The actor behind the Kingslayer chats about Jaime's two heartbreaks in the Season 5 finale, his character's karma and his hopes for Season 6.
HBO: What motivates Jaime to go to Dorne?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It's connected to the end of Season 4; Jaime tried to do the right thing by helping Tyrion escape. It had some consequences that he hadn't imagined possible. The fact that Tyrion killed Tywin was heartbreaking for Jaime. The Lannisters suddenly went from a position of strength to being extremely vulnerable. Jaime feels responsible, and so he's taking responsibility for his life and who he is – including his daughter.
When Cersei confronts him with the threat from Dorne, that's when he finally says, "She's my daughter." They're running low on numbers in the family and he wants to make a difference and save Myrcella. As always with Jaime, he's acting on impulse. He feels constrained in King's Landing. He has to do something about it. I'm sure his dad would have handled it in a different way. The plan was reckless and maybe naïve. The whole trip hasn't panned out the way he hoped it would.
HBO: What was it like to finally play a dad?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I really enjoyed the first scene where Jaime is alone with Myrcella [played by Nell Tiger Free] and she just won't have it. [Myrcella rejects Jaime's directive to leave Dorne.] He has no experience in having a teenage daughter. He's just out of his step. It's been interesting to play those scenes.
HBO: What's Jaime's appraisal of Doran?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: He has huge respect for the man, there's no question about it. I think he's relieved to meet a guy who's actually talking sense, who's smart and understands the political ramifications of this alliance between the Lannisters and the Martells.
HBO: What prompts Jaime to tell Myrcella that he's her father?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Fundamentally, I think it's: "Enough with all the lies." The oldest secrets haven't done him any good. He needs to tell her for himself, but he also realizes that knowledge is important and she needs to know that she is in danger – for many reasons. She's old enough to know the truth. Her reaction is shocking to him in a very good way.
HBO: What is it like for Jaime to hear Myrcella acknowledge him?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: When she says she's glad he's her father, it breaks his heart in a good way – then a second after, his heart breaks in a very real way. That's typical Game of Thrones; you just have one second of happiness and then it's snatched away.
HBO: Is Ellaria justified in some way because she's avenging Oberyn?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: The fact that Ellaria blames the Lannisters for the Mountain killing Oberyn is just wrong. Oberyn only has himself to blame. He had every opportunity to finish the Mountain – he just didn't do it. Ellaria's in such an extreme state of pain that she just wants revenge.
HBO: Is Myrcella's death Jaime's karma for pushing Bran out the window in Season 1?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: That's true… Karma has a way of hitting you in the balls. In my mind, Jaime's reason for what he did to Bran was much clearer. There's no question that if that kid had told anyone what he saw, that would be the end of Cersei and the kids. They would have all been killed. Ellaria is avenging her own pain, in a way.
HBO: What was it like to get back in the fighting game this season?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: It's been fun. The fight I enjoyed the most this season was the one we had with the Dornish soldiers where Jaime realized he could use his metal hand as a shield. That was just fun to explore and the fact that it happened by accident. Suddenly, that stupid hand saved his life. Hopefully he will get better at using it. Maybe he could have all kinds of various gadgets put on his hand: machine gun, knife, a water cannon…
HBO: What do you hope is next for Jaime in Season 6?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: I can't wait to read the scripts. Jaime has no idea what's been going on in King's Landing while he was away and is going to come back to this religious circus. I would hope that he'd make a very quick pit stop and then get out of town. There's a war and an enormous threat beyond the Wall. I think that maybe Jaime would be involved somehow. I'm just curious to see what happens. I try not to speculate too much because I'm always wrong.
HBO: In your wildest dreams, which character would you want to have a scene with?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Daenerys – because Jaime killed the Mad King. It probably wouldn't last long and then she would have one of the dragons eat me.
HBO: Which would be your ideal pet: dragon, direwolf or Ser Pounce?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: A baby dragon… they're kind of cute. But then again, the direwolf pups were sweet as well, so it's a toss up.
HBO: As a viewer, what is your House allegiance?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Lannister. I'm way too biased for that question.
HBO: As a viewer, who do you want to see on the Iron Throne?
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: Knowing this world, it's probably going to be a White Walker sitting on the throne in the end. I hope that won't happen, but it wouldn't surprise me.
More From "Mother's Mercy"
- Interview with Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark
- A message from staff writer Dave Hill
- Storyboard of Arya's scene in the Hall of Faces