Whether they’re between great houses of grudge-holding individuals, feuds are as integral to Game of Thrones as the notion that “Winter is coming.” Winter is now here and the number of petty disagreements continues, despite the danger marching toward Winterfell and the rest of the Seven Kingdoms. Off-screen, the cast appears to be far friendlier toward each other; including future Maids of Honor Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner, and a couple that couldn’t survive together on the show, but are now married in real life. But as with most workplaces, not everyone is going to get along. Being an actor means being better equipped at pretending to like someone they secretly hate. For the most part, actors who don’t get along can get over their differences so audiences will never know something is awry behind-the-scenes. Which is good, because writers aren’t always at liberty to change a storyline to avoid an inevitable shared scene. Which is why, when that kind of thing DOES happen, it’s an eyebrow-raiser. And eyebrows have begun to raise about two up-until-now unrelated characters: Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) and Bronn of the Blackwater (Jerome Flynn),
In the Season 7 finale, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” a trip to King’s Landing was required in order to show Cersei that an army of the undead was about to breach the Wall. The big gathering included a number of hotly anticipated reunions, as well as the first-ever meeting between Cersei and Daenerys. Before Cersei’s dramatic entrance, though, Bronn — who’d been there to escort the arrivals from the North to the arena — exits with Podrick in a clunky and unnecessary fashion. Bronn suggests going for a drink while “the fancy people talk.” It was such an odd moment that people wondered if there was a reason. There was.
Back in 2002, long before GoT, Lena Headey and Jerome Flynn dated for a brief time, and whatever went on, it has since allegedly impacted their professional working relationship. As per a 2014 Telegraph article, a source on the set of the hit HBO show said, “Jerome and Lena aren’t on speaking terms anymore, and they are never in the same room at the same time.”
Which had not been a problem up until now since Bronn’s adventures have been with Cersei’s brothers, Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) and Jamie (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), taking him far away from King’s Landing. There is no real reason why Bronn and Cersei would ever interact, even with his other Lannister associations. And it is unlikely that most viewers would’ve found anything out of the ordinary about them never being in the same room as each other. Prior to the Season 7 finale, they shared one scene (back in Season 3) and she simply walks past him.
If only The Good Wife’s story had been spread out over two fictional continents. The CBS series couldn’t avoid scrutiny of this kind when it became very noticeable that main characters Alicia (Julianna Margulies) and Kalinda (Archie Panjabi) only spoke on the phone, after one being deeply involved in each other’s storylines. It prompted articles like this one by Buzzfeed, which pointedly wondered what was behind the conspicuous separation. When they finally did have a bar scene in honor of Kalinda’s departure, the actresses did not film it together — the reason for the Margulies/ Panjabi rift is still a mystery and hopefully one day in the future Ryan Murphy will use his Feud powers to reveal why.
The big difference between The Good Wife and Game of Thrones used to be the relative sizes of their worlds. But as the world of Thrones constricts — you’ll notice the opening-credits map now only traverses three cities rather than the usual six or eight — it becomes harder to keep characters apart. It doesn’t help that Bronn stayed behind in King’s Landing, while everyone else marched North. The Season 8 premiere once again raised the notion that a real-world relationship has impacted what we see on screen, as creepy new Hand of the Queen Qyburn interrupts Bronn’s brothel sexposition to give him a secret mission from Cersei. In exchange for a trunk full of gold, Bronn is given the crossbow used by Tyrion to kill their father, as the weapon of choice to dispatch Cersei’s treasonous brothers. This request is going to cause some onscreen conflict as Bronn has fought closely with both Tyrion and Jaime.
There would, of course, be no need for Cersei to deliver this command herself. She’s the queen, after all; what are underlings for but to deliver awkward orders to horny mercenaries. But it’s hard to believe the showrunners would have passed up a chance for Headey to act her way around ordering a hit on her brothers without a good reason. It served as a reminder of the non-Thrones world infiltrating Westeros.
A lot of this final season premiere mirrored early Game of Thrones, including the fondness for using brothels as dens of information and dirty dealings. But after they so obviously avoided having Bronn and Cersei sharing a scene in the Season 7 finale, the drama offscreen is hard to ignore. At least they won’t have to use any of that dragon CGI budget to greenscreen the pair of them doing tequila shots together in the series finale, as the chances of both Bronn and Cersei surviving the Great War are pretty slim. But at least it’ll give us something to look out for if the whole Thrones cast ends up on stage at the Emmys again.