The long-awaited seventh season of the epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones is just around the corner. Season 6 very much left us in a state of anticipation: Daenerys Targaryen has finally sailed for Westeros; Jon Snow was crowned King in the North and was revealed to be a Targaryen; Cersei Lannister claimed the Iron Throne after killing off Queen Margaery Tyrell; and Tommen Baratheon committed suicide. All the characters are allied for a forthcoming massive war with the White Walkers.
Since the end of Game of Thrones’s Season Six, we have seen many speculations come our way as to how the subsequent episodes would develop. We have heard that Arya Stark will return back to Winterfell and reunite with her lost direwolf Nymeria and her family; that Bran stark will unleash his new powers to defeat White Walkers; One of the Daenerys Targaryen’s dragon will be killed by White Walkers; The White Dragon captured between the walls will be commanded by the White Walkers’s king; Jon Snow will kill the White Walker’s king by using his Valerian steel sword; the king of white walker was once the leader of the Night’s Watch; the Mountain will be killed by Jamie Lannister, and so on and so forth.
Why not address some of these queries to Aidan Gillen, who plays Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish in the show, and to Rory McCann, who plays Sandor Clegane aka The Hound? They spoke to Guardian 20 about their GoT characters and about the next season of the show.
Q. Where do we find Littlefinger as we begin this season?

Aidan Gillen: When we first catch up with Littlefinger it’s almost like a direct push from when we last saw him in Season Six. Then, he was standing against the wall in the Great Hall in Winterfell, in the shadows. For his first scene in Season Seven, he is in the same room so I thought I would stand in exactly the same place, at exactly the same angle—that could be interesting. We left him wondering what he’s up to and we take up asking what he’s up to now. Obviously he’s working some of his magic on the power structure at Winterfell. It is now under the command of Jon.

You saw through Season 6 and maybe even from the end of Season 5 that Littlefinger been trying to sow some seeds of doubt with Sansa. Doubts about her brother’s validity as a leader, in fact doubts about his validity as a brother at all. How much of a brother is he really, you know, biologically? How much credit did you, Sansa, really get for saving him down at the Battle of the Bastards? Don’t you deserve a little more? That’s Littlefinger’s thing — he’ll push people. He’ll nudge people in a certain direction but then they don’t always take it. And Sansa doesn’t always take the bait because she’s getting clever.

Q. Why does he do it? Is it for power, for fun?

Aidan Gillen: For the fun of it, would be the correct answer. It’s not just about the result; it’s about the thrill of manipulating on that scale. The danger of it: even though his plans are extremely well thought through they could go wrong easily at any point and that would be end of story. But if you don’t take major risks you’re not going to get major results. For him it is about the fun of it, the game of it—and you want to be seen having fun. That makes the character even more interesting to look at. If it’s just all devious and nasty, people will lose interest I think. So I’ve always tried to have a bit of fun with it and show a bit of a playful side.

Q. Do fans boo and hiss when they meet you?

Aidan Gillen: I don’t get booed and hissed that much. I was greeted very cordially by a group of something like 12 students off a train in Manchester the other day. They were like, “Littlefinger!” It was as if they’d met their favourite uncle just stepping off the train with sweets. I think some people are confused. They say to me, “Hey you know, your character confuses me because… I like you.” And that’s what you want in a villainous role I guess. It’s important to show that this is somebody who can get away with things, precisely because people do find him trustworthy in some way or attractive. Without that it just wouldn’t work. And his plans are so well laid, they go so far back you know, there’s a certain glee watching them unfold.

“When we first catch up with Littlefinger it’s almost like a direct push from when we last saw him in Season Six. Then, he was standing against the wall in the Great Hall in Winterfell in the shadows.”

Q. How is the beginning of Season Seven for your character, Rory?

Rory McCann: At the end of the previous season he was left with a choice from the Brotherhood Without Banners: “Do you want to do the right thing? Do you want to find peace within yourself? Join us and fight the fight against evil.” And he chose to go with the Brotherhood Without Banners. At the start of this season we are going on a big road trip with them.

Q. How did you find working on this new GoT season?

RoryMcCann: My character’s always been on these road trips which have meant that my work is usually quiet without many other people around. What I’m trying to say is that this season I’ve managed to socialise for the first time, and to get to know some of the other people. I didn’t really get to know people until this season. We had a good time, playing music, trying to keep warm. Honestly, I feel like that’s the first time I’ve actually properly socialised or relaxed. Normally I hide.

Game of Thrones Season 7 premieres in India on Star World and Star World HD on 18 July at 11 p.m.

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