Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had spoken out in defense of Game of Thrones’ contentious final season before, but speaking to Deadline on the Emmys red carpet on Sunday he said fans’ negative reactions to the show had come as a huge surprise to the cast and crew.
“I think that for a lot of people on the show there was kind of a shock because of this outcry,” he said, adding that behind the scenes, the GOT team were wondering, “Why don’t you like it anymore?”
But Coster-Waldau said he understood fans’ reactions to a degree, given that they were so passionate about the show. “People love the show and invested so much,” he said. “I’ve spoken to quite a few fans and understand that so many people actually have communities, they have found friends out of the show and [it] ending, does that mean it’s over? Does that mean I’m not going to have my friends anymore? There’s part of this whole equation that’s any ending is a s–ty ending, because it ends. And that was never going to be great. But everybody’s entitled to their opinion and it’s just a television show.”
'Oz' Retrospective: Creator & Stars Reminisce About HBO Series That Changed Television And Their Lives - ATX
But despite fans’ derision for the way Coster-Waldau’s character Jaime Lannister died in the final episode, he defended the writers’ decision to have Lannister and his sister Cersei (Lena Headey) be crushed together by falling rubble.
Watch on Deadline
“It made sense to me, it was beautiful,” he said. “I loved the fact that everybody was hating on Cersei—of course for good reason—she’s done some questionable things. But I love the fact that the show has been really good at that. Also at the end it would be hard not to feel sorry for her and to feel empathy because she is afraid to die but she’s also carrying their child and that is a very basic human thing. One of the things about this show is yes, kings and queens and knights and all these things, but at the core basic human beings trying to get by. The most important thing for all of us—families, people we love and care about, and that was distilled into that final scene.”
He also pointed out that everyone on the show worked tirelessly to get it right. “We worked our asses off,” he said. “So we did the best we could. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if everybody thought it was the greatest thing ever, but that never happens so… “
Nominated for supporting actor in a drama series, Coster-Waldau shares the category with fellow GOT nominees Peter Dinklage and Alfie Allen. And Coster-Waldau feels previous winner Dinklage is a shoo-in.
“I’m a fan of Peter Dinklage,” he said. “I think that he’s amazing and the work that he’s done for eight seasons of this show is absolutely stellar, terrific and I can’t really imagine it not being recognized one more time.”
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.