Game of Thrones writer Bryan Cogman talks about Sam’s season 7 adventures at the Citadel


With only 13 episodes of Game of Thrones left to go, the production is focused on bringing the series to a satisfying end. Speaking to Entertainment Weekly,  writer and producer Bryan Cogman notes that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss resisted the urge to make “another eight seasons” but rather to “go out on a good high point.”

"I think we’re doing our best to service all those relationships and character combinations. Characters are coming together for a reason and that’s because s–t’s going down and so the s–t has to go down."

If interviews can be believed, season 7 will involve a lot of far-flung characters meeting for the first time, coming together in new and unexpected ways. That facet is one that fascinates Cogman. “It’s a season of new pairings and reunions,” he said “A lot of storylines and relationships are starting to come full circle this year. And just the momentum of the storytelling feels different. Winter has come, White Walkers are coming, Dany has landed and the momentum of the story has increased. There is a pace and urgency to the storytelling that’s very palpable. This is the end game.”

About those meetings, Cogman said that, as fun as it would be to have certain characters have a conversation, it wasn’t always feasible, because the two characters at issue “couldn’t be in a room together at this point without killing each other.” Think about who he could be talking about at your leisure.

Whoever he’s talking about, it’s probably not Samwell Tarly, who Cogman says is “one of the few characters who gets his own mini spinoff” this year. He’ll be spending a lot of time training to become a maester at the Citadel, under the tutelage of a character played by Oscar winner Jim Broadbent.

"This is the anti-Harry Potter. Sam shows up to this amazing place where he thinks he’s going to get all the answers and all his talents are going to be put to good use. But this ain’t Hogwarts and the maester is not Dumbledore."

So no pointy hat, then. Check.

According to Cogman, the biggest challenge of the season was how to write am interesting war story “when one of the sides has dragons,” which Cogman calls “nukes.” However, he also notes that “somebody who wants to rule effectively and be supported by the people doesn’t want to just come in firing nukes.” So keep those dragons in check, Dany.

Another problem was making sure the characters all got their time to shine, and that they didn’t spend all their time recapping the show.

"[T]his is a tricky thing because you’ll have a character who hasn’t seen another character in however many seasons and you want those characters to compare notes on everything that happens. And while that would happen, and would make sense, it’s not always the most compelling thing to watch. So in some cases, we have that but other times you cut to another time and they’ve clearly had that conversation off-screen."

Cogman, of course, remained mysterious as what meetings he was talking about, though he did teased the reactions of friends he brought to set during filming. “[T]hey look at a scene where a certain character is meeting another character and they’re like [gasp!]. It’s going to be quite an arc for all these characters when it’s all said and done.”

Next: Kit Harington: Game of Thrones season 7 faked scenes

Elsewhere on the internet, Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy) teases what’s next for the show’s newest murdering psycho. Having just built “the biggest fleet in the world,” Euron will go about trying to use it. And seeing as his niece and nephew have joined up with the Dragon Queen, Euron needs to form “some kind of alliance” of his own.

“He’s a fearless psycho pirate for sure, but in the writing he’s not just evil — he’s evil with a little smile,” said Asbaek. “There are scenes this year when he’s fighting at sea and I’m covered in blood and I’m stabbing and screaming and yelling and that’s the destructive side of Euron — a fierce warrior who doesn’t give a shit because he’s untouchable.”

But that’s not all there is to Euron, and Asbæk says we’ll see another side to him. “It’s my job in those scenes to make him charming and seductive and interested and a little bit more nuanced. He can even be pretty funny when he wants to be.”

On the other side of the Greyjoy divide lies Yara Greyjoy. Actress Gemma Whelan is excited to explore her relationship with ally Daenerys Targaryen. “She and Daenerys were definitely flirting,” Whelan says of the scene where the two met last year. “It wasn’t in the script. I guess that Emilia [Clarke] and I must have just found some chemistry.”

"But then the episode before we’d seen Yara with a prostitute — so we know that she’s up for anything. Not a lesbian, as I often have to point out. She’s up for anything, she doesn’t discriminate — which I think is fantastic: she’s a very modern character in that sense. I’m really proud to represent her and I know from the Comic Cons I’ve done that she’s hugely loved as a strong, forward thinking, independent woman."

While Whelan is loathe to give specifics, she does tease some dark times ahead for her character. “I can say that if it starts out with everything looking tickety-boo for Yara, very quickly the wheels come off. She soon finds herself in a diabolical situation.”

The wheels may well come off during a fiery fight on the water we’ve glimpsed in the trailers, during which Whelan said she sustained some burn-related injuries. “[T]hey throw water at you, you’ve got all these stunt men around you, the camera rolls and suddenly there’s fire flying in to the scene. It’s quite hard to look all serious when your hair is burning.

Finally, Whelan hinted at Theon’s role in all of this. “Yara’s got a huge faith in family at the heart of it,” she said. “Greyjoys have always had to stick together. Remember how hurt she was when she went to rescue Theon and he wasn’t the brother she loved anymore? Well this year he’s coming back, and there’s a beautiful circularity to what happens.”

Game of Thrones season 7 debuts on July 16.