Game of Thrones’ final season got underway with a fairly restrained episode by its usual standards – just the one desecrated corpse and looted castle – but according to the cast, we’re in for some seriously brutal scenes in the weeks to come.
And apparently, we’re talking Red Wedding painful.
“This feels like a truly brutal season of television,” Jacob Anderson, who plays Unsullied leader Grey Worm in the series, told RadioTimes.com and other press at the premiere for Game of Thrones season eight’s first episode in Belfast.
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“I would say every episode there’s going to be something that’s painful to watch," he added. "More so than ever.”
“It would be doing everyone a disservice if you didn't tug on people's emotions,” said Kit Harington. “Hopefully we've set up enough important characters and stories to really have an impact upon our audience.”
"We know the power of hurting people," added John Bradley, who plays Sam Tarly.
"We also know how much people do want to be hurt, because it's kind of satisfying.
"People ask, 'Are we going to be happy with the final season?' Probably not, really, because 'happiness' is such a vague term. People weren't happy about Ned Stark, or the Red Wedding, but they were satisfied with it, dramatically,” he continued.
"Those visceral moments are the ones that you remember and there are going to be lots more of them, because what would a Game of Thrones season be without them?"
“It’s just crying constantly,” joked Joe Dempsie, who plays Gendry. “Six hours of pure misery.”
If that is the case – and it would be VERY Game of Thrones – then one of the cast will definitely be satisfied: series lead Harington confessed his “biggest fear” was how well the cast and crew could end the sprawling fantasy series.
“So many great shows, their final seasons don't match up to previous ones,” Harington said.
“I think we've got a really good shot of this one being the best. And I'm hoping it is. In my book, we couldn't have put any more effort into it. Everyone worked their tits off for this.
“And I hope people see that and recognise it, and I hope that we've done it justice.”
And if a few favourite characters have to die brutally to achieve that end, well, so be it – you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few (dragon) eggs.
Game of Thrones airs on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am and 9pm