The throne room scene in the Game of Thrones season seven opener is an instant classic, as pirate king Euron Greyjoy swaggers into Kings Landing to proposition Queen Cersei while simultaneously getting in a sly dig at her one-handed brother Jamie, who is standing at her side.
“You’re the queen of a great nation. You don’t care about the Iron Islands. They’re noting but rocks and bird shit and a lot of very unattractive people. The Iron Fleet on the other hand, that’s something else entirely. It’s the greatest armada Westeros has ever seen. With the Iron Fleet, you own the seas. You can defeat the invaders of the east and the pretenders of the north and south.
“Ever since I was a little boy, I wanted to grow up and marry the most beautiful woman in the world. So here I am, with a thousand ships… and two good hands.”
But that moment, in which the ruthless Euron gets to show his darkly comic side, nearly didn’t happen…
Actors on a panel at the London Film and Comic Con this weekend made it clear that showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss have the final say in all matters creative, with most of the stars saying they rarely pushed back on any of their decisions.
But Pilou Asbaek, who plays Euron, said he had some involvement in developing his character, including his roguish dress sense – “it was my idea the leather pants and the leather jacket, and the eye-liner” – and there was a particular change Benioff and Weiss had in mind that he couldn’t let go without a fight.
“The pages that we were supposed to shoot… he was much more broody, he was much more grrrrr,” said Asbaek. “And they took a lot of that out. And then when we were going to do the throne scene, Dan and David came up to me and said ‘we’re gonna take out this line’ and I said ‘which one of them?’ ‘And two good hands.’ And I just looked at them and I said ‘that is so wrong. It needs to go “here I am, with a thousand ships… and two good hands”.’
“It’s a great line! They wanted to take it out because they felt it was too much but it’s never too much if you can… it’s two really good hands!”
You’ll notice they kept the line. Good work Pilou. Give him a hand…
Pilou Asbaek was speaking on a panel at the London Film & Comic Con