Posted: 13 Apr 2013 06:58 PM PDT
Season Three of Game Of Thrones premieres this week, and this could be its bloodiest (and muddiest) season yet.
THE new season of Game of Thrones promises to be a real storm of swords – not just because it is largely based on the third book, A Storm Of Swords, in George R. R. Martin's A Song Of Ice And Fire saga, but also because there will be a lot more fighting this time, and also a lot more backstabbing, betrayals and political intrigue.
If the books are anything to go by, this could be the most intense and bloodiest season of the show yet.
Among the most unique aspects of the series are the numerous parallel and overlapping storylines involving a large number of characters, each involved in different aspects of the story. The scope is so vast and the storylines so varied that it is filmed in three different locations in three different countries – freezing Iceland, sunny Croatia and gloomy Northern Ireland.
Star2 was in London recently to meet some of the cast members and to get some insight into what viewers can expect this year. And, in the spirit of the show (and the books), we decided to separate these interviews into groups based on the point of view of their characters, and where they stood at the end of the previous season.
>Game Of Thrones Season 3 premieres Saturday, April 20 at 9pm exclusively on HBO (Astro Ch411) and HBO HD (Astro Ch431).
Posted: 14 Apr 2013 12:33 AM PDT
AT the end of Season Two, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie) were embarking on a journey towards King's Landing, after Catelyn Stark decided to free the Kingslayer in exchange for her two daughters. And so began a road trip involving one of the oddest pairs of travelling buddies in Westeros – one, a handsome (albeit a little scruffy looking), cynical and proud knight from House Lannister, and the other a slightly insecure but powerful giant of a female knight.
On screen, the two characters are constantly bickering and at odds with one another, and apparently, this relationship also crosses over to real life as well.
"Nikolaj torments me! Hmm... and also drives me to distraction," said Christie, smacking her lips cheekily and grinning as she recalled her ruggedly handsome co-star.
"The dynamics you see between us on screen are almost identical to (what) you see off screen."
"Gwendoline is a lot of fun (to work with), and allows me to torment her. I'm just being horrible towards her all the time!" said Coster-Waldau with a laugh.
"She came on the show last season, and all Jaime does with Brienne is drive her crazy, and for some reason that carried on off screen, so I was doing it to her all the time!"
At one point of the show's new season, Jaime calls Brienne a "giant, towheaded plank", referring to her muscular stature and mop of blonde hair. In real life, the 1.9m tall Christie is nothing like the awkward, gangly, manlike Brienne. She is charming, friendly and incredibly articulate, with one of her most amiable characteristics being her infectiously hearty laugh. ("She has a very loud laugh," quipped Coster-Waldau, when asked about working with her.)
In contrast to the more animated and open Christie, Coster-Waldau was more subdued, taking his time with his answers, and shifting uncomfortably when questions about his personal life popped up.
According to him, Season Three was the one he had been waiting for ever since he joined the cast.
"When I first met the guys and talked about the show and Jaime's arc, I was just praying that we would make it to Season Three," he said, while refusing to divulge more information about its plot.
Having spent most of the second season sitting in a jail cell, the 40-year-old Danish actor is glad to finally be out and about, even if it involves a lot of slogging around in mud.
"There are moments this year where I was just very muddy and rolling around in mud," he recalled. "One day I came on set, the director of that episode, Alex Graves, was standing in front of this big pool of mud, and I said, 'Hmm, that looks really tasty'. Then he said, 'Oh, it's not done yet', and got some guys to hose it down even more!"
"I am always slogging around in mud," sighed Christie, who added that the toughest part of the role was playing a character that needs to look as unattractive as possible.
"As an actor, to have a part where so many of your personal insecurities are amplified, and you look incredibly unattractive and masculine, is incredibly challenging," she said. "It forces you to question your own notions of femininity and what it is to be a woman, in and outside the part."
While the books go on and on about how ugly Brienne is, Christie decided to play her as someone who is outside the conventional social norms, rather than the obvious choice of being really ugly, massive and manly.
"It's an exciting dynamic to have a very large woman being a brilliant fighter, and it's very sexy as well. She's a classic outsider, very specific and unique and the kind of character you don't see frequently."
Although she was happy to go to great lengths to realise the character, including undergoing training to build up muscle and strength, certain measures turned out to be harder than she expected.
"When they cut my hair off ... even though I knew that would happen, and I WANTED it to happen, it was still bizarrely more difficult than I thought it would be!"
Posted: 13 Apr 2013 07:01 PM PDT
ONE of Game Of Thrones' taglines is "Winter Is Coming", but for Kit Harington, Rose Leslie, and most of the cast and crew filming the "Beyond the Wall" segments of the show in Iceland, it is pretty much winter every day.
"It is tough – it is very, very, very cold there. It has a completely alien landscape, which is perfect for Beyond the Wall stuff," said Harington.
"Beyond The Wall" refers to the wild lands in the northernmost area of Westeros, separated from the Seven Kingdoms by the gigantic Wall guarded by the Night's Watch, of which Harington's Jon Snow is a member.
At the end of last season, Jon had infiltrated the vast wildling camp ruled by the King-Beyond-The-Wall, Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds), having convinced the wildlings that he had betrayed the Night's Watch.
Of all the series' filming locations, Iceland is probably the toughest, and it doesn't get any easier when Harington gets in touch with his fellow cast members on the other sets.
"There I am freezing my b**ls off in Iceland, surrounded by men with beards, and then I get a call from Croatia and they say, 'Oh it's too hot to film today, we're just hanging by the pool'," he complained, adding that despite it all, he has fallen in love with the country and is seriously considering buying a place to live there.
The role of Jon Snow has certainly opened a lot of doors for Harington (he will be starring in the upcoming film Pompeii, alongside Emily Browning), and he is especially grateful for the fact that this is such a great character to play.
"He's got an incredible story arc. After I read the first episode, I was already excited about the character; and then I read the books, because I couldn't help myself, and I loved everything about him," he said. "His story arc is very different from everyone else in the series. He's got lots of things to work out – his mother issues, his problem with women, his loyalty, his ambition ... he's got all of these elements that make him an interesting hero type character, but he's not your typical hero.
"One of the great things about TV is you have this one character that you can develop over the years. When I started this I was about a year out of drama school, and now I'm growing as an actor, and Jon Snow is growing with me as well."
However, his newfound fame has its downside as well, and the 26-year-old has found things to be a bit more intrusive lately. "I was out shopping one day and someone was filming me. Who's going to be interested in that? It's just me buying some chicken! What's the headline going to be, 'Jon Snow buys chicken'? It's really weird to me, that sort of thing," he said.
This season, Jon will be getting a whole lot closer to the wildling girl Ygritte, played by flame-haired Downton Abbey alumna Rose Leslie.
"Rose and I get on really, really well and this season, it'll be interesting to see what people make of the dynamics between our two characters. It's been a lot of fun and she's a brilliant actress," he said.
Leslie was similarly complimentary about her co-star.
"Acting with Kit is enormous fun. He's lovely and he's very, very nice. And 'awful' to look at as well," she said teasingly, while giggling like a schoolgirl.
In real life, Leslie, who grew up in Scotland, reminds one of Princess Merida from the Pixar film Brave, with her curly red hair and smoky voice with a hint of a Scottish brogue.
The similarities between Ygritte and Merida don't end there. "This season I was really happy because I get a bow and arrow! I get to show off my archery skills ... rather poorly," Leslie said, adding that it's been great playing such a feisty, free-spirited character. "She has always been fiercely independent. For me, she embodies true grit – she is strong, tough and ruthless, but also playful as well. I think she gets so much pleasure from teasing and aggravating Jon Snow as well!"
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