New Emilia Clarke and Kit Haringon interviews; Photographers Helen Sloan and Macall Polay discuss the chaos of Game of Thrones

Photo credit Macall Polay for HBO

Photo credit Macall Polay for HBO

In addition to the Game of Thrones cover story, Time also brings us several interviews today. First up, Emilia Clarke shares how playing Daenerys has changed her, her mixed feelings about onscreen nudity, and her love for her dragons.

When Clarke was offered the role of Daenerys Targaryen, she had recently graduated from drama school and Thrones was her first real job. Consequently, she felt real pressure to perform. “I was just petrified! I genuinely was so scared — I was so fresh out, a year and a bit, so I’d done a couple of little things, but this was the first proper thing that I’d ever done,” Clarke admits. “I was just thinking at any moment they would fire me, and at any moment they’d be like, Just joking, take the wig off.”

Despite her fears, Clarke has made the role her own and has even taken on some of Daenerys’ characteristics herself. “Growing up on the show…there’s a number of times when the parallels between me and her have been sort of astonishing. Ultimately, Daenerys’s main arc is the arc of a girl to a woman. And then to a kind of woman who’s like, Wait a second! OK, I got here, I’m a big girl, but maybe I’m going to be a totally different person!” She continues, “And that’s really exciting because her changes have come at a point where I feel comfortable enough to explore them as a human being.”

Regarding her early nude scenes and subsequent decision to remain clothed on the show, Clarke feels both choices were necessary for the character.  “I’ve said it a thousand times and I’ll say it again: People wouldn’t give two sh-ts about Daenerys if you didn’t see her suffer. We saw her suffer in season 1. Did I suffer a little bit from that? Of course I did, it’s my first job!” As her character has matured, however, Clarke believes the nudity is no longer necessary. “I don’t think that it was an active, ‘I’m never going to take my clothes off choice.’ It’s just a thing where, the roles that came up and the show itself has unfolded in a way where she no longer does that. Where you want to draw parallels as a character, with Daenerys’s strength in keeping her clothes, is kind of obvious.”

Daenerys also finds strength in her dragons. According to Clarke, “There’s something about this maternal connection I had with the dragons from day [one]. I really got into Daenerys’s head, and the dragons are on so many levels the only children she’ll ever know. She has a huge amount of love to give, and all her family’s gone. She’s alone. There is no one character that has ever connected with her in a way that has left her feeling secure.”

For the full interview, head over to Time.

Next up, Kit Harington dishes about the strenuous nature of filming for the sweeping, larger-than-life world of Game of Thrones. “You have to sometimes go into a zone with Thrones where you just shut off everything around you, because everything has to be so detailed. The background has to be in exactly the right place, the smoke has to be the right level, the light has to be right — there’s a hundred things that have to be right. At any one moment, the take could not work, because of any of those elements,” he explains. “It’s exactly like shooting Lord of the Rings. Any big, epic movie would be like that. And it’s a different way of acting where it can get very frustrating, but you have to zone out the background noise a bit.”

Harington experiences more than his share of grueling shoots playing Jon Snow, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. “I think I was picked to be Jon Snow because there’s quite a lot of me in Jon Snow…How [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] envisioned Jon Snow — they found, hopefully the right person for it.” Harington has tried to live up to their expectations, saying, “How I’ve shaped him over the years, I always felt it was going to be a long journey, it was always going to be eight years in my mind. So you want that character to learn and learn and learn, and then develop.” He continues, “This year there is this huge seismic shift where all of what he’s learned over the years, suddenly… He’s still the same Jon, but he grows up.”

Does Harington have any inkling what’s in store for Jon’s future? “I had certain theories and things up until this last year, so many theories,” he admits. “[For my performance,] I shouldn’t be trying to endgame. He doesn’t know the end, I don’t know the end — he’s living it bit by bit. But I can’t wait to read it. I feel like it’s going to be one of those things where they get us into a room to read them, so there’s no leakage.”

As the show winds to a close, Harington is trying to make his peace with leaving Game of Thrones behind. “I think we’ve all tried to come to terms with that this year. I sound like someone’s dying, but it does feel like someone’s dying. We won’t have time to say goodbye to it, emotionally. For all of us, it’s been an emotional thing in our lives—it’s been all of my twenties.” He isn’t one for long farewells however. “I’m trying to say a quiet goodbye to it this year, so next year I can just do my job and get the f–k out.”

Read the entire interview at Time.

Photo credit: Helen Sloan for HBO

Photo credit: Helen Sloan for HBO

Finally, set photographers Helen Sloan and Macall Polay reveal that actors aren’t the only ones who have rough days on set. It can be difficult to remain unobtrusive during the constant action of Thrones, as they can attest. “You want to be as stealth as possible,” Polay says. “There’s no sort of normal day on Game of Thrones. One day we’re kind of on a nice boat in the middle of a lake and the next day we’re setting fire to Dave the stuntman and chucking him off the side of said boat,” Sloan adds. “You have to just approach each day as it comes.”

Staying focused in the midst of the sprawling sets and multitude of cast and crew is not an easy job. “It’s really hard to explain this kind of bizarre dance to anyone who hasn’t been on a film set and it’s my job to capture this crazy circus,” Sloan admits. “Your senses are bombarded.”

There is definitely one scene that stands out for Sloan in terms of difficulty, however. “I think for me, the most difficult thing to shoot and to deal with of the seven seasons has been the Battle of the Bastards,” she says. “It was just chaos. I’m standing there and there’s 360 degrees of cool stuff to take photos of. You’re constantly going, ‘I’m not getting everything, I’m not covering it.’ There’s just so much going on.”

The show coming to a close weighs on Sloan’s mind as well. “I think it’s going to be really hard when it’s all over, I think that’s when it’s going to be hard to adjust back to normal life. It’ll be like that romance that you just never get over.”

Check out the rest at Time.

52 responses

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    1. Another interview and no one praising season 7. Im worried.

      Now even saying the crazyiest thing was the BotB, my hype is just going down.

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    2. Wow, I did not realize that this was Emilia’s first job out of acting school! But that fit so well in that first season, just like Emilia was learning the ropes, so was Dany .

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    3. Aguero:
      Another interview and no one praising season 7. Im worried.

      Now even saying the crazyiest thing was the BotB, my hype is just going down.

      Yeah all these interviews and really no hype at all. 17 days away and no episode title either. We got the S6 premiere episode title 17 days before the premiere last year. Looks like they are really pushing it this time and with the 4th of July holiday weekend looks like no announcement until at least Wednesday

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    4. zod,

      i do pay atention in every detail of each season, and one that is bothering me a lot this season is the same that bothered me before season 5 airs, the cast and the producers are not praising the season too much, they are not saying things like ´´ its the best season´´ ´´its fantastic´´ ´´its epic´´ its insane´´ ´´its the best by far´´ ´´we don have a single week episode´´ things like this that show how much they are excited and proud of what they ve done, and wee saw a LOT of this in season 4 and season 6 and they were my favorites, all i read is, ´´yeah , very interesting season´´ ´´yeah, great new meetings´´ ´´yeah, he/she might do that, and hes not safe…etc´´ but never excited about the season and saying how epic will be, The only time we had someone hyping was emilia, and maise , saying we ´re not prepared and would be crazy ,but they were just talking about the scripts, they didn even started at filming, and even now emilia that is ALWAYS prasing every season dont hype, im really worried not gonna lie, i noticed in season 5 the same thing , was a good season but not as i expected.

      im not gonna lie, im REALLY worried about what they done with season 7, you would be ALWAYS talking good things about something that is good, epic, the best, and they are not praising their own season, the cast, the producers that already saw the 7 episodes done, even less than season 5, i not liking at all the way this is going.

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    5. That’s not necessarily true. I remember for example Iain Glen (Jorah) saying recently in an interview with EW : “I wrote to Dan and David and I said I thought they were the best seven episodes they’ve ever written” “The story is going toward a conclusion. There’s no sense of treading water. You have storylines colliding. And the evolving drama and relationships are as good as they have ever been.”

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    6. I know lots of people have issues with season 5 but IMHO Emilia Clarke deserved an Emmy for her season 5 acting.

      Emilia Clarke was good in season 6 but I think she was much better in season 5.

      I like season 5 a lot because of the game play by Cersei, Lady Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger. Jon Snow is billiant in season 5. And the Tyrion Jorah Mormont story and acting is outstanding too. Daenery’s was great being the Queen!!!!!

      I think HBO is going to announce the first episode of season 7 title tomorrow June 30th 2017 so stay tuned watchers.

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    7. Aguero,

      This is from today : “Outside the stage, VFX supervisor Joe Bauer commented on the ever-increasing size of the production: “At first we had a season with one big event, then we had a season with two big events, now we have a season where every episode is a big event.” In particular, this incoming battle with wights and White Walkers is described as dazzling and grand in its scope.”

      What Casey Bloys has to say about S7 : “The show has proven that TV is every bit as impressive and in many cases moreso than film. What they’re doing is monumental. When you see these battles in season 7, and what I imagine season 8 will be, it’s a big, big show. We’ve done a lot of great shows, but this one combines the complex characters we love with a huge cinematic scope. I think this is the first show to prove that can be done — and we’re the first people to pay for it.”

      There is no doubt about Bloys’ pride concerning season seven: “I don’t want to oversell, but I can’t imagine anybody being disappointed in this season. It’s amazing.”

      And then there’s the last trailer that promises a Field of Fire 2.0, a giant battle against wights and white walkers and a naval battle. Isn’t that “epic” enough for you?

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    8. zod,

      yes i know, i saw it, its nice see people who work there say these things but the Own cast and the own producers dont say NOTHING praising the season, like, why??? you can say good things, its not a spoiler say good things, and like i said, they did with season 4 and 6 A LOT. I just want the cast saying amazing things about the season that is almost here, and they just say its a ´´season interesting, with meetings´´, an nothing else and even DD don t praise it and they for sure already saw all the 7 episodes finished. And now even this woman is saying that in the 7 season the crazy thing still the battle of the bastard, NO, just NO, you dont do a next season with 7 episodes and the same money for 10 episodes or even more and dont overcome the next season.

      im waiting for the red carpet and hope listen from them the things i want to hear, its my last hope to be more relax before it airs, since we having 100 interviews for day an nobody praises season 7.

      I hope its just a silly concern bout my part but its what you do when you proud of something you did, you praises it.

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    9. Jack Bauer 24,

      Jack, get out of your bubble, please. The reason they don’t build the hype or release an episode title (which, in the end, is also really trivial to most people), is because they simply don’t need to prove themselves anymore. Not to “regular’ fans, and certainly not to us ‘diehards”. The last two episodes spoke for themselves. Simple as that. The Great War is here. That’s all they need to say.

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    10. Aguero:
      zod,

      yes i know, i saw it, its nice see people who work there say these things but the Own cast and the own producers dont say NOTHING praising the season, like, why??? you can say good things, its not a spoiler say good things, and like i said, they did with season 4 and 6 A LOT. I just want the cast saying amazing things about the season that is almost here, and they just say its a ´´season interesting, with meetings´´, an nothing else and even DD don t praise it and they for sure already saw all the 7 episodes finished. And now even this woman is saying that in the 7 season the crazy thing still the battle of the bastard, NO, just NO, you dont do a next season with 7 episodes and the same money for 10 episodes or even more and dont overcome the next season.

      im waiting for the red carpet and hope listen from them the things i want to hear, its my last hope to be more relax before it airs, since we having 100 interviews for day an nobody praises season 7.

      I hope its just a silly concern bout my part but its what you do when you proud of something you did, you praises it.

      Sunday will be 2 weeks away and they aren’t saying anything. Usually they hype it up at the Red Carpet which normally should have been Sunday but we don’t have that.

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    11. firstone:
      I know lots of people have issues with season 5 but IMHO Emilia Clarke deserved an Emmy for her season 5 acting.

      Emilia Clarke was good in season 6 but I think she was much better in season 5.

      I like season 5 a lot because of the game play by Cersei, Lady Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger. Jon Snow is billiant in season 5. And the Tyrion Jorah Mormont story and acting is outstanding too. Daenery’s was great being the Queen!!!!!

      I think HBO is going to announce the first episode of season 7 title tomorrow June 30th 2017 so stay tuned watchers.

      A lot of people started the long weekend for the 4th of July holiday. Probably not until at least Wednesday

        Quote  Reply

    12. Aguero,

      People like you really need to chill out. These sorts of reactions show how beholden some people in the fandom have become to what the cast and crew think of their own work. If they say it’s going to be amazing, people fawn over it and don’t use an ounce of critical thinking.

      If they don’t hype it up as much as you want them to, you start assuming it’s going to suck and lose excitement.

      Hey, how about you watch it when it airs and form your own opinion ?

      You shouldn’t need the showrunners or the cast to tell you that the show is good. If it’s good, we can tell on our own, if it’s not, we can also tell on our own.

      I think letting their work speak for itself is much better than hyping it up excessively.

      At least this way your expectations aren’t absurdly high.

        Quote  Reply

    13. Aguero,

      Humble people don’t feel the need to endlessly praise their own work. People who are confident in the quality of their product don’t feel the need to endlessly brag. The creators of other good shows don’t do it, and certainly not “ALWAYS”. The GoT cast and crew have had a bad habit of telling people how great it’s going to be before we get a chance to judge it for ourselves.

      Perhaps they’ve finally realized that not bragging is A) less obnoxious, B) more professional and C) less likely to yield unrealistic expectations.

        Quote  Reply

    14. Markus Stark,

      you are right totaly , its just my paranoid about being so excited that i fear its gonna be bad since they no hyping us. i will forget it by now and really do as you say, watch and see.

        Quote  Reply

    15. Ryan,

      Yes but in the early seasons Emilia was naked more than she needed to be, per interviews she was proud of the Khal naked season because it meant something for her character and out the story forward.

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    16. Really loved the bit when Emilia calls dragons Dany’s only true family, it’s sad as hell but bookDany makes quite a few references to that especially after Jorah’s betrayal so I’m glad Emilia gets that

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    17. But, but…. Kit isn’t bubbly enough…. he isn’t enthusiastic enough… he clearly doesn’t care about the show and his character because he’s not spazzing…. he should smile more…. JK lol 😛

      Clearly GoT is cancelled!111 No ratings!111 /sarcasm

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    18. My unyielding hype from the season, comes from the two finest trailers I’ve ever seen for a TV show
      D&D don’t need to oversell it. Their work should speak for itself.

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    19. Jack Bauer 24: Yeah all these interviews and really no hype at all. 17 days away and no episode title either. We got the S6 premiere episode title 17 days before the premiere last year. Looks like they are really pushing it this time and with the 4th of July holiday weekend looks like no announcement until at least Wednesday

      I hope there is not too many battles in season 7…

      I like the way D&D wrote and produced the battles in season 2 The War of the 5 Kings, which is pretty reversed. The Blackwater episode is 10/10…

      In season 7 I hope the younger generation of the Starks step up and match the quality of characters of Ned Robb and Catelyn Stark. Jon Sansa and Arya are always good but season 6 could have been better.

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    20. Dave the stuntman – you the real MVP!!!😉

      Emilia sounds like how I felt when I got the job I’m in – not quite believing you’ve made it there and waiting for the other shoe to drop, And having someone point at you saying “What’s she doing here with the adults???” LOL

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    21. Wolfish,

      ?? i know he was sarcartic, the trailers where awsome, i get that he was meaning that s7 is gonna be awsome, but still ,my point since the begning was not their marketing but the words of hype.

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    22. ygritte:
      Kit saying will be a seismic shift in Jon has me a little intrigued. Wonder too if it’s a play on words.

      Yes, it’s interesting. Kit talking about Jon growing up gives me hope that they are giving Jon some character development finally. They did have him grow as a leader in season 5 and then they threw all that out of the window in season 6 just to show up Sansa as being smarter. Hopefully they build him up as a leader and have him actively talking and doing shit.

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    23. I think some of the more subdued tone in the interviews is because the cast realizes the end is almost here. It’s a little sad honestly, and they have to get ready to move on to new roles. I feel the same way. I don’t want to see the show end. This season from everything I have seen so far is going to be EPIC!!! Only 16 days to go. I have been searching every day for those titles though. I am a fan who gets excited by seeing the titles and the episode run times. 81 minute finale!!! Fricken awesome.

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    24. SerNoName,

      Yeah, there really wasn’t much character development for him last season. Almost seemed like a shell of his former self. I have high hopes for S7. Although if even Sansa was able to overshadow him–spoiler

      imagine what it will be like with Daenerys in the picture, eek. But I actually think they might play off each other very well, as I’m sure the writers will give these two fan faves equal evolution time in their story line.

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    25. Markus Stark,

      I had my expectations piled on way too high for season 6.
      Episodes 1-5 really had me going,
      but I hit a real low moment with the show with 6×08 with how they wrapped up Braavos…. It wasn’t just an annoying Qarth storyline, or a shitty side story like Dorne, it was a climax built up over two seasons for one of the best characters on the show, and for it to end in such an absurd, convoluted, and cheesy way really took me out of the show… I went into 6×09 with almost no hype, and really didn’t even enjoy Battle of the Bastards on my first watch. 6×10 re-energized the show for me, which is still IMO the finest work they ever produced.

      Looking back on it, 6×08 wasn’t that bad… I think I had just put season 6 up on such an astonishingly high pedestal, that any mistake was amplified x1000 in my mind.

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    26. Mel,

      Honestly, I never felt like any of Emilia’s nude scenes were gratuitous, or for the sake of boobies… I think they all served a purpose.
      The only main actress who I felt was required to fill a “boobie” quota was Carice. (Tho I think the 6×01 reveal partially justified some of it).

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    27. Ryan,

      She is only doing Nude scenes that are depending on the plot, not the extras just for them to be there. So no more getting out of bath tub and changing clothes scenes. Her being engulfed in flames means clothes will be burnt off… If she was not nude it would be dumb, besides her hair being fine though…at least in the show.

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    28. Aguero: I hope its just a silly concern bout my part but its what you do when you proud of something you did, you praises it.

      At this point, they are talking about the series as a whole. We are basically getting part 1 of the final act this year: and that is where all of the evolution of the main characters is going to start really paying off. Given that Clarke & Harrington play the two biggest characters for the story, that is what they should be talking: the journey.

      At any rate, it seems that I’ve seen plenty of stuff about how this season takes things to new heights, best drama yet, etc., etc. I never pay that any mind because they say that about every show every season. Really, the one exception to this rule is when shows are heading into a final season: and right now, we probably are getting Final Season Part I.

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    29. HelloThere: To me, it felt like a power reversal.
      It stood in contrast to season 1, where her nudity was a weakness.

      Season 1 provided both. She was a sexual plaything for Khal Drogo, and much of her nudity was just “pretty woman looking sexy.” However, her final scene in which she arose from the ashes with her dragons was quite different: that was more apotheosis, conjuring images of a phoenix or Aphrodite rising from the foam. It was one of those rare cases where she looked more powerful for being naked, not less.

      I think that the bathtub scene was trying to be like the Series 1 wrap, too. It didn’t work quite as well. However, this show hits a lot more than it misses.

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    30. Wimsey,

      Yes, it was not entirely necessary but it wasn’t without merit.

      It was as eye-roll inducing as Melisandre seducing Gendry or Jon Snow. Both those scenes were entirely unneeded

        Quote  Reply

    31. HelloThere: It was as eye-roll inducing as Melisandre seducing Gendry or Jon Snow. Both those scenes were entirely unneeded

      Melisandre trying to seduce Jon was very necessary. We needed to see that Jon was still in love with Ygritte and still motivated by that. He could state that, but, to paraphrase the books, words are flatulence; saying “no” to a good-looking, naked and seemingly eager woman when you have gone months since breaking up with your girlfriend is substance!

      The Gendry bit was not necessary, but not ineffective. Sex and sexuality seem to be a big part of how the Red God grants favors. It emphasized again the “carnal” nature of the R’hllor’s demands: sex, blood, burning, etc. My hope is that when we finally learn the “why” of R’hllor, it will tie all of that together.

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    32. Wimsey: Melisandre trying to seduce Jon was very necessary.We needed to see that Jon was still in love with Ygritte and still motivated by that.He could state that, but, to paraphrase the books, words are flatulence; saying “no” to a good-looking, naked and seemingly eager woman when you have gone months since breaking up with your girlfriend is substance!

      I think with Jon it is also a reflection of his reaffirmation of his Night’s Watch vows following both his return to Castle Black from Ygritte and his refusal of Stannis’s offer of Winterfell and the Stark name. He has recommitted himself to the Watch and to the vows he swore after being tempted (and in the case of Ygritte succumbing to said temptation).

      It was also a reminder to Melisandre that her combination of sex and magic – which worked on Stannis and Gendry – wasn’t going to work on everyone.

        Quote  Reply

    33. HelloThere:
      Markus Stark,
      Episodes 1-5 really had me going,
      but I hit a real low moment with the show with 6×08 with how they wrapped up Braavos…. It wasn’t just an annoying Qarth storyline, or a shitty side story like Dorne, it was a climax built up over two seasons for one of the best characters on the show, and for it to end in such an absurd, convoluted, and cheesy way really took me out of the show…

      Looking back on it, 6×08 wasn’t that bad… I think I had just put season 6 up on such an astonishingly high pedestal, that any mistake was amplified x1000 in my mind.

      I’m with you. Fortunately the Jaime@RR arc was a saving grace for episode 6×07-08… without that it. would have been almost pure frustration!

      In any case, frustration is acceptable to me if there is eventually a release of tension, which the next 2 episodes brought in spades… It just seemed like esp for the Arya arc it was completely avoidable. So, still frustrating even now. ><

        Quote  Reply

    34. Guys, have some faith in S7. Unless your expectations are unrealisticly high, I’m sure there will be many moments to enjoy. Maybe it’s even better that the actors are not praising S7 so you won’t get overhyped and the great moments will thus really stand out.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Aguero,

      All actors on every show praise the shows they’re on endlessly and it’s always meaningless promotion talk. Your worries make no sense to me. If someone asked one of the actors a questions “so is this season the best?”, do you really think they’d say anything other than “absolutely, you’re going to be thrilled”? Well maybe Sophie would add a bunch of Sansa talk in it to make my head explode lol…but otherwise, no.

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    36. Alba Stark: He has recommitted himself to the Watch and to the vows he swore after being tempted (and in the case of Ygritte succumbing to said temptation).

      That’s a really good point to add!

      Alba Stark:It was also a reminder to Melisandre that her combination of sex and magic – which worked on Stannis and Gendry – wasn’t going to work on everyone.

      And given that it probably was working on the vast majority of men watching, it really showed us how serious Jon was! (If that had been 25 year old me, then I’m quite certain that I would not even have remembered the name of my prior girlfriend or what my current job title was….)

        Quote  Reply

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