The seventh season of Game of Thrones ended with a bang – or should I say a crash – with last night’s finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf.” The longest episode of the series not only delivered a heart-stopping finish, it gave us satisfying character moments and important revelations: Jaime’s rejection of Cersei (praise the old gods and the new!), the Starks turning the game on Littlefinger resulting in his execution (ditto), the consummation of Jonerys, and Bran and Sam putting the final piece in the Jon Snow parentage puzzle. The season is sadly over but the Game of Thrones content is not, so let’s break down the finale like Viserion broke down the Wall with today’s interviews and videos!
Entertainment Weekly kicks things off with Aidan Gillen, who shares his thoughts on Littlefinger’s death. He wasn’t completely surprised to get the infamous call, but it was still hard to process. “You’re left a little bereft – for your character and for your experience. It also immediately makes you quantify the hugeness of what that experience has been over the last seven years, which has been massive.” Gillen was ultimately satisfied with how it was portrayed. “It’s better to go out at the end of [the season] with a good arc then at the start of episode 2…I’m glad I had a good story to finish with.”
Gillen admits he guessed how his character would meet his demise. “I did an interview with a publication [in 2015] and they asked me how I thought I would go. I said I thought Arya would deliver the blow. So it was as promised. And even within the scene, as soon as he walks in that room and Arya produces the dagger he knows the game is up,” he says. “[Littlefinger] at least suspected the game was up back in episode four when Bran told him, ‘Chaos is a ladder.’ For Bran to come up with that is beyond coincidental. That’s when the ground started to shift beneath my feet.”
What was it like filming his death scene? “I did find it quite emotional. And I don’t necessarily mean that I was sad, but it’s an emotional moment for the character so I felt what he was feeling…Bryan Cogman called people in and said a few words and my son was there with me,” Gillen explains. “And I got my mockingbird pin. I had already let them know I wanted it, and I cleverly worked it so I got two. There’s one from my cloak and one from my tunic. So I got the large and the small size — one for me and one for my son.”
Showrunner David Benioff had a few words to say about Littlefinger’s death as well. In a separate EW interview, he confesses, “It was one of the harder death calls we had to make…The fact that Littlefinger looms so large when people talk about the show, and when we think about the show, it’s really a credit to Aidan. Every scene he’s in manages to make you think about Littlefinger. And when he’s at the center of a scene – like his final scene in the finale – he’s completely mesmerizing.” Benioff adds, “We’ve had a lot of death scenes on this show and this is one of the great ones. Diana Rigg [as Olenna Tyrell] was so true to her character in the end, and Littlefinger was so true to his character — in his own cowardly, horrible way.” I’m sure I speak for most fans when I say Littlefinger won’t be missed, but Aiden Gillen surely will.
Maisie Williams talks to Making Game of Thrones about what it was like for Arya to come home to Winterfell. “I was thrilled to do so many scenes with Sansa, but also horrified that we’d be making each other’s lives hell. But we had so much fun on set. I haven’t even set foot on the Winterfell set since Season 1. It was quite emotional,” she admits. “It’s what people have been waiting for, the Stark reunion – we just need Jon to get home and Arya will be much happier, I’m sure.”
Things weren’t all sunshine and roses for Arya this season, however. Williams explains, “It’s been her dream for a really long time and I think that’s one of the biggest issues: when she gets back everything has changed and nothing will ever be the same again. When she gets there, she realizes she wanted to be home so she could be back with her family, but they’ve all been through so much it’s kind of bittersweet. So in typical Arya fashion, she goes hunting for trouble a little bit, and she finds it. It’s a shame.” She adds, “Everyone wants a happy reunion but that’s not what’s going to happen on Game of Thrones; it’s not realistic for what they’ve been through.”
Many fans disliked the Arya and Sansa conflict, but Williams felt it was necessary. “It’s important to have this test of loyalty between them; to have something they overcome together as a team. I’m thrilled that we got something cool to do and that they finally got rid of Littlefinger because he was the only real kink in the way that the North was running. You can’t have that great payoff in the final episode if there isn’t a journey to get you there.” Williams the payoff was more for Sansa than Arya though. “Arya executes him, but it’s really Sansa’s scene. And it’s showing a huge progression for her. It’s the moment we’ve all been waiting for…It’s a beautiful way for her to end the season, and to end Littlefinger’s storyline.”
Head to Making Game of Thrones for more.
Making Game of Thrones also interviewed Nikolaj Coster-Waldau about Jaime’s character arc over the last seven seasons. “In many ways, he is a different man than he was before he lost his hand. I think before he would just use brute force, just knowing, ‘Hey, I’m stronger than you, so even if you don’t like this, I’m just going to do it and you’re going to have to deal with the consequences.’ He can’t do that anymore, but I think it’s made him a better commander. He has been forced to understand and use empathy,” he says. “We saw last season at Riverrun when he managed to avoid a violent conflict just by talking to Edmure Tully. Jaime used his own understanding that as a father there’s nothing more terrifying than the idea of your children being killed or hurt…Even though it was a very brutal thing to do to Edmure, it was worth it, it actually saved the lives of thousands of people.”
Coster-Waldau also weighs in on Jaime’s toxic relationship with his sister and lover, Cersei, and how her deception in the finale was the last straw. “That was the moment. She’s so cynical on a level that he doesn’t understand. You don’t give your word in front of the whole world and then just f**k ‘em. That’s too far. The fact is, yes there’s always been a lot of deceit, but Jaime is actually pretty straightforward when it comes to ‘walking the walk’ and all that,” he explains. “He’s thinking, ‘You commit to something, and you’ve just seen this thing is real, what the hell…?’ She takes it to a place that he can’t follow her to.”
Over at Esquire, Coster-Waldau share more insight into Jaime’s decision to leave. “Obviously, the right thing is what Cersei does to begin with – that they’re all going to fight this and see what happens after. Her argument before was that they have to fight these foreign invaders; now she’s suddenly saying that she’s getting an army of foreign invaders to fight for her,” he admits. “Fundamentally, it’s the wrong thing on any moral scale that he knows…She shows so little respect for him as a human being, as a counselor, as a partner, for everything. He’s had enough.” He adds, “When he says, ‘I don’t believe you,’ it’s not just that he doesn’t believe she’s going to kill him. For me, at least, it was more [like], ‘That’s it, I don’t love you anymore. You’re on your own.’ Why it took him so long, god only knows, but he got there in the end.”
Does Coster-Waldau have any thoughts on Jaime’s next move? “I do think he’s heading north, unless he’s tricking us all and goes south and just says, ‘I’m getting the hell out of here..’ The double-double-double cross. ‘I lost my hand, what am I even going to do up there?’ He could just be in a row boat getting away,” he jokes. “No, I do believe that he’s joining them in the north. You know there are all these swords of Valyrian steel, and you would think those five would all be somewhere in the mix.” Heading north? Let’s hope he has time to reunite with Brienne before it’s too late.
Back at Entertainment Weekly, Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington share their feelings about Jon’s parentage and what it was like filming that love scene together. Clarke believes that Jon being Daenerys’ nephew could pose a problem, not only because of the incest but because Daenerys doesn’t want anyone taking her claim. “I’ve worked so hard, I don’t want to share that throne,” she explains. “No. The throne’s big enough for one dragon bum, and that’s mine. That’s it!” Of course, Daenerys was willing to make a marriage alliance as of last season, so who knows?
Clarke and Harington are friends, so Harington had a tough time getting into character for their big moment. “Usually you go into a movie and meet [your costar] for the first time and you develop that chemistry over that time,” he says. “But if you’ve known somebody for seven years and shared this incredible journey in your own lives together … we’re both kind of freaking out about it. I would be like, ‘What’s the sexual tension in this scene?’ and she’s like, ‘Stop talking about sexual tension!’”
That “sexual tension” developed over the course of the season, and Clarke admits that Daenerys was fighting her feelings in last week’s episode. “She’s just like: Why don’t I want you do go? Why don’t I want you — doooooon’t fall for him. Don’t do it! There’s a battle going in on herself.” Hopefully the two won’t battle each other when the truth about Jon is revealed. Harington doesn’t know what will happen when they find out. “That part of it, I can’t predict,” he confesses. “It could be them walking off into the sunset. It could be them killing each other.” Don’t crush the shippers dreams so soon, Kit.
Read the rest at EW.
Harington also speaks with Deadline about his expectations for the final season. He admits he doesn’t know what’s coming, but says, “I’m about to find that out as of quite soon when we get together and do a read-through for the final episodes, which I really can’t describe to you. Only a few people are privy to all that information but it’s what we’ve been waiting for for all these years. We’ve all been discussing in bars as actors and together on set what will happen in the final season…Of course, you guys won’t get to find out for a long time.” Don’t rub it in.
Harington does have some ideas for where the story will go, however, and it’s not pretty. “If you ask me what I think will happen I think it’s got to end with some serious fighting. You have to presume that that Army of the Dead is going to take a little while to get south, but we just don’t know. So it’s a hell of an ending because it’s the thing that we’ve all been waiting for, they’re now south of the Wall.” He adds, “With so few characters left, what [viewers] should get used to and get ready for next year is Thrones returning to form and killing its main characters quickly. They’re going to go, and they’re going to go fast, and I think that the payoff of our characters not being in great peril this year will be that, next year, it’s going to be a bloodbath.”
What does Harington hope fans take away from this penultimate season of Game of Thrones? “I think this has been a lot of like holding of breath this season, a lot of kind of huge amount of adrenaline that they’ve gone through, more so than most…we hit them with this very, very, very fast-paced, incredibly adrenaline-filled season where everyone meets, and a lot of things happen, and the dragons go batshit crazy,” he confesses. “I hope that instead of it being a slow roller coaster, I think that they’ll have enjoyed the pace that it’s picked up on, and then they’ll now know what they’re in for for the last one. They’ll now be used to this Thrones, which is a slightly different Thrones, but one where it always had to end. It had to end on this massive level.”
For more from Harington, head to Deadline.
The Hollywood Reporter checks in with Liam Cunningham who discusses the fall of the Wall, Jon’s legitimacy, and what really matters as we approach the endgame. Cunningham share his reaction to reading about the Wall collapsing in the script, saying, “There was an inevitability about it, really…you know it’s going to come up somewhere down the line. It’s only taken us seven years to get to the point where they’re coming across to take on the Seven Kingdoms. So there was obviously an inevitability about it. That’s what’s so exciting about the show. How are they going to do it? How are they going to make it work? How are they going to make it look gorgeous? I think they’ve managed to do that.”
What does Cunningham think will happen now that Jon Snow has a claim to the Iron Throne? “He has the rights to be the king. Don’t forget, in episode six, which we saw last Sunday, he just bent the knee, even though he was in bed at the time. He has metaphorically said he’s bending the knee to his queen…Is he going to turn around to her and go, ‘So, about that knee that I bent…’ That’s going to make things incredibly awkward, in the middle of a having a hundred thousand White Walkers and wights and the Night King coming through the Wall.” He adds, “I think the priority is going to be to save the place first, and work out the politics a bit later on.”
Cunningham believes that all the petty squabbling over Westeros needs to be put aside for the war to come. “We’ve gone from politics and diplomacy, and now we’re into survival. That’s what the priority is,” he explains. “The bad guys and the good guys are going to have to come together now, to sort out the really bad guy: the Night King. I’m interested to see it. We obviously haven’t seen the scripts [for the final season], but I’m interested to see what the dynamics are going to be. Differences are going to have to be put aside.” Let’s hope Cersei finally sees reason…but I’m not holding my breath.
Go to THR for more.
In this season’s final “Inside the Episode,” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss share insight into the feigned Arya/Sansa conflict resulting in Littlefinger’s death, the conflicting factions meeting in the Dragonpit, Jaime’s decision to – finally! – leave Cersei, Jon’s claim to the Iron Throne and how it could complicate things with Daenerys, and the powerful and devastating moment when the Wall came tumbling down.
The cast and crew break down character relationships and the politics of the Dragonpit scene.
Finally, Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage, and Isaac Hempstead Wright discuss the ramifications of Jon’s parentage and his relationship with Daenerys.