyrion / Bran may have had when nominating him, et voila: the writing doesn’t look that poor anymore, does it?

      and as it is so easy to just add more and more ideas and details by always being open for thoughts we haven’t had yet – could we please come to a more civilized tone in any discussion about S8 and anything at all in general? please? even Dolph, son of Dolph, is wondering what has become of manners on this wonderful and inspiring site called WotW.

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    23. mau:
      What I liked about that Bronn scene in E4 is that he is kinda right. Every great House did start with some cutthroat.

      I never liked Bronn very much, and by Season 4 I was thorougly sick and tired of his smartassery. I remember GRRM saying (and being happy) D&D expanded his role because he became such a fan favourite – largely thanks to Jerome Flynn’s excellent portrayal.

      As much as I dislike Bronn, he was a very necessary character. Telling uncomfortable home truths to the hoity-toity nobles. He usually expressed his views in a really annoying (to me) smartarse way but he usually had a point.

      In the books he’s already working his way to a castle by marrying pregnant gang-rape victim, “simple-minded” Lollys Stokeworth and arranging convenient accidents to those ahead in the line of succession. This is around the time of Cersei’s walk of shame. Who knows where Bronn will end up by the time the books are finished?

      I don’t think it’s Highgarden and a seat in the Small Council.

      However,I think the show made great use of this character, and Jerome Flynn did an excellent job portraying him.

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    24. talvikorppi,

      I’ve long separated show Bronn and book Bronn in my mind – well I’ve done that with a lot of the characters so maybe that’s why I don’t have the dislike for the show some (I only said some – not all – and I’m not rushing to judgement) book readers have. IN the books Bronn and Tyrion of course are darker in character than their show counterparts. I don’t want to spoil anything for anyone who hasn’t read the books and might like to try them but as you’ll know show Bronn was given a task that in the books was fulfilled by Ilyn Payne because the person who played IP became ill and left the show.

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    25. I made a comment which seems to have disappeared into the ether but I won’t repeat it in case it’s for some reason gone for monitoring. If it doesn’t reappear after some time I’ll try and rephrase it (if I can remember the gist of it properly).

      Gator5000e,

      Gator, sorry to show my ignorance but I don’t even know The Blade original. I do hope the TV companies bring out a few original shows and not just remakes though. I’m in the UK and we get a heck of a lot of repeats here. Recently the BBC were going on about the show Gentleman Jack and trumpeting how original it was but they did a dramatization of the same subject with different actors and a different title in 2010.* But I’m not saying a reboot can’t be good if there is a reasonable amount of time between the original and the remake.

      * I did mention this in a different context in the forums.

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    26. Young Dragon,

      There’ s no way you can convince me that “Lannisters always pay their debts” = giving up entire kingdoms when people threaten you with crossbows for no good reason.

      I liked some of Bronn’s dialogue in the scene, but it was lazy that he just randomly bust through the door when Jaime and Tyrion were chatting and pointed a crossbow at them to threaten them. It was a poor effort by D & D, one that they thought they could get away with because fans worshipped everything they did in lackluster S7.

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    27. death by chickenfire,

      “he might turn out to be pretty loyal.”

      I don’t think you were paying attention if you think Bronn would ever look out for anyone but himself. It’s well established in the series that Bronn had no loyalty at all. And there’s zero indication that Bronn could help bridge the transition from one regime to the next. He didn’t care about the people of King’s Landing either. And you’re defending the whole white horse thing? I think your post is a fine example that people need to stop making excuses for D & D.

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    28. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Well, if there’s no way I can convince you, there’s no point having a discussion. It doesn’t surprise me that you’re having trouble grasping this. You always seem to have a gross misunderstanding of the characters and the story.

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    29. Young Dragon,

      You’re interpreting Tyrion caving to Bronn in that scenario as “A Lannister always pays his debts” but I’m the one who has a gross misunderstanding of the characters and story? OK…

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    30. LatrineDiggerBrian,

      Yes. Tyrion and Bronn struck a deal, meaning Tyrion owed Bronn a debt, and a Lannister always pays their debts. It’s really not that complicated, yet you seem to be seriously struggling.

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    31. If someone put a gun to your head and demands that you promise to give him $10 million dollars and you promise the $10million under threat, you do not have an enforceable debt to the person with the gun. The promise was obtained by extortion and does not create a debt. Extortion is a crime.

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    32. Mango,
      Whether or not a debt is enforceable isn’t really the issue. Tyrion’s debt to Mord wasn’t enforceable, Tywin’s debt to Walder Frey wasn’t enforceable, etc. It all depends on the character, and the Lannisters have a certain code that they follow, which is why the saying “a Lannister always pays their debts” is known all over Westeros. Tyrion takes the phrase very seriously, which is why he repeats the phrase many times over the course of the series and always upholds to it. It was in character for Tyrion to repay the debt he owed Bronn, no matter the circumstances.

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