This story about Nikolaj Coster-Waldau first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Emmy magazine.
Among the four acting nominations that helped make “Game of Thrones” the most-nominated program at the 2018 Emmys, the supporting-actor nom for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was the longest in coming.
While Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Diana Rigg had all been nominated before, Coster-Waldau was overlooked for the HBO series’ first six seasons, despite his audience-favorite performance as the initially evil but increasingly sympathetic Jaime Lannister. But with Kit Harington moving from the supporting to the lead category, where he wasn’t nominated, Coster-Waldau was finally recognized for a season in which Jaime regained some power.
And one of the Danish actor’s favorite scenes from Season 7 is a standout for many viewers: the death of Lady Olenna Tyrell (Rigg). The pivotal moment comes after Jaime has led the Lannister army to sack the Tyrell family home, Highgarden, and offers its matriarch a quick and painless death with poison.
“Finally, when everyone thought the Lannisters were just about to be crushed completely, [Jaime] turned the whole thing around,” Coster-Waldau said. “He’d done a perfect maneuver from a military standpoint and a tactical standpoint. And still he came in and treated her with respect and grace.
“He did everything right and obviously he had what he thought was complete control of the situation. He was going to be gracious and give her an easy way out if, you will, with the poison. And at the very last moment, she flips the whole power dynamic and takes control.”
Olenna decides to go out with a bang, draining the spiked goblet Jaime gives her and then telling him she is responsible for the death of his and his sister Cersei’s son Joffrey — and insisting that he let his sister know she was behind it.
“It was just beautifully written,” Coster-Waldau said. “To work with an actress like Diana Rigg is very exciting and she is brilliant, as you would expect. It was definitely a high point not just of the season, but the whole show, for me.”
Coster-Waldau can say that now, as “Game of Thrones” wrapped filming of its final season in July. And though the season isn’t set to premiere until sometime in the first half of 2019, the actor is already feeling nostalgic about saying goodbye to the man they call the Kingslayer.
“It’s a very satisfying feeling,” he said. “I’m sure there are a lot of financial reasons to extend ‘Game of Thrones’ for another two, three years. But that was never what [creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] wanted. It just feels like we go out the right way.
“But, yes, I’m going to miss the words.” He laughed. “I’m not going to miss the armor. The costumes were very heavy. But beautiful.”
To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire issue, click here.