Last night’s episode was aptly named, with “Stormborn” opening on Daenerys musing about her birth and ending with Euron “bringing the storm” to his niece and nephew. It also brought us some interesting new character interactions and long-awaited reunions, as well as teasing a much-anticipated meeting to come! Let’s take a deep dive into “Stormborn” with interviews and videos from the cast and crew.
Entertainment Weekly brings us several interviews with the cast. First, Nathalie Emmanuel discusses that pivotal moment in Missandei and Grey Worm’s relationship. “We’ve seen them show their interest in each other, we’ve seen them in a round about way express it for each other, but not really say it. This point is the climax and they physically act upon it.” Emmanual adds, “There’s something unique about it purely because of Grey Worm’s situation – his brutal history of being mutilated – there’s a real sense of trust here…For him to do that is a really big deal and Missandei knows that and doesn’t really care. She just loves him and that intimacy they’ve shared comes to a head.”
Nude scenes are always stressful, so Emmanuel was a bit apprehensive at first. “When I read the script the first thing I thought was that it’s a big deal for these two characters and also it’s a nude scene and you can’t help but think about that,” she says. “That was really strange for Jacob and I because we’ve danced around that scenario and we’ve become good mates and now we got to be naked around each other…It was treated very well and very respectfully and I feel like we had a really great day showing these two characters being completely vulnerable with each other. And it sort of helps the scene to actually feel very vulnerable and exposed.”
Emmanuel feels that their relationship is a bright spot in a typically dark show. “Amongst this chaos they’re like this beacon of something sweet and pure and beautiful. There’s love displayed in this show in so many ways but it’s normally so tragic. They have tragedy in their past but they found something useful from that and I love how the showrunners have decided to preserve that.” Where does Emmanuel see their relationship going? “You hope those two have a happy ending,” she says. “But you try not even say it out loud.”
Read the rest at EW.
Ben Hawkey dishes on Hot Pie’s return (he was last seen in season four’s “Mockingbird”) and tender reunion with Arya. He found out he was returning to the show last August, and was understandably surprised. “It was a really big shock. I wasn’t expecting to be coming back at all.” He adds, “I was confused. I didn’t know why they needed me, to be honest. I only recently just watched all the episodes. I hadn’t seen any of it.”
Once he read the script, however, Hawkey was pleased. “It was really nice. It’s like a perfect little Hot Pie scene…It’s nice to be a lighter character in a really dark series.” He also enjoyed working with Maisie Williams again after so many years. “It’s interesting because we’ve both grown up quite a bit,” Hawkey says. “I was just about to say we’re no longer immature but we both still are!” When asked if we will see any more of Hot Pie, Hawkey replies, “I’d be happy to come back. But if not, that’s good as well.” Given the dire circumstances headed to Westeros, perhaps it’s best if Hot Pie lives a quiet life at the inn – offscreen.
Head over to EW for the full interview.
Maisie Williams and Bryan Cogman break down that other big reunion, Arya and her direwolf Nymeria. For years, fans have asked Williams if Arya’s wolf would return. “Ever since the show got rid of Nymeria, it’s one of the questions I’ve been tweeted the most. It’s even nicer that they don’t live happily ever after. Nymeria has created her own world and created her own pack and isn’t ready to be Arya’s pet,” she explains. “To be someone’s pet would reverse everything she’s learned. So they almost just regard each other and go their separate ways.”
Cogman agrees. “So much of this season is swinging back to season one; since we last had Arya in the Riverlands she’s had all these crazy adventures. In a television show that’s all about Nymeria the Wolf, she’s had adventures too,” he says. “She’s gathered this pack of wolves and is now doing the Old Gods’ work herself. Arya and Nymeria do and don’t have the connection they’ve always had. In the end, they’re both lone wolves. They can’t go back to the way things were. And that might be foreshadowing for Arya too.” That could have some interesting implications for Arya if she does finally reunite with her family this season.
Go to EW for more.
Gemma Whelan and Indira Varma dish on their onscreen kiss. “It wasn’t directed that we would kiss,” Whelan admits. “It just seemed like something we should do. We led it, very much so. It was meant to be a suggestion [of flirting] and then it became more sexual than we expected because it seemed right. There was only a skeleton crew working because the rig could only take so much weight, so we were left very much on our own. And who wouldn’t want to kiss Indira? I mean, come on!”
Unfortunately Whelan’s stunt double had to fill in for part of the scene and was a bit unnerved by the experience, according to Varma. “Gemma had hurt her back so there were some stunts she couldn’t do,” Varma says. “So I had to start kissing this poor stunt double and she was so terrified! That was quite funny, bless her. I don’t think she’d ever been put in that situation before. She’s used to falling over and being attacked and all the stunts, but to be kissed by an actress was a bit beyond her.”
For more on that scene and the big battle, check out EW.
Finally, Jessica Henwick shares her thoughts on her character Nymeria’s death at the hands of Euron Greyjoy. Henwick, who currently stars on Netflix’s Iron Fist, had a difficult time getting away long enough to film. “The plan was for it to be a more of a drawn out storyline. But because of my limited schedule [the story changed],” she explains. “The first thing I thought was that it’s brutal. It’s hard reading these scenes where characters you love are getting absolutely demolished. And in our case, it’s by a crazy madman. I knew it was going to be very intense and very physical.”
That assumption turned out to be correct, as Henwick can attest. “[The shoot] was grueling. It was one of the few occasions where it was more intense on set than it will be on screen. Normally there’s a lot of CG and you watch it on screen and you see a massive epic battle, but when you’re filming it’s all quite tame by comparison. For this, the audience can’t feel the heat on their face from the pyrotechnics going off or feel the wave machine trying to knock us off our feet, or the sweat dripping off our faces.” Henwick adds, “They were blowing burning embers onto us. One of the stunt double’s wigs caught fire. And some of the stunt doubles fell through the balsa wood floor of the ship. It was hard, night shoots, we were really battling the elements they had created. I’m sure it’s going to look great but it was bigger in real life than on screen.”
How does Henwick feel about the portrayal of the Sand Snakes and their reception by fans? “In the books, there are seven Sand Snakes and there was a lot of discussions about how many were going to be introduced. Originally it was going to be Obara, Tyene and then they couldn’t decide on Sarella or Nymeria. Obviously, I’m very lucky Nymeria ended up being the one they chose. It was always acknowledged that it was going to be very hard to give each of us a storyline,” she admits. “When you’re limited to an introduction of two lines per character and there are four characters in the scene…it’s hard to create a lasting impression.” Henwick has made her peace with it now. “At the time it was definitely frustrating feeling like there’s so much potential here, and a lot of the stuff that we shot didn’t make the final cut. It was hard. But overall, given the size of the character, I’ve been very happy with how it’s come out. It is what it is.”
Read the full interview at EW.
One of the more controversial moments to come out of last night’s episode was Theon’s (Alfie Allen) abandonment of his sister Yara to his uncle, Euron. In an interview with Making Game of Thrones, Allen shares his take on Theon’s mindset during that scene and the challenges of portraying it accurately. “Going back to the imagery of what he saw back then, and allowing that to flood back in [was the most difficult part]. Also, as an actor, having to delve back into something that was so long ago in his arc is pretty crazy,” he says. “But it’s always been there throughout; it’s just gauging what brings him back, how much is created in his own head, and how much is an effective threat. I would say he’s in a better place, but he’s still definitely harkening back to those memories.”
Allen continues, “There’s conflicting emotions for him, because he’s sort of back in battle mode, which he hasn’t been in for a long, long time. The sight of blood is going to remind him of physical pain or mental torment. It brings him back to that place, and he’s torn as to what to do. The reptilian part of his brain just takes over.” You can definitely see the struggle on his face before Theon’s past catches up with him, and he breaks.
The physical aspect of filming was much more enjoyable for Allen. “It was a great thing to shoot. We had an amazing set up. It was all this crazy s**t out in a parking lot, and then they use a blue screen for the ocean stuff. I’m always excited to shoot the stuff between me and Gemma [Whelan] because she’s fantastic to work with and we’ve built up a relationship over the years. We definitely feel like we are siblings.” Despite the fun, the emotional side of leaving his sister to her fate was rough. “It was a heartbreaking moment,” Allen admits.
Check out Making Game of Thrones for the rest.
Pilou Asbaek also spoke with Making Game of Thrones about his character, Euron Greyjoy. “I’m so glad we made some radical decisions for the character regarding Season 7. When I came on board in Season 6, I was such a big fan. I wanted to do a good job. When I got the new pages for Season 7, I was like: What if Euron would be different with every single person he’s with? What if he was charming with Cersei? But when you meet his niece and nephew, he’s f**king brutal?” Asbaek explains, “It’s based on the guys who have these social abilities to climb the ladder and still be totally ice-cold. When you’re with them, they say what you want to hear. The moment you leave the room, they transform into something else. They’re social chameleons. You never know where you’ve got him.”
When asked why Euron wants to ally with Cersei, Asbaek replies, “When Euron says a line, he believes in it. In the scene with Nikolaj [Coster-Waldau] and Lena [Headey] Euron actually meant every single word – ever since he was a little boy, he wanted to grow up and marry the most beautiful woman in the world. If you look at Cersei, and how Lena portrays her, she is an extremely beautiful and powerful woman. What’s not attractive? There’s nothing more sexy than a powerful woman who stands up for herself.”
What was Euron thinking when he saw Theon jump ship at the end of the last episode? “He knew it. You can hear it in his laughter. He wants to break Theon down and see the humiliation. Or, even better, he wanted Theon to stand up for himself. Because why doesn’t Euron kill Yara? He should kill her!” Asbaek explains. Perhaps he should, but Asbaek says Euron may want to toy with Yara first. “I think he wants to keep her for fun. I think if Yara is dead, she’s of no use. He wants something to negotiate with, always. That’s the reason why he’s not 100% evil. I think for him, it’s about the game. He loves the game more than he loves the result.” Unfortunately death may be a better option for Yara, as Asbaek teases, “[In the] next episode, he’s going to be a f**king brutal man.”
Read the entire interview at Making Game of Thrones.
In this week’s “Inside the Episode” David Benioff and D.B. Weiss give more insight into Arya’s reunion with Nymeria, King Jon’s evolution as a leader, the dynamics of Daenerys’ war council, and the Greyjoy confrontation.
Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, and Indira Varma take us deeper into Daenerys’ war council and the conflicting factions
Lastly, several of the cast and crew dissect the complex sea battle that closed out the episode.