Nikolaj Coster-Waldau has been spending the summer bringing an ancient deity (Horus) to life for Summit Entertainment’s “Gods of Egypt,” but this week, he reacted to some very modern news: “Game of Thrones” has passed “The Sopranos” to become HBO’s most popular show.
“It’s just amazing,” Nikolaj told Access Hollywood.
But the actor, who is finishing up his third film since shooting on “GoT” Season 4 wrapped (“Gods of Egypt,” “En chance til” and “1,000 Times Good Night”), took the ratings news with a grain of salt.
“Numbers are numbers, you know? ‘Sopranos’ is just one of the best shows ever and obviously, it doesn’t necessarily mean that much other than it’s a very cool thing to say that it’s the most-watched show on HBO. And, they have a lot of great shows,” he added. “But, no, it’s great.”
“We’re very, very lucky and grateful and it’s just a testament to Dan Weiss and David Benioff and then all the producers for creating this show. … They are just tremendous in putting it together,” he told Access.
Season 4 of “Thrones,” which wraps up Sunday night on HBO, has been an emotional ride. There have been a host of hard-hitting dramatic moments in the last nine episodes, including Tyrion’s reaction to Shae’s betrayal at his trial, Prince Oberyn’s “I will be your champion” speech in Tyrion’s jail cell, and the goodbye between Nikolaj’s Jaime and Gwendoline Christie’s Brienne of Tarth.
“Yeah, it’s sad. It is sad,” the actor said of the two parting ways in April’s “Oathkeeper” episode (named after the newly forged Valyrian steel sword Jaime gave to Brienne as she began her journey to find Sansa Stark).
Nikolaj’s scenes with Gwendoline — as Jaime and Brienne – have been deliciously layered, and some of his finest work on the HBO drama, and the actor gave credit to Gwendoline for partnering in making them so strong.
“I think it’s — as with anything, you’re only as good as the person you’re working with and Gwendoline is a very good actress,” he said. “She understands the character so well and she plays her just perfectly. But, again, it’s just beautiful writing – you spend a lot of time with these two people, and it’s been interesting to watch the reaction to the season because… you felt a real hope in the audience in a way, and almost anticipated, ‘We need these two to get together. For God’s sake, don’t go back to Cersei! This is the woman you should be with,’” he continued. “There’s almost a sense of betrayal with Jaime then, still wanting to be with his sister. Couldn’t he just be with Brienne for god’s sake? But, he can’t and that’s very unfortunate, because it would have been beautiful.
But, does that mean he was hoping for a romantic relationship between the two characters?
“No. I think that would have been a very happy ending, but it’s not the way the show works,” he clarified. “They’d probably end up killing each other. They’re both very stubborn, very proud. But they are a lot of fun to watch… first of all, because it’s so well written, but also, they are different in every way and yet, they’re very similar in their core.”
A similar comparison could be made between Jaime and Tyrion. Outwardly different, at the core, their brotherly bond – revealed in those jail visits — is strong. And after being unable to serve as his brother’s champion, Jaime was left crushed when the man who did, Prince Oberyn Martell, fell to The Mountain. As a result, Tywin sentenced Tyrion to death.
“It’s heartbreaking for Jaime and it’s horrible to be in this powerless situation where one of the few — maybe the only person you really love, and you feel loves you back — is gonna die for something he hasn’t done, and your own family wants him dead,” Nikolaj said.
“Game of Thrones” Season 4 wraps up Sunday night at 9 PM ET/PT on HBO.
-- Jolie Lash