GAME CHANGER

WIN­TER IS COM­ING AND WITH IT COMES THE MUCH-AN­TIC­I­PATED NEW SEA­SON OF GAME OF THRONES

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - FRONT PAGE - DANIEL HATCH

When young princess Shireen was burned alive in the last sea­son of Game of Thrones, Carice van Houten got death threats on Twit­ter.

Her char­ac­ter Lady Melisan­dre had en­gi­neered the sac­ri­fice to ap­pease the Lord of Light and help Shireen’s fa­ther, King Stan­nis, win an im­por­tant bat­tle against House Bolton.

“It was all ‘die, die, die, b----, die’ over the Shireen thing,” van Houten says.

“Then when Jon Snow died I got mes­sages say­ing, ‘We’ll forgive you if you bring Jon Snow back’. “That’s your pub­lic for you.” Whether fan favourite Snow is dead has been an all­con­sum­ing ob­ses­sion for Game of Thrones fans since he was seen bleed­ing out into the snow – hav­ing been stabbed by the broth­ers of the Night’s Watch – in the fi­nal mo­ments of sea­son five. The ar­rival of the red pri­est­ess Melisan­dre at the Wall, the site of Jon’s demise, has given rise to a pop­u­lar the­ory she will use her pow­ers to res­ur­rect him.

Whether or not the the­ory is ac­cu­rate, van Houten – who re­cently an­nounced she is ex­pect­ing a child with Aussie ac­tor Guy Pearce – is not giv­ing any­thing away.

“It amuses me and I like to play with it,” she says of the fans’ fas­ci­na­tion with whether Kit Har­ing­ton’s char­ac­ter is still alive.

“I like to tease things on the in­ter­net. I could post a pic­ture of some­thing burn­ing – and it could be any­where, it could be in my back yard and they go crazy for it.

“The other day I posted some­thing on In­sta­gram.

“I was just hav­ing a walk with my dad in the mid­dle of nowhere in Hol­land and I took a selfie. My dad was in the back­ground, all blurry with a hood on. Peo­ple were like, ‘That’s Jon Snow!’.”

What she is will­ing to say about the new se­ries is that we will get to see a dif­fer­ent side of her char­ac­ter.

“Her world is com­pletely shaken,” van Houten says.

“She has to find ground again be­cause ... the of­fer­ing of Shireen didn’t work.

What’s her faith all about now? Who is she go­ing to trust? Who is she go­ing to be with? She’s com­pletely con­fused at this point.’’

Game of Thrones has won le­gions of fans, in part, for its un­pre­dictabil­ity. Ma­jor char­ac­ters can be killed off at any mo­ment and just when you think the vi­o­lence could not get any more shocking, some­thing even more de­praved plays out.

Liam Cun­ning­ham, who plays Stan­nis’s right-hand man Ser Davos, says sea­son six is no dif­fer­ent.

“This sea­son is big and brash and bold and f----- up – right from the very be­gin­ning,” he says.

“With a lot of pro­duc­tions, once they get to a cer­tain level of suc­cess, they say, ‘Don’t mess with it’ ... HBO have not done that.”

Maisie Wil­liams ad­mits she found it hard to por­tray a blind Arya Stark in the new sea­son of the show.

“It was re­ally dif­fer­ent,” she said dur­ing a red car­pet in­ter­view at the Game of Thrones sea­son six premiere in Los An­ge­les.

“I was told that I act through my eyes and I emote through my eyes, and to have that taken away was re­ally dif­fi­cult.”

Arya be­came blind in the fifth sea­son, a pun­ish­ment for killing of Ser Meryn Trant and tak­ing a face from the House of Black and White with­out per­mis­sion.

“It will be re­ally in­ter­est­ing to see if the fans still stick with her at her low­est point,” Wil­liams says.

“This girl is re­ally strug­gling.”

While nei­ther the cast nor HBO is re­veal­ing what sur­prises sea­son six holds, fans are ea­gerly an­tic­i­pat­ing learn­ing the fates of Daen­erys (who is cor­nered by Dothraki war­riors), Sansa Stark and Theon Greyjoy (who jumped from a cas­tle wall to es­cape Ram­say Bolton) and King Stan­nis (who was al­most cer­tainly be­headed by Bri­enne of Tarth).

They will also be hop­ing Jon Snow’s true parent­age might fi­nally be re­vealed.

WHAT’S HER FAITH ALL ABOUT NOW? WHO IS SHE GO­ING TO TRUST? SHE’S COM­PLETELY CON­FUSED AT THIS POINT

Game of Thrones, Show­case, Mon­day, 11am and 7.30pm

Carice van Houten rel­ishes play­ing Lady Melisan­dre in Game of Thrones de­spite her char­ac­ter’s un­pop­u­lar­ity.

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