Interview With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau

By Katie M. Lucas

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"This isn't a trial, it's a farce," alleges Jaime Lannister in this week's 'Game of Thrones.' Realizing his brother is doomed, Jaime offers Tywin what he wanted all along – a Lannister heir. In the interview below, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau discusses Jaime's deal with his father, his changed relationship with Cersei, and what it's like to wear a golden hand.

HBO: Cersei has manipulated every last detail of Tyrion's trial. What's Jaime's reaction?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I don't think he's surprised. He's horrified that she would go to that extent, but Cersei wants Tyrion dead and Jaime knows that. She wants revenge for all the pain she's endured because of Joffrey's death and Tyrion has become a symbol of all her hatred.

HBO: Jaime asks Tyrion if he killed Joffrey in Episode 4. Did Jaime really think he did it?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Jaime knows that Tyrion hated Joffrey with a vengeance. I don’t think Jaime really thinks Tyrion did it, but he had to ask him. Tyrion basically responds, "Are you going to kill me?" I don't think Tyrion really believes that Jaime would, but it's almost like saying, "Will you tell me you love me? I know you do, but tell me you love me."

HBO: Why does Jaime decide to make the deal with Tywin?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: He sees that Cersei's clearly winning, and he knows his father well enough to know that Tywin's willing to sacrifice Tyrion. Jaime doesn't want to leave the Kingsguard, but he truly loves Tyrion. So if saving Tyrion's life means giving up his own freedom, of course he'll do that.

HBO: Does Jaime have that same type of love for his father?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: No. But he's been brought up to respect and honor his father. Love is irrelevant with Tywin. It's all about politics and power. Jaime is more emotional. He doesn't care about all that; he just wants to do the right thing in his world. I think that meeting Brienne has made him reconnect to that core of himself.

HBO: What does giving Brienne Oathkeeper mean to Jaime?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It's very symbolic because the sword was forged from Ned Stark's sword, but also Jaime wants to dress Brienne as well as he can because he won't be able to join her. He wants to be sure she's equipped with the best that money can buy. I think he has really strong feelings for her. I read somewhere that Brienne is almost the sister he never had. Cersei, unfortunately, is the sister that he loves. Wouldn’t it be great if it was the other way around?

HBO: Do you think Brienne is in love with Jaime?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I think so, but I don't know if it's conscious for her and I don't think Jaime realizes it. Jaime shared his innermost secrets with this woman. They went through hell together and that's something they always will have.

HBO: His journey with Brienne definitely changed him.

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Yeah. You could actually see that in the scene with Charles [Dance, who plays Tywin]. With Tyrion, although Jaime is different, their relationship at its core is the same. Of course things have changed with Cersei.

Jaime’s whole life has been planned out so he could be close to Cersei. Now he's coming to the realization that the love he thought they had didn't exist. That doesn't mean he can just shut out his own feelings – because he can't. But Jaime is becoming the man that he's meant to be. It's a constant struggle for him, but he's trying to learn who he is. He knows that he cannot continue to live his life on Cersei's terms or his father's terms.

HBO: The past two seasons you've been either a hostage or on the road; what's it like being back in King's Landing?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It's just great. I've had a wonderful time on every season, and I miss those scenes with Brienne because they were so much fun to shoot and brilliantly written. Peter [Dinklage], Lena [Headey] and Charles are brilliant actors, and then they're just wonderful people. Hanging out with them again has been really good.

HBO: How are you liking Jaime’s new hand?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I'm very pleased with my golden hand. It's easier than having the stump and various prosthetics. It was a challenge to find ways to hide my arm. Now this beautiful work of art hides my own hand, which gets really sweaty and disgusting. It's a great, annoying obstacle to have.

HBO: How is sword-fighting with your left hand?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It's tricky, because I am right-handed myself. Hopefully Jaime will get better and better going forward, so as an actor I will have to get better myself. It's a great challenge.

HBO: You're invited to a GOT wedding: Accept or decline?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Decline for sure. They end in tears.