Game of Thrones star Lena Headey won critical acclaim for playing the evil Cersei Lannister during the show's first seven seasons, and fans really hoped she would go out in a blaze of glory. Instead, her death in Season 8 was criticized, and even Headey thinks it left much to be desired.
This story contains spoilers for Game of Thrones' final season.
Cersei did not make it to the series finale. Instead, she died in the penultimate episode, which saw Daenerys Targaryen's (Emilia Clarke) sack of King's Landing. During the chaos, Cersei's mother Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) found her in the Red Keep below King's Landing, where they were crushed to death by falling debris. It was not the explosive, shocking death many hoped for.
“I will say I wanted a better death," Headey admitted to The Guardian in an interview published Sunday.
She continued, "Obviously you dream of your death. You could go in any way on that show. So I was kind of gutted. But I just think they couldn’t have pleased everyone. No matter what they did, I think there was going to be some big comedown from the climb.”
When The Guardian suggested that the final season suffered since many of the show's best supporting characters were killed long before it began, Headey had a diplomatic response ready.
“No, listen,” she replied. “I invested as a viewer and I have my favourite characters. And I’ve got a few of my own gripes. But I haven’t sat down drunkly with [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] yet.”
Headey called starring on Game of Thrones "amazing," but is already prepared to move on to the next project. Still, she remains in contact with her co-stars, whom she dubbed "Throners."
“We’re all on a giant WhatsApp group which is a daily pile-on,” she told The Guardian. “It’s hilarious. You can tell who’s been drinking on that one.”
Headey was not the only member of the Game of Thrones cast who wished Cersei had a more memorable death. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Maisie Williams said she was disappointed her character Arya Stark didn't get to kill Cersei. After all, Cersei was on Arya's list of people she wanted to kill for revenge.
“I just wanted to be on set with Lena again, she’s good fun,” Williams told the magazine. “And I wanted Arya to kill Cersei even if it means [Arya] dies too. Even up to the point when Cersei’s with Jaime I thought [while reading the script], ‘He’s going to whip off his face [and reveal its Arya]’ and they’re both going to die. I thought that’s what Arya’s drive has been.”
Game of Thrones' eighth and final season was heavily criticized for feeling rushed in some parts and slow during other episodes. Some also saw Daenerys' sudden switch to villain in the final two episodes a betrayal of her character, while others pointed out there was some foreshadowing of bloodlust in the past. Several actors have pointed out there was little chance the final season would please everyone.
"When I read the finale, I remember saying at the time, ‘I don’t know how well this is going to go down,'" Joe Dempsie, who played Gendry, told BBC Radio 5 Live last month. “It might be the kind of ending that might need to percolate and that maybe, with the passing of time, people might appreciate it a little more.”
Photo credit: HBO