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June 3, 2013 1PM EST

Q&A with Michelle Fairley

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  • Q

    Thank you Michelle Fairley for joining us today! Michelle, what's your favorite part about "Catelyn Stark?"

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Where do I start! She has many wonderful qualities and some that aren't so wonderful. It's her perseverance and drive to get her family back together again. The fact that she keeps going in respect of everything.

  • Q

    Which of the Stark children is most like Catelyn?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Oh my God! I think they all have traits of their parents in terms of their parents...even Jon Snow because he was brought up in the family. They all have different aspects of their parents...if you got them all in a big bowl and mixed them all around...you'll have Ned and Catelyn in all of them! There's so many aspects of the kids, so it's hard to say which one in particular that's most like me. They all have parts of their family's genealogy.

  • Q

    If you had a direwolf, what would you name him or her?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Oh gosh! I think possibly maybe something from her own family tree...maybe Riverrun or Tully.

  • Q

    What do you think of the role women play in the series, especially Catelyn?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    I think what the writers have taken from GRRM's novels is the strength of these female characters. Their tenacity, their fearlessness of cruel life. The drive to achieve their ambitions is extraordinary, whether it be for good or bad reasons morally. All of the female characters including my daughters and Cersei...these women all have instincts for survival and that's so important in this vicious world.

  • Q

    Who do you think must sit on the Iron Throne? Who would be the best King or Queen?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Me personally, I think it's got to be Tyrion actually. I think as a human being he's gone through a gauntlet of emotions. I think he's got a very good grasp on all aspects of life and I think he's got the respect of his family. He has a very good moral makeup and I think he'd be a very good ruler...also a lot of fun!

  • Q

    Do you think that your character have changed in a big way since the beginning of the show to the end of your character life?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Yeah very much so. After the attempt is made on Bran's life in Winterfell and she goes off to King's Landing to warn Ned that it came from the Lannisters..her life's changed. She went from being a castle wife to being a royal envoy, the mother of a king...to an adviser. She's had to evolve massively in a way that I never thought she would...in terms of her struggle and her goal to get her children back together. Also, the way she thinks had to change because she had to start thinking tactfully like a leader. Preempting what your enemy has to do. She changed massively as the series grew darker...she started to question her whole life actually...almost as if she knew her own life was in danger. She questioned the way she thought about her actions, particularly with Jon Snow.

  • Q

    Do you have a favorite scene or piece of dialogue that you think truly defines Catelyn?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Well for me personally it has to be Episode 9 of Season 3. Her whole actions at the end of the episode are the latent emotions bubbling through her all through the series. I think it has to be The Red Wedding scene actually.

  • Q

    What do you think Cat would say to Sansa and Arya if she could have?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    I guess as a mother it would be "Remember how you were brought up." Also, knowing that this world is cruel cruel world...the way the Starks are developing is that they're such a good family...they're slightly slower to take the dark route! The advice would be remember who you are, but don' t be afraid to take the dark route.

  • Q

    Would you rather have Melisandre & the Lord of Light, a direwolf or a dragon in your team?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Oh well as a Stark it would have to be a direwolf!

  • Q

    Michelle what do you think of Catelyn suffering to have to watch her son die and to die the way she did?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    I think that's every mother's worse nightmare to watch that. I personally, from the actor's point of view...at that point Catelyn Stark is convinced that all her children are dead so there's no point of her continuing to live. She kills for that reason, for retribution for her son and all of her children...she welcomed and initiated her own death.

  • Q

    Great performance! After 3 season on the show, which was your fondest memory? (On or off camera)

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    There have been so many. Where do I start? The whole production has been incredible. The actors I've been lucky enough to work with and become friends with. The actors, writers, the whole crew in Belfast..it would be impossible for me to name one. It's about waking up everyday and going to a job you love and can't wait to get there. The excitement and anticipation of going to work everyday with wonderful scripts and wonderful people. Those are some of my happiest memories.

  • Q

    Your performance had me bawling. Brilliant job! What were some of the challenges you faced shooting the big scene?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    The whole thing was shot over a week! From the start you have to pace yourself in terms of waiting for the Friday to do Richard's killing, then my killing...we worked extremely closely with David Nutter and David Benioff. There were lots of things...personally as an actor you want to do justice to the script, to the dialogue that was written there and not to get lost in it emotionally too quickly because it was all about her desperately trying to save her son and she loses it when she witnesses his death. It was an amazing week to be involved with and was very much a team effort. I really hope we succeeded in making something everybody is proud of.

  • Q

    What are your plans after Game of Thrones?

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    Michelle Fairley says:

    Thankfully, I'm been doing what any actor loves to do which is work! In the moment, I'm doing a filming job in Toronto in a series called "Seats" which I'm loving. It's extremely different to Game of Thrones...I'm loving being in Toronto, it's a brilliant city!

  • Q

    What is your favorite book? Favorite movie? Favorite song?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Favorite Book: Quite a few, but To Kill a Mockingbird had a real influence on me Favorite Film: The Deer Hunter blew my mind and had a strong influence on me and touched my life. Favorite Song: That changes on a daily basis, I listen to different music when I do different things. When I was doing Game of Thrones I listened to classical music because I thought that was right for Catelyn. It's all emotional really...anything that moves me!

  • Q

    How was it after filming "that scene"? Did you need to emotionally decompress?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    After the week of filming that whole sequence, when we wrapped on set and said Goodbye to the crew it was very emotional, but I think all of felt this huge achievement and relief in a way almost. From my point of view and Richard's there was incredible sadness because it was a combination of 3 years of work. After that the wonderful Kevin Alexander gave me a haircut! I also went out to dinner with Oona Chaplin and David Benioff, had one drink and completely crashed because I was so exhausted!

  • Q

    Who is your closest friend from the GOT cast? Who would have you liked to have a scene with?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    From working with, it would definitely be Richard Madden, but we thankfully had a lot of scenes together. I was lucky to have scenes with all the people I loved from the series, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Sean, the kids. I was very lucky to have scenes with all of them. Maybe a scene with Charles possibly

  • Q

    Cat says the line "On my honor as a Tully, and on my honor as a Stark" during the Red Wedding scene. Even after all these years in Winterfell at Ned's side, do you think she's more of a Tully or more of a Stark? Why?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    I think of course her DNA is Tully and I think that's where you always go back to no matter where you are in the world or what situation you fin d yourself in...you go back to basics! In the way she uses that to Walder Frey at the time, she's saying that simply because his mistrust is towards the Starks so she's trying to ration with him as a Tully to save her Stark son. I think over the years she's come to become a Northerner and know the Stark way of life, but her DNA is Tully. I think she's a mixture, both swim in her veins.

  • Q

    You shared many scenes with Richard Madden during the third season, how was it to work with him?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Fantastic! As I said earlier, Richard and I were incredibly lucky that our story lines went that way and we got to spend so much time together. Because of that we became incredibly close and extremely good friends. Our working relationship together became more intuitive and respectful. I really loved working with him.

  • Q

    Was your voice totally hoarse after shooting the episode? You had to do a lot of screaming specially in that last heartbreaking scream, you did a truly great job

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Thank you very much. Well luckily we had a brilliant voice coach on set as well. Simply because the scene was shot chronologically, we were able to build up to it. I did a lot of exercises to warm the voice up and also try to achieve the perfect sound..it's almost like some vile, bile....absolute horror and hell that comes out of her mouth. Visualizing that and making sure I didn't wreck my voice was key. Of course, there was an emotional side and it was exhausting. Make sure you consult a voice coach before you do any form of screaming.

  • Q

    Who does Catelyn hate the most: Walder Frey, Roose Bolton, or the Lannister clan?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    That's a tough one. If you put them all in a bowl together, she'd be happy to have a pot shot at any of them! It has to be The Lannisters I think because they're the one who started the whole snowball effect of this. The fact that she's there...she detests Walder Frey as well. It's hard to quantify. Roose is a pawn within Walder Frey in the Lannister's world as well. I guess if you're not going to shoot the messenger, it's good to go to the top so it has to be the Lannisters.

  • Q

    If you could bring back one of the dead characters in GOT, who would you bring and why?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Ned I'd say! I'd bring him back.

  • Q

    How did your background in Shakespeare influence how you played Cat's final scene, which was so like many of his bloodbath finales?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    Many of his tragedies eh? That is quite an apt question..one of the first times David Benioff saw me was doing Othello and there's quite a similar scene at the end of that, which is a blood bath as well. As an actor, the more experience you have, you have muscle memory and pick and choose from your experiences. It's wonderful to have played something in a similar vain...it's not the same but it's the height. The dramatic impact and how to achieve that intensity and that high impact drama so experience is a very useful tool.

  • Q

    That's all the time we have for today's Q&A. Is there anything else you'd like to say to your fans before we go?

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    A
    Michelle Fairley says:

    I just really hope that you enjoy the series and will keep watching. Thank you for all your support and being so lovely and appreciative of all the work everybody has put into the series. It's very humbling how devoted you are.

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