There’s been plenty of talk about the epic scale of Game of Thrones‘ final episodes, with season eight set to feature the show’s most ambitious battle sequences yet.
But you can expect plenty of poignant and heartbreaking moments too, a la the infamous Red Wedding.
Speaking to Digital Spy and other press at the final season’s premiere in Belfast, Jon Snow actor Kit Harington said: “It would be doing everyone a disservice if you didn’t tug on people’s emotions, and hopefully we’ve set up enough important characters and stories to really have an impact upon our audience.”
In fact, this final season of GoT will be tugging on our heartstrings “more so than ever”, said Grey Worm’s alter-ego Jacob Anderson. “This is a truly brutal season of television,” he said. “Every episode, there’s gonna be something that’s painful to watch.”
Joe Dempsie, returning as Gendry, echoed his co-stars’ comments: “There’s just crying, constantly! It’s six hours of pure misery.”
Samwell Tarly actor John Bradley, meanwhile, suggested that fans might not exactly be “happy” with how Game of Thrones ends, but that they’ll be “satisfied”.
“We know the power of hurting people,” he said. “We also know how much people do want to be hurt because it’s kind of satisfying.
“People ask, ‘Are we going to be happy with the final season?’ – probably not, really, because ‘happiness’ is such a vague term. People weren’t happy about Ned Stark, or the Red Wedding, but they were satisfied with it, dramatically.
“Those visceral moments are the ones that you remember and there are going to be lots more of them, because what would a Game of Thrones season be without them?”
Harington admitted that his “biggest fear” was not delivering a satisfying pay-off, but added that the GoT cast and crew “couldn’t have put any more effort into” the concluding six episodes.
“So many great shows, their final seasons don’t match up to previous ones, but I think we’ve got a really good shot at this one being the best,” he said. “I’m hoping it is. Everyone worked their tits off, so I hope that people see that and recognise it, and I hope that we’ve done it justice.”
Game of Thrones season 8 premieres tonight on HBO in the US and Sky Atlantic and NOW TV in the UK.