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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau weighs in on Game of Thrones' final season, saying goodbye to Jaime Lannister

Contributed by
Aug 30, 2018

If there's one thing Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is happy about on Game of Thrones, it's the fact that Jaime Lannister has actually made it this far.

With production officially wrapped on the eighth and final season of HBO's hit fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's series of novels, the actor is sounding off on his first Emmy nomination, the theories as to how it all will end and what to make of Gendry's epic run.

While mum on an airdate, Coster-Waldau told HuffPost in an interview that he is happy with how showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff are bringing the story to a close, including one very long battle that took 55 nights to shoot.

"I wrote the writers when I finished reading and just said, 'I don’t think you could’ve done a better job at finishing this story,'" said the 48-year-old Dane. "To me, it was very satisfying but also very surprising and all the things that I was hoping for. It still made sense. It wasn’t like one of those where the killer is suddenly revealed in the last act and you go, 'Oh! I didn’t see that coming.' Here, they’ve done a really, really good job."

Coster-Waldau added that while he didn't know from Season 3 on whether Jaime would be killed off, he was pleasantly surprised that "the Lannister kids made it to the end."

He's also gratified by his character's arc given how Season 7 concluded with Jaime finally standing up to his sister Cersei and leaving King's Landing to fight the White Walkers.

"For me, playing Jaime, when he gets to that point, it really was 'finally!' he noted. "Finally he says no. Finally he stands up to her. It was such a brutal scene because they’re playing two different games: Cersei’s playing the game of thrones and Jaime’s playing the honest game of survival, and trying to accommodate both his sister and his brother."

When asked about the most recent season's final episode, "Dragon and the Wolf," which saw Jaime head north after leaving Cersei on the throne with their unborn child, Coster-Waldau was circumspect about the Kingslayer's fate.

"For sure, we see him head north," he noted. "He might be eaten by dragons, you never know. Or he might just stumble, things happen. Or he might find the love of his life and suddenly he’s like, 'God, this is it. No more.'

Might that love be Gwendoline Christie's Brienne of Tarth?

"Ohhh, well who knows," he responded with a laugh. "I don't, well, I know how it ends but… no I can't comment on that."

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But Coster-Waldau did reveal that Jaime grows his hair out during the arduous journey, including sporting a full beard.

The thespian also weighed in on Gendry's marathon run back to Castle Black to save Jon Snow and company from certain death. The massive time jumps in Season 7 was a source of annoyance for some diehards who felt that Weiss and Benioff were using expositional tricks to make up for a lack of source material from Martin.  

But Coster-Waldau wasn't concerned.

"You’d have to ask Dan and David since it’s their show. I think that they definitely spoke to George R.R. Martin a couple seasons back to hear how he imagined the ending to be. But it’s not written, so it’s one thing to have an idea but when you’re writing it, it changes," said the actor. "Dan and David had a very specific end in sight and they also understand the fact that you don’t want to overstay your welcome."

On that note, bidding his alter-ego goodbye wasn't easy. Coster-Waldau admitted he got "a little bit emotional" and misty-eyed when they called a series wrap for him, but cast and crew had "a lot of teary goodbyes and farewell dinners."

As for earning his first Emmy nod after seven seasons playing Jaime, Coster Waldau joked that "he wore them down" but added that he was "surprised and very happy,"  adding that to be a part of a show that scored 22 nominations this year was "unbelievable."

With months of intense visual effects and post-production work still ahead, Season 8 of Game of Thrones will likely premiere in the latter half of 2019.

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