James Hibberd
August 28, 2017 AT 08:56 AM EDT

Game of Thrones said goodbye to its master of chaos and deception in Sunday’s night’s seventh season finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf.” Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish was mesmerizingly portrayed by actor Aidan Gillen right up until his execution for a long list of crimes and plotting against the Stark family. We spoke to showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss about saying goodbye to a character who has long embodied the scheming machinations of the King’s Landing royal court “rats nest.”

David Benioff: “We had been huge fans of Aidan’s work on The Wire and other movies and TV shows. He’s just one of those guys you know is going to give you something good. And with Aidan you don’t know what he’s going to give you. He’s able to change things in ways that are strange and beguiling, yet to the betterment of the character and the show. Littlefinger is a much different character than we initially imagined, and the bulk of the credit for that goes to Aidan. He’s just a phenomenal actor and a great one to spend time with. We loved having Littlefinger along for the ride, but he f—ed with the wrong girls.”

Dan Weiss: “I would echo that there’s such a beautiful strangeness to his performance and it’s almost all coming from what he brings to the character. He almost turns Littlefinger into a mystical embodiment of will-to-power and thriving on chaos. There’s something impenetrable to everything he does. It’s like you keep peeling away the skins and there’s never an end to the masks. He’s been such a pleasure to work with and so consistently elevates everything he does. But I was so happy with his last performance on the show. We think people will get some good gasps out of the scene.”

Benioff: “It was one of the harder death calls we had to make. Relatively speaking, he’s a minor character if you look at his screen time. The fact that Littlefinger looms so large when people talk about the show, and when we think about the show, it’s really a credit to Aidan. Every scene he’s in manages to make you think about Littlefinger. And when he’s at the center of a scene — like his final scene in the finale — he’s completely mesmerizing. We’ve had a lot of death scenes on this show and this is one of the great ones. Diana Rigg [as Olenna Tyrell] was so true to her character in the end, and Littlefinger was so true to his character — in his own cowardly, horrible way.”

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

More “The Dragon and the Wolf ” coverage: 
Game of Thrones stars react to that huge Jon Snow reveal 
How that Jon Snow twist changes everything
Lena Headey reveals what Cersei really thought of Daenerys
Deep-dive recap
Your 10 biggest finale questions answered
— Finale podcast (coming Monday)

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