[Editor’s note: The following post contains spoilers about the penultimate episode of “Game of Thrones,” entitled “The Bells.”]
“Game of Thrones” aired its penultimate episode, “The Bells,” and, with it, claimed the lives of some of its longest running characters, including Cersei and Jaime Lannister (Lena Headey and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, respectively). The brother and sister reunited just moments before their deaths in the cellar of the Red Keep, which collapsed as Daenerys burned King’s Landing to the ground. Headey told Entertainment Weekly she was initially “mixed” on Cersei’s fate. Jaime brought her sister down to the cellar only to discover the exit was blocked by rubble. As Cersei pleaded with Jaime to protect their unborn child, Jaime embraced her and the two met their end in each others’ arms.
“I wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody,” Headey said of Cersei’s death. “The more we talked about it the more it seemed like the perfect end for her. They came into the world together and now they leave together.”
Jaime’s decision to abandon his friend and new lover Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) in the previous episode, “The Last of the Starks,” and return to King’s Landing to be with Cersei divided “Thrones” fandom. While Jaime’s decision surprised Headey herself, she said the choice directly impacted how to play her final moments as Cersei. When the two characters lock eyes, Headey gives Cersei perhaps the most humanity she ever has in eight seasons.
“I think the important thing is that Jaime had a chance at freedom [with Brienne] and finally liberated himself from Cersei, which I think the audience will be thrilled about,” Headey said. “I think the biggest surprise is he came back for her. Cersei realizes just how she loves him and just how much he loves her. It’s the most authentic connection she’s ever had. Ultimately they belong together. It’s maybe the first time that Cersei has been at peace.”
Headey said in Cersei’s final moments with Jaime the character finally broke through her disillusion to realize what’s important (as Jaime tells her right before they die, “It’s all that matters,” in reference to their love and their unborn child).
“She starts off in this final season trapped in a web of her own making, as is usual with Cersei,” Headey said. “She’s desperately unhappy and everything that’s happened becomes more real than it ever has for her. She starts to lose control of the situation. She’s destroyed every good alliance, connection, love in her life — she was always destined to be alone. And until the very, very last minute, she is, as ever, in denial of what’s actually happening.”
“Game of Thrones” is set to air its series finale this Sunday at 9pm ET on HBO.