One of the great things (and most frustrating as a fan) about Game of Thrones is the unpredictability of the plot. No one is safe. Your name, your billing, the apparent importance of your character, it all means nothing and is no certainty of your longevity on the series. A hard lesson we all learnt very early on in the series. While it can be agonising for fans anxious about the fate of their favourite character, the cast are in the exact same position. This was never more apparent as we all approach the eighth and final season.
With any published source material long since past, and with many loose ends needing to be tied off, it really was anything goes, so you can imagine how eager the cast were to know their character’s fate. However, only days out from the cast table read in Belfast back in October 2017 that kicked off the final season, the scripts had yet to appear. So what do you do when you finally see those final six episodes had been delivered? You binge them all in one sitting of course.
Gwendoline Christie (who plays the noble warrior Brienne of Tarth) relayed the experience to Entertainment Weekly: “They came through at 4:30 a.m.” Christie recalls. “I woke at half past 5 and read them all.”
But if you were presented with all six of the final scripts in one hit, would you read the scripts in order or be tempted to have a quick peek at the end and see who are the last ones standing? While a couple of the cast couldn’t resist checking out the final pages (and who could blame them?), Christie was more restrained. “I always read, as part of my training, from beginning to end,” she says. “This is something I do partially because I’m a fan of the show. I want to know what’s going on with the other characters.”
And was she giving any hints about what may lie ahead for Brienne? “Every couple of pages I thought I was dead,” she teased. “If you’re lucky enough to get to season 8, you expect to die on the first page. That’s the worst case scenario. The very worst case scenario is dying off screen. At one point while reading I said to my partner, ‘I think I died and nobody said anything.’”
No! Not for Brienne.
So is it a fitting end for the global hit? Christie seems to think so. There’s something about this story that’s compulsive and essential,” she says. “What [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] have done in terms of this being the final season is masterful. I don’t think there’s any way people aren’t going to want more.”
When season eight opens, Brienne is up at Winterfell with Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), whom she’s the sworn sword to. The castle is preparing for the encroaching Army of the Dead. We have seen from the trailer that Brienne takes part in the massive battle against the Night King, but her fate from that is yet unknown.
While we have so many questions about the final season, it is not long until we get some answers. Game of Thrones returns on April 14 – that’s just over a fortnight away.