The Cast Weighs in on the Season 7 Premiere

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The long-awaited Season 7 premiere set plenty of pieces in motion. At the red carpet event at the Walt Disney Concert Hall, the cast and creators weighed in on the hour’s action. Here’s what the stars had to say about what “Dragonstone” brought to the table.

Impressive Direction

Watching Samwell Tarly’s montage at the Citadel was a pleasant surprise for actor John Bradley. “It’s so strange to see something like that when you shot for three weeks on your own. You have to believe that the director Jeremy Podeswa has a plan for all that. I could never really second guess that it was all going to come together… I’m really pleased with the direction of it. I think it’s going to be a memorable moment.”

Tension at Winterfell

“It’s a pretty dire vibe up there at Winterfell,” acknowledged Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow. “We got a band of zombies heading for us; Jon’s a pretty new leader. It’s scary.” His on-screen sister, Sophie Turner, nodded to the sibling rivalry at play: “This season is definitely about Sansa grappling with her newfound power. Not having been hailed Queen in the North, there’s a bit more strain on the relationship between Sansa and Jon, despite them having mended things.”

Actor Liam Cunningham also sees some tension between his character and Sansa: “She’s not particularly fond of Davos,” Cunningham said. “She’s wondering where this dude has been. He seemingly just strolled in out of the forest with one of their enemies. She’s in a difficult place and she has to refer to her own council.”

Real-Life Friends Turned On-Screen Enemies

Jaime Lannister’s cold reaction to Euron Greyjoy was exciting for Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. “It’s such a great scene and I’m friends with Pilou,” explained Coster-Waldau. “He’s from Denmark as well. He’s a great actor and his character is such a scumbag. It’s a lot of fun.”

An Emotional Homecoming

The cast felt just as emotional filming the episode’s final scene as viewers did watching it. “It felt really significant,” said Jacob Anderson, who plays Grey Worm. “Seeing Emilia [Clarke, who plays Daenerys] stroll down the beach in that way is a really powerful image. Being part of her train behind her was really cool.”

Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Missandei, also felt the emotional impact, which she partly attributed to the breathtaking setting: “We filmed on a beautiful beach in Northern Spain. It was gorgeous. The actual beach had a lot of this sedimentary rock that just looked like it was where dragons once lived. It was completely natural and stunning.”

A Writing Challenge

The final five-minute scene came to mind when series creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff were asked about the most challenging moment to script. “Writing scenes without dialogue is a different type of writing,” says Weiss. “There’s another long dialogue-free sequence in the beginning, so this episode is more cinematic than past premieres.”

What’s the key to scripting a dialogue-free moment? “A lot of it is including what we thought would be emotional,” explained Benioff. “A lot of it was done with our director Jeremy Podeswa. It took plenty of trial and error.”

A Message for Fans

Going into Season 7, Weiss had one specific thing he wanted to say to fans: “A sincere thank you for sticking with us for seven years of this show. We hope you like it and hope it makes you want to stick with us for the eighth and final season.”

Reporting by Katie M. Lucas and Ashley Morton