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'Game of Thrones': Jack Gleeson talks royal wedding shocker -- EXCLUSIVE

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The king is dead, long live Jack Gleeson! Below, the 21-year-old actor whose Game of Thrones villain horrifically died Sunday night talks exclusively with EW about leaving the show, shooting his death scene, and why is is retiring (!) from acting. Plus, we have an exclusive goodbye video from Gleeson from the set of Thrones.

It’s all part of EW’s Purple Wedding coverage, which also includes an exclusive interview with Thrones author George R.R. Martin on why he killed Joffrey, an in-depth Q&A with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss discussing the king’s death, our story of what it was like behind-the-scenes during Joffrey’s wedding and, of course, our recap of the best wedding ever.

Now here’s Gleeson, who overcame his aversion to media interviews to chat about his character’s last gasp and what comes next: READ FULL STORY

George R.R. Martin on why Joffrey died THAT way -- EXCLUSIVE

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Spoiler alert: The following interview with Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin discusses a major plot point in Sunday’s second episode of season 4. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' showrunners talk royal wedding twist

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Below Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss take you behind the scenes of Sunday’s royal wedding shocker as they say goodbye to one of the best TV villains ever. Here’s how Jack Gleeson was cast, their thoughts on his performance as King Joffrey, and plenty of discussion about the unique audacity of the latest twist in George R.R. Martin’s fantasy saga.

It’s all part of EW’s Purple Wedding coverage, which also includes an exclusive interview with Thrones author George R.R. Martin on why he killed Joffrey, an exclusive interview with actor Jack Gleeson and, of course, our recap of the best wedding ever (links below). READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' handy snarky season 4 map explains where everybody is

Before watching the Game of Thrones season 4 premiere Sunday night, check out this handy interactive map showing where all your favorite characters are located at the start of the season. Click on each “+” area in Westeros and Essos for “ohhh yeahhhh” reminders about each location, along with some hints what to expect from the different storylines re-introduced in the premiere. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Rory McCann teases road trip of 'death and destruction' in season 4

As far as Game of Thrones characters go, Rory McCann’s Sandor “The Hound” Clegane is known for being brutal, gruff, and generally unfeeling — not exactly the kind of companion you’d choose for a road trip. Poor Arya Stark didn’t get much of a choice, though, when she was taken hostage last season after trying to hunt down a group of Lannister soldiers in hopes of getting revenge for her father’s death.

Over the course of three seasons, we’ve gotten to see a bit of the humanity that exists underneath The Hound’s hard exterior, and season 4 — premiering this Sunday — will unearth even more about the character. EW spoke to McCann recently to find out about what he could tease regarding Thrones‘ upcoming episodes, his relationship with Arya, and more.

READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': This showrunners Q&A will get you really excited for season 4

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The wait is almost over. With HBO’s Game of Thrones fourth season returning Sunday, Entertainment Weekly sat down with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss in our annual pre-premiere spoiler-free chat. In the lively chat below, the duo talk about how they pulled off their most ambitious season yet, tease what’s to come for some fan-favorite characters and answer some burning franchise questions.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: You traumatized everybody with the Red Wedding. Happy?
Dan Weiss: It feels good to make so many people feel so bad.
David Benioff: We were here in Dubrovnik scouting when somebody emailed us that reaction video, which was really fun to see.

What characterizes this season for you?
Benioff: It’s always tough when you try to figure out a unifying sentence, because the show encompasses so many different characters and different story lines. Whenever we come up with something that sounds good, it sounds like a trite reduction of what we’re after.
Weiss: As you’re talking, I’m trying to think of a good trite reduction.

I’ll ask this way: What excites you about this season? READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Jack Gleeson reveals the meanest thing he's ever done

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What if the sadistic teen bully from your high school nightmares was given unlimited power to rule the world? That’s King Joffrey as played by Jack Gleeson, who torments the Seven Kingdoms on HBO’s Game of Thrones with his petty, juvenile cruelty and preening, witless arrogance. As Thrones‘ producers often point out, the character’s personality is radically different from the 21-year-old actor, who shuns media attention, studies philosophy as a scholar at Trinity College, and recently gave a speech about the evils of celebrity culture that went viral.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: As a kid, what Hollywood villains impacted you?
Jack Gleeson: Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus in Gladiator; certainly for my characterization of Joffrey, that had a big impact, the smirk. And the monster Hexxus from FernGully, certainly as a childhood fear that was a big one.

Wow — Gladiator and FernGully! What qualities should a good villain have?
Gleeson: It’s interesting sometimes when an audience can empathize with a villain. But to get completely lost in it, it’s exciting just to be intrinsically evil and not have a speck of good or humanity in their bones.

Which is part of what makes Joffrey so fun. Unlike almost all the Thrones characters that are shades of grey, Joffrey has no redeemable qualities.
Gleeson: That’s exactly it. I remember in season 2 we were filming a scene where I come to Sansa with a necklace and tell her I’m very sorry. I was going to play it like I don’t actually care but [showrunner Dan Weiss] said to try and express any genuine love for Sansa that Joffrey actually has. That was the one attempt to put some grey into the black. But overall, it’s a pretty black evil road.

The showrunners said other actors who auditioned for Joffrey played him more like a demonic evil seed. But you won them over by playing him like a spoiled brat, a more familiar type of character. What inspired that?
Gleeson: My characterization pretty much hasn’t changed a huge amount from the first audition. It came from the writing. Everyone has met Joffrey in some shape or form. He’s a very contextualized and plays off other people, he’s not an abstracted Omen character.

Has it ever worried your friends and family that you’re so easily able to play such a terrible guy?
Gleeson: I don’t think so. I can do that with any character. All my friends and family are used to it. They know when I’m being Jack. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Lena Headey on Cersei's twisted love life

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When you think about it, the entire epic tale of HBO’s Game of Thrones is sparked by Cersei and Jaime’s original sin. The Queen slept with her brother, secretly spawned his children, then when they were caught together by young Bran Stark in the Thrones pilot, Jaime’s attempt to kill Bran set off a chain of events that have driven nearly all the storylines in the show. Going into season four, Cersei (Lena Headey) and Jaime (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) have reunited, but they’re not feeling so good this time after all the hell their forbidden romance has stirred up since they last saw each other.

“She’s trying to reestablish her relationship with Jaime, but it’s changed beyond repair,” Headey tells EW. “Like I always say, she envies her brother. She believes he can protect her and do what she’s not allowed to as a woman. So, I think when he returns with [his sword hand having been cut off], she’s like: That’s the thing I didn’t have and now you now don’t have it so what do I want you for?

In other words: Jaime’s been emasculated. “In her eyes, yeah,” Headey agrees. “And she’s trying to figure that out. I think it comes from needing him all along and she’s also spent the last, you know, season without him and managed.” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Sophie Turner takes six Sansa questions

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It’s hard to find a happier person on the Game of Thrones set than Sophie Turner. Which is weird because she plays the most depressed character on the show — Sansa Stark, who keeps losing family members to the Lannisters, and now even has to put up with being married to one too. We asked Turner six questions about Sansa and season 4, which gets underway April 6:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I read you love Jersey Shore, Honey Boo Boo, and Keeping Up with The Kardashians— I bet you wouldn’t watch Game of Thrones if you weren’t on it.
Sophie Turner:
Well, yeah probably! I’m more into like trashy reality trash shows- that’s the kind of shows that I like. The one fiction show I watch is Hannibal. I love it! I missed the last episode—it didn’t record on my TV but I watched all the way up to the penultimate episode [of season 1] and it’s amazing.

When this season opens, you must not be doing very well in the wake of everything that’s happened—you’re sad Sansa.
Turner: Yes, I’m sad Sansa. I just found out that my brother and mother are dead. She’s a bit of a loner, not in a good place.  READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime's season 4 women trouble

In Game of Thrones season 4, Jaime Lannister is reunited with his long lost love — who just happens to be the Queen Regent and his twin sister. But don’t expect Jaime and Cersei (Lena Headey) to make a quick return to the sneaky, incestuous ways we last saw in season 1.

“For him, it’s been a very traumatic trip,” says Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who has ditched his scraggly beard and returned to Jaime’s clean-cut look now that his character is back in King’s Landing. “But he’s been wanting to get back to this woman for the duration of his trip. You want to just go back to the way it was. But it’s not that easy. A lot has happened in her life as well.”

Definitely traumatic. Jaime was imprisoned and had his right hand chopped off last season, leaving him far less able to protect himself (or the king, for that matter, as he’s a member of the royal Kingsguard). While he’s perhaps gained more inner strength, expect Jaime’s physical weakening to be a turn off for Cersei, who has always relied on her brother’s alpha male status. “In her mind, he was the strongest soldier, the strongest man and he could always protect her,” he notes.

Having said that, Coster-Waldau adds that you don’t need to see any new episodes to know there have been hints that this relationship was already uneven. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' season 4 is Jon Snow's biggest, talkiest yet

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Jon Snow is different in Game of Thrones season 4.

It’s not his wild black hair, which we suspect will never change. It’s not his dour clothes in Night’s Watch black. It’s something else…

“He starts talking more,” says star Kit Harington. “This season is Jon’s biggest season. The major thing for him is he doesn’t have the usual patriarchal figure over his head telling him what to do. There’s no Uncle Benjen, no Qhorin Halfhand, no Mance Rayder. He’s found himself back at The Wall and he knows there’s an imminent threat from the Wildlings. There’s a power struggle between him and the Castle Black commanding officers.”

And Jon trying to gain control of Castle Black in order to save the Southern lands from a Wildling invasion means being more proactive than we’ve ever seen him — and, yup, being more chatty. “He’s never spoken much, he’s always been talked to,” Harington notes. “He absorbs things and I like that about him. This season he had a speech and it felt very weird and unnatural playing Jon Snow for three years — he’s such a silent character — for him to make a stirring speech. It was very well written, you can tell he doesn’t want to do it but he has no choice.”

But expect trying to gain any power at the castle to be an up-Wall battle. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' Maisie Williams teases Arya's dark season 4

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Even by Game of Thrones standards, Arya Stark has had a pretty rough few years. Her dad was falsely branded a traitor and executed. Her mom and oldest brother were betrayed and murdered. She thinks her two younger brothers are dead (they’re not). She’s been imprisoned, tormented, and now she’s saddled with the brutish Sandor “The Hound” Clegane [Rory McCann] making her way across the dangerous countryside.

So are Arya’s misfortunes going to continue in season 4? Actress Maisie Williams says her character is long overdue for some positive news, and admitted some frustration on Arya’s behalf. “I feel like Arya deserves something good to happen,” she told EW during an interview conducted a couple weeks ago while the actress was attending the South by Southwest film festival in Austin. “She’s the most unfortunate character, nothing is going her way. She has powerful scenes, but not without a lot of mess-ups. It’s frustrating for me to never have an accomplishing scene and I think frustrating for the audience as well. But I think that’s coming soon.”

Of course, for Arya an accomplishing scene would likely mean either reuniting with one of her long lost family members, or crossing a name or two off her vengeful bedtime death wish list — and her traveling companion The Hound is one of those names. “There is a dark turn in her that’s kind of frightening,” Williams teases. “She’s learning a lot from The Hound and she’s being heavily influenced by that. She’s so young, she’s like a sponge and getting knowledge. She’s heavily influenced by people around her. Being next to The Hound she’s learning his brutal ways.”
READ FULL STORY

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