Director Jeremy Podeswa explores the Rhaegar-Lyanna wedding scene, the fall of the Wall, and more


Jeremy Podeswa won’t be returning to direct episodes of the eighth and final season of Game of Thrones, but the super-sized “The Dragon and the Wolf” was a memorable swan song. Podeswa chatted with Indiewire about some of the episodes big moments, starting with the wedding scene between Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

“To me, the wedding scene was important in that it was antithetical to what we understood before about that relationship,” Podeswa said. “The received wisdom around that part was that Lyanna had been kidnapped and she was forced against her will by Rhaegar. But we find out now that actually they were in love with each other and that they were secretly wed.”

"Rather than being a scene of violence or something of that nature was actually, there was a kind of idyllic quality to it. And it was important to me that we understand now that the history that everyone understood was in fact incorrect. And so we wanted it to be as revisionist in a way as possible."

The wedding was idyllic, sure, but the irony is that it led to horror and bloodshed throughout Westeros. I hope you enjoyed your perfect little moment, Rhaegar and Lyanna, cause it cost you big.

The Rhaegar-and-Lyanna scene was intercut with Jon and Dany hooking up on a boat going north, drawing a direct parallel between the two couples. (Will the one romance end as disastrously as the other? Tyrion seems to be worried.) “All those things were meant to be interwoven, to give a kind of prismatic view of the history that brought Jon to this point, and Jon and Dany together in this sweep of destiny, in this sweep of history,” Podeswa said.

The love scene also had to work as, well, a love scene, for which Podeswa took a simple approach. “With Jon and Dany’s scene, the important thing for me was that it wouldn’t be prurient in any way, that there’s a very strong undercurrent in that scene,” he said. “It wasn’t about shooting a big lovemaking scene. Once they’re making love, that’s the story. There’s no reason to kind of linger on that.”

"But the real story within the story, was actually what was going on with their eyes and what’s happening — there’s an understanding between them that even though they know in some part of them that they shouldn’t really be doing this, they cannot not do it. There’s some element of destiny that’s brought them together, and they can’t fight it."

I’m gonna miss how much thought Podeswa puts into this stuff.

Podeswa also weighed in on question that didn’t occur to me but apparently “confused many viewers,” according to Indiewire. Why was the fire Zombie Viserion breathed blue rather than red?

"It’s funny because people really accepted the green fire [of wildfire], which burned down the Sept [of Baelor] and the sea battle in the earlier season. I think that fire can have many different manifestations. I think that the ice dragon fire is clearly still fire because it does melt The Wall and tear it down, but it had a particular quality because it’s coming from an undead dragon. So what the chemical nature of that is and the chemical nature of fire would actually be different coming from a non-sentient being. So there’s definitely some thought into that of what that should actually look like. But obviously, an ice dragon is going to have an icy kind of fire but it’s still fire."

Not to get all nerdy about it, but fire changes color depending on how hot it is, blue fire being hotter than red. I dunno how that works when beast breathing it is undead, but I don’t know how beasts breathe fire in the first place, so I’m willing to roll with it.

Another biology question: if wights’ bodies decay, will Zombie Viserion eventually be too haggard to fly?

"Everything comes from a sense of logic, so I guess in this particular instance with Viserion, what were the wounds that he suffered before he died? What happened to him underwater and when he was dragged up? All of those kinds of things folded into the discussion of what he should appear to look like when he’s resurrected. Where it goes from there is anybody’s guess. I’m not sure if the newly undead or born-again undead are trapped in a certain kind of moment or whether they decay forever."

That would be a novel solution to the undead dragon problem — maybe the living just have to wait until enough flesh falls off his wings that he can no longer fly. Throw it on the theory pile for season 8.

Next: Isaac Hempstead Wright reveals an important Bran-Sansa scene cut from the finale

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