Details behind Game of Thrones’ newest epic battle scene revealed
Game of Thrones has had more than its share of epic battle sequences. There was the Battle of Blackwater Bay, the Battle for Castle Black, and the Battle of the Bastards, just to name a few. Now, for the show’s eighth and final season, they went all out on an epic battle between the living and the dead at the Starks’ home of Winterfell, and Entertainment Weekly got the grueling details.
The show will mark Arya’s first time in the battlefield. “I skip the battle every year, which is bizarre since Arya’s the one who’s been training the most,” said Williams. “This is my first taste of it. And I’ve been thrown in at the deep end.”
Director Miguel Sapochnik thinks this may be the longest battle scene in cinematic history, and studied the 40-minute-long Battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings; The Two Towers to determine how to avoid giving the audience “battle fatigue.”
“It feels like the only way to really approach it properly is take every sequence and ask yourself: ‘Why would I care to keep watching?’” said Sapochnik. “One thing I found is the less action — the less fighting — you can have in a sequence, the better.”
The episode that the battle takes place was shot during overnight shoots that stretched out to 11 weeks of filming. The cast and crew numbered around 750, who had to endure freezing temperatures, harsh winds, icy rain, along with all the horse manure and smoke that goes into a typical Game of Thrones scene.
For a brief bit of sanctuary, the actors either had a space heater inside a tent or one of the cramped trailers provided by the production. For the crew, neither of these small comforts was an option. “I heard the crew was getting 40,000 steps a day on their pedometers,” said Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, The Onion Knight, who also added, “They’re the f—king heroes.”
Occasionally, a crew member would get their schedule changed, and moved to a day shift to work on a different episode’s production, which co-showrunner David Benioff joked was “like seeing Nosferatu coming in,” given their gaunt, fatigued appearances.
You can see how all this looks after Game of Thrones’ eighth season premieres April 14 on HBO.