Warning — spoilers ahead for Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells."
Game of Thrones' penultimate episode aired on Sunday, May 12, with "The Bells" following Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) as she and her last remaining dragon, Drogon, laid waste to King's Landing, burning the city down and killing thousands, including Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) in the process.
Cersei had made her way to Maegor's Holdfast when she encountered her twin brother, Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), who attempted to lead her to safety before the pair found their way out blocked by rubble from toppling buildings. Ultimately, the Red Keep collapsed as well, the falling debris killing both characters as they held each other.
Through Cersei's unmoving watch at the top of the Red Keep's tower to her descent into the cellar, Headey delivered a powerful performance, ultimately showcasing Cersei's humanity despite her years of deceitful and ruthless actions, with the actress completing her portrayal of the nuanced villain with an emotional plea to Jaime — "Please don't let me die. I don't want to die. Not like this."
Speaking to Entertainment Weekly, Headey reflected on Cersei's final moments, sharing that she initially had a "mixed" reaction to the plot.
"I wanted her to have some big piece or fight with somebody," she explained, though she ultimately came around to the idea of Cersei perishing with her twin after speaking with Coster-Waldau.
"The more we talked about it the more it seemed like the perfect end for her. They came into the world together and now they leave together," she noted. "It's maybe the first time that Cersei has been at peace."
"I think the important thing is that Jaime had a chance at freedom [with Brienne] and finally liberated himself from Cersei, which I think the audience will be thrilled about," she added. "I think the biggest surprise is he came back for her. Cersei realizes just how she loves him and just how much he loves her. It's the most authentic connection she's ever had. Ultimately they belong together."
The actress also looked back on the journey Cersei has gone through during GOT's final season, which saw the queen isolated in King's Landing after alienating nearly everyone in her life.
"She starts off in this final season trapped in a web of her own making, as is usual with Cersei," Headey said. "She's desperately unhappy and everything that's happened becomes more real than it ever has for her. She starts to lose control of the situation. She's destroyed every good alliance, connection, love in her life — she was always destined to be alone. And until the very, very last minute, she is, as ever, in denial of what's actually happening."
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