Actor Kit Harrington has finally spoken about his feelings filming the end of HBO’s Game of Thrones TV fantasy drama.
“I wanted to hear them around the table, without having read anything first. I sat on a plane next to Emilia (Clarke, who played Daenerys Targaryen) on the way to the read-through in Belfast, and she had read them already, and she was like, “Sh*t, Kit. You are in for some surprises.” That piqued my interest. (Laughs.) I didn’t realise what was going to happen the whole way through until maybe half a page before Jon kills Dany,” he said.
“I remember my mouth dropping open and looking across (to) Emilia at the table, who was slowly nodding as I went, “No, no, no!” It was a “holy f***” moment, pardon my language. Jaw dropping. I was completely surprised by it, even though you can kind of see the path through the season of how it was getting there — and even the previous couple of seasons before that, once you can look back. But it was still a big shock to me.”
Harrington, who is nominated for a leading actor award at the Emmys next month, said the final scene between his character Jon Snow and Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen took three weeks to film even though it was “essentially a page and a half of dialogue”.
“They wanted to shoot every conceivable angle, every way, to make sure they got it the way they wanted it. When you’re shooting the same scene for two weeks and it’s a page and a half, it becomes a long exercise in concentration. You have to remember the energy you’re bringing in, every day, and making sure it’s consistent. With a highly emotionally charged scene like that, it’s quite a lot, for everyone — the crew, me and Emilia. It was tiring. It’s one of the hardest things we filmed.”
Harrington was asked how he came to accept that his character had to kill Daenerys.
“It’s that horrible conflict in a relationship: “Do I stay or do I go?” We’ve all been through it at some point … except this one involves a knife. (Laughs.) So, the stakes are even higher. But that’s the way I looked at it: “Do I leave my lover?” It was the same kind of thing between Jon and Ygritte (Rose Leslie) earlier in the series, betraying someone he loves for the greater good. But what it really comes down to, the real crux of it, is the decision is made when she puts it between her and his family. Jon essentially sees it as Daenerys or Sansa and Arya, and that makes his mind up for him. He chooses blood over, well, his other blood. But he chooses the people he has grown up with, the people his roots are with, the North. That’s where his loyalties lie in the end. That’s when he puts the knife in.”