‘Game of Thrones’ director David Nutter explains Jaime’s heartbreaking choice on Sunday’s episode

Emilia Clarke and David Nutter on the set of ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight. Helen Sloan/HBO

The final season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones” will be six episodes total, and the show’s veteran director David Nutter helmed three of those six final chapters. Nutter was charged with this season’s first two episodes, and then closed out his time on the show with episode four, “The Last of the Starks,” which aired on Sunday night.

This meant he was tasked with bringing Jaime Lannister and the newly anointed Ser Brienne of Tarth together romantically for the first time on the show.

“It’s almost like [Jaime] is a little boy and for the first time he’s loving another woman,” Nutter told INSIDER on Monday afternoon over the phone. “He cares about Brienne and wants to consummate their relationship.”

Nutter further clarified Jaime’s intentions upon leaving Winterfell, and revealed the meaning behind more key moments he helped bring to life for his half of the series’ final episodes.

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Jaime and Brienne’s heartbreaking goodbye on episode four. Helen Sloan/HBO

Kim Renfro: You shot so many important scenes with Jaime and Brienne this season for their mini arc together on these first four episodes. How do you see that relationship, and where it’s left after “The Last of the Starks”?

David Nutter: Well I think that Jaime wanted to of course keep his promise he made to Dany last year, so he basically followed through with that. And I also think that his desire to Brienne was not to be unnoticed in that [scene] as well, when Jaime sees Brienne out on the battlefields for the first time as she’s preparing and training her troops.

I think Jaime goes out to her and basically confesses that he’s not the man he used to be and he wants to be there to help Brienne in any way he can. It’s the first time these two characters get a chance to spend time together that’s not rushed or invaded [by others], and that allows them to become much closer and much more intimate with each other.

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Brienne and Jaime speaking outside on Sunday’s ‘Game of Thrones’ episode. HBO

So these things naturally occur, in a sense, after the battle and after the easing of the feat, the aftermath of that is something where it’s almost like [Jaime] is a little boy and for the first time he’s loving another woman. He cares about Brienne and wants to consummate their relationship.

Renfro: One of the smaller standout moments for me was on the second episode of the season, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” when Jaime tries to say Cersei fooled him too but Tyrion calls him out.

Nutter: Oh of course, when Tyrion says [Jaime] always knew what she was.

Renfro: Right, so I feel like that is almost foreshadowing Jaime deciding to leave Winterfell once again.

Nutter: I agree, that’s probably very true.

Renfro: I’ve seen some fans guessing that Jaime is bluffing to Brienne or he’s trying to push her away because he’s on some suicidal mission to kill Cersei, but for me it rings more like he’s slipping back into that deep bond he has with Cersei.

Nutter: I think that’s very true, exactly what you’re saying.

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Jaime and Cersei spent their entire lives only obsessed with one another. HBO

Renfro: Another goodbye scene that was tough on episode four was Ghost and Jon, because everyone loves our good, big dog. What was the process like bringing in that CGI element, because we’ve heard in the past how tough it can be to work direwolves into scenes.

Nutter: Well the good thing was he wasn’t right next to the actors and so forth, so there wasn’t any issues with green screen or situations where we’re dealing with any kind of rotoscoping. So basically it was just reminding Kit [Harington] about the direwolves and discussing them. He knew the importance of the direwolf very well and how close [Jon] was to him. [Harington] understood exactly where to play that and where to take it.

Renfro: So keeping Ghost and Jon separate was just part of the plan to simplify that filming process?

Nutter: Yes.

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Tormund will take Ghost north with him. HBO

Renfro: You helmed a lot of emotional scenes for key characters on these three episodes. Were there any you are particularly proud of?

Nutter: I was really happy with the Gendry and Arya scene when they first make love. I thought that scene worked out very nicely and how it played out was very powerful and smart, how they did it. I was very happy with that.

I was very happy with the big feast and the locations of all the characters and how it played out well, and how there was a real feel of everyone together but also a little but of isolation between Dany and her emotional state and how that played out.

I was proud of many of the scenes just because of the great, talented actors I’m working with. They’re just so damn good, and I’d basically come up with an idea about this or that and they’d try it and hit a home run, and we’d go on to the next thing. This is this most talented group of people and production [crew] I’ve ever spent time with, so it’s been an amazing honour to work with them and a real treat in every way.

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David Nutter with Sophie Turner during Sansa’s scene with Daenerys on episode two of season eight, ‘A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.’ Helen Sloan/HBO

Renfro: Can you think of a time when you gave certain direction to an actor for a scene and they just nailed it?

Nutter: Sophie Turner had a little trepidation about her scene with Dany [on episode two]. So I went to Sophie and I said, “I just have one thing to tell you. This is your house, and Dany is visiting. So there’s no reason to be intimidated at all.”

So she took that and ran with it. She basically stood up and I told her, “You’re powerful and rich and strong.”

And when it comes to other scenes, everyone fell right into place with where to play this stuff. I blocked out the fireplace scene exactly how I wanted it with how the actors sat and stood and moved around, and they brought some amazing, funny, stuff.

The stuff with Tormund [and the giant’s milk] was one of the funniest scenes I’ve ever worked on. For many of the scenes [Kristofer Hivju] was involved in, he’s an actor with no-fear at all, so it’s a real pleasure. He’s so funny.

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The celebratory feast at Winterfell on ‘Game of Thrones’ season eight. Helen Sloan/HBO

Renfro: One of the funnier moments from the feast scene was when Podrick was in the background of one shot just walking away with two women on his arms, one of which was just scared by Sandor Clegane.

Nutter: That was something [showrunner Dan Weiss] really wanted me to hit exactly at that moment. That was really important for him, that we caught that, and I thought it was a lot of fun.

Renfro: One thing which caught my attention on episode four, “The Last of the Starks,” was the funeral scenes and Sansa and Daenerys’ individual goodbye moments with Theon and Jorah. We can’t quite hear what Daenerys is saying to Jorah in that moment, though. Do you have any idea what the dialogue was there, or were there multiple takes shot of that goodbye?

Nutter: As scripted, that was “Dany’s secret to Jorah.” I never asked her what she said. That was her personal line, that whatever Dany said to Jorah, it was something she was imparting to him alone.

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Daenerys Targaryen saying her goodbye to Jorah Mormont. HBO

Renfro: And Iain Glen (who plays Jorah) was actually there, right? It wasn’t just a body double?

Nutter: Yeah, Iain was there. What I made sure I did on the first day of shooting was set those two sequences up so there wasn’t a thousand people standing around in the background and just waiting to shoot their scene. I took the time with Emilia [Clarke] and each of the actors we took time to make sure they had their moments with the other actors they were referring to. Jon and Lyanna, Dany and Jorah, Arya and Beric, and so on, and that was really great to shoot.