The cast and crew of Game of Thrones walked the red carpet at the Season 3 premiere, which was held March 18 at the TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. With such an expansive cast, we weren’t able to talk to everyone, but we chatted with Lena Headey (Cersei), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime), Sophie Turner (Sansa), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell), James Cosmo (Jeor Mormont), Ben Hawkey (Hot Pie), Oona Chaplin (Talisa Maegyr), and A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin, who is also an executive producer of the series.
1. Cersei has some major delusions.
“As always, Cersei believes she’s in full control and full power,” Lena Headey revealed. “She’s very in denial about her son.”
2. She and Tyrion will continue to butt heads.
The return of Tywin Lannister is “very uncomfortable,” Headey continued. As for Cersei’s relationship with Tyrion: “She loves him. I mean, she loves her brothers, as you know. I guess any situation where a parent is present, there’s a regression of the two of them, almost to teenhood at times.”
3. While Cersei and Jaime will struggle to reunite. (Gross.)
“It’s too weird,” Headey admitted. But perhaps Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is more of a romantic. “Jaime wants to get back, and he wants to get back to Cersei,” he reflected. “I think he loves her. Will they ever? Who knows.”
4. Tyrion will be OK.
Mark these words, Tyrion fans. At least at the start of Season 3, Tyrion is soldiering on. “He’ll land on his feet,” Peter Dinklage said. “Some bad things happened to him last season, but Tyrion’s a survivor.”
5. Sansa has to figure out her next move.
“Well, she’s not getting married to Joffrey anymore, but she’s still a prisoner,” Sophie Turner explained. “She thought her only means of escape would be to become queen, and then she could pretty much do whatever she likes. Now she just doesn’t know what to do, and her motivation is her family. All she wants to do is see her family, so maybe she’s gonna try and escape? I don’t know. If I was her, I would.”
6. There are worse things than being married to Joffrey.
“There can’t be much worse than being married to Joffrey,” Turner contended. “I mean, you might see a few things this season that she might count as a bit worse.” But what are they!
7. Bran will come into his own venturing out from Winterfell.
“Before, he didn’t really want to be Lord of Winterfell,” Isaac Hempstead Wright offered. “Now he’s sort of doing his own thing.” Fans of the books know that means traveling with Jojen and Meera, who were conspicuously absent from the show’s second season.
8. Don’t hold your breath for a Stark family reunion.
“Some people might meet again,” Turner said, somberly. “But pretty much, we just get further apart. Everyone just kind of moves further away from each other and forms their own plotline. We’ll see. We’ll see if anyone meets again.”
9. Back in King’s Landing, the Tyrells are trying to control the Lannisters.
Natalie Dormer put it bluntly: “The Tyrells are trying to work out how to control the Lannisters. It’s kind of that simple. We’re trying to work out how we can out-Lannister the Lannisters.”
10. Meanwhile, Jaime is wandering with Brienne. And that relationship will get even more interesting.
“It’s a very interesting relationship because when we meet them first, he’s a prisoner and she’s kind of the enemy,” Coster-Waldau noted. “He just wants to get out of that. He’s willing to do whatever, and he’s willing to get rid of her, to kill her. Things do change, but I can’t really get into that.” Tease.
11. The Night’s Watch is not in a great place.
“Obviously the last time we saw them they were pretty much up against it, and we find them having had a pretty horrendous time,” James Cosmo revealed. (You remember the horrifying Season 2 conclusion, right?) “We join them when they’re under a great deal of pressure, and fractures begin to show within that group, which is always really interesting to look at. The men to begin with are a very coherent fighting unit, but now, it’s been so hard out there in that wasteland, and so many terrible things have happened, they’re a very different group now.”
12. Arya’s journey continues to take her farther from home. And yes, Hot Pie’s at her side.
When asked why Arya keeps Hot Pie around, Ben Hawkey suggested, “Food. That’s pretty much it. He’s not much of a fighter, is he?” At the same time, Hawkey recognizes the need for characters like Hot Pie in Game of Thrones. “I think it’s good to be a lighter character in such a dark show,” he continued.
13. We’ll see more of the love story between Robb and Talisa, which was not in the books.
Oona Chaplin’s Talisa is a character original to Game of Thrones; she takes the place of A Song of Ice and Fire’s Jayne Westerling. “The love story that Dan and David have made this to be is much more genuine than the one in the books, which was much more manipulative,” Oona Chaplin said. “They’ve very successfully managed to write a beautiful romance in such horrific circumstances.”
14. There are pros and cons to playing an original character.
On the plus side, there’s more creative control. “It was a gift, because obviously then you have much more liberty,” Chaplin reflected. “You’re not afraid of hurting fan feelings, because people are so passionate about the books that they make real images of what the characters look like and things like that.” And the downside? “It’s a blessing and a curse, because people are like, ‘But where’s Jayne Westerling?! She must appear!’”
15. The actors also help transform their characters.
Writers of the series expand and mold George R.R. Martin’s original characters, but the actors also have an influence. “I think every actor brings something personal to a role, right?” said Natalie Dormer, whose Margaery Tyrell is somewhat different than the character in the books. “The writers are clever and they pick up on them, and maybe they run with it when they’re writing the next season.”
16. But even with some diversions, fans of the book series can be very useful.
It’s not always easy to keep track of all the characters and plotlines — even for the actors. “I love talking to them because they know so much about the show, they can tell you what’s happening and it’s terrific,” Cosmo admitted. “You’ve really got to give those folks credit for the depth of knowledge. And also for George to have written all this stuff. I don’t know how any guy’s brain works that way.” Peter Dinklage agreed: “It’s incredibly informative. I ask [fans] questions all the time. They’re very helpful.”
17. Like many of her fellow cast members, Natalie Dormer didn’t read the books.
The general consensus among most of the Game of Thrones actors is that it’s better to read the scripts as they come along. Dormer did ask the producers if she needed to. “They said, for your character, maybe not so much,” she recalled. “Because they’re fleshing her out in a slightly different way.”
18. Of course, not reading the books doesn’t mean remaining unspoiled.
Just ask Isaac Hempstead Wright. “I haven’t read them, but I’ve asked everyone who’s read them what happens, and I’ve gone on Wikipedia,” he admitted. “It gets very cool.” It does. But seriously, don’t go on Wikipedia.
19. The changes that have been made still stay true to the spirit of books.
“Well, the boys were trying not to deviate from the books — obviously George is a producer on the show — so there is no deviation in the ethos from the books, but they were trying to build,” Dormer continued.
20. If it makes you feel any better, George R.R. Martin understands the reasons behind the changes.
Really! “I think I’m aided in that by my own personal history, the fact that I worked in Hollywood for 10 years,” he explained. “So I’ve seen the process from the other side. I think a lot of novelists whose books are adapted have difficulty with that because they don’t know why things are being changed. But I know why things are being changed. I’ve worked with line budgets, I’ve worked with actors and casting limitations and scheduling limitations. I know all the factors that go into it. That gives me a better perspective to understand the process.”
21. He actually likes the additions, though he’s still a little bummed when things get cut.
“The scenes that Dave and Dan have added are amazing,” Martin said. “They’ve added some of the best scenes. And those usually excite me when I see a new moment like that. The part that sometimes disappoints me a little is when things are missing. We only have 10 hours, and I’m expecting some scene that was in the books, and then it’s not there. I miss that a little. I wish we could get all that in. But we have limitations.”
22. This is going to be another violent season. Try not to get too attached to any of the characters.
Death is a very real possibility for — well, everyone. “Well, I don’t get too attached to any of the characters,” Sophie Turner confided, “‘cause I’m like, you will probably die tomorrow. You’ll die next week. I wouldn’t get too attached to them.” Her final warning to fans: “Just don’t get too attached, because it’s gonna kill you.”
23. THAT SCENE from the book will be brutal.
Don’t worry, I’m not going to spoil anything. At Comic-Con, the Game of Thrones writers referenced one particular scene from A Storm of Swords that they were excited to film. The audience winced. “I am told by the people that participated in it that it is awful,” Martin assured. “So, like the fans, I’m looking forward to it with anticipation and a certain amount of dread. And also I’m living in terror of the reaction. When that book came out, I got some amazing letters from people telling how they threw the book into the fireplace and they would never read me again and they hated me. But then they went out the next week and bought another copy of the book, and they love me now. We may get some similar reactions. I don’t recommend anyone throw their television set into the fireplace. It could be very dangerous.”
24. Get ready for another helping of sex and gore.
Oona Chaplin may have come up with the perfect tagline: “Blood, guts, and boobs everywhere.” Sounds about right.
Game of Thrones Season 3 premieres March 31 on HBO.