Interview: A New Mother of Dragons? GAME OF THRONES' Ellie Kendrick On Fan Theories and "The Door"

Featured Contributor; New York City, New York (@TheDivaReview)
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Interview: A New Mother of Dragons? GAME OF THRONES' Ellie Kendrick On Fan Theories and "The Door"
Fans of HBO’s blockbuster Games of Thrones have embraced Ellie Kendrick’s portrayal of the tough as nails Meera Reed, one of the self-appointed protectors of the youngest Stark siblings. Celebrating the release of the show’s sixth season on home video, Kendrick and I chatted about Meera’s triumphs and tragedies, and creates her own fan theory about being the true Mother of Dragons.
 
The Lady Miz Diva:  When we first met Meera, she’s a tough, fighting girl.  Then, as the show went on, she spent a lot of her time standing guard as Bran Stark experienced his visions, but it looks like she’s back to form.  Do you welcome the physicality of the role, or do you prefer the intense drama scenes? 
 
Ellie Kendrick:  I really love that there’s a chance for a bit of a combination with Meera.  That we see her moments of real emotion, and then in the next moment, grab a weapon and kill something. {Laughs} And that’s quite a rare combination, in my experience, to have as a woman, as an actor. So, yeah, she’s a lot of fun to play.
 
I actually really enjoy doing the fight stuff, because I’ve never had the chance to do that before. You get to learn all the choreography.  I remember my favorite fight that I did was in season four, when there’s the wight fight outside of the cave.  That was a lot of fun because I got to do the whole thing myself; I didn’t have a stunt person.  Well, I did have one, but I was able to do the whole thing myself, which was really cool.  
 
So the guy who taught me, the stunt guy at the time, he was one of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the movie. {Laughs} It was such a surreal moment; I went into this kind of tent full of weapons in Belfast and there was this guy who was one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles teaching me kind of semi-samurai moves, using this fake axe.  It was great!  
 
I love doing all that stuff and the physicality of it, because it’s very different to when you’re kind of acting the scene, and say you have to be sad, or you have to be happy, whatever it is; you can never know, have I done it right, or have I not done it right?  You can never tell.  You can never be objective about it.  When you’re doing fight stuff, there are steps and moves; it’s like a dance and you can watch it on camera and go, ‘Oh, right, okay. I’m not selling that bit enough, let me change it like that.’  So, you can be really technical about it.  It’s been nice on the show to have the chance to do that, because I wasn’t able to use those muscles before.  I mean, literally use those muscles! {Laughs}
 
LMD:  Of course, I can’t not ask about "The Door" episode from this season, which I think emotionally scarred every viewer, myself included. 
 
EK:  Ah, I know, what an episode.  Cruel!
 
LMD:  That was the last time you worked with Kristian Nairn {Hodor}, who was there since Jojen and Meera’s first episode.  Tell us about the feelings on the set when that scene was done.
 
EK:  Well, there was a lot of excitement, initially, about making the scene, because I think we all knew it was going to be something pretty special, and it was so well written, and we had seen a kind of a mockup of the special effects and the CGI, and it looked like it was going to be amazing. So, initially, there was obviously real excitement about it.
 
But then as the filming went on, cos we filmed it over a period of three or four days, we all started to get really sad, because we were having to say goodbye to Kristian, who is totally a part of our family, and he’s such a lovely guy, and obviously, the way that he goes, the storyline is also really sad.  
 
Isaac {Hempstead Wright/Bran} and I were watching the monitor when he was filming that shot where he’s getting his face ripped apart, and, ah… And, yeah, we both looked at each other sadly, and we were both sad for the characters and sad for us, as well, because we were losing our mate, as Kristian is actually a barrel of laughs.  So, yeah, it was really exciting to film it, but then also sad.
 
LMD:  The Reed siblings are enveloped in mystery.  Why they are there?  Why they turn up to protect the Stark boys as they do?  Why their father, Howland, sends them?  The background of the character is so important to actors.  I wondered if you received any official insight as to their motivations or if you had made up a backstory to this effect, yourself? 
 
EK:  All I have to go on for Meera is what’s in the books.  Obviously, I read up on all that, but there are elements which are different: For example, they eat frogs and she has the trident and the net, which she fights with in the books.  But it definitely was useful to know in the books that they come from a very mysterious place and they’re kind of shrouded in mystery, and the Crannogmen, of which she’s one; they experience a lot of prejudice.  In the book, certainly, they are like outsiders and that was really useful to key into; her kind of loneliness and her kind of seriousness.  
 
That was really useful, but I got told nothing.  We don’t get told anything, all the actors, because there are so many secrets.  Like I didn’t even know the hold the door episode was going to happen until I read the script, and no one had prepared me for it.  It’s a constant thrill ride being on the show, because even the actors don’t know what’s gonna happen next.  So, I hope that we find out more about the family and about the Reeds, because I think they seem to be a really fascinating group of people.
 
LMD:  Which leads me to fan theories…
 
EK:  Right?
 
LMD:  There are so many… 
 
EK:  Hmm.
 
LMD:  I’ve read that you know about the popular one about Meera possibly being Jon Snow’s twin sister.  What is your favourite fan theory about your character, or maybe one you’d like to start about Meera?  
 
EK:  {Laughs} The only theory that I know about is the Jon and Meera one, which I would love to be true, but I don’t know, now we’ve figured out a little bit more about Jon’s parentage and stuff, it seems a little less likely.  I’ve got no idea.  Like I just said, we don’t get told, so I don’t know.  
 
Ooh, as for theories that would be true, I mean, I’d love it to be something fantastical.  Like she actually gave birth to one of the dragons, or something like that. {Laughs}  Something insane. {Laughs}  But, I don’t know, anything can happen on the show, so it’s like, I’ve got no idea.  
 
I’d love to find out more about their heritage, and I think that there’s gotta be some really interesting things there.  And I’d love to find out also about Jojen and if he is something to Bran, and how he got his green sight.  I’d love to find out about that.  And I want there to be some really fantastical things that happen if we ever go to where they’re from; in the moving castle and all that stuff.  That’s the kind of stuff I’d be excited to find out.
 
LMD:  I have to say I’m a bit nervous about seeing you here, because I get suspicious whenever I see an actor from a series that is currently shooting.
 
EK:  What do you mean?
 
LMD:  Well, I interviewed Steven Yeun from Walking Dead early in October before the series returned, and he had way too many projects going on at Comic Con.  It was a big tip off. Does your being here and not being on set right now, mean anything? 
 
EK:  Oh, right! {Laughs} They film in these little kind of bits, so everyone’s always in and out.
 
LMD:  Thanks for that.  Since we’re here to celebrate season six, please tell me how you feel Meera has developed as a character since her debut in season three?
 
EK:  I think we’ve seen Meera go through a real process of character development.  She has no idea what she’s getting herself into when we first see her.  She’s there with her brother, she’s young and tough, and she’s got an axe to grind with Osha; she gets pretty shirty and knows the way that she thinks things should be done.  
 
But her kind of worldview gets called further and further into question when they get further and further into the middle of nowhere: Gradually members of their party start peeling off and she loses everything that’s dear to her, you know?  She’s away from her home.  All of their group has slowly dwindled.  Her brother has died.  She wasn’t able to save him, and of course, that changes her massively.  
 
And then with all of the trauma that she’s gone through – I mean, having to fight a pack of zombies is gonna do something pretty crazy to your head, right?  And then after all of that adrenaline, to be stuck in that cave, and not being able to do anything or change anything.  
 
And that feeling of helplessness is something that is really different to the young, more idealistic, more headstrong Meera that we see in the beginning, who thinks that she can change everything.  Then we get to a sense of more despondence and trauma by the end of it, I think, by the end of season six that we’ve seen.  Yeah, it’s quite a big arc.  She’s had a lot of bad stuff that’s happened to her.  She has to put up with a lot.
 
This interview is cross-posted on my own site, The Diva Review. Please enjoy additional content, including exclusive photos there.
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Bran Stark. HodorEllie KendrickGame of ThronesHBOHowland ReedJojen ReedMeera Reed

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  • Yojimbo

    Nice interview Ms Diva.

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