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Few people on Game of Thrones have challenged Daenerys Targaryen’s (Emilia Clarke) dragons and lived to tell the tale. Then again, Bronn of the Blackwater (Jerome Flynn) is no ordinary person.
The season one veteran and longtime Lannister associate was the star of the show during the epic Loot Train Battle in “The Spoils of War,” slugging it out with a Dothraki warrior, wielding a massive crossbow against the ferocious Drogon and even putting his own life on the line to save Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) from a fiery demise. In this past week’s episode, “Eastwatch,” Bronn helped the Lannisters again, first pulling Jaime out of the river before he could drown and later arranging a meeting between the Lannister brothers at Tyrion’s (Peter Dinklage) request.
Here’s what Flynn tells The Hollywood Reporter about his work on the past two episodes, first fighting dragons on a scorched battlefield and later facing dragon remains as he reunited two of House Lannister’s lions in the dungeons of the Red Keep, their first scene together since season four.
How did it feel to add “dragon fighter” to Bronn’s résumé this season?
Well, it’s a little bit strange, since it’s aired. I’ll tell you, the feedback has been mixed. (Laughs.) Generally, I am known to be an animal lover, but I have had a lot of feedback from people who were very disappointed in the actions that Bronn took the other week. Apart from that, the postman not talking to me? It was an incredible sequence to be a part of, and probably one of the most exciting pieces I’ve ever been involved in as an actor. We spent about five weeks putting that sequence together. The actual meat of it for me was over a couple of days. The level of expertise that’s working in so many departments on a set piece like that, and what’s going into it, and the work he did learning it like a dance, and then you’re set free … it’s the ultimate boy’s fantasy. With all of those bells and whistles going off around you, as an actor, it’s pretty fun. And the machine I was wielding, Tommy the armorer built it himself and it was a real, working thing. It really did shoot real lances into the air.
OK, that must have been fun to get your hands on.
It was great fun. It was like this huge Gatling gun. I had a great time. What can I say? The whole experience. I was a bit hungry for some action, because Bronn hadn’t really had any in a while, apart from a little bit of sparring with Jaime, and yes, what happened in Dorne. In terms of getting involved in a proper scrap and battle? It was really nice to have that time. When I saw it, even though I knew what was coming, I was on the edge of my seat. In terms of how they brought that sequence together, it was one of the most exciting things.
How does it compare to filming the Blackwater battle from season two for you?
I’ve always found [the battles] to be thought about in deep detail, with a lot of time given to it. In terms of for me, personally, I wasn’t as involved in the heat of the battle with Blackwater. I had one sword fight, and then I happened to shoot the arrow that had a big effect on the whole thing…
You upgraded your archery equipment for this season’s battle, that’s for sure.
Yeah. It’s a bit hard to judge, because I wasn’t as in the midst of that battle. But it’s a certain thing with [creators] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] and the whole team. They want it to rise each year, for sure, when they’re going into a sequence like that. Maybe with a slight different tone, or a slightly different angle, because it’s always unique in itself. They want to be able to match or better it every time. That’s what they’re so incredible at doing, and I think they did that here.
This week, Bronn brings the Lannister brothers back together. We don’t see him interact much with Tyrion. Is there a scene between them on the editing room floor somewhere?
Originally, I heard there was going to be one. They decided not to go for it. There’s something, I hope, that’s still to come, where Bronn and Tyrion might have a little bit of time for an exchange together, and shoot the breeze, as it were. Hopefully there will be some old Bronn and Tyrion dynamics coming up again. But it was a lovely scene. That was a lovely part of the whole season, all of the many reunions and all of the different storylines coming together.
When you think about Bronn’s relationship with the Lannister brothers, you often think of him and Tyrion as having a friendship outside of their business arrangement. With Jaime, it’s maybe closer to strictly business. That said, Bronn saves Jaime from the dragon, and pulls him out of the river. Does Bronn have some fondness for Jaime, then, or is it just another business decision: “If Jaime dies, I don’t get my castle.”
I don’t think it’s quite as simple as that, but there is a lot of that in there. (Laughs.) Would he have done that ridiculous stunt if he already had his castle? I’m not sure.
Probably not. Much as he loves Tyrion, he didn’t go in and fight the Mountain, and for good reason, as we saw. So to dive in front of a dragon’s breath of fire…
He’s making a cost-benefit analysis on the fly.
Exactly. He was thinking about himself. Sure, there’s a fondness, but it doesn’t come close to what he feels toward Tyrion. I really do think there’s a bond between himself and Tyrion. He sees an underdog and an outcast in Tyrion, and he sees some of himself in that. He enjoys the cleverness of the man and his humor. That’s where they really met. But it’s been nice to work with both of them and have that be the unexpected extra lease on life, with Jaime. I’m very grateful to it. It’s meant that I’ve been able to keep my toe in [the show].
If Bronn and Tyrion are ever going to work together again, you have to imagine Bronn would need to apologize to Daenerys for shooting her dragon. How would that play out?
That’s a really good point, and something I haven’t fully thought through! I have my idea of stuff I would like to see happen for Bronn. I’m pretty sure most of it won’t happen. (Laughs.) But I would like to see him get involved in the big fight. So, Tyrion is there, and there’s a good argument for Bronn. Just as the Tarlys were fighting against them in the big battle sequence, Bronn could argue he’s doing the same. He would be very prepared to bend the knee.
He’s been stretching.
Oh, yeah. He’s ready. (Laughs.) And having Tyrion there, I think he would stand a chance, as long as he did bend his knee. Let’s see if it happens. Who knows?
Were you disappointed that Bronn wasn’t called up for next week’s big mission in the North, or would he not be caught dead on such an operation?
I would have loved that. I would have loved it. I was watching the episode last night. I try to avoid scripts, so I didn’t know that was coming. I just read the bits that I need to read. I wasn’t thinking, “Oh, I wish I was with them!” I was just thinking, “Wow, this is a great mix of guys to throw together on that journey.” That’s where my focus was. But of course I would have loved to go out with them.
Watch the video below for the Game of Thrones cast’s preview of season seven’s battles.
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