Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) is heading for one of the worst family reunions ever as HBO’s Emmy-winning “Game of Thrones” returns for Season 6 on Sunday (April 24).
In the Season 5 finale, we last saw Jaime on one of the worst days of his life, having just set sail from Dorne, accompanied by Myrcella, one of the three children he and his sister, Cersei (Lena Headey), had conceived through their secret incest. After a rare tender moment between father and daughter, Myrcella died in Jaime’s arms, poisoned by a Lannister foe.
“That was such a great scene,” Coster-Waldau says by phone from his home near Copenhagen, Denmark to Zap2it, “and it’s such a great set-up for this coming season, because now he has to face his sister, who is a little — how shall I put this? — emotionally unstable. You can only imagine how well that meeting is going to go down.”
Oh, but wait, there’s more. Unbeknownst to Jaime, while he was in Dorne last season, the capital city of King’s Landing was seized in a coup by a fundamentalist religious group called the Faith Militant, who imprisoned Cersei and confronted her with charges of incest. Desperate for her freedom, Cersei admitted to the charge without implicating her brother-lover and was released, but only after being forced to make a mortifying walk of atonement, stark naked, through the scornful throngs of the city.
“Oh, yeah, she’s in a really good place now, isn’t she?” Coster-Waldau says drily. “She’ll be able to deal with this [Myrcella tragedy] in a really good, adult way.”
How this story line unfolds is being kept tightly under wraps, after some material was leaked online last season. That shocking breach of press etiquette prompted executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss to film Season 6 under almost comically tight security constraints.
“The whole thing about who got to see the script was cut down to a bare minimum,” Coster-Waldau reports, “and early on they tried to have call sheets with no names, just code names or numbers for actors, but then you’d have a prop guy who doesn’t know who’s ‘Number 23,’ so they quickly changed it to go back to a normal call sheet. It was very complicated just getting the scripts. We had to install special safety features on our computers to download them.”
Security always had been tight while filming on the hit show’s many locations, as ardent fans tried to get close to their favorite stars, but that was stepped up even more to protect the most burning question in Season 6.
“This year we had all these paparazzi who were trying to get pictures, especially anything with Kit Harington, because of all the ‘Is Jon Snow really dead’ thing,” Coster-Waldau says. “I think it’s absurd, because at the end of the day, no one really wants to know anything. They still want to be surprised. And it really was all because of one [jerk] who ruined it for everyone [by leaking that material online].”
Adding to the keen fan anticipation, Season 6 is the first in which the TV series has caught up with and moved past its source material — George R.R. Martin’s best-selling fantasy novels — as far as most story lines, so the potential for jaw-dropping shockers has never been higher.
Just don’t expect Jaime and Cersei’s attempt to overthrow the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), their pious nemesis, to be an easy task, Coster-Waldau suggests.
“Jaime and Cersei are used to dealing with people that they understand from their world, and this whole Faith Militant thing is a completely different way of looking at power,” the Danish actor explains. “The Lannisters are used to a world where, if all else fails, well, we can always pay our way out of this. Now they’re dealing with a guy who clearly is not to be bought.”