- Warning: Spoilers ahead for the “Game of Thrones” finale.
- Carice Van Houten told Insider that despite the negative reviews, she loved the “randomness” and “clumsiness” of “Game of Thrones'” final season.
- The Melisandre actress told Insider: “I loved the randomness and clumsiness of picking some guy, which is very representative of the world right now, as crazy people are ruling the world.”
- Van Houten also said that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss didn’t deserve the “scary” petitionto remake the final season: “knowing how f—— great they are, they don’t deserve that.”
- Van Houten added that she had “no idea” the “brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes” line from season three would play such a significant role in season eight.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Carice Van Houten told Insider that she loved the “randomness” and “clumsiness” of the final season of “Game of Thrones,” and that the writers, “knowing how f—— great they are,” didn’t deserve the “scary,” “extreme” petition to remake the final season of the show after fans weren’t happy with how it went.
Melisandre actress Van Houten, who was Emmy-nominated for her role in season eight, spoke to Insider in a Zoom interview, and declared her love for the divisive final season.
Van Houten thought Bran’s coronation emulated season one’s Robert Baratheon as a reluctant king.
“I loved the ending. I loved the randomness of just picking a king,” Van Houten said. “That’s why I loved the first season, the guy who actually was king [Robert Baratheon], didn’t want to be king, so we already got a lesson in the beginning: ‘Why are you striving for that sort of power when, obviously, it doesn’t make you happy?'”
In events that occurred in Westeros before season one started, Robert Baratheon rebelled against the Mad King (Daenery’s dad), and eventually claimed the throne for himself. But Bobby Baratheon was actually a pretty terrible king of Westeros in the end, became disillusioned with ruling and preferring fighting and rebelling to the supposed day to day mundanities of becoming a king.
Van Houten compares this unhappiness with that of the eventual king of the six kingdoms, Bran, who reluctantly accepted the throne in the series eight finale (although there is more than one fan theory arguing that Bran was scheming the whole thing the entire time).
While Bran’s coronation was met with ridicule and rage from large portions of “Game of Thrones” fans, as was the entirety of season eight, Van Houten stands by her love for that decision from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
“I loved the randomness and clumsiness of picking some guy, which is very representative of the world right now, as crazy people are ruling the world,” Van Houten said. “I thought it was a great comparison.”
Van Houten also defended the show against its detractors, telling Insider that it was inevitable there was going to be those who didn’t like the end of the show.
“The fact that some people were so disappointed is because everything before that was so good,” Van Houten said of the previous, highly-rated seven seasons.
“So it feels a bit ungrateful. You’ve had such great times and then yeah, you’re going to be disappointed because it’s not going to go exactly how you anticipated. Of course, you’re going to have all sorts of criticisms and I just thought it was a sign of how good the show was.”
That infamous petition didn’t get to her, though: “I can’t take that seriously.”
It would be understandable if Van Houten, as a key cast member, were to still feel the sting of those criticisms, but the actress told Insider that she is pretty good at distancing herself from negativity.
“People sometimes take it too far and get too personal, but I can’t take that seriously,” Van Houten said. “I just thought it’s people being really emotional about this show. It just always amazes me how people can go behind their computer and just type ‘die b—- die,’ I’m fascinated by that human psyche.”
The only thing that did affect her, because she was upset for the show’s writers, was that infamous petition, which now has over 1.8 million signatures and is still gaining more. Petition creator Dylan D wrote: “This series deserves a final season that makes sense.”
“That’s beyond fandom. That’s extremism. That’s scary,” Van Houten said. “Knowing the writers and knowing how f—–g great they are, they don’t deserve that.
“I think they are probably cool enough to deal with that but still, they are human beings, they are trying to make a good product.”
Van Houten is actually more of a comic actress by nature.
Looking at Van Houten’s role in season eight, it’s easy to see why she is so positive about the series. Melisandre had one of the best endings of any character in the season, and her surprise appearance in episode three, “The Long Night,” was a fitting end to a character that was searching for redemption after serving the majority of the show as a villain.
“I loved my arc,” Van Houten said. “I did get the turn of the character. At some point, her whole world starts falling apart, and that was my favourite moment. Up till then, it was fun to play someone who is so confident but it’s not my forté.
“I enjoy playing people who are not sure of themselves. I have all sorts of flaws and neuroses and fears and doubts, I love that s—.
“Melisandre made two jokes in eight years, maybe one, but I remember enjoying those lighter scenes so much. I so craved trying to put a wink in there, it’s just my natural way of not taking things too seriously.”
Van Houten made a name for herself playing comedic characters in lighter fare, and is still known in the Netherlands for being a comic actress. Ironically, the rest of the world now knows how for playing a “mean, stern, dark” character to be feared. Van Houten enjoys that subversion, but does feel she is at her best in comedy.
Looking back on the show, Van Houten tells Insider that she has loved playing a character who gets iconic lines and memorable shots, referencing the moment when Melisandre lights the trenches in “The Long Night” as one of her favourites.
She had “no idea” that “brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes” line was going to be so important.
While “the night is dark and full of terrors” will forever be Melisandre’s most iconic line, another of the Red Witch’s lines proved to be even more pivotal: “Brown eyes, green eyes, blue eyes.”
Melisandre first said that to Arya in season three, and then said it to Arya again in Winterfell during the battle against the dead, strongly suggesting to Arya that the “blue eyes” she was supposed to shut belonged to those of the Night King himself.
While some fans liked this throwback to season three and believed it to be a good through-line, others didn’t buy it, and argued the showrunners shoe-horned the line in and changed it to fit the narrative of Arya killing the leader of the White Walkers. Van Houten herself was in the dark.
“I had no idea. No idea. At the time, I thought ‘I’m just going to say it, it’s probably there for a reason,'” Van Houten told Insider. “They told me, ‘We’ll get there later.'”
Van Houten said that this was common during the making of “Game of Thrones,” and that back during season two rehearsals, she was told that Melisandre was really old, only to not hear about that again until season six – “We were given some hints here and there.”
Van Houten loved the “fickle” fans change of heart towards Melisandre.
“I’ve definitely had, throughout the whole thing, some really epic scenes,” Van Houten told Insider. “The birth of the shadow monster, the leeches on Gendry. Burning Shireen, that killed my sympathy points,” Van Houten laughed.
“It was so funny to see the audience’s reaction to me because after Joffrey died, which I was sad about because I loved hating him and he [Jack Gleeson] was so good, I was second in line in being the baddie and everyone was focused on me being evil after burning Shireen.”
“Then, the season straight after, I brought Jon Snow back to life. It went from ‘die b—- die’ and death threats toward my character, to fans asking me to marry them. I thought, ‘How fickle.’ It was a great thing to watch in audience response.”
Van Houten, who told Insider that she would have loved a scene with Lena Headey’s Cersei (“it would have been really fun if they just clicked immediately and had some sort of unspoken affair”) seems to have a pretty good relationship with the fans despite any negativity towards the show in general.
“I have people stare at me and be a bit scared, or they say I know you from something and they say please tell me what it is, and I say, ‘The night is dark and full of terrors’ and they scream,” Van Houten laughed.
“People in the airport waving saying ‘Lord of light!’ It’s funny, I love that sort of stuff.”