The season premiere of Game of Thrones finally arrived last night, bringing with it prophecies, darkness, and a painful end for one notable character. The morning after, we have several interviews and videos examining “The Wars to Come,” its new tricks (that flashback!) and the choices that led to one character’s death.
In Entertainment Weekly, George R.R. Martin talks about the Maggy the Frog-Young Cersei scene (which David Benioff says is “not technically a ‘flashback’ because it opens the episode rather than breaking from a previously established setting to flash back to an earlier time.” Thanks, Benioff. I’m calling it a flashback).
“Prophecy is a staple element in fantasy, but it’s tricky,” Martin says to EW. “You want to play with the notion of prophecies coming true but in an unexpected way. You want to be unpredictable about it. Shakespeare is the ultimate example of that—when the forest of Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane Castle, MacBeth will fall. Everybody laughs—how can the forest come to the castle. [Malcolm] came camouflaged with branches and so on. Also, during the War of the Roses, one of the lords was prophesized that he would die at a certain castle. So he always took pains to avoid that castle. But then in the first The Battle of St Albans, he was wounded and died outside a pub that had that castle on its pub sign. You have to look at prophecies carefully and look at the weasel-wording. Maggy the Frog tells Cersei a prophecy, but could Cersei make it happen through her efforts to avoid it?”
MAJOR SPOILER comments below the cut!
EW also has a new interview with departing cast member Ciaran Hinds, who checked out of Game of Thrones last night after a mercy killing with an arrow from Jon Snow, saving him from burning to death tied to Melisandre’s stake. The death of Mance Rayder in A Dance with Dragons is more complicated than it seems at first glance, which left some book-reading viewers with a few questions after watching the newest episode.
When asked about the possibility of the character ever returning to the show, Hinds says:
In the books there’s a lot more than there is in the television series. It’s impossible to recreate everything that’s in the books. You can’t be absolutely faithful to the book, and why would you want to be? It’s a different medium. You have to make decisions and bold decisions and there are so many other characters, that there is enough in the pot. I imagine that if Mance were to come back, like in the books, he’d come back in a different guise, as a different person—it wouldn’t involve me, probably. Then you have to think: Well, in the story, if you can imagine him coming back, does it make sense for him to still be involved when there’s still so much else going on? These are huge decisions [the showrunners] have to deal with and so far they’ve been dealing with them brilliantly, so far as I can see.
Check out the complete interview to read how Hinds learned of his character being killed off and his feelings about Mance’s final choices.
HBO has released its usual next-day bonus videos, giving us extra insight into the episode:
In “Inside the Episode: The Wars to Come,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss discuss opening season 5 with the flashback, Varys presenting Tyrion with a new way to live, and Jon’s intervention in Mance’s death.
George R.R. Martin elaborates on the enigmatic prophecy from the witch who foresaw Cersei’s troubled future.
Ciaran Hinds and Kit Harington talk Mance’s fiery end in “The Wars to Come,” and the men’s motivations in the moment.
One last morning-after note: Carice van Houten is doing a Q&A with the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy so head on over to their Facebook to submit questions and see Carice’s answers starting at 1:15PM EDT.