SPOILERS for last night’s episode of Game of Thrones, “The Spoils of War”
It’s a strange realization to have, now that we’re in the middle of Season 7, that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is possibly one of the best actors on the show. I’ve spent so much time not really caring about Jaime Lannister in general, but Nikolaj-as-actor has always done some of his best work on the show. Sometimes his work is subtle, sometimes it’s just a really great line reading, and sometimes he can reel off entire monologues with aplomb and depth. Jamie’s scene last week, against Diana Rigg, was one of the best of the season. And now Nikolaj got to play Jaime in a big battle scene and possibly even a big death scene. Full disclosure: I don’t think Jaime is dead. I think he’s probably severely wounded, possibly half-burnt, but I bet that Dany is ordering Jaime to “bend the knee” in the next episode (it was in the preview). Anyway, Nikolaj was given a sort of “exit interview” (not really) about last night’s episode:
We spoke to star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau about the riveting fiery battle sequence. First, the Danish actor noted he felt sympathy for his character’s soldiers, even though he recognizes the Targaryen queen would make a better ruler for Westeros. “Even though Daenerys is the hero and the Lannisters are the villains, being burned alive is not great,” Coster-Waldau says. “It’s a terrifying thing when this monster flamethrower comes along and incinerates thousands and thousands of men who are just doing their job.”
The sequence directed by Matt Shakman actually set an industry record for setting stuntmen on fire. Oftentimes movies and show use computer effects for fire scenes, but the Thrones showrunners prefer to use real fire whenever possible to add realism. The battle had 73 “fire burns” plus 20 people set ablaze simultaneous for a single shot — both of which had never been done by a single movie or TV production before. In the episode’s final moments, Jaime makes a bold run straight at Daenerys, whose dragon Drogon has been grounded. Coster-Waldau said the episode’s script direction told the actors, “One of our main characters is about to die…”
“Jaime is such an idiot that he thinks for a second, ‘If I can do this, I can win the whole thing in a Hail Mary,’” Coster-Waldau says. The actor won’t say if his character survives, of course. But earlier we had asked him about Jaime’s relationship with Cersei, and whether he thinks the Kingslayer is ultimately doomed by his incestuous loyalty. And all he said was: “It’s not going to end well for Jaime Lannister, I can’t imagine.”
I don’t think it will end well for Jaime either, but as I said, I don’t think this is the end either. I think Jaime still has a part to play in the wars to come. I think Jaime is the “little brother” in the Valonqar prophecy. I think his role in the wars to come is that he ends up turning on Mad Queen Cersei. Then again, Arya might get to Cersei first, I have no idea.
Last thing: I saw this last week and loved it.
When your sister forces you to spend time with her new boyfriend: pic.twitter.com/sKCUQjRk9X
— Ben Soffer (@boywithnojob_) August 3, 2017
Photos courtesy of HBO and WENN.