Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju Hopes Fans Cheer for Tormund’s Return

When The Night King took down a big chunk of The Wall in the season seven finale of Game of Thrones, Tormund Giantsbane, played by Kristofer Hivju, was there, warning others to run for their lives.

After the season ended, many wondered if the fan-favorite member of the Free Folk had made it out alive. The trailer for season 8 of the series confirmed his return and in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the 40-year-old actor says he’ll not only be back for the show’s final season, but he’s hyped for the reaction his character might get when first seen on screen. Especially after he caught an episode of HBO’s sword-and-sorcery epic in a packed bar with fans.

It was like seeing a sporting event,” said Hivju, describing the scene. “I didn’t understand the impact of the show until watching it with other people. It was the episode where [the Hound] came back, and there was this roar. I’m going for that.”

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While he hopes for a round of cheers from fans watching the upcoming final season of Game of Thrones, Hivju also spoke about his character’s motivation heading into the final showdown between the living and the dead.

All the Free Folk grew up with the horror stories of the White Walkers, like that story Nan told Bran in season one with the ice spiders — except having seen them. This has been the terror of their worst nightmare as long as they’ve existed. Tormund has confronted them many times. This is the nightmare moment where you have to face centuries of bad dreams.”

The executive producers of Game of Thrones season eight are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger, and Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers are Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, George R.R. Martin and Bryan Cogman; and producers are Chris Newman, Greg Spence, and Lisa McAtackney.

The final season of Game of Thrones likely won’t be our last trip to Westeros, however, as HBO has greenlit a pilot set 1,000 years before the events of the wildly popular sword and sorcery epic. Naomi Watts and Josh Whitehouse have been cast in the prequel series. S.J. Clarkson (The DefendersJessica Jones) will direct the pilot.

Game of Thrones season 8 will premiere on April 14 on HBO.