“I love Bronn!” Jerome Flynn says. Hear that, Game of Thrones viewers? You’re not alone. Flynn, the actor who’s brought the sardonic sellsword from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire to life for seven seasons, is as fond of the character as you are. Which makes recent events for the previously unflappable Bronn — facing down Daenerys and her dragon mano a draco, then literally going underground to help broker a truce between warring brothers Tyrion and Jaime Lannister — all the more a challenge. After this week’s episode, “Eastwatch,” Vulture spoke with Flynn about that big battle, how Bronn got caught in the crossfire between the two dangerous queens, and why his mailman is no longer speaking to him.
Bronn’s charm has completely won me over, but he still has a touch of that dark side in him. Like, after the battle where he took a shot at Dany’s dragon, my sister texted me and said, “Am I the only one who was rooting for Daenerys? Bronn’s an ass.”
[Laughs.] Well, I suppose it’s like any good writing, like with Shakespeare. I just try to keep him Bronn, which is a nice journey to roll with, and I give myself over to what he gives himself to. If I was trying to play him dark or anything, I’d just be playing what’s coming through.
When I auditioned for the part, I had no idea what sort of show it was going to be, or even what it was. I hadn’t read any of the books. But there was something in the writing that came through. I couldn’t ignore his sense of humor, these different sides to him, and how he does what he needs to do. The dragon annihilated thousands of soldiers — he had to do something, didn’t he? There was a lot on the line.
It’s amazing. I was just talking to George before this — people’s responses have been quite extreme. The thing about this season is that all these characters are coming together. It’s been easier to separate them before, but suddenly they’re in conflict. People who like Bronn also love Daenerys and the dragons. My postman doesn’t speak to me anymore because of that! [Laughs.] So it’s gonna happen, isn’t it? That’s Bronn. That’s true Bronn. That position he got himself in is a combination of courage, doing what he has to do, and looking after number one. And that’s what makes people love him: He’s so honest! It’s interesting when it comes to dragons and Daenerys, because that’s sacred territory.
I think you really nailed it when you said Bronn’s doing what he thinks has to be done. He goes one-on-one against the dragon, and Jaime has a similar face-off on horseback. Yet with Jaime there’s this doomed-heroism feel, while with Bronn it’s feels much more practical.
In terms of the choices Bronn has made to be fighting with Jaime, in that situation, shooting the dragon down is the best way for him to save his own life, let alone save his castle. He’s lost all his gold, so he may as well try! And he likes to have a big effect. There’s lots of good reasons for trying to take down the dragon, in terms of if he succeeded and maybe brought Daenerys down. That was coming quickly to him.
Bronn the Dragonslayer! I never thought of that! Think of the fortune and glory heading Bronn’s way if he’d killed the dragon.
Exactly. But now it won’t be so good if he gets to meet Daenerys, so we have to see what happens.
Bronn’s been cool and calm throughout everything that’s happened, so seeing him scared when the Dothraki approach and the dragon flies in was really unnerving. It hit hard to see a guy like that get frightened.
I wasn’t acting too much! [Laughs.] It was one of those sequences where I’m running through and it’s all going off and there’s horses backing into me and it was really quite … [Pauses, then laughs.] I had to be on point, as they say, and pretty awake, because it was quite a sequence. But yeah, yeah. He was out of his comfort zone, let’s put it that way.
In the most recent episode, Bronn’s right in the midst of the actual game of thrones: doing all this skullduggery to help Tyrion meet Jaime, attempting to broker a truce between Daenerys and Cersei. That’s a first for him.
Yes, I guess, and it was obvious he was the man for the job, if you think about it. I think Tyrion went to him first. If he was going to get involved again, it would be when Tyrion came back into the relationship and he could bring the two brothers together. I think he enjoys that.
When Cersei mentioned Bronn as the person who brokered this treasonous meeting, a chill went up and down my spine. I almost feel like she’s more dangerous than the dragon was.
Well, I’d agree with that! [Laughs.] I don’t want to say what’s coming up with Bronn, but yeah, I’m watching my back.
This interview has been edited and condensed.