Emmy award-winning director David Nutter returned to the Game of Thrones fold for Season 8, helming three of the final six episodes of the entire series – the season premiere, “Winterfell”; its follow-up, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”; and Sunday night’s entry – “The Last of the Starks.”
Nutter won an Emmy in 2015 for his work directing the Season 5 finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” and some of his other GoT episodes include the memorable “The Dance of Dragons” (which featured the dramatic Meereen fighting pit attack against Dany, and Shireen Baratheon’s death), and arguably the show’s most heartbreaking episode – “The Rains of Castamere,” also known as “The Red Wedding.”
His most recent episode also featured heartbreak (in its opening sequence) as the victors in the war against the Night King and the undead army said goodbye to the loved ones they lost in battle, including Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen), Edd (Ben Crompton), Lady Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey) and Daenerys’ longest companion and protector – the man who gave his last breath to save her, Ser Jorah Mormont (Iain Glen).
As Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) looked at the late Ser Jorah for the last time, she whispered a few parting words into his ears. But they will stay between the khaleesi and the spirit of her beloved late knight.
“I don’t know what she said to him. We never talked about that. I wanted her to actually own that and have that be her one thing that she can say to Jorah that’s hers and hers alone,” Nutter told Collider on Monday when asked about touching onscreen moment.
“But also, too, I really thought that this episode was an epic, emotional story for so many of the characters,” he added.
Following the funeral sendoffs, there was a massive gathering – a celebration of life, relief and victory – in the great hall at Winterfell. And while friends hugged, drank, swapped stories and played drinking games, Daenerys appeared incredibly isolated – almost like she was at the head table alone, as her nearest companion, Jon Snow (Kit Harington), was laughing off to the side with Tormund Giantstbane (Kristofer Hivju) and the wildlings (including two from the “real North” played by showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss).
“It was very important to sell the fact that she really was alone and to really get that,” Nutter said. “I think that Emilia is such a fine actress that doing things like moving the camera around her at a slower pace or something, and doing something a little off center or doing something a little more personal toward her would help us feel – as an audience – involved.”
“The Last of the Starks” also featured a big moment for Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. After the pair took their relationship to the next level, the Kingslayer broke things off and left in the night after hearing about Dany’s losses due to Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Euron Greyjoy and the Iron Fleet. Collider asked Nutter about the conversations he had with actors Gwendoline Christie, who plays Brienne, and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jaime, about their characters’ parting scene (recap note: Brienne tried to get Jaime to change his mind by telling him the city was going to be destroyed, he wouldn’t be able to save Cersei and didn’t need to die with her).