The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones featured betrayal, triumph, and tragedy. In “The Bells,” we saw a grieving and despondent Daenerys finally win her victory over Queen Cersei – only to have it turn to literal ashes. Many characters were taken from us, while others were traumatized by the unleashing of “fire and blood.” Where does the story go from here? We have one more Sunday to find out. In the meantime, let’s break down this episode like Drogon broke down the Red Keep with today’s interviews and videos!
Cersei Lannister met her end last night, and Lena Headey reveals to Entertainment Weekly that “it’s maybe the first time that Cersei has been at peace.” She starts off the season “desperately unhappy and everything that’s happened becomes more real than it ever has for her. She starts to lose control of the situation. She’s destroyed every good alliance, connection, love in her life — she was always destined to be alone. And until the very, very last minute, she is, as ever, in denial of what’s actually happening.”
However, as death comes for her, Jaime appears to comfort her in her final moments. “I think the biggest surprise is he came back for her. Cersei realizes just how she loves him and just how much he loves her. It’s the most authentic connection she’s ever had. Ultimately they belong together.” Headey adds, “I told Nikolaj [Coster-Waldau], ‘I’ve never seen you so sweet and sentimental.’ And he’s all, ‘What’s happening to me?’ We kept cuddling going ‘I love you.’ It was weird. There’s a sense of loss that nothing like this will ever happen again. There was a great sense of grief and an enormous amount of gratitude going on.”
For more of Headey’s reflections on her time with Game of Thrones, check out the article here.
EW brings us an interview with Conleth Hill as well, whose character, Varys, was executed for treason. Hill had mixed feelings about his death, saying, “I took it very personally. I took it as a person, not as an actor or an artist. I understood the reactions of previous actors who had been in the same position a lot more than I did at the time. You can’t help feeling that you failed in some way, that you haven’t lived up to some expectation that you didn’t know about.”
He may not have been happy about the consequence, but Hill believes Varys’ actions were noble. “He was absolutely true to his word the whole way through. All he wanted was the right person on the throne and a fair person on the throne. He said it so many times in the scripts. I don’t have the distraction of love or desire or any of those things. And the people he needed to see clearly were both in love. So that makes perfect sense.”
Varys will be missing from the finale, but Hill knows what’s coming and isn’t sure how fans will take it. “I have no idea. I don’t know how I feel. I can’t anticipate it until it happens. I don’t think they’ll feel cheated. The fan favorites are all there.” Maybe so, but that doesn’t mean they will survive to the final credits!
Read the full interview at EW.
In our final interview, also from EW, Rory McCann expresses his satisfaction for how Sandor Clegane goes out. “I’m very happy with the way The Hound’s story ends, thank you very much. I love all the endings. I don’t know how they managed to sew it all together. I don’t know how it goes with George R.R. Martin’s ending, if it’s the same or no.”
During the table read, McCann remarks that “it was quite funny when the so-called Cleganebowl started. I secretly brought a trumpet with me. [Co-executive producer Bryan Cogman] is reading [the stage directions] and I’m like, ‘Can you pause right before I say one of my last lines?’ He did and I brought out this trumpet and [blew it]. I got butterflies in my stomach over that fight.” If only he had brought an airhorn…
McCann feels “absolutely delighted” with the conclusion to his arc, saying, “I’m blessed to be given this storyline…Maybe he could have found peace and wandered off. But this is a fine way to go. It seems pretty beautiful to me. How lucky to be an actor who ends up on one of the biggest and best shows in the world. I see panic in some [fellow castmates] eyes: ‘What are we going to do now?’ Relax. Don’t worry. We’re on the map now.” They certainly are.
The entire article is worth a read, so be sure to head over to EW for the rest.
In this week’s “Inside the Episode,” David Benioff and Dan Weiss break down the sequence of events that led to the destruction of King’s Landing.
The next two videos are from HBO’s website and are only available in the United States. Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, and Jacob Anderson examine why Daenerys makes a tragic decision in “The Mad Queen.”
In “The Hound’s Gift,” Maisie Williams discusses Arya’s relationship with Sandor, and why she chose to not to pursue revenge.
In case you missed it, here is the preview for the series finale – the end is finally at hand.
HBO offered up a preview today of The Last Watch, a two-hour documentary which premieres on May 26th on HBO. Director Jeanie Finlay has created “a farewell to Westeros with the people who built the realm,” according to HBO.