The dashing Danish actor discusses his characters big Episode 8 on the HBO fantasy-epic, managing Jaime and Cerseis twincest, and the issue of nudity equality on the show. “>
Jaime Lannister, Game of Thrones rakishly handsome Kingslayer, has come a long way from tossing poor Bran Stark out of a tower window for climbing in on him shagging his sister doggy style. Hes lost his sword fighting hand, been torn apart from his sister-lover Cersei, and seen two of his incest-kids die horrible deaths (good riddance, Joffrey), and another, Tommen, become an effeminate, lily-livered loser puppeteered by a religious fanatic.
The Mad King killers most enlightening relationship, however, has come courtesy of Brienne of Tartha warrior of House Tarth and devoted bodyguard to the Stark ladies. During their two-season trek to Kings Landing, they began as sworn enemies, with Jaime mocking Brienne for her looks and Brienne knocking some sense into him, but over time, and after thwarting bear attacks and gang-rape attempts, they became trusted allies, culminating in Brienne cradling stump-handed Jaime like a child in the communal bath at Harrenhal as he told her the story of why he slayed the Mad King.
It had been a season and a half since Jaime outfitted Brienne with his suit of armor and Valyrian steel, aka Oathkeeper, and tasked her with finding Sansa Stark and keeping her safe. And now that Briennes successfully reunited Sansa with Jon Snow at Castle Black, the towering warrior has come to Riverrun to try and convince Sansas great-uncle, Brynden Blackfish Tully, to join forces with Team Stark. There, in Episode 8, she runs into Jaime, whos keen to take the castle himself.
They exchange pleasantries (I know there is honor in you, Ive seen it myself, says Brienne), and, in a touching scene, Jaime lets her keep Oathkeeper. But the wily Lannister son pulls an ace out of his sleeve in Edmure Tully, or Sansas actual uncle, convincing the browbeaten captive to talk the Blackfish and his men into laying down their arms, as he is their lord. Thats exactly why I came here, Jaime tells Edmure. I love Cersei. You can laugh at that if you want, you can sneer, it doesnt matter. She needs me. And to get back to her, I have to take Riverrun.
By episodes end, Jaimes taken Riverrun, the Blackfish is dead, and Brienne and Pod are rowing away in a boat. Jaime spots them and waves at Brienne.
The Daily Beast spoke to Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the Danish actor who so brilliantly plays Jaime Lannister, about his characters evolution, and much more.
Emilia Clarkes been quite vocal about having more nudity equality on Game of Thrones, since its usually the women who bare all and rarely the men.
There was that shocking shot with the theater group backstage, and the first thing you see is a close-up of this guy checking out his privates. I have to say, I dont need more of that.
Right. I think a lot of the male nudity on the show has been played for laughs or disgust, from that scene to the man flashing Cersei during the walk of atonement to Hodors giant Hodor, whereas the female nudity is more sexual in nature.
You had Loras Tyrell and the other guy having sex and being intimate together. Im sure that there could be more. One of the things I actually like about this season is theres not that much sex anymore on the show. Theres nothing wrong with sex, but I love the fact that theres less of that and more intense drama. But nudity equality? Yeah, sure.
On Thrones this season weve seen the evolution of Jaime Lannister from the rakish Kingslayer to the skilled politician (and tactician)in part because of his hand.
Things have changed in Jaimes life on a big scale. Early on, his whole identity was tied to being the best swordsman and soldier in the Seven Kingdoms, and now thats been cut off from him. Hes had to rediscover himself and who he is, and having this huge secret his whole life of being the father of these children [Joffrey and Tommen Baratheon], and for the briefest of moments discovering the pride and joy of being a fatheronly to have it snatched away the moment he experiences it. Losing his father was major, too, and understanding that there are no other Lannister men left, he wonders whether hes going to be Tywin No. 2 or his own man. What happened in Episode 6, the fact that hes no longer a Kingsguardwhich he was for lifehas made him as free as you could be when youre Jaime Lannister.
Lets talk about that great Episode 8 scene between Jaime and Brienne.
What I love about it is the buildup. Just before we cut into the scene, we have Bronn outside the tent with Pod, and he says, Well, what do you think? Do you think theyre fucking? I think theyre fucking. I know he wants to fuck her, I know she wants to fuck him, so what do you think? And then it cuts back in and you see this very respectful way of discussing politics. Its a negotiation with a very clear subtext of two people who have very strong feelings for each other, but are caught in a situation thats just beyond them. Their jobs overshadow everything else. Theres no room for the private Jaime and Briennetheyre on a mission.
The end of the scene is lovely, too, where Brienne pauses to return Oathkeeper to Jaime and he tells her to keep it.
She fulfilled her oath and the job was done, and she hands it to him and he says, Its yoursit will always be yours, and its his way of saying, Youll have my heartyoull always have it. Its so sweet, and then a second later she says that if the shit hits the fan, shes going to have to fight him, and we all know that means shes going to kill him because he doesnt stand a chance against her. I just love that because clearly they dont want that result to happen, but theyre so caught up in being very, very loyal, honorable people to whatever cause theyre fighting for. For her, its being loyal to the Stark Family, and for him, its to the Lannisters.
It seems that Briennes morality, conscience, and sense of honor and duty rubbed off on Jaime during their time on the road.
I think hes always been loyal, but hes been loyal to his family and the people he loves. When he broke the oath and slayed the Mad King, I think it broke something in him because hed never do that. He went very far and tried desperately not to get to that point.
Although Jaime has been breakin the rules with Cersei the entire time.
[Laughs] Yeah, thats true. But love changes everything. Hes the Kingsguard, but he never promised not to sleep with his Queen! I dont think thats stated in the Kingsguard manual. They left that one out. They should probably put that in there, but for some reason it never crossed their mind. It should be an amendment to the Kingsguard manual: Dont fuck the Queen.
Do you think that there is a romantic connection between Jaime and Brienne?
I think there are strong emotions. Theres love there. I think its one of the purest forms of love that Jaimes experienced. The fact that he risks his life to save her from the bear attack, as well as when he stops the rape of herand loses his hand because of thatis powerful. In the bathtub scene, he opened up to her and told her things he hadnt told anyone, including the truth of why he killed the Mad King and the enormity of that trauma. For her to embrace him after that was, as I see it, an act of love.
Is it their collective shame that brings them together, too? Brienne gave that beautiful speech about being mocked as a child at dances for her appearance, and Jaime has lived his life as the subject of ridicule for everything from his Kingslayer rep to the incest whispers.
Youre right there. Thats the beauty of the whole partnership when it starts outthey despise each other because they see parts of themselves in each other. But as time passed, they realized that they have so much in common because theyre both outsiders, soldiers, and strongly believe in loyalty.
Shes also one of the only ones that sees the honor within Jaime.
Right. And shes the only oneapart from his sister and brotherwho calls him Jaime and not Kingslayer. She sees him as a human being.
And as far as the conversation with Edmure goes, we see Jaime start to show the Tywin in himthe cunning and ruthless politician.
I love that scene. Jaime took the most precious thing Edmure hadhis self-esteem and honorand took that away from him by basically saying, listen, I know youve been in captivity for years now and have refused to budge, and I admire that, but this is the way its going to go down: either you do as I tell you to do, and you give up the castle and the respect from your peers, or your son, the most important thing in your life, Ill take your little kid and launch him into Riverrun with a catapult, and then Im going to kill everyone there.
The whole kid-tossing threat reminded me of when Jaime tossed Bran out the window: The things I do for love.
[Laughs] Yeah, exactly. Its very brutal and when you hear him say it you think, wow, what a terrible thing to do, but at the end of the day, its saving the lives of many of the people in the castle because Jaimes going to take it with his menits just a matter of time and how many people are killed. At the end of the day, Edmures pride is hurt beyond repair but Im sure the hundreds of people inside the castle with families appreciate that theyre still alive.
During the Edmure exchange, Jaime also admits his love for Cersei, telling him, I love Cersei. You can laugh at that if you want, you can sneer, it doesnt matter. She needs me. And to get back to her, I have to take Riverrun.
I love the fact that this is the first time he says it to anyone. You can laugh at that if you want, you can sneer, I dont give a fuck now. The world that he knew has changed dramatically. Theres been this extreme religious uprising, everyones double-crossing everyone, and nobody can be trusted, so why even bother pretending anymore? If everyone is going to sneer and talk behind his back, Jaime might as well just acknowledge it because then you take away whatever leverage they have over you. Its reckless in a way, but its also to show Edmure that he has nothing to lose, and will do whatever it takes.
As an actor, how do you manage making your character seem likable and noble while also being in an incestuous relationship with your sister?
Well, now were talking moralsmy morals or your moralsbut I dont see it that way. I see two people who, when they were very young began this love affair. Its what theyve known, and because of that, for such a long timeapart from their brothernobody knew the truth. There was a lot of talk and whispering, but they existed inside this bubble. Its wrong from a moral standpoint because, from a biological perspective, your offspring might not turn out too great.
Exactly. They love each other and they have sex, but those are morals. Theres morality in this world, but if you look at the High Sparrow and the Faith Militant, they have strong morals, but is that preferable? You have this world with a different set of morals. Whenever you travel to a new world, you have to adapt to a different set of morals, and Westeros is no different.