As the surviving Stark children —Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright— judge who should end up sitting on the Iron Throne for EW, Time continues their season seven coverage with a fascinating talk to Lena Headey. The actress discusses the importance of the Walk of Atonement, her surprise at becoming Queen Regnant, and her fascination with Cersei’s relationship with Jaime.
The Stark kids may (perhaps) be in a path to reuniting this season, but that doesn’t mean they’re united in their views on the ‘game of thrones.’ Speaking to EW, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Maisie Williams, and Isaac Hempstead-Wright reveal their differing opinions on who should sit on the Iron Throne by the end of this story, if anyone at all:
For those keeping score, there is no clear winner here, but Sansa and Jon should be quite happy: Isaac and Kit want their would-be sister Sansa to rule the Seven Kingdoms, while Maisie and Sophie nominate Jon instead. There is a caveat, however: Sansa is the clear winner as the Lady of Winterfell, as judged by Sophie and Maisie. Though at first Isaac agrees, in the end he flips it around, giving Winterfell to Jon. As for Kit, he wants Arya to rule Winterfell in his stead, as Jon should return to the Wall.
In Time, Lena Headey begins with a heartfelt love letter to Game of Thrones:
“I don’t really have time to think about [the show winding down]. It doesn’t feel very real right now. Until the last day, when it’s goodbye, my most successful relationship, my longest relationship ever,” the actress confessed, to our collective ‘aaaaaaw.’ “Having the chance to work with the same people over what’s going to be eight years this year is quite extraordinary, really, when you think about it. And going to work on something that is so beloved is obviously a great feeling and a great responsibility as well.”
“I love playing Cersei,” Headey continued. “I’m very intrigued to see what happens to her! She’s so layered, endlessly. Every time you think you know her, there’s another depth of insecurity or fury or resentment or drive or grief.” Indeed, she was as surprised as any of us when she was crowned Queen: “I couldn’t believe that moment. I never saw that coming in a million years, I never thought she’d have the balls to finally go, ‘All right then, I guess I’ll f—ing do it.’ It was a great moment. I’m sure getting the seat of power is never comfortable on every level. But she’s aware. She’s aware of all of the s–t, the pain she’s created for everybody.” Well, as long as she is aware, that’s fine. No hard feelings!
It’s been a difficult journey for Cersei, though Headey seems to acknowledge a lot of that has been self-inflected, including Tommen’s suicide. According to her, that has not been forgotten: in season seven “we’ll see her dealing with her grief.” But, of course, Cersei has been spiraling out of control since the Walk of Atonement a few years ago:
“When I initially met David and Dan, that was the end of her journey as far as I knew,” Headey revealed. “I had considered her entire story up until that point, this whole thing of building somebody up to drag them under. And yet they still won’t drown. I’ve known [director of “Mother’s Mercy”] David Nutter a long time, and he’s a brilliant, prepared, empathetic leader. It was a tricky one, because obviously I had a stand-in, Rebecca. It was a three-day shoot with a lot of extras and a lot of people very near you, I really wanted to be in a headspace to be able to connect on an emotional level. If I’m stark bollock naked for three days with people touching me — it’s just going to feel really off-putting, I’m going to be aware of that rather than being able to just give it what I need emotionally. It wasn’t like I was walking around in a suit of armor — I had strips of fabric on that were flesh-colored. I loved it. I enjoy moments like that. It was the moment I knew Cersei would get to, and everything up to that point was poured into those three days. It was tiring, but I’m really grateful for those moments as an actor.”
“I’m a nerd, and quite shy, and suffer massive anxiety,” she admitted. “So for me it’s a real challenge to play her. I always shatter at the end of a season because I give it everything. She’s got this storm inside — human pain that we all identify with.”
Speaking of human pain, Headey also addressed Cersei’s relationship with her brother and lover Jaime, and how she, Nikolaj-Coster Waldau and the showrunners approach it:
“Cersei’s always wanted to be him. Therefore, for her, that relationship is completion. There’s been an envy, because he was born with privilege just for being a man. I think their love was built on respect. He truly loves her, he’s truly in love with Cersei, but I don’t think her love was pure love, I think it was respect and a kind of need,” she explained. “I just like to find all of her motivations. There’s never just one or two with Cersei, there’s always like seven. [Benioff and Weiss are] totally responsive and brilliant, I’m just sure behind closed doors, they’re like, Oh f—, who’s going to answer this [email].'”
If you want even more insight into Cersei’s psyche, read the entire interview at Time.