Ellie Kendrick, Jack Bender, and Iain Glen on Benjen, “The Door,” and more

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The last couple episodes of Game of Thrones have been significant for Meera Reed, and her portrayer Ellie Kendrick. The actress talks to The Hollywood Reporter this week about Meera’s part in holding the door, and Benjen’s reappearance.

When it comes to the question of Meera sacrificing Hodor by telling him to “Hold the door,” Kendrick says, “I don’t think [Meera] realizes” she was doing that.

For Meera, in that moment, she knows her job is to protect Bran at all costs, so it’s like tunnel vision. She’s an incredibly protective person, and she knows that Bran is a person she has to look after. In this moment of complete terror, I think her one objective is to get out with Bran, and she knows that’s the most important thing. It’s what Jojen told her before he died. She has to honor her dead brother’s word over everything. I don’t think she really has the thought process of throwing Hodor to the dogs so that she can survive. I think it’s just a case of brute survival. She does what she has to do.

As for the revelation that Benjen Stark was still roaming around the north, not entirely dead (though not entirely living either), Kendrick is enthusiastic about working with Joseph Mawle, and excited to have a version of Coldhands in the story finally.

If you’ve read the books, then you know about the Coldhands character, who was cut out of the Bran, Meera and Jojen storyline [on the show]. It was always interesting, having read the books, watching this amalgamation of story lines happen. Benjen is sort of like the Coldhands character in that he’s a slightly suspicious guy who is half-dead and half-alive with blue hands. I thought that was very cool, the way it happened. It was a nice marriage between the book and TV revelations rolled into one. I was very excited having him on set. I loved working with [Joseph Mawle], and I loved having another member of our rapidly dwindling gang. (Laughs.) We needed him right then!

When it comes to Benjen though, the actress says that Meera is “still skeptical,” and that her character is “naturally suspicious.”

As for Bran and Meera’s future, Kendrick says, “They’re miles away from home still. It’s not like everything is rosy and perfect for them now that Benjen has shown up. They still have a huge journey ahead of them, and many more challenges to face.”

Read the complete interview at The Hollywood Reporter!


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The director behind the two most recent episodes, Jack Bender, talks to the Wall Street Journal in a new interview. Bender, known for his work with the time-tweaking show Lost, was not a coincidental choice for “The Door.”

“I know the guys were interested in me doing this particular episode, the Hodor episode, ‘The Door,’ because it began to explore different times in their show and that time was beginning to merge through Bran,” he tells WSJ.

Bender also has a taste for theater, having directed it in the past, and “was thrilled” to be handling the Braavosi troupe in these two episodes. As for the troupe’s crude meta take on the story itself, Bender says Benioff and Weiss loved it.

I staged the whole play, we did it, and the producers came in to watch the rehearsal, [including] all the fart jokes, all that stuff, some of which was written. So, after we watched the rehearsal, and the guys laughed a lot, I said, ‘My only concern is, am I mocking your brilliant show too much?’ And they said, ‘No, do it more!’ They’re completely unpretentious, David and Dan, and they loved it. … There’s more than what ended up being in the show, which we always suspected would be the case. There are extra scenes that undoubtedly will be on the DVDs at the end of the season.

He raves about the actors in the Sansa and Littlefinger meet-up scene and Maisie Williams as well. He describes the creation of the climactic scene in “The Door” and also has kind words for the show’s young Hodor, Sam Coleman.

“So, we just did many versions, and I’ve gotta say, that kid [Sam Coleman], he was terrific. He just did it over and over again, which allowed us to get various rhythms to play with in editing, depending on how fast we wanted to build the sequence. We knew we needed different options, which he did beautifully.”

There is far more discussion in the long interview, so it’s a must-read. Check it out over at the Wall Street Journal!


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This week, Iain Glen talks to Vulture about Jorah’s uncertain future on Game of Thrones.

When it comes to the greyscale creeping up his character’s arm, the actor says that “it’s a worry.”

They’ve got a worried actor on their hands. For any actor on the show, most of the time we’re just thinking, “Please keep me alive!” I’ve been very lucky to be a part of the show, right back to the pilot. If I go out in the madness of greyscale, then I’ll have thought I’ve done very well. It’s been a complete treat to be a part of the show. They’re a lovely group of people. But the greyscale has definitely got this actor worried, I’ll be honest about that.

Glen says that he’s just done the DVD commentary for the “fire scene,” from “Book of the Stranger.”

“It’s great,” he says. “I think it was an echo of the scene that we had in the first season, when Khal Drogo’s body was burned on the pyre and she emerged. And both times, the audience sees her through Jorah’s eyes. You can understand his total love and admiration of this girl.”

Swing by Vulture to read more of Glen’s thoughts on the show,  his work on Cleverman and pranks!

Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com

84 Comments

  1. Hey Sue! Did I miss something, or did we get episode titles for 8, 9 and 10 yet? Were the titles reported earlier from a German site confirmed or debunked?

  2. So Fedorah Mormont is gone for good? 🙁 Will he get a curtain call?

    So thrilled to finally have an interview with Ellie. I loved what the show has done with Meera this season. Praying my girl makes it past this season alive.

    I hope we get more footage from the play in the DVD.

  3. Must admit to a bit of a crush on Ellie Kendrick after her performance these last few episodes.

    On another note, it seems we may not see Jorah again this season, and Glen’s way of speaking makes it sound like he doesn’t yet know if he’s back for season 7.

  4. Forgive me my ignorance, but would it help if he amputated his arm?

    And how come Princess Shireen’s greyscales had stopped?

  5. Sou,

    I think she was cured at dragonstone. Stannis found someone to do something…..not sure if it was ever made clear what.

  6. Chuck,

    He said he brought ever Maester, every healer he could find and they tried everything they knew.

    Most likely they tried so many things, that they themselves didn’t realize witch one cured her.

  7. Flayed Potatoes,

    No he’ll be back.I don’t think this season and I don’t know when we will see him again but he’ll be back otherwise they would have just killed him lol

  8. I’m ready for more Jansa scenes this week….would be nice to hear some more Winterfell reminiscing.

  9. Chuck,

    Oh yeah, he’ll definitely be back. It just struck me as being interesting that Iain Glen himself doesn’t appear to know what is in store for him.

  10. Markus Stark,

    He is not being entirely sincere here. In one of his earlier interviews he had slipped up and used the word “we” when talking of filming S7.
    Jorah will make it to S7 atleast, imo.

  11. Wait,they are already doing the commentaries for the blu ray when the season hasn’t even ended ? Damn,i thought they were doing them over the summer or in the fall or something . Also Ellie Kendrick is great .

  12. The most interesting part of the Iain Glen interview for me was this:

    Well, it could go a number of ways. It could kill Jorah, but he could also cause a mass contagion. Got to be careful who and what you touch with that left hand.

    Oh God, yeah! Not only me, bbut all the directors on all the story lines are super aware of that. And it’s a blessing that it was my left hand, not my sword hand. So I can kind of look after myself a little bit longer. But I’ve got to find a solution, or I’m on the road to madness.

    When he says “all the directors on all the story lines are super aware of that” I wonder if he is implying that he has work in more of an storyline this season.

  13. Sou,

    That would be too late for now,it’s most likely already spread to other parts of his body .

  14. Markus Stark:
    Chuck,

    Oh yeah, he’ll definitely be back. It just struck me as being interesting that Iain Glen himself doesn’t appear to know what is in store for him.

    Well, I don’t expect him to find a cure this season, so maybe he really doesn’t know.

    On the other hand, I think I kind of remember the slip-up
    ghost of winterfell is talking about.

  15. Jack Bauer 24:
    Damn the rating dropped to 6.71. Almost a million viewers less from episode 5.

    …*cough, coughMemorialDayWeekendcough, cough*….

  16. The average this year is 7.48, so still half a million more than last year. Hoping to see the rating back over 7 for “The Broken Man”.

  17. We are 4 days until episode 7 and yet we dont have titles for AT LEAST episode 8.

    Wtf hbo???

  18. Aguero:
    We are 4 days until episode 7 and yet we dont have titles for AT LEAST episode 8.

    Wtf hbo???

    They have to announce it before the episode preview Sunday night because that would be strange to have the preview and not the title.

  19. I don’t think Glen is done, but I can see him sidelined for a bit, much the way Bran and Meera were. His last scene was clearly setting up some dramatic reunion with Dany down the line, maybe even in Westeros.

  20. I said, ‘My only concern is, am I mocking your brilliant show too much?’ And they said, ‘No, do it more!’ They’re completely unpretentious, David and Dan, and they loved it. … There’s more than what ended up being in the show, which we always suspected would be the case. There are extra scenes that undoubtedly will be on the DVDs at the end of the season

    Hee, love his concern, and their answer! Also eager to see the cut scenes

    Loved Meeras interview; I think she'd done a great job of fleshing out her character. In the books I don't remember her being more than a side kick to her brother. Now she's really expanding out,and able to do more.

    Sou,

    Forgive me my ignorance, but would it help if he amputated his arm?

    I thought of that too, along with what would happen if Bran’s arm was cut off to remove the NW mark. Interesting to see what happens to him.

  21. Interesting what Ellie Kendrick said, after all she was the one that teased the cave battle in an interview before.:
    “They’re miles away from home still. It’s not like everything is rosy and perfect for them now that Benjen has shown up. They still have a huge journey ahead of them, and many more challenges to face.”

  22. Jack Bauer 24,

    More than a million viewers less. It’s 1,18 million viewers less to be precise. The biggest drop off ever, 15%.
    Not that it means anything.

  23. Jack Bauer 24:
    Damn the rating dropped to 6.71. Almost a million viewers less from episode 5.

    Markus Stark:

    More than a million viewers less. It’s 1,18 million viewers less to be precise. The biggest drop off ever, 15%.
    Not that it means anything.

    FEWER

    #SpiritofStannisGrammarNazi

  24. Dee,

    I want to say, I love your positivity and enthusiasm for the show. Whenever I see a post from you, it kind of lifts my spirits a bit, because it’s so refreshing from the negativity I often see in (for example) Youtube comments, lol.

  25. I did not think much of Meera while reading the books – Jojen was the interesting one. But in the show, I just love her! Ellie Kendrick is awesome, made me feel for Meera. She does some great heroic stuff like it was a regular thing, without making any fuss about them. Unlike the Sand Snakes. Meera is a superhero! Also that moment when she hugged Bran when all hope was lost was so tender that it almost made me ship Bran/Meera.

  26. BigMac,

    awww thank you 🙂
    that’s so kind!!!!
    glad I can help, and youll be sure ill be keeping it up!

    edit: youtube is the worst!

  27. In that Jacker Bender interview, he said he told Maisie she will be a director some day. Pretty high praise from a well known director himself.

  28. Jack Bauer 24,

    I was about to say maybe we won’t get the titles until Monday but you’re right, it’s strange for them to announce it after ep 8 preview. I guess they’ll announce the title for ep 8 before Sunday but they keep the last two for now.

    Ps : you must be busy with Blood and Wine right? You were offline almost every time i checked – well few weeks ago – for playing Ds3 with each other. You still playing it?

  29. ColdJen or Ben Cold? hmmm

    Ellie reads the books? So hot.

    Never been that concerned with Jorah. I did like scene where Tyrion mentions Jeor and when he saves Daenerys from the SotH. I will be looking out for this magical healer he finds. Should be a cool character no matter who they decide to bring back or intro.

  30. FreeParking:
    In that Jacker Bender interview, he said he told Maisie she will be a director some day. Pretty high praise from a well known director himself.

    A girl really is indecently talented. A man who has spent nearly 55 years trying to find out if there is one thing he is not entirely mediocre at is jealous!

    Really like Ellie Kendrick too, she always comes across as a lovely person in interviews.

    OT – Re a comment above – a man is now playing Blood and Wine and getting his arse whipped like a Novigrad whore…is 54 too old for playing videogames?!

  31. Tycho Nestoris,

    She is not what I would typically consider to be my type, but this season I’ve discovered that I find there to be something incredibly hot about her (Meera/Ellie Kendrick)

  32. Ellie Kendrick is one of the real standouts of this season. Meera didn’t really register much in earlier seasons, but I guess killing off all Bran’s other supporting characters works wonders, because as she’s had more time and focus she’s been very effective.

    Iain Glen is on the commentary track (or a commentary track) for 604, then. I imagine Clarke and maybe Huisman would be there as well.

  33. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    Most of my free time goes there as well!!

    Love the expansion, a much lighter tone so far, well compared to HoS at least.
    Had to go and look for the testicles of a statue…….Check that off my list of things I never thought I’ll do….

  34. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    I did that too. I just explored the big city before doing the main quest.

    Also love these long names and all the pageantry, tradition…etc.
    Very nice feeling after the dark cold mood of the North.(What’s with all these stories making the North..so dark and depressing, why can’t the North be sunny and happy?)

  35. What’s with that sword leaning against the tree? Did she always have that or is it from the cave?

  36. Jenny:
    http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/01/game-thrones-pranks
    this is the best thing ever haha

    OMG! John Bradley’s face in the that Henry VIII getup is amazing. He looks miserable but resigned. And that codpiece! I laughed a good 5 minutes looking at that picture.

    And this line from the fake script they gave Kit Harrington:

    And the scene’s script description concludes with this: “Jon smiles, his teeth shining brightly in his destroyed face. Mormont, sickened, has to look away.”

    That sounds like a truly horrifying image that I somehow found sickeningly hilarious. I can only imagine what went through Kit’s mind after reading that.

  37. Tycho Nestoris:
    ColdJen or Ben Cold? hmmm

    Ellie reads the books? So hot.

    Never been that concerned with Jorah. I did like scene where Tyrion mentions Jeor and when he saves Daenerys from the SotH. I will be looking out for this magical healer he finds. Should be a cool character no matter who they decide to bring back or intro.

    HEY! Could this be Ian McShane??

  38. Sou,

    Anything *can* happen but I suspect Ian is a Westeros character. Jorah would really have to be a jerk to take greyscale on a ship. Maybe he walks the demon road? I am always down for D&D taking us somewhere Martin didn’t.

  39. Off-Topic Otto,

    They took swords from the crypts of Winterfell, didn’t they? Or was that book only? She was packing their stuff before it all went to hell so maybe the sword was tied to the thingy used to pull Bran? Or it could be Benjen’s sword, the scabbard is all black.

  40. Off-Topic Otto,
    I seem to recall her picking it up at the very last moment as they were running out of the cave and in to the escape tunnel.

    Dark Sister?
  41. Alysane Mormont,

    Jorah to the Citadel in the final, calling it now (well, I have last week already, but claiming it again here !

    Ellie Kendrick is a fantastic Meera ! Love the character, love the actress, love the interpretation, love the writing ! Go Meera !

    But still, my biggest “character/actress” crush of these last episodes remains Essie Davies and Lady Crane ! I really need to see those outakes that didnt make the final cut !
    And crossing my fingers for Arya joining the company by the end of the season !

  42. Ser Not Appearing in this Series,

    OT – Re a comment above – a man is now playing Blood and Wine and getting his arse whipped like a Novigrad whore…is 54 too old for playing videogames?!

    My DH is turning 57 this summer, so no, probably not 🙂

    Off Topic Otto

    I also remember her picking up something, thought it was a spear with dragon glass (didn’t they make these after Sam gave them the glass? May be misremembering) So it could be that, or Benjen’s

  43. Tycho Nestoris,

    Yep, to be honest it has just occurred to me when you mentioned the “healer” part.
    But I agree with you that I expect Ian McShane to be in Westeros and bring some other fan favourite character back to the plot?.
    As for poor Jorah… we’ll see!

  44. Arkash:
    Alysane Mormont,

    Jorah to the Citadel in the final, calling it now (well, I have last week already, but claiming it again here !

    Ellie Kendrick is a fantastic Meera ! Love the character, love the actress, love the interpretation, love the writing ! Go Meera !…

    …And crossing my fingers for Arya joining the company by the end of the season !

    Jorah to the Citadel is an interesting suggestion. Would he meet up with Sam? In fact, what will Sam do in Oldtown with Gilly, the baby and Heartsbane?

    Meera has been one of my favorite characters from the start – book and show. Glad that Ellie Kendrick has been given a chance to shine. I hope that Meera survives to end of the series.

    I’m assuming that Arya joins the company and is provided with a one-way ticket back to Westeros.

    I love Jack Bender’s past work and he has delivered two stellar episodes for GOT.

  45. I hope Arya escapes with the troupe, I want more Lady Crane.

    This episode really grew on me, great setup and a lot there to go through.

  46. It’s always puzzled me a bit that Jorah’s greyscale is going up his arm, but hasn’t yet affected his hand. Good thing, too.

  47. There is some speculation that Jorah gets the

    Victarion burned arm R’hllor

    treatment. Which would be cool.
    Lol – he can meet up with Yara and Theon and be the official Dany escort 🙂

  48. Dee:
    BigMac,

    awww thank you
    that’s so kind!!!!
    glad I can help, and youll be sure ill be keeping it up!

    edit: youtube is the worst!

    I would say that it is not the worst (in my opinion, that title goes to westeros org and The Cultural Vacuum) but it is clearly not a nice place. The comment section is filled with those of hate-watchers and book purists. “Character assassination”, “plot-hole”, “Dumb and Dumber”, “fanfiction” – those are incredibly overused phrases. You cannot find a single Stannis video with decent comments. And now it is full of Euron-hate.

    God, how much time did I waste trying to reason with those people… It’s like they don’t want to enjoy the show. But these times are over. I’ve transfered youtube comments into my unwanted mail box so I don’t need to see them again.

    Side note: And no, I’m not Lord Parramandas on youtube. It’s a name I use exclusively for this page.

  49. matt:
    GoT actress Ania Bukstein (Kinvara) interview

    Love!

    What did the penis say when it got thrown on the fire?

    I was thinking, what bad joke is this? And then I remembered. Varys’s penis!!!!!

    She is so freaking gorgeous. Prettier than anyone else on the show, in a show full of gorgeous people. The accent enhances her loveliness.

  50. Markus Stark,

    🙂 I’ve always really liked Meera for some reason and I’m glad she’s taking on a bigger role and getting to show more personality.

  51. Off-Topic Otto,

    She grabbed it as she ran back into the cave as the CotF put on a fireworks show…

    I’m really, really rooting for another famous blade… you know, one that may or may not have been in Bloodraven’s possession, if he’s even bloodraven at all in the show!

  52. Really stoked that Jack Bender referenced Rosencranz and Guildensteirn Are Dead. That play within a play within a movie was what I was thinking of when seeing the Braavosi theatre troupe.

    I’d read and studied Hamlet for my university course, also read R&G, went to see the movie with a friend who studied physics and chemistry, but was also well-read. Apart from serious Shaespeare giggles, there were so many little “scientific” easter eggs! Rosencranz (or is it Guildenstern?) is on the brink of cracking Archemedes’s displacement theory, Newton’s gravity theory, Watt’s steam power… Only to be foiled by Guildenstern (or is it Rosencranz?). I and my scientific friend giggled and cried all the way trough… My favourite quote from that play/movie. “You think England is just a conspiracy of cartographers?!?”

    I loved how the Braavosi play was staged, the props, the sets, the slightly-off costumes and wigs, everything. The way the “pidgeons” flew out of the “pie”, how the feast “table” or King Robert’s fatal hunting trip or his “death bed” were staged. Real medieval/Renaissance feel…

    And the companiobable bickering backstage. It got very meta when Lady Crane commented on a girl’s expressive eyes and amazing eyebrows, and the… erm… showrunner went apeshit on others who think they can tell the story better. Ha ha, meta gold!

    The Braavosi mummers and Rosencranz and Guidenstern are at the heart of it. Desperately trying to discover and portray the true human condition and nobody takes them seriously.

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