Goodbyes are never easy.
After nearly a decade of filming and a series run of eight seasons, Game of Thrones is taking its final bow on Sunday night. Shooting on Season 8 of the HBO drama concluded last summer, but when Collider spoke to many of the cast this past April, the memories of saying goodbye were still fresh.
While we don’t know which scene the actors filmed last (their character’s final moment, a pickup shot or a something earlier on in the season), they did share with Collider memories of their last day, when they were given a series wrap.
Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) & Maisie Williams (Arya Stark)
TURNER: It was like, you know, months and months of anticipation of what it was going to be like, and it was just as awful as I thought it was going to be. It was just so sad.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, I felt horrible … I didn’t feel horrible on my wrap day, I felt horrible on Sophie’s wrap day because you were just so sad. And everyone’s looking at me because we’re best friends and they’re looking at me like, ‘F***ing help her! She’s crying.’ And she was just (makes high-pitched sound).
TURNER: I was in the back of the car going back to my trailer and I was like in Kit [Harington] and your laps (makes sobbing sound).
WILLIAMS: Just crying.
Collider: Sometimes there [is] time for speeches. Was there time for any of that for you? And what was that like? It’s such an emotional moment.
TURNER: I couldn’t give a speech, I was too … but David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] gave a speech.
WILLIAMS: Yeah, they gave a little speech. I gave a little speech. …
Collider: What did you say?
WILLIAMS: … Basically said that like the industry has sometimes been really, really tricky and really strange — for all of the cast members — to get used to, but the one thing that keeps you sane is coming back to the show every year and remembering why you’re doing it and why this is your life and being back with the family.
TURNER: Awww, that’s so sweet. Just got goosebumps from that. That’s lovely. Love that.
WILLIAMS: And it is just so true. … It’s hard to know what to say in any of those moments, really.
Collider: You’ll remember them forever, though … for the rest of your life.
WILLIAMS: I just remember it being so still. Arya is never still. Nothing that she ever does is ever just straightforward and simple and serene. And [I] just remember my final shot, just feeling like calm.
John Bradley (Samwell) & Hannah Murray (Gilly)
BRADLEY: It seems so long ago now, but the emotion of it still seems quite close under the surface, if you know what I mean? It was an interesting one because I think we had sort of different experiences because I wrapped on a day where lots of other people were wrapping and that’s an interesting feeling because you share the emotion of it and there are other people there who are sad and you kind of cling on to each other in that moment and support each other and you’re all separated at once. And, of course, if you’re all separated at once, it doesn’t feel like a separation really, because you’re then suddenly all in the same boat and all adrift together. But for Hannah and other people, you were the only person to wrap that day.
MURRAY: Yeah, I was the only person to wrap on the day that I did … but like you were saying, it’s this weird feeling of suddenly you’re separate from everyone else because everyone else is continuing to film other stuff without you and you have this feeling of being slightly left behind. But yeah, it’s just a very, very surreal feeling because I think as much as we knew the show had to end one day, you sort of didn’t really believe it ever would. … So yeah, very, very weird feeling.
Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) & Joe Dempsie (Gendry)
ANDERSON: On the actual wrap, me and the other people who I was in the scene with, we kind of joked a bit before the final shot … of that scene. We were like, ‘Oh, should we like mess it up just so it goes on for a little bit longer?’ And then we actually messed it up because we were crying (laughs). And then we had to do it again. And then there came a point where we were kind of, ‘OK, let’s like get your sh** together.’ And then I cried again taking my armor off. Lots of crying. But also, because it was – the shoot was long (laughs) and … there was a real bittersweet thing about ending the series where it’s like, I’m ready to go home now, but also just not ready to let go of what we’ve been doing for nearly a year.
DEMPSIE: I thought I was going to be fine and there were a couple of other actors finishing on the same day as me, too. And what David and Dan had been doing is when people were finishing, they would come out and give a little speech and present you with a cool gift and we all got little storyboards of one of our scenes from seasons gone by. And I was fine and then I looked across and I saw one of the other actors who was finishing try not to cry – I saw their lip quiver and then I was toast. I’ve realized that I’m fine until I see someone else try not to cry and then I’m in bits. And I wasn’t expecting that.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) & Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)
COSTER-WALDAU: It was a beautiful day in Northern Ireland, great scene and then it ended, and it was still great. And then I think I had a little allergy. There was something in my eyes, but it was great.
CHRISTIE: I found it very emotional, but it was full of – I really love new beginnings, so the idea that something that I hadn’t been able to conceive of for seven or eight years was the idea of something else and something other. And the idea of that coming in made it bittersweet — and it needed that as well. But nothing prepared me for the avalanche of emotion that I felt because it’s been — it has been a large part of my life, of my working life.
Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy) & Jerome Flynn (Bronn)
ASBÆK: It was very emotional — even though I only did three seasons — but nevertheless, Dan and David are so good at welcoming you to the family, so you feel very appreciated and you want to give everything you have, you know? And they made this tradition that when you wrapped they would give you a present, which was like a poster of like storyboarding, and they would give a little speech. And, I’m not an emotional guy. I’m from Denmark. We don’t show emotions. And I got kind of emotional.
FLYNN: Yeah, it was hard not to. It was also because there was a surrealness to it, because, you know, for me, having been in it, you kind of got used to it — even though it was a beautiful surprise — to come back. You got used to it. To suddenly be standing there and like saying goodbye to all those people, it was quite something. It kind of hit me afterwards more than the actual day, I think.
Conleth Hill (Varys) & Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran)
HILL: It was pretty mundane, to be honest. But then, we did a Conan [O’Brien] show — like an after [show] — and I lost it completely because they did interviews with Bernie Caufield … whose one of our producers, and they showed her being interviewed and I just cried. … I had to leave, I had to go home, it was terrible. (Editor’s note: The Conan cast interview is expected to be featured on the Seasons 1-8 box set.)
HEMPSTEAD-WRIGHT: On the day I wrapped, there quite a few people who also wrapped and I didn’t think I was going to cry. I just remember thinking, ‘Oh no, this is OK. This is OK. This not OK!’ And I remember I walked back from set, back to base, instead of getting in the car, and it was a beautiful summer’s evening. So it was just a really nice way to say goodbye.
Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane)
HIVJU: [There’s] something about when you’re a part of something … one thing — it’s big, the audience love it, but the thing is that it’s been big inside as well. It’s been the same crew; it’s been actors who love to work with each other. David and Dan have been the perfect creators because they have just given trust and love. And just to be part of something that everybody every day works so hard and do their best and the spirit is good and everyone knows that every bit of work that they put in comes out on the other side twice as good. So it’s that feeling, because to make films and TV, it’s like reinventing the wheel all the time and here, and here, the wheel did work. And ambitions have just grown. So it’s just been a fantastic journey.