(Warning: This post contains spoilers for “Game of Thrones” Episode 805, “The Bells”)
Euron Greyjoy was one of the many “Game of Thrones” characters who met a violent end during the Last War at King’s Landing on Sunday’s episode, “The Bells.” But even though it’s pretty clear that Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) left the fan-favorite villain to die when he stabbed him in the chest, Pilou Asbaek, who plays Euron, told TheWrap it’s still “a very important note” that his character’s death wasn’t actually shown on screen.
In an interview Monday, we asked Asbaek if Euron actually takes credit for killing Jaime a.k.a. Kingslayer, even though Jaime actually walked away and lived long enough to die embracing Cersei (Lena Headey) as the Red Keep collapsed on top of them. It was in his answer to that question that he revealed the “very important” bit.
“When we did the throne room scene [in Season 7] where Euron is in front of Cersei and goes like, ‘I always wanted to grow up to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. So here I am with a thousand ships and two good hands,’ I always wanted to act that like he meant it,” the actor told us. “So at the end, this is a guy, you don’t see him die — which is a very important note — but, that said, he got stabbed with a sword through the chest, so there is a pretty big possibility he’s gonna die. That said, I think he meant it. He’s the one who got Jaime Lannister, a guy who he has admired because Jaime has been one of the best fighters in the world and is the Kingslayer and has created a name for himself. And I’m a supporting cast member and my storyline has to be related to the main cast members, that helps as well, you know. If there was a couple more seasons, maybe it would have been Jaime Lannister saying, ‘I’m the man who got Euron Greyjoy!’ But I don’t know.”
See our full interview with Asbaek below, in which he also addresses the divided reaction to Sunday’s episode, and Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) decision to burn King’s Landing to the ground after the city surrendered. The moment left viewers hotly debating whether or not Dany becoming the “Mad Queen” was actually earned by her depiction over the last seven season of “Game of Thrones.”
Does Euron actually think he killed Jaime Lannister? Does he take credit for that, in his mind, like he says in his final words?
Sometimes you switch off your brain and you do what you have to do that you are told to be by the director and the writers. But that said — I’m kidding, I’m kidding — that said, no he’s that kind of guy, he’s in self denial. He just wants to see the world burn, you know what I mean? He just wants to see people die.
When we did the throne room scene [in Season 7] where Euron is in front of Cersei and goes like, “I always wanted to grow up to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. So here I am with a thousand ships and two good hands,” I always wanted to act that like he meant it. So at the end, this is a guy, you don’t see him die — which is a very important note — but, that said, he got stabbed with a sword through the chest, so there is a pretty big possibility he’s gonna die. That said, I think he meant it. He’s the one who got Jaime Lannister, a guy who he has admired because Jaime has been one of the best fighters in the world and is the Kingslayer and has created a name for himself. And I’m a supporting cast member and my storyline has to be related to the main cast members, that helps as well, you know. If there was a couple more seasons, maybe it would have been Jaime Lannister saying, “I’m the man who got Euron Greyjoy!” But I don’t know.
So it’s very important we don’t see him die on screen then? Why doesn’t he die on screen?
The reason why I didn’t want to die [on screen] is because I thought it would be so much fun to tease [“Game of Thrones” creators Dan “D.B.” Weiss and David Benioff], because of course they wrote the scene as if he would die. So did [episode director Miguel Sapochnik], he wanted to direct it as if he would die. But I didn’t want to do that, because you know sometimes you gotta take a piss at the showrunners. And I was like, “What if I don’t die? What if I just smile and look off?” And they were like, “Yeah, that’s nice.”
Why does Euron decide to go out fighting Jaime rather than try and escape King’s Landing and have a chance at surviving this battle?
OK, there’s several reasons. Reason number one is his entire fleet just got burned down by a dragon, that’s pretty devastating for a guy. He’s been swimming several miles in his leather suit, so he’s tired and he doesn’t want to go out on a boat again for a while. And he loves the queen, Cersei, and the queen will always be in love with her brother, Jaime Lannister. So for him to get the woman he loves, he needs to kill the guy. And if he can go and show her the head of Jaime Lannister, she will be so afraid of Euron Greyjoy that he would make her be with him so he would reign with power. And he’s one of those guys that wanna see the world burn. I could give you a long story about why, etc. and so on, but at one point you just gotta go with what is given and how they wanna do the scene, and that’s how they wanted it. They wanted Euron and Jaime to fight. Also because I think Dan and David might have thought it would be fun to have two Danes fight each other (laughs). But I think Euron wanted to kill Jaime for the love of Cersei.
The episode was very divisive among fans, what was your reaction and the cast’s reaction to the twists, especially Daenerys’ decision to ignore the bells? And what did you think of the fans reaction?
First of all, the diversity of the fans and the passion they bring to the table is admirable, and you want to have all of it. You want to have the ones that go, “This is the greatest show ever made,” and you wanna have the people that go, “I hate this show. I’ve always hated it. I want the books now.” You cannot satisfy one billion people, it’s not possible. But you want to have them commit to the show, even if they don’t like it. There was a guy called P.T. Barnum who said “There’s no such thing as bad press, there’s only press.” And I welcome everyone, people I agree with or people I disagree with. And I have on social media been discussing “Game of Thrones” with fans and I will continue to do that, because you owe the fans information and they need a place where they can ask questions about what they like or dislike and it’s totally cool, it’s passionate. And you’ve gotta love that. Besides that, for me, the twists and turns was logical, because this is “Game of Thrones,” and people have to die. And I would be very, very surprised if we end up with a happy ending next week. I know how it’s gonna end, so I’m not gonna say a word. But Dan and David have delivered for seven seasons admirable content and I would say they have delivered extremely well again this season. But again, you can’t please everyone.
The “Game of Thrones” series finale airs this Sunday at 9/8c on HBO.