Nicholas Galitzine Breaks Down the Low-Key Tragic ‘Mary & George’ Finale

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Nicholas Galitzine on Mary & George's FinaleSTARZ

[There are spoilers ahead for the Mary & George finale. If you haven't watched, steer clear of this post.]

Starz's Mary & George poses a bold question: What if every historical figure was gay? Okay, not every figure, but it does explore the history of King James and George Villiers, who was known to be his lover as well as a pseudo political advisor. Nicholas Galitzine stars as George opposite Julianne Moore, who plays his mother (and puppet master). Throughout the season, we have watched Mary and George amass more and more power, sometimes in a two steps forward, one step back kind of way. But if you've already done the Wikipedia deep dive and know how this ends, it's not pretty for George. Like, he gets stabbed.

To get into all of that, we made Nicholas answer all our burning questions about the finale, including why he thinks George wanted to go to war so badly, how Mary really feels about the mess she's created, and which Succession character George reminds him of.

So before the finale, your character debuts a major new hairdo and I need to talk about this like, tell me what we think this says about George's mental state these luscious locks like what's going on here?

It very much signifies The Picture of Dorian Gray. He's fully fallen into all of his exploits. And it gives him a level of sophistication and poise about him and signifies his power. It's kind of like the story of Samson from the Bible in a way, the power is in his hair. It really changed the way I held myself.

The hairdo in question:

Okay, so we're in the finale, your character is in Spain without Francis Bacon, who has been his political advisor up until that point. What do you think George is thinking without that mentor to guide him?

He was obviously in a tough spot, trying to get some sort of ownership over the situation, though the genesis of the idea was Mary. George had some delusions about himself. He fancied himself as a bit of a hero and it was his time to fly the nest. He had accrued a lot of power, a lot of wealth at that point. He could have anyone that he wanted to. He felt bolstered by where he was at and he felt like he could really seize the day. He's out without his closest confidant in Bacon, but there is a level of confidence and arrogance.

It reminded me a bit of the Jeremy Strong character in Succession, like a delusional confidence.

It's delusional. But I'd say the difference between Jeremy Strong's character Kendall and George is George worked for a lot of his power. He didn't start at the top echelon. He put in a lot of work, but there was an overestimation of his abilities in terms of foreign politics.

There's a begrudging bromance between Charles and George at this point. How do you think they're feeling about each other?

It's a really interesting dynamic. Charles has been relegated to the sidelines his whole life. He's not respected. He's talked about behind his back. And this is his moment as well. He feels some trepidation and frustration that it's being drawn out and George has to be this monolith of confidence, but it's clear, they were very underprepared. But there is this fraternal relationship and there is a closeness. That's George's strong suit, getting people on his side and getting people to like him. He realizes James is on the way out, and it's important to make good with Charles.

When they return to England, George walks in the room to see his mom standing there. What do you think his very first thought was when he saw that?

She's like this fly he can't swat. Despite the failure, I mean, George feels like he can lie his way out of anything and he still feels like he has the king. She isn't really even on the battlefield anymore. Him seeing her trying to get her claws in is more an irritation rather than a direct threat. George's mentality is so far gone, and I love that standoff. She confronts him about Sandie's death. He tells her, I'm exactly what you made me. There may be a sliver, this tiny, tiny sliver of humanity left in him, but but he's been forced to that point, by her. He just treats her with total disdain.

Yeah. If you're the Mary character, how can you be surprised by any of this?

That's the the joy of the show. Seeing how empty Mary is at the end of the show, sitting alongside that empty seat, without George. She knows how flawed she is as a person and she knows how her machinations led to this sort of this bitter end. It's very tragic, actually, in a lot of ways. The family ends with power, George goes down in history. But he's not there.

He's a son who just really wants his mother to love him and approve and he goes very far to make that happen.

I love looking at the early episodes, him saying, I don't want to hurt anyone. I've never wanted to hurt anyone. And then cut to him in Spain saying, I will destroy every inch of your story country. He's two just entirely different people and you have to say it's largely because of Mary's influence.

Let's talk about the scene between George and James in the woods. In your opinion, is this purely a strategic move? Like, I'm gonna do this romantic gesture, and I'm doing it for my own purposes, or do you think it is a last ditch effort at this love that they shared?

It's so hard to say at that point, like, what is pure and what is authentic? Because George's success in many ways is still tied to the king, but they've been together for so long and they are like this old married couple and they bicker, but there is a genuine love for one another. You can see that in in the letters that exist that were written between them. It is definitely a play. He feels Mary's implements growing again. And he knows his command over the king. But it's also a wonderfully beautiful and tender gesture of love. It could only really come from a person who had has a genuine love. But to say that it is a pure act of love, I think, would be false.

Why do you think George wants to go to war so badly?

His ego has been bruised. He's not the politician he thinks he is. He felt so slighted that he feels like his hand has been forced. He says to Charles in the carriage on the way back, war will be the making of you. George always fancied himself as a bit of a hero you know, he there was something romantic. It is his him seeing his mark on history, and accruing more power. If you win a war, the amount of wealth and land you can you can accrue, there's nothing like it.

What do you think George's wife has been up to this whole time?

With Katie and the wonderful Mirren Mack who plays her, we had so much fun filming that relationship. She's very much a kindred spirit. It's hard to say because she totally understands the situation that she's in. Whether or not she'd "play" away from home given that's what George does all the time, I don't know. Possibly. But she's really basking in the wealth that George is able to provide. She wants freedom and she wants George to have freedom, as well. That's the the joy of their marriage, there is an openness. They work very well together. And there's that wonderful scene in bed. It's one of the sexiest scenes in the show, where she's sort of pregnant with a child and she's wearing this amazing necklace and has an object of desire in between them. And there was a there was a love and there is a passion between them.

My theory is that she and the younger brother were hooking up on the side.

That's a very interesting theory. Kit, the character, is a funny one. We viewed him as being a little asexual in a way. There was something almost sociopathic about him, as well. He's like this sort of incarnation of ego. I don't know if I entirely agree with your theory, but it's very interesting theory.

Going back to that very last scene where everybody's around the table. How do you think Mary feels about what she's made of her family unit?

She's in conflict. To take your family from potential oblivion to going down in history as one of the most powerful families... I mean, we did press for the show at the Corinthia Hotel, next to Villiers street. That cannot be underestimated. But to not have your confidant, possibly her favorite child, the person who really made it all possible. There is an emptiness that mirrors that empty chair, within her. I love that final look into camera because it's kind of a bittersweet smile.

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