We all saw that look Jaime Lannister gave his sister during her coronation in “The Winds of Winter.” He was seriously conflicted about what she’d done to the city, their family, and their relationship. Nicolaj Coster-Waldau, who’s played Jaime for six years now, talked about Jaime’s feelings to The New York Time, but he’s not the only one who thinks Cersei might become a problem. Eugene Michael Simon, who ended his run as Lancel Lannister in the episode, talked to Vulture about his own reservations.
“She has positioned herself perfectly to be royally screwed!” he said, referring to the fact that Cersei, a notoriously volatile person, is now in charge of the Seven Kingdoms right as winter comes and the Crown has rebellions to deal with in both Dorne and the North.
But that’s Cersei, and Cersei is a very broken woman, in a lot of ways. In many ways, she’s more insane than the Mad King. He could plead insanity, but Cersei doesn’t really have that. She’s aware of herself. She knows what she is, and continues to indulge. She won’t be broken. She won’t go willingly. And the Faith were the last thing that had a chance to break her, as they’ve broken so many people.
The Faith went out with a bang in “The Winds of Winter” when Cersei blew up its leaders with a well-timed wildfire bomb. Lancel Lannister found the bomb and nearly got there in time to stop it, even though he’d been debilitatingly stabbed by one of
Varys’ Qyburn’s little birds moments before and had to crawl the length of a very long corridor to get to it. We haven’t spent much quality time with Lancel over the past couple of seasons, but his final, desperate attempt to save the Sept gave him something like a heroic moment. Simon agreed that it was a good note to go out on.
I found that to be rather emotional, because for all of his bad choices, all the bad things that have happened to him, he still tries his very hardest to do what he believes to be right. And that made him vulnerable again. I could have played that entire reaction very robotically, the way he’s been. But instead, I let him cry out in pain and didn’t deprive him of his humanity. He was still human. He was scared. He didn’t want to die. But I am glad that my character has died the way he has. It was quite a cathartic experience for me.
For those curious how the show pulled off some these shots, Simon provided details. He talked about the moment the wildfire went off…
The actual wildfire substance glows that color in real life — the color you see on camera is the color we see on set, in natural light. So that’s not CGI. And when the fire goes off in front of Lancel, that wasn’t CGI either. There was a very large pyrotechnics team brought in, and my face was a foot and a half away from the bare flame, which we did by pouring a flammable liquid on top of the glowing goo that was fake wildfire. So when the time came, we illuminated it with a little device, and the whole thing went off right in front of me.
…and the bit where he carved a Seven-Pointed Star into Finn Jones’ (Loras Tyrell) foreheard:
The way we do the carving, Finn has this prosthetic put on his forehead, and I get a knife that has a slit in it, and I insert it into an opening in his skin, and basically push a button and the blood pops out of the knife at just the right time. It can be a little tricky, technically, and we had to do it a few times, so Finn’s head was repeatedly covered in blood. It was a pretty gory sight to have right in front of you, inches from my face, while at the same time having to hold a very stoic, dark, rather indifferent expression.
Also, fun story: the crawling scene was filmed in the same Belfast castle where they filmed King Robert and Ned Stark’s conversation in the Winterfell crypts back in Season 1. There are a lot of bats that live there, and Simon crawled through their poop. “So that was my last day on Game of Thrones! Covered in mud, blood, sweat, and bat shit!”
Getting back to Cersei, Simon thinks that the relationship between her and Jaime can’t help but change in the wake of what’s happened.
I have a feeling that Jaime’s relationship with Cersei will be strained next season because she’s gone off on her own route without him, and they were supposed to be in it together. I’m not sure if Jaime agrees with her course of action, and a lot of their family died. A lot of people were murdered. The odds have shifted in favor of the Starks, the Targaryens, and the Greyjoys. I don’t know why, but I have a feeling that Daenerys is going to die. There’s just something about the nature of the storytelling that leads me to believe she’s up for grabs. I think she’s a fantastic conqueror, but we’ll have to see how good of a ruler she is.
Does Nikolaj Coster-Waldau agree that things between Jaime and Cersei are going to change for the worse? Read on.