Nikolaj Coster-Waldau describes season 8 in three words: “Surprising. Enormous. Heartbreaking.”


At some point between his visit to Seville and his appearance at the Cannes Film Festival, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau took time to do a Skype interview with GoldDerby. He covered a lot of ground, including Jaime’s relationship with Cersei (Lena Headey), a possible romance with Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) and what’s coming in season 8. Watch the 20-minute video below, and then we’ll hit the highlights.

There’s a lot to unpack here, including a hint from Coster-Waldau that Jaime and Jon Snow, who met only once in the series premiere, may meet back up sometime in the final season.

"One of the great things about this show is that there are a lot of — also in season 8 — moments where you go “Oooooh, I remember that in [reaching for random example] season 2, Episode 3, that happened…[Jaime had] the tiniest of moments with Jon Snow in Episode 1…[Jaime] said, “Good luck at the Wall, we need great men like you.” And always, me and Kit Harington spoke about it; surely at one point we’re gonna meet again. There must be some payoff. And now, at least, [Jaime’s] going north. So he’s trying to get up there. We’ll see if he makes it. You never know."

Somehow we think Jaime will make it…at least to the North. Whether he survives what waits for him is another matter.

Coster-Waldau also identifies the loss of Jaime’s hand as a “defining moment” for the character, although his choice to walk out on Cersei may prove more consequential still:

"It goes back to the first thing he says in Episode 1, ‘The things I do for love,’ which was about how his whole life has been about his sister. He’s lived his life on his sister’s terms if you will. And I think the end of last season was kind of a very, very big moment because for the first time he knowingly acted against Cersei’s wishes, and he also for a moment saw her, I guess in a way, like the rest of the world has seen her for some time."

“Part of what’s heartbreaking in the end is that she’s playing him. I think there is a little part of her that wants to embrace the romance.” Ultimately, though, Coster-Waldau thinks Cersei is using Jaime, and that “more than anything, in the end, that really broke his heart.”

So if Jaime doesn’t end up with Cersei, heaven forbid, who might he end up with? Tell us what we want to hear, Nikolaj!

"I think that I’m more of a romantic than [showrunners] Dan [Weiss] and David [Benioff]. I kind of want [Jaime] to just break out. You know, just leave Cersei! And she’s bad for you! And it’s not healthy! And clearly you’re in a relationship where you are more in love with her than she loves you, so, you know. And what about Brienne of Tarth? She’s great! I’m no different than anyone else. I’m a hopeless romantic."

That sound you just heard is the sound of thousands of Jaime and Brienne shippers falling in love with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. It’s like a contented sigh blasted through a few dozen megaphones lined up in the row.

But it might not be that simple. As unhealthy as the relationship is, Coster-Waldau acknowledges that Jaime has built his identity to some extent around Cersei, so it’s very hard to let go. Sure, he’s walked out, but Coster-Waldau wonders if it’s really a clean break.

"Is this real? Does he mean it, or was that in a moment of emotion? That thing where you’re so angry so you walk out, you’re never gonna go come, and 20 minutes later you go, “Oh, shit. Hey, can we talk about it?” He might be texting her, like “Please, I’m sorry.” But who knows? That wasn’t a spoiler."

Sure, but we’ll run with it anyway.

Moving on, Coster-Waldau refused to classify Jaime as a hero or a villain, and stressed that the strength of the show is that it doesn’t always take sides. Take the Loot Train Attack in season 7, for example, where the show encourages us to see Daenerys Targaryen, a character we’ve been groomed to like, from a new angle:

"What’s shocking I guess is that the way they film it, they show it from the Lannisters perspective so you actually see the horror. Most of the movies and films you wouldn’t have seen it from their perspective. You would have stayed up on the dragon going, “Fuck ’em all! Yeah, that’s great, destroy them!” That’s kind of what the show is doing all the time. It’s saying it’s really so much to do about perspective."


Coster-Waldau has a lot of other interesting things to say, including a breakdown of Jaime’s scene with Lady Olenna (whom Coster-Waldau describes as “the female version of [Jaime’s] father”) from the end of “The Queen’s Justice,” but let’s skip to the big finish, when GoldDerby asks him to describe season 8 in three words. What are they?

"Surprising. Enormous. Heartbreaking."

Then he cheats and keeps going. “I could pick three other words as well! It could also be…Satisfying. Shocking. And heartbreaking again.” That’s five words, good Ser, but we’ll accept.

Before closing out the interview, Coster-Waldau casually mentions that they spent 73 days filming one episode. He’s probably referring to [SPOILER], which was filmed over a long period of time at multiple locations. I’ll let that rattle around your brains until 2019 when season 8 makes its debut.

Next: Emilia Clarke explains why she waited so long to dye her hair Daenerys-blonde, and other tidbits

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