One of the biggest talking points from Game of Thrones‘ Season Seven finale was the awkward sex scene between Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) and Jon Snow (Kit Harington) – an act that the audience, but not the characters, understand as incest. The interaction was further complicated by a reaction shot of a concerned-looking Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) listening from the hallway – and the episode’s director, Jeremy Podeswa, recently suggested complex motivations behind Dinklage’s expression.
“From my point of view, Tyrion always seemed three steps ahead,” Podeswa told The New York Times. “As long as there is a professional alliance between Dany and Jon, that’s something that everybody wants. We can imagine that that’s a helpful alliance. But when things get personal, then people make decisions based on their emotions, and that can complicate matters going forward, so I think he sees the potential here for things to get very messy. Usually, historically, nothing good comes out of relationships becoming more complicated! [Laughs] It’s also a question of what’s going to be his role within this new alliance, right? So there’s a kind of caution here.”
Podeswa, who has been a staple of the Game of Thrones crew since Season Five, also admitted Tyrion’s troubled look may have been complicated by jealousy.
“There is something to that,” he continued. “Everyone seems to be in love with Dany, in a way, and I think Tyrion’s a little bit in love with her. But I don’t think it’s an actual romantic love. There’s a huge respect for her, and maybe there’s a slight romantic element to that, but it’s more of a jockeying in terms of who has real power. Not over Dany, but who has power in a relationship with Dany. Jorah [Mormont], who really is in love with her, his relationship with Jon is complicated in a different way. With Tyrion, it’s all about who is going to have sway over her?”
Another major sequence from the finale episode, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” was Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) execution (per sister Sansa’s order) of the deceptive Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish (Aidan Gillen). Podeswa called actor Aidan Gillen’s final scene “unexpected and epic” and admitted he cried during the shoot. “On this show, all the characters can die at any time, but it’s how they go out that is such a big thing,” he said. “And for him, it was great that he had this amazing scene to go out with.”
Based on sheer spectacle, the biggest sequence of the finale – if not the entire series – was the cataclysmic collapse of the Wall, as triggered by the blue flames of a zombie dragon commandeered by the Night King. “Everything was tricky about that one,” Podeswa said. “That was one of the more complicated visual effects that I’ve ever done. It was a huge amount of conceptualizing, just to figure out how the scenes should track, and then the execution was very complicated.”