Game of Thrones Teased, With Nikolaj Coster Waldau

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Incest. Now you don’t usually see that on TV. Sex? Yes. Relationships? Yes. Murder? All the time! The amalgamation of these themes makes Game of Thrones all the more unique--not to mention shocking--so it’s our pleasure to confirm that there’s plenty more sister-on-brother treachery to come.

How much you ask? To find out we spoke to Nikolaj Coster Waldau, who plays bad guy Jaime Lannister (booo!). This is what he had to say about the series and its controversial themes...

On the incest between his character, Jaime and his sister Cersei...
Usually as an actor you take the character and build on your own experiences, but this particular aspect of his character was difficult. Having an intimate relationship with your own sister is a mouthful, but you can fall in love with someone that you shouldn’t fall in love with and you can’t help yourself. It’s a passionate, forbidden relationship and that I can relate to. Of course, it is a different world. If you go back a couple of hundred years royal families would marry, so it’s not that foreign, but still at the end of episode one--when I saw that--I was shocked, I have to say.

On sex scenes...
The one thing I don’t understand is that sex [in this show] has to be from behind. Why is that?

On Jaime’s involvement with the power struggles...
He’s caught up in it. He's a member of the most powerful family in the seven kingdoms. His problem is that he doesn’t want to be part of the political world--it doesn't interest him--but he has this relationship. He says in episode one: “the things I do for love”. I think that is very much at the core of him to begin with. He has chosen to enter the King's Guard--when you enter that, you can't marry; you say, “I'm dedicating my life to this.” He does not like the world and the whole political aspect of the court but he has to be there because the woman he wants to be close to is there.

On playing the villain...
Is he a villain? That's the whole question. What I like about George R. R. Martin's novels and all the characters is that it's not just black and white. Of course at the end of episode one he does something which is a horrible act, and you can't justify it. But what happens later on is that you do understand that he had very, very, very good reasons for doing what he did. What attracted me to the character was that he is complex; you can start out with a character from episode one where an audience will just not like this guy. Hopefully later on it will change.

On how close his character sticks to the book...
In the first book he doesn't change that much. His physical situation is changed, but the internal change happens later. Of course, in the novel you can go into people's minds and heads--you can say what happened 100 years ago, 20 years ago. So we've added scenes where you kind of tell the story, why he's so bitter and why he has these issues with Ned Stark, Sean Bean's character. So it's hinted at.

On Jaime’s future...
Because I know what happens later, the challenge in the beginning was how to balance that. I wanted to emphasise the less appealing aspects of his character early on so I had somewhere to go. That was kind of a challenge. I didn't want him to be like “the villain, mwahaha”, but you still believe in him as a human being.

On the fantasy genre... I've never really been into that whole thing of separating shows into genres. It's like music--you like good music, it's not like I can only listen to grunge or whatever. It’s the same with this. These scripts are really well-written, so that's what attracted me.

Game of Thrones airs every Sunday on HBO in America, and on Mondays at 9pm on Sky Atlantic in the UK.

Want more? Keep your eyes peeled for more interviews coming soon, in the meantime here’s our review of the debut episode and here are some preview clips and trailers.

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