The Lannister queen, who spent the majority of the first episode expressing her disappointment that the mysterious Golden Company wouldn’t be bringing their elephants to King’s Landing, opened her bedroom door to Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek) – a move that took some convincing for Headey.
In the episode, Euron makes advances on Cersei who, after refusing (with one of the episode’s best lines), is eventually won over by his arrogance – as well as the chance for heightened power.
“I kept saying, ‘She wouldn’t, she wouldn’t, that she would keep fighting,’” Headey told Entertainment Weekly after the episode premiered on HBO. “But [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] obviously know what they’re doing and were adamant Cersei would do what she had to do.”
Asbaek added that the scene was “discussed” at large ahead of filming.
“We had a lot of discussions,” he said. “Would it be out of character for her to be with Greyjoy for power? We discussed it so much that we almost ended up going, ‘Maybe it’s too much.’ Then we decided to try it out and see if it works. Sometimes you have to show different sides of a character. You have to surprise yourself as an actor but you also have to surprise yourself as a character.”
Headey said that she came round tot he idea as it fits with “ultimate survivor” Cersei’s willingness to “[go] to the place where she doesn’t want to go.”
Elsewhere, the season premiere – that was heavy on reunions = featured a hilarious reference to last season’s controversial Ed Sheeran cameo as well as a terrifying death at the hands of the Night King.
Viewers in China were left furious after six minutes of the episode – which broke HBO records – was censored by tech corporation Tencent.
We've also compiled the 13 Eater eggs, callbacks and book references you might have missed from the season eight premiere – find them here.
You can find our extensive ranking of every episode – from worst to best – below.
The show will be available on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK.
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