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Entertainment Weekly

TV

Game of Thrones: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime's uncertain fate

Macall B. Polay/HBO

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The following contains spoilers from Game of Thrones season 7, episode 4, “The Spoils of War”…

Jaime Lannister faced off against the Mother of Dragons during Game of Thrones‘ latest episode, “The Spoils of War” — and he was nearly incinerated as a result. But with that deep plunge into the dark depths of a lake, weighed down by all his armor and golden hand, could this be the end for the Kingslayer?

We spoke to star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau about the riveting fiery battle sequence.

First, the Danish actor noted he felt sympathy for his character’s soldiers, even though he recognizes the Targaryen queen would make a better ruler for Westeros. “Even though Daenerys is the hero and the Lannisters are the villains, being burned alive is not great,” Coster-Waldau says. “It’s a terrifying thing when this monster flamethrower comes along and incinerates thousands and thousands of men who are just doing their job.”

RELATED: Hear the latest from EW’s Game of Thrones Weekly podcast

The sequence directed by Matt Shakman actually set an industry record for setting stuntmen on fire. Oftentimes movies and show use computer effects for fire scenes, but the Thrones showrunners prefer to use real fire whenever possible to add realism. The battle had 73 “fire burns” plus 20 people set ablaze simultaneous for a single shot — both of which had never been done by a single movie or TV production before.

In the episode’s final moments, Jaime makes a bold run straight at Daenerys, whose dragon Drogon has been grounded. Coster-Waldau said the episode’s script direction told the actors, “One of our main characters is about to die…”

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“Jaime is such an idiot that he thinks for a second, ‘If I can do this, I can win the whole thing in a Hail Mary,'” Coster-Waldau says.

The actor won’t say if his character survives, of course. But earlier we had asked him about Jaime’s relationship with Cersei, and whether he thinks the Kingslayer is ultimately doomed by his incestuous loyalty. And all he said was: “It’s not going to end well for Jaime Lannister, I can’t imagine.”

Here’s a great behind-the-scenes video on the sequence from HBO:

More ‘The Spoils of War’ coverage:
 ‘Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams on their reunion: We couldn’t keep a straight face’
Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams on their awesome sparring scene
— Showrunners, director on that epic dragon battle
EW’s deep-dive recap: Best episode of the season?
EW’s Game of Thrones podcast

Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO.

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