‘Game of Thrones’: Pilou Asbæk on Euron’s Fate, His Relationship With Cersei & More
[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 8, Episode 5 of Game of Thrones, “The Bells.”]
Game of Thrones is nearing the end with the approaching series finale on May 19, but the May 12 penultimate episode “The Bells” brought plenty of death and destruction for fans to endure.
But one character fans probably aren’t mourning as much as cheering for his demise is Euron Greyjoy, played by the ever-talented Pilou Asbæk. The danish actor arrived in Season 6 of the beloved HBO series and went out in spectacular style during the latest installment. “It was a pretty crazy episode because people were dying left and right,” he tells us.
TV Insider spoke with Asbæk about the episode, Euron’s relationship with Cersei (Lena Headey), that pregnancy question, his killing Rhaegal, being one of the characters fans love to hate, and much more.
There’s a lot to discuss with Euron, but the biggest topic this season has to be his relationship with Cersei. Was it genuine or purely driven by power?
Pilou Asbæk: You always have to play reality… and for me, it might have been wrong, but the way that I did it… it was real love, and for him to [want to] be with her. We needed more scenes to explain but it’s the end of Game of Thrones and there’s a lot of storylines that need to be tied up, so we did the best we could with the scenes we got.
But I would have loved to have shown the world and the Game of Thrones fans that it was genuine love that he actually wanted. If you remember from Season 7, [he says], “I wanna [have] the most beautiful woman in the world so here I am with a thousand ships.” That’s him being as honest and sweet and humble as possible but you forget that when it’s always about f***ing or sex or whatever.
He does like power, though.
Yeah, and it’s been something I’ve been saying in interviews as well. That he wants the power but, you know what? Some people are so lucky in life that they get the girl and the power.
When Tyrion spoke directly to Cersei about her pregnancy, did Euron ever pick up on the discrepancy with timing? Did he question his claim over the child?
I can tell you one thing… Euron didn’t pick it up cause I didn’t pick it up. The reason why I didn’t pick it up is because I’m standing 80 meters away from Peter [Dinklage] and I cannot hear a word of what he’s saying. And to be brutally honest, I don’t even think I was behind the camera when he did his monologue. I think I was somewhere back home in Denmark or something cause it would take four or five days to shoot that scene and it was freezing cold to stand up there.
If I had heard what he said, of course I would have done something where I would have looked at Cersei and been like “Mmhm, you f***ed me.” But I’m a lazy actor and I’m not afraid of admitting my mistakes — that’s one of them.
It was definitely one of the more hotly debated topics among fans following Episode 4.
But isn’t it beautiful? That we think, “Oh my god, he’s an idiot.” [Laughs] He’s not an idiot because David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] wrote he was an idiot. He’s an idiot because the actor doing it [isn’t] listening and wants to go eat food at the catering tent instead of actually listening to what Peter Dinklage is saying in the scene. How amazing is that?
Your character took down Rhaegal in Episode 4, do you think that gave him a false sense of security that he could take Daenerys and Drogon down as well?
Yes, absolutely. I think you’re absolutely right. I think that gave him a sense of being an overlord, being some kind of god and that everything was possible. And now things are happening for him — [Cersei’s] pregnant, he’s becoming the king of King’s Landing and he killed a dragon so he can walk on water. But no one is superhuman, not even him, so there’s always a bill to be paid.
But it was actually a tricky scene to shoot because it was one of the few scenes I did on Game of Thrones which was like 100 percent green-screen. The only thing that was real in that setup was the scorpion and five meters of wood we were standing on —15 square meters. The rest is CGI, so big kudos to the CGI team.
Yes, it looks so real.
It’s amazing. But I’ve gotta admit when he killed the dragon in the previous episode, I felt a lot of hate from a lot of people online. Oh my god. I’m a big fan of the internet, I love it a lot because I’ve been using it every single day, but holy s**t I felt like the most hated man in the world. And Donald Trump was [probably] like “Whoo, it’s not me.”
Yes, the dragons are a pretty sensitive topic among fans.
Yes, but it’s passion. And a lot of people are gonna have a really hard time next week. Not because of the ending but because it’s done. Not because of the way it ends but because that was it. And those fans, they’re so appreciated — also the fans that hate the show, and the fans that go like, “Hey, I love the books, the rest sucks.” Because it’s passion and you’ve gotta love people who are committed and passionate about stuff.
There’s so much happening today where there’s no passion at all. So, for people to really dig into Game of Thrones and spend so many hours discussing it, even though you’re to be blamed for something nasty or to be called nasty things, you’re just like, “Dude, it’s okay. You’re just loving it or hating it and it’s fine.”
There’s a special set of characters from this series that people love to hate (like Ramsey Bolton or Joffrey Baratheon). How does it feel to part of that club?
Yeah, that’s what I’m getting on social media these days. Every minute someone is writing to me, “Dude, I f***ing hate you, I hate you so much.” There’s a guy who emailed me, this comedian guy [Laughs] who goes online on Twitter or something or Instagram and he’s like, “I f***ing hate you, I want to f***ing punch you in the…” And I know he’s talking about the character because if was talking about me he’s not a very nice person then. So it must be the character he’s talking about.
But it’s fun. My point of saying this is you know what? It’s for one more week, it’s wonderful and sometimes you wanna be in the line of fire.
Did you expect to die at the hands of a Lannister or were you expecting a Euron-Yara Greyjoy rematch?
I thought I would die in a fight with Yara and Alfie [Allen] — with Theon and [Yara] — my niece and nephew on the show. I thought I would die in some kind of fight with those guys where they would stab me simultaneously or trick me or something. But I also love the perverted minds of Dan and David because they know Nikolaj [Coster-Waldau] and I know each other, they know we’re both Danish and they know we’d both think it was funny that the two Danes are fighting for five minutes on the biggest show in the world. And that’s just how Dan and David and their sense of humor is sometimes. It’s just so specific and wonderful and crazy.
So, no I didn’t expect that and honestly, I don’t know if I died even though Miguel [Sapochnik] — our director — [said otherwise]. I don’t close my eyes, not that you can only die when you close your eyes, but you know what I mean. I didn’t want to do that [makes dying breath noise] — he just smiles at the world while he watches it burn.
That’s going out with style.
That’s going out with style. That would be pretty awesome. If he couldn’t go out killing one more dragon, that’s the way he should die.
Game of Thrones, Series Finale, Sunday, May 19, 9/8c, HBO