'Game of Thrones' actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau speaks about 'The Spoils of War' episode, Jaime Lannister's hail mary charge
The seventh and final season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" continues to raise the bar of television productions with the latest episode, "The Spoils of War." With its progressing storylines and breathtaking battle sequences, the episode is being hailed as one of the greatest of the series to date. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, whose character Jaime Lannister found himself in the middle of the action, commented on the epic episode and gave his thoughts about his character's fate.
Coster-Waldau discussed the level of complexity involved in shooting an episode as big as "The Spoils of War." "It's very complicated when you have all these elements," the actor told New York Times, adding, "You have fire, which is difficult to work with. You have horses, which don't necessarily enjoy fire." He also shared that the production for the battle sequences took a long time, spanning more than three weeks.
Whenever possible, the show opts to use real fire to add realism to its scenes. In the latest episode, the stunt department broke industry records for setting stuntmen on fire. In a single shot, director Matt Shakman set 20 men ablaze. "It's scary to see one man on fire, but 20 at the same time? And they just get up, like it's another day at the office," the actor said.
Another impressive aspect of the episode is the computer-generated imagery (CGI) involved in bringing the dragon to life. "I was pretty blown away by the realism of that insane beast. It's so weird, because the technology's so advanced and what they can do is so unbelievable," the actor marveled.
The episode also marked the first time that the Dothraki, a fearsome horde of brutal and battle-hardened horsemen, set foot on the continent of Westeros. The Dothraki's skill in horseback riding was in full display during the episode, showing men shooting arrows while standing on a galloping horses. "When you see the Dothraki riders, the skill level is insane!" said Coster-Waldau. "It's in-camera. It's not CGI. They jump up on those horses. They shoot a bow and arrow while standing up on horseback, galloping, on a field that is not even. It's rough terrain."
The 47-year-old actor also shared the thoughts of his character Jaime Lannister during his foolish but heroic dash against Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, and her fire-breathing dragon. He admitted that the commander knew that there was no way they could beat the dragon-riding queen, and instead opted to grab the opportunity to end the war as it presented itself. "They cannot beat these dragons," he explained. "The only way would be to somehow kill her, and for a brief second, he sees that opening. It's like a Hail Mary."
At the end of the episode, Lannister was saved from the dragon's breath of fire and was seen falling into the river in his heavy armor.
Catch "Game of Thrones" every Sunday night at 9 p.m. EDT on HBO.