By James Hibberd
April 15, 2019 at 01:20 PM EDT
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[Warning: Contains a spoiler from the end of the GoT season 8 premiere “Winterfell”]

Who’s the man under the hood?

Just when you almost forgot about Jaime Lannister amid all the high drama at Winterfell in the premiere of Game of Thrones season 8, along comes Kingslayer, having snuck unnoticed into the castle courtyard, ready to make good on his noble promise to “fight for the living.”

Then Jaime gets a huge surprise: Across the courtyard, waiting for him, is the boy he once shoved out of a window all those years ago, helping instigate the fighting between the Lannisters and the Starks. It’s the perfect ending to the first episode of the final season, a direct callback to the last scene of the show’s pilot.

HBO

For actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, the nonverbal face off required portraying a complex mix of emotions in rapid succession. Below, the actor breaks down exactly what was going through Jaime’s mind as he stared at Bran Stark.

“First of all, I don’t think wheelchairs are a normal thing in Westeros,” Coster-Waldau says. “I think it’s like: ‘What the hell?’ and then, ‘Oh my god, that’s the kid.’ I think he knows Bran didn’t die, but he doesn’t expect to meet him.”

And now?

“His mission changes once again,” Coster-Waldau says. “It goes from: ‘I know my brother Tyrion is there and I’m going to fight the good fight’ to ‘I’m in deep sh– now.’ Because this is the Lord of Winterfell that I tried to kill and I’m sure he wants revenge. That’s what Jaime expects.”

Of course, Bran is now the all-seeing Three Eyed Raven, so who knows what Bran wants with Jaime, but he clearly was waiting for his arrival for some yet-to-be-revealed reason. We’ll see the outcome of their reunion in the second episode of season 8 next week (watch the promo here). And, of course, there’s also Daenerys’ reaction to consider — Jaime killed her father, after all. In the meantime, Coster-Waldau noted there’s another person he’ll presumably see again too — Brienne of Tarth. And how does he feel about that?

“For Jaime, he would assume she would be there,” he said. “I don’t think that was the reason he went. They’ve both been very good at compartmentalizing whatever feelings they have for each other.”

The actor also offered some thoughts about the final season as a whole. “I don’t think [showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] could have done it any better,” he shares. “It makes sense and there’s a logic to it without it being obvious at all. There are also great moments of surprise.”

Exclusive Game of Thrones premiere coverage:

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HBO’s epic fantasy drama based on George R.R. Martin's novel series A Song of Ice and Fire.
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  • TV Show
seasons
  • 8
episodes
  • 73
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Premiere
  • 04/17/11-05/19/19
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