January 7, 2016 6:11 AM EST

When you watch movies, are you easily scared?

I’m a bit of a wimp, to be honest, when it comes to horror movies. When I was a girl and someone would bring the latest slasher film to a sleepover, I was the one hiding in my sleeping bag. I’m not into violence for gratuity’s sake–pornographic violence. It has to inform the story.

What surprised you about filming horror?

There’s a choreography and precision to horror that I didn’t expect. The way you set up the scare–it’s almost like setting up a joke in comedy. There’s the setup, the timing, the punch line. With horror, it’s all about setting up the suspense and then timing it right so the audience jumps when you jump.

What was it like visiting the forest where the movie takes place?

It’s surreal because it’s such an ethereal place, but it has this dark heritage. Every few yards there’s a sign: “If you’re thinking of doing something to hurt yourself, call this help line.”

Any hints you can give about the next season of Game of Thrones?

Thrones is always making these unlikely pairings from one season to the next. We all get thrown in with a new sparring partner. And I’ve actually had a new sparring partner this season because Margaery is in jail, and Cersei, after the walk of shame last season, got back into the Keep.

There was backlash to Cersei’s walk-of-shame scene. Were you surprised by that?

It’s brave, bold writing, whether you agree or disagree with the choices that are made. There’s a lot of writing out there that plays it safe and doesn’t challenge its audience. Thrones understands that its audience is sophisticated and can process controversy.

–ELIANA DOCKTERMAN

This appears in the January 18, 2016 issue of TIME.

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Write to Eliana Dockterman at eliana.dockterman@time.com.

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