Game of Thrones ends “in the most Game of Thrones way possible”


Game of Thrones cast members are everywhere nowadays talking up the eighth and final season of the show. Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) has been a little quieter, but he still had a sit-down with GQ. According to him, we can expect the ending of the show to be in keeping with what’s come before:

"With something as massive and as divisive as Game of Thrones, there’s no way they’ll manage to please everyone. There are going to be people who are annoyed. As far as I’m concerned, and everyone else I’ve spoken to who knows the conclusion, I think we’ve wrapped it up in a really clever way. We’ve wrapped it up in the most Game of Thrones way possible. We haven’t been outlandish or come up with some strange cliffhanger just for the sake of it, just to throw people off the trail, but at the same time, we haven’t done everything that everyone wants. We’re keeping some surprises up our sleeves."

I’m glad to hear that the ending won’t end on some “strange cliffhanger.” I already had faith that wouldn’t happen but you never know. And after so many cast members have teased a divisive ending to the show, I’ve cycled from being upset to nervous all the way through to excited. Why should a show that got famous for zigging when the audience expected it to zag go out the way people expect? Bring it on, says I.


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One ending we can probably cross off the list: a revelation that Bran is actually the Night King, a fan theory that’s been in vogue for a while now. “Oh, don’t even get me started on it,” Wright said. “This has been the bane of my life for the past year. Whenever I post anything, ‘Hello, Night King. You are Night King. How are you, Night King?'”

"Yeah. I think the thing with Bran and the Three-Eyed Raven is the fact that because he’s got this whole time-travel element to him, it makes him ripe for outlandish theories. But at the end of the day, it actually is quite cool that everyone is so invested in the show that they are apeshit about it."

I mean, he didn’t say for sure that Bran isn’t the Night King, but it doesn’t sound like he’s a believer, either. And this is someone who read the scripts for season 8 going on a year ago. “There was one particular area where I had to get up and actually pace around the room a little bit and go, ‘What?'” he remembers. We’ll look out for that bit.

Playing someone without the use of his legs, pacing isn’t something Wright usually does on set. “I mean, you watch all the other actors with aching backs having to stand up 11 hours. I’m staying in my really cozy wheelchair. ‘All right, guys, just wheel me over here!'”

"One problem was I always have fur on my knees on the wheelchair, and they had to set it in a very specific way for continuity, so I couldn’t get up between takes. So if I needed to go anywhere, I would actually have to get wheeled around."

That’s definitely a win-some, lose-some situation. I’d go crazy not being able to walk around and stretch my legs for hours at a time. Then again, maybe it’s easier to nap between takes?

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In any case, Wright says that Bran’s days in a wheelchair have been highlights of his Game of Thrones career. “I think season seven and eight have probably been my favorite, because they’ve been the years in which Bran, the Three-Eyed Raven, has had the most important stuff to do, and it’s been a whole new challenge to get to be someone who is totally emotionless, but to try and still keep them interesting.”

If you’re worried by that last line, Wright clarified that Bran isn’t completely without emotion:

"[T]his was the balance we tried to strike. We thought he could become very, very boring. So the challenge was to find that mystery about him without making it huge, but keeping something about him that keeps people hooked. I feel like we’ve done that."

Of all the characters, Bran is one of the hardest to get a handle on. I’m looking forward to seeing how journey concludes, because honestly, I don’t have a lot of good guesses.

And Wright isn’t about to give me anything to work with, although he did describe the last scene he filmed:

"We were shooting a scene with actually quite a few people involved, and quite a few people wrapping on that scene as well. It was quite emotional. I didn’t think I’d end up crying, but I did. Everyone was just in tears. I remember it was a beautiful evening in the summer, and I walked back instead of getting in the car back to base from set. And then I took my costume off for the last time. That was a big thing, because it’s like, God, I’ve been living in this goddamn costume for most of my life, and I’m never going to see it again."

God, that behind-the-scenes documentary about making season 8 is going to be non-stop people crying, isn’t it?

Wright did return to the set one time after that, for an Entertainment Weekly photoshoot. “[A]t the end of that, I was like, ‘Oh, shit, this is my last day on Game of Thrones ever. I’ve got to grab something,'” he remembered. “I just ran through the set and grabbed a wooden spoon and a little tub with some kind of gel in it. I think other people have got some really cool things, and I’ve just stolen kitchen utensils.”

And really, even now, Wright doesn’t feel that the show is truly over, not before the final season has aired. “I think in six months’ time, when the show has been aired and all the promotion’s been done and everyone is moving on, then I think that will be a really weird moment, because you’ll be like, ‘Oh, no, this really is done.'”

It’ll be weird for us, too. At least we can look forward to what sounds like a truly different final crop of episodes:

"[T]his season, what’s been really interesting is that there have been characters who I’ve been only watching on the screen. All of a sudden, here I am getting to act directly opposite them. It’s always felt like you’re just a small piece of the puzzle, where now everyone is together. Everyone is fighting the common cause, and so, yeah, it’s kind of like a superhero movie."

As for Wright himself, it’s weird to think that he’s had this huge experience and he’s only 19. For now, his plan is to “relax and have fun, get some acting jobs here and there, and then come back and go for it at Uni,” where he’s studying neuroscience. I’d say he’s worked hard enough to do whatever he wants for a while.

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