Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren’t known for extensive interviews, and that’s been particularly true after this final season. Not that it came as a surprise: for months before the final season aired, they made clear that their post-season plan was to hole up without an internet connnection, relax for the first time in a decade, and get drunk. It appears their vacation may be over, as they have now addressed the final season in a new video interview coming out of Japan.
This surprising interview comes from Star Channel, the Japanese group of premium television channels that airs Game of Thrones. The showrunners were asked about the show’s legacy has turned out to be in their lives and to the world:
“To have [the show] become what it became, and to be able to spend not one year or two years but more than ten years of our lives making it at this level, with [all] the people [behind the camera] that we got to work with…”, Weiss trails off. “We didn’t have any idea that the show would be so big,” Benioff follows up his companion’s thought. “When we first started going to Northern Ireland, where we shot the show, the customs officers would ask us what we were doing there; we’s say ‘we’re working on this show…’ [and they’d be like] ‘what is it, Game of Thornes?’ And then, by the third season, [at London’s] Heathrow Airport, the [customs] guy was reading A Game of Thrones, George’s book, and we knew that something was starting to cross the threshold of public awareness.”
For the first time since the finale, the showrunners address the controversial final season, with Benioff highlighting his favorite scene when asked about it:
“One [season eight scene] that sticks out to me, because Brienne of Tarth has always been one of our favorite characters, is the moment where she’s knighted by Jaime Lannister; it’s just a wonderful thing in the story, and to see Gwen’s face in that moment… I’ve probably seen that scene four hundred times and every time it gets me. It makes me a little bit thrilled, it makes me tear up. I love that scene.”
Regarding the infamous coffee cup incident a few episodes later, in which a coffee shop cup briefly appeared on the table during a feast scene in “The Last of the Starks”, Benioff gets a bit philosophical about it, though with a definite tone of irony:
“I think in Persian rugs it’s tradition that you make a little mistake when making the rug, because only God can do anything perfect, so for us I guess that just was our [mistake].” Weiss interrupts, jokingly: “That’s why I put the coffee cup there. Conscious, concerted statement of our imperfection.” The real answer, provided by Benioff, is of course not as funny: “We were concentrating so much on Daenerys and Jon Snow that we just didn’t see this coffee cup right in the middle. So, at first I couldn’t believe it, and then it was embarassment; ‘how did we not see this coffee cup in the middle of the shot?’. And then, eventually, it was just funny. This one is just a mistake, and it’s kind of funny to us now.”
Finally, as for the the astounding (and record-breaking) 32 Emmy nominations the final season received, Weiss welcomes them for the sake of the cast and crew’s hard work but rather candidly admits he did not expect the show to break its own record again:
“It was kind of surprising? I did not know that we expected [that]. At least in my mind, I thought that the [previous] season would have been the peak and that we would’ve ended up with maybe a couple less, at best,” Weiss emphasizes. “I felt very happy for all of our team of people, all of the actors and all of the crew who got recognized. Each made us feel really proud of them and happy for them, because we know first-hand how hard they worked; we saw it every day for many years.”
“And it’s also just fun,” Benioff interjects, “because once people get nominated, that means they come to L.A. for the ceremonies. Ten of the actors are nominated, and so many of the crew members, so it’s just a great excuse for everyone to get drunk again.”
That’s the spirit! Literally, perhaps.