Why One Game of Thrones Actor Specifically Pushed To Have His Character Die Offscreen

Game of Thrones Jaime Lannister HBO

SPOILERS ahead from Game of Thrones Season 8, Episode 5, "The Bells."

There were a lot of strong fan reactions to the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, but one of my favorites came at the expense of Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbaek):

Euron Greyjoy died as he lived: making everyone go 'Ah, this fucking guy again.'

Daenerys Targaryen and Drogon finally torched Euron's fleet, but he survived -- of course -- and washed up on shore just in time to have a dramatic fight with Jaime Lannister. Both men shared a love for Cersei Lannister, and they both got some damage in before the end. Jaime clearly got the better end of the fight since he managed to walk away, leaving Euron to die from a sword through the chest. But we didn't see him die. Instead, we just saw him yell off to Jaime, then smile and whisper to himself:

But I got you! I got you. I'm the man who killed Jaime Lannister.

Nah, bro, that honor belongs to some crumbling infrastructure. But actor Pilou Asbaek said it was "a very important note" that we didn't see him die on screen. Not that we should take that as a hint that he survives and returns in the finale. Ain't nobody got time for that.

Game of Thrones Euron Greyjoy HBO

Here's Pilou Asbaek's answer to The Wrap on why Euron Greyjoy doesn't die on screen:

The reason why I didn’t want to die [on screen] is because I thought it would be so much fun to tease [Game of Thrones creators Dan 'D.B.' Weiss and David Benioff], because of course they wrote the scene as if he would die. So did [episode director Miguel Sapochnik], he wanted to direct it as if he would die. But I didn’t want to do that, because you know sometimes you gotta take a piss at the showrunners. And I was like, 'What if I don’t die? What if I just smile and look off?' And they were like, 'Yeah, that’s nice.'

See? Even the cast members are giving the showrunners a hard time.

Pilou Asbaek also explained why Euron decided to fight Jaime Lannister instead of trying to escape King's Landing. For one, his entire fleet was just burned down. Asbaek noted that Euron had just been swimming several miles in a leather suit, so he was tired and didn't want to go out on a boat for a while. (Amazing that he could still fight so hard after swimming in those heavy clothes.) But more than anything, this was basically The War For Cersei's Cunt that Jaime teased back in Season 1:

And he loves the queen, Cersei, and the queen will always be in love with her brother, Jaime Lannister. So for him to get the woman he loves, he needs to kill the guy. And if he can go and show her the head of Jaime Lannister, she will be so afraid of Euron Greyjoy that he would make her be with him so he would reign with power. And he’s one of those guys that wanna see the world burn. I could give you a long story about why, etc. and so on, but at one point you just gotta go with what is given and how they wanna do the scene, and that’s how they wanted it. They wanted Euron and Jaime to fight. Also because I think Dan and David might have thought it would be fun to have two Danes fight each other [laughs]. But I think Euron wanted to kill Jaime for the love of Cersei.

Euron Greyjoy was only shown on screen in nine episodes, starting in Game of Thrones Season 6 in 2016. So he didn't have a chance to be a main character, but he became a major player in the game in the final two seasons. Pilou Asbaek did a solid job with the role, but props to @_WonderRoy for that classic Euron reaction quote summing up many feelings on the character and his demise.

Game of Thrones is now ending the entire series, with just one episode left airing this Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.