It's been a rough couple of seasons for Jaime Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones." The Kingslayer spent much of last season as a muck-raked prisoner of the Stark rebellion, and the past couple of weeks things have only gotten worse. TV Guide spoke with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Lannister on the hit series, about his character's latest ordeal and what fans can expect down the road.
Jaime and Brienne's trip to King's Landing was unceremoniously interrupted when the two were captured by bannermen from House Bolton. Things went from bad to worse as not only were the two prisoners abused, but the Kingslayer lost a vital appendage. Coster-Waldau explained that there was a reason Jaime looked especially wiped during the shocking scene. "We shot it over two nights and almost didn't finish it because the second night I got really sick. I had a really high fever. So, when I look sick on that stump, it kind of worked out perfectly," he said. "It was a very brutal because there's the stuff when [Locke] *puts the knife point into my eye. I held that knife myself when I did the close-up, so I could feel how far I could take it. I wanted it to be as nasty as it could possibly get without stabbing out my eye. I think that worked pretty well. It was disturbing enough that you actually think it's over when he gets free from that. So when the whole hand chop happens, it's like, 'Holy sh--!'"
He continued, relating that the loss of the hand cuts much deeper for Jaime than simple physical injury. "When he loses his hand he says it himself in Episode 4, 'I was that hand,'" he said. "Since he was a kid, it has all been about mastering the skill, becoming a great soldier and swordsman and being known for that — both as the greatest but also the most feared and of course the Kingslayer. It's so many layers that go so deep into him that it's interesting to explore."
The actor hints that the shared experience of Jaime and Brienne could serve to bring captor and prisoner closer together. "I think he's gained a lot of respect for her and I think in a way, he sees an honesty with her and also an innocence that I think he wishes he still had," Coster-Waldau explained. "I think he recognizes himself in her. He knows that she's not playing a game. She walks the walk. She is a woman of her word, and that's extremely rare in that world."
The growing bond between the two comes in spite of the fact that Jaime drew the House Bolton captor's ire after uncharacteristically stepping in and saving Brienne from an assault by the group. "That's what I like about him. He does take responsibility for what he does. He wouldn't blame anyone else for pushing Bran out of the window. He knows why he did it. And that's why he's never spoken about the whole thing about him being the Kingslayer. He has a different opinion about what happened then, and we might find out more about that later in the season. But he doesn't use that to defend himself," he explained.
Don't miss this week's new episode of "Game of Thrones," airing Sunday night on HBO!