“The Winds of Winter” came last night and blew the doors off everyone’s hinges. The sixth season finale of Game of Thrones was a smash success with both critics, fans and even some non-fans who praised it as a singular piece of television and one of the top episodes of the show ever. You can check out my in-depth recap here and a preview of what’s to come in season 7 here but Entertainment Weekly, always the scooper, got interviews with departing stars Natalie Dormer and Finn Jones (the Tyrell siblings Margaery and Loras) as well as the new Queen of the Seven Kingdoms Lena Headey (the Mad Queen Cersei Lannister).
Dormer’s time on the show as the longest she spent playing a character, which was significantly beefed up from the books where the operates a more peripheral role as a non-POV character (the books are told through the limited third-person perspective of an array of characters). It remains to be seen how author George R.R. Martin will dispatch her in his book series, but here it seems the price of the narrative convenience the show has indulged in these last two years.
“They have to tighten the storylines given however many episodes are left. They have to focus them, down to get to the real business of the throne. Dany’s not far away. I appreciate they have to streamline and they’ve come up with some ingenious ways to do that that the audience will not see coming. That’s Game of Thrones all over, isn’t it? Every year something comes from the left field that no one could have predicted. It’s great they can still shock people six years on. I watch as an audience member as well, you get side swiped.”
Dormer called her character’s death (immolated along with hundreds of others by Cersei’s wildfire) “really clever” and an “inspired choice,” especially the small bit of vindication Margaery gets at the end by realizing something is amiss before the High Sparrow does and everything goes boom.
“The reason it all goes tits up is because Margaery wasn’t in control of the battle against Cersei. She had to hand the reins over to the High Sparrow and Cersei outplays him. By the end, Margaery is a victim of the High Sparrow’s incompetence. He underestimates Cersei and that’s something Margaery Tyrell would never do. David and Dan try to stay as close to human nature as possible.”
Also dying in the wildfire explosion was Dormer’s on-screen brother Finn Jones, who played the Knight of Flowers Loras Tyrell, imprisoned and, according to Jones, abused in every possible way by the Faith for the last season-and-a-half, just because he’s gay. We all knew something was up when he got cast as Iron Fist but we couldn’t have expected how epic his departure would be. Like Dormer, he called his exit’s timing was “perfect” and that he didn’t “think there could be a better end for the character.” His fiery death has a nice correlation to the current (supposed) status of the book’s Loras, who is on death’s door from boiling oil burns taken from an assault on Stannis’ old home of Dragonstone.
The woman responsible for the deaths of House Tyrell and the Faith gained immeasurable power from it, though by accident. Cersei Lannister’s mass murder caused her son King Tommen to leap to his death from despair. Now, childess, Cersei embraced her inner Mad Queen and claimed the Iron Throne for herself (for what it’s worth now).
Headey told EW Cersei never actually wanted the throne for herself, just power and control but the death of her last child pushed her over the edge and her seizing the throne symbolizes her descent into insanity.
I was grinning [reading the script]. Everyone is going to be aghast and thrilled and annoyed they’re on Cersei’s side for a minute. It’s so filthy. It’s so great. Everybody’s witnessed what happened with the two of them. I don’t think people will be able to help going, “Yes!” But it’s so depraved, it’s brilliant. The scene was meant to be worse, but they couldn’t do it. This is like the tame version. It’s pretty bad still though. I’d take being exploded in the Sept over that any day.
Even Headey agrees that Cersei’s reign will be short-lived, “a moment of punctuation in the madness.” She’s particularly excited that Dany is finally on her way to Westeros after six seasons of build-up, particularly since it means her character’s inevitable reunion with Tyrion. Emilia Clarke also gave her predictions for the seventh season to EW in the wake of the finale and our amazing editor Chelsea Lewis wrote that up here. For more tidbits, check out the full interviews. Game of Thrones will return in 2017.