Nikolaj Coster-Waldau deconstructs Jaime’s choice to leave Cersei and discusses the challenge of filming shorter seasons

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau recently chatted with Vanity Fair about the thought process behind Jaime’s desertion of Cersei and hinted at the choices Jaime might make next season.

During his interview, he also reflected on the challenges that season 7’s shorter runtime presented to the actors, who were used to playing out storylines set on a much more condensed timeline.

“Trying to connect the dots between the scenes was a little complicated because you invest so much time, so many years in these characters, so when suddenly you find out that Jaime comes back and his son has committed suicide . . . there’s so many things that obviously you can’t go through, on-screen, all of these moments, but you have to still walk through them in your mind, if you’re an actor, at least talk about them. There was a lot of those connecting the dots throughout the season.”

He also addressed Jaime’s monumental decision to finally, finally leave his toxic sister at the end of last season. According to Coster-Waldau, it was the moment Cersei commanded Robert Strong to execute Jaime that cut the chord.

“That breaks his heart,” he said. “Because his whole life has been about her.”

His single line before turning away, “I don’t believe you,” was packed with subtext: “[He’s saying,] I don’t love you anymore. . . . I’m calling your bluff, and, you know, you can’t hurt me now because my heart has been destroyed by you. You can’t hurt me anymore than you already have,” Coster-waldau said.

However, Coster-Waldau cautioned that Jaime’s decision might not be long-lasting. “That’s, of course, said in a moment of passion. Who knows if it’s true?” he said.

“I’ve almost been married 20 years—June 6th will be our 20th anniversary—and I’m very, very lucky. I have a wonderful wife. But over 20 years, there are times where you have fights. You can be so angry that for a second in your passion and anger you can go, ‘Oh, fuck this.’ Of course, three seconds later, you go, ‘No, no, no. What am I doing? What am I thinking?’ . . . I think the fundamental emotions are the same in every relationship. As a setup for the season we’re shooting now, it was just amazing.” He then hastened to add that his relationship with his wife is nothing like Jaime’s relationship with Cersei.

Speaking of the “amazing” upcoming season, though, Coster-Waldau said that it has “definitely been the toughest season by far” but that “it’s also been the most fulfilling.”

“This is the end of the show. There won’t be any more stories after this, so, for me . . . I don’t know if it gets better, but I just find it a lot more interesting.”

46 responses

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    1. My hope lies in knowing Nik is one of the better trolls out of the actors. Going back to Cersei would be it for me. 😂

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    2. Pigeon,

      It does make one wonder why in the seven hells Jaime would ever consider going back to Cersei at this point. The only thing I can think of would be that Cersei will use the unborn baby as a way of controlling his decision making, but still…

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    3. I don’t know if it gets better, but I just find it a lot more interesting.

      Talk about ending on a cryptic note!

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    4. My guess is Jaime is going to have a moment where he could go back and rescue Cersei, potentially risking someting more noble in the process, and decides against it. Even more so than leaving her last season, but in a completely burning his bridges way. It seems Nik is building hype up for that moment.
      Jaime isn’t going back to being Cersei’s lapdog. Anyone who read Nik’s interviews last year and saw his frustration at Jaime being stuck with her for so long could believe that after finally dumping her Nik would say that a season in which Jaime goes back to Cersei couldn’t be better. He has been so enthusiastic about this season that it must mean some really great things for Jaime.

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    5. As much as the thought of Jamie, “going back to Cersei,” makes me want to vomit, I do really hope and I assume that they’ll get at least one final scene together next season. They have to meet again. And my guess would either be that Jamie goes to Cersei to try to talk some sense into her before she does something unthinkable, or that he goes to Cersei to kill her. I would actually love it if this final scene between them, like some people suggested in earlier threads, also has Brienne in the mix beside Jamie. It would make it possible for Cersei to be the end of Jamie, and also allow Jamie to die in Brienne’s arms. Tragic.

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    6. Jaehaerys,

      Sometimes I wonder if Brienne’s “nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love” line will come back at some point.

      Either it happens again, this time failing to protect Jaime from Cersei, or things go differently this time and Brienne is able to save Jaime.

      I dunno. Probably a whole lot of nothing, but for some reason, ever since season 5 I’ve been thinking that line will come back into play.

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    7. Mr Derp,

      It would be too cruel for Brienne to fail in saving Jaime as she did with Renly. If Jaime died in her arms then she will be back where she started. It’s why I also loathe the popular Brienne ends up in the Kingsguard theory.

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    8. whateverdgaf,

      And Catelyn, to whom she also failed to protect. I agree that it would be a bit redundant to have her fail to protect someone again. I would like her to succeed, but I don’t see it being Jamie. It would be for Sansa or Arya. Well, probably Sansa because “The only one who needs protecting is the one who gets in her [Arya’s] way.” 🙂

      As far as Jamie and Cersei go, I don’t think their time together is done. Whether he voluntarily goes back to her or if they somehow meet up again because the AotD push everyone south to KL, they will meet again. I’m always sticking to my prediction that they end up killing each other.

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    9. Reading the comments I just got a horrific “What if Cersei kills Brienne in a horrific way to torture Jaime?” vibe. I don’t even know what made me think it or how it could come about (as Brienne team North and will be far from Cersei), but it just seems so fitting with GOT… terrifying thought, please be wrong!!!

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    10. Cersei could kill Brienne, causing Jaime to kill her.
      Cersei could have Jaime killed, causing Brienne to kill her.
      Jaime could die in battle, Arya and Brienne could then decide Arya will use Jaime’s face to get close to and kill Cersei.
      Jaime and Brienne could die together.

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    11. Che,

      I’m thinking that the reason Cersei is still alive (and wasn’t killed off last season) is that the two main conflicts, her and the NK, will clash. If they were going to be resolved separately, why not just do that by getting rid of Cersei pre-season 8? It’s pretty much assumed that those in the north will have to flee south in order to escape the AotD, and if everyone makes their last stand against the NK and Cersei in KL, that puts Brienne within Cersei’s grasp..

      Well.. I hope you’re wrong, I hope I’m wrong.. But dammit, I’m loath to admit it makes sense. 🙁

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    12. Jaehaerys: And my guess would either be that Jamie goes to Cersei to try to talk some sense into her before she does something unthinkable,

      lol xD I laughed so hard it brought tears to my eyes. funny stuff. i would say that

      remarking on the late King’s truly vile nature. Olenna explains to Jaime that any unspeakable wrong she has played a part in was always for the good of House Tyrell, remarking that her true failure was underestimating Cersei’s monstrous imagination,

      I think the exact phrase was ‘my failure was a lack of imagination’

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    13. Mr Derp: Sometimes I wonder if Brienne’s “nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love” line will come back at some point.

      I agree. I think that phrase must be the under-pinning of one episode.

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    14. Enharmony1625,

      If so, I hope that she doesn’t end up spending her life serving Sansa. Otherwise she would truly be back where she started, devotedly serving a person who doesn’t seem to really care about her or show much gratitiude at all. I cannot recall a single scene where Sansa has shown Brienne true friendship or that Brienne’s loyalty was reciprocated.And honestly it doesn’t even feel like Sansa needs Brienne anymore.

      Brienne is worth so much more than being a glorified babysitter.
      Renly was actually better for Brienne in that respect, he gave Brienne a chance to become a knight and live a life otherwise forbidden to her.

      But I doubt that will happen. They didn’t Brienne say ‘fuck loyalty’ for a reason and if Brienne were to end up stuck at Sansa’s side the writers would probably have spent more time developing an actual relationship between the two and perhaps would have kept Brienne with Sansa in key moments such as the BOTB and LF’s death, as opposed to having Brienne reunite with Jaime. Whatever Brienne’s endgame, it involves Jaime in a big way.

      Although if they fridge her (with Cersei murdering her) so Jaime can have manpain and kill Cersei (because there’s not already a million reasons to do so) I will hurl.

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    15. Pigeon:
      Cersei could kill Brienne, causing Jaime to kill her.
      Arya and Brienne could then decide Arya will use Jaime’s face to get close to and kill Cersei.

      I do not believe that Brienne would ever accept the use of someone’s face, let alone Jaime’s.
      Also the secret of the Faceless men should not be public knowledge. Start spreading that round and they will not be amused.
      I am certain that Arya will use another important face, but that will be her doing, not a committee decision.

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    16. I wonder what Podrick will do, now they’re all going north. Is he going to stay with Brienne or will he return to Tyrion? And will Bronn follow Jaime and also meet Tyrion again? I don’t think they will let him stay in Kingslanding since the actors in real life don’t want to talk to each other. So Cersei will be alone with Qyburn and The Mountain.
      Euron Greyjoy will return if he’s not killed by Theon or Yara. I do think Theon will be the one to kill him to save Yara. I wonder what the Golden Company will do, defending Kingslanding or attacking Winterfell. I love it that we know so little. For the last season I want to be completely suprised.

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    17. I had no trouble tracking Jaime’s character progression in season 7.
      I thought it was the best arc of the season.

      You could feel his fatigue with Cersei in the beginning, then later on, almost doubling down on a hopeless cause, to then finally giving her up entirely.

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    18. Mr Derp:
      Jaehaerys,

      Sometimes I wonder if Brienne’s “nothing’s more hateful than failing to protect the one you love” line will come back at some point.

      Either it happens again, this time failing to protect Jaime from Cersei, or things go differently this time and Brienne is able to save Jaime.

      I dunno.Probably a whole lot of nothing, but for some reason, ever since season 5 I’ve been thinking that line will come back into play.

      This is a very telling line, and could be huge foreshadowing. I feel bad but I don’t even remember this being said… can you let me know the episode/ context, if you remember? I hadn’t kept in mind that she literally failed to protect the last man she loved, and he also died in her arms. For that to happen again… damn, that would be tragic. She would definitely have a tough time moving on after that.

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    19. Chilli,

      My guess is that Pod will stay be Brienne’s side, and Bronn does flee King’s Landing (due to the actors’ indifference with one another and that Cersei loathes him in the books), and will probably spend most of the season with Tyrion and Jamie both.

      I feel like Cersei will have a bunch of time with Euron, too. My guess is they get married pretty early on in the season. And she’ll possibly get some screen time with that new character they are introducing, the head of the Golden Company, as long as the Golden Company touches down in King’s Landing or converges there.

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    20. whateverdgaf,

      That’s true, Sansa hasn’t really shown a lot of respect or loyalty towards Brienne. At least not to the degree she deserves. With the impending war, however, Sansa will need protecting, so I can see Brienne perhaps playing a part in that. Arya too.

      I definitely agree that Brienne’s endgame will almost entirely involve Jamie. And while Jamie has every reason to kill Cersei from our perspective, for Jamie himself I think it will take something major for him to be brought to that point where he would kill his own sister and lover. After all, kinslaying is considered a huge sin in GoT.

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    21. Enharmony1625: Sansa will need protecting, so I can see Brienne perhaps playing a part in that. Arya too.

      I definitely agree that Brienne’s endgame will almost entirely involve Jamie.

      Yes, I would tend to agree. Brienne is in charge of protecting the Stark girls, but I think Arya is capable of taking over that role, so Brienne can be freed up to be a part of the story involving Jaime and Cersei.

      Perhaps after Jaime gets to Winterfell he’ll convince the North to let him lead some type of clandestine raiding party to breach KL or something like that with Davos, since of course, Davos is smuggler extraordinaire, and perhaps Sansa will have Brienne go with them since she doesn’t trust Jaime and Brienne already has experience with escorting Jaime to KL in season 2-3.

      I mean, how cool would a road trip with Jaime, Brienne, and Davos be?

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    22. David Gordon,

      Jamie? I’d guess so. So many theories about who the Valonqar could be, but I still tend to think it’s just either Tyrion or Jamie. And I lean towards Jamie because Cersei expects Tyrion. Definitely could be others though. I do think it’ll be the same person in the books and the show as well (even though they left out this prophesy), just because Cersei’s killer seems like waaaaay too big of a plot point to change it up.

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    23. Did the show actually ever present the ruse about Ser Robert Strong? I don’t remember the name being used.

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    24. OT: Krysten Ritter is going to direct an episode of Jessica Jones. This site should do one of those fun, cynicism-free articles where they hypothetically ask which actor should have or could have directed an episode of Game of Thrones?

      Michael Chiklis directed episodes of The Shield, Bryan Cranston directed episodes of Breaking Bad, and even Dominic West got to direct an episode of The Wire. The only GOT actor with previous directing experience I can think of is Charles Dance. He directed Ladies in Lavendar. Me gran says it’s shit.

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    25. Grayven Reyne:
      Did the show actually ever present the ruse about Ser Robert Strong?I don’t remember the name being used.

      Qyburn introduced him to Cersei after her Walk of Shame. maybe he used this name because the real Robert Strong supplied him with spare parts he needed for Gregor’s rebuilding.

      or it was just his very own way of trolling the living sunlight out of Cersei. she has just been through the worst humiliation one can think of – so she thought. then, she ends up in the arms of Robert. of all crazy names Westeros has to offer, it’s Robert!

      btw, there was a scene in an early season with Robert Baratheon being nostalgic about killing Rhaegar, if i’m right. didn’t he say something like “gods, i was strong then”? i hope i remember this correct because, in the light of Rhaegar having his ribs crushed by Robert’s hammer one of the Sparrows trying something similar with Frankengregor is twice as funny.

      (tinfoil)
      Qyburn: “i think i can fix this guy. but i need some parts from a rotting carcass. and the nice lab of this senile wreck with the funny beard.”
      Cersei: “Pycelle, get the effing eff out of here!”

      Cersei: “come on, it’s time to meet my Ex…”
      (/tinfoil)

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    26. Clob,

      “If it please Your Grace, he has taken a Holy vow of silence. He has sworn that he will not speak, until all His Graces’ enemies are dead, and evil has been driven from the Realm.”

      Can the dude even speak at all anyway?

      Nvm. I remembered that he did speak occasionally as Gregor, but it’s been so long.

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    27. Has there been one shred of proof that the showrunners have obliged a ‘feud’ between Lena Heady and Jerome Flynn to the extent that they would change the storyline because those two don’t want to be in the same scene? We’ve been hearing it here for years, but I have yet to see anyone with actual credibility verify this amateur hour scenario.

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    28. Stranger’s Pooper Scooper,

      No idea, but they really haven’t had any need to be in the same scene yet, so, to this point, it’s been somewhat of a non-issue. At least, that’s what it seems like. Whether they will be required to be in a scene together in season 8 or not we’ll just have to wait and see. I don’t see why they would need to be in a scene together at all, but then again, I have no idea how things will play out in the end.

      IF they do a scene together, it would be interesting if ends up being Cersei killing or having Bronn tortured. Not that I think it will happen, but of all the scenes for the two of them to do together, it would be…interesting.

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    29. Stranger’s Pooper Scooper,

      I don’t know that it’s “proof,” but wasn’t it just a little strange for Bronn (and Pod) to leave the Dragonpit before Cersei arrived while EVERYone else stayed? He would have been one of the people on her side in case assistance was necessary…

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    30. Clob:
      Grayven Reyne,

      death by chickenfire,

      They haven’t used the name.Even at the end of Cersei’s walk Qyburn just says, “Let me introduce you to the newest member of the kingsguard.”He doesn’t say a name, just goes on to say that he’s taken a vow of silence…

      i just checked the english version of the scene. you are right.

      anyway, the german version mentions the name. this leaves me confused…

      i’m looking for german clips to prove my point, but youtube seems to be short of them.

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    31. Stranger’s Pooper Scooper,
      Clob,
      … and not to dwell on it too much since it’s none of our business, but it almost seems like a restraining order type of situation rather than simply two people not getting along very well. Actors are generally able to ACT their way past real life for scenes if need be. We normally hear of those situations after movies or series have completed, i.e. Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic on Castle. In this case it hasn’t been necessary for Lena and Jerome to be in scenes together but there are plenty when it seemed like they should have been. In S7 alone it made sense for Bronn to be in both of the Euron throne room scenes and to stay at the Dragonpit, even if nothing more than to give a series long character more screen time.

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    32. Ten Bears:
      Ser Hogwyn,

      That’s an easy answer. It’s the answer to most questions. Maisie Williams. 👸🏻 The Many-Faced Goddess.

      Speaking of the Many-Faced Goddess, it looks like she’s going into theatre. These days theatre experience isn’t the prerequisite for British acting status it once was, but it will be good experience for Maisie. Hampstead Theatre is a very respectable non-West End theatre. KIt and Emilia will also be trodding the boards in London this autumn. Still, the idea of Arya pairing off with Lancel Lannister is a tad incongruous. https://www.standard.co.uk/go/london/theatre/game-of-thrones-star-maisie-williams-takes-to-hampstead-theatre-stage-a3874246.html

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    33. One of my favorite scenes last season was when Jaime left KL and one of my favorite songs was the one that accompanied it, “Winter is Here”.

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    34. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Did I read that wrong or miss something? I didn’t see anything that said Lancel (Eugene Simon) is going to co-star with Maisie Williams in “I and You” at Hampstead Theatre from October 18 to November 24. According to the article, the play is about a sickly, home-bound teen who relies on social media to interact with the outside world, and a (former?) classmate who shows up unexpectedly.

      Not that I’d mind if Lancel was in it. When he shows up at her bedside, Maisie’s character could take one look at him, announce “I choose violence”, and skewer him with the sword hidden under her blanket. 👸🏻

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    35. Enharmony1625:
      Che,

      I’m thinking that the reason Cersei is still alive (and wasn’t killed off last season) is that the two main conflicts, her and the NK, will clash. If they were going to be resolved separately, why not just do that by getting rid of Cersei pre-season 8? It’s pretty much assumed that those in the north will have to flee south in order to escape the AotD, and if everyone makes their last stand against the NK and Cersei in KL, that puts Brienne within Cersei’s grasp..

      Well.. I hope you’re wrong, I hope I’m wrong.. But dammit, I’m loath to admit it makes sense.

      I think GRRM hinted that there will be a segment of the ending where they have to deal with the aftermath of the great war, I’m guessing he means dealing with Cersei and deciding what happens with the iron throne. Even though there will be small differences with the books we’ve known for a long time the show has the ending from George.

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    36. Chilli:
      I wonder what Podrick will do, now they’re all going north. Is he going to stay with Brienne or will he return to Tyrion? And will Bronn follow Jaime and also meet Tyrion again? I don’t think they will let him stay in Kingslanding since the actors in real life don’t want to talk to each other. So Cersei will be alone with Qyburn and The Mountain.
      Euron Greyjoy will return if he’s not killed by Theon or Yara. I do think Theon will be the one to kill him to save Yara. I wonder what the Golden Company will do, defending Kingslanding or attacking Winterfell. I love it that we know so little. For the last season I want to be completely suprised.

      Good point about Pod, I’d guess he goes north with Bronn and catches up with Jamie at some point in episode 1. They then arrive at Winterfell in Episode 2 and we see some fall out from Jamie/Brann back in episode one.

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