Game Of Thrones' Climactic Battle Is Shaping Up To Be A Defining Moment In TV History
It's already more than safe to say that the final season of Game of Thrones, with all the pomp and ceremony that's come about in the lead-up to its release, is already perhaps the most anticipated thing ever to broadcast on television.
No other season in TV history has generated such hype, but one climactic moment in the upcoming season has generated more talk than any other (aside from how it'll eventually end, of course) — the climactic battle that's set to take place between the armies of the dead and the living.
Rumours and little snippets of information about the battle scene (or episode, as it could end up being) have been dropping over the last year or so, with both the show's stars and production staff divulging that filming the battle was the hardest thing they've ever done.
Now, a new story on the show's stars from Entertainment Weekly has revealed just how harrowing many of the show's staff found the experience of filming the battle — a process that apparently took 11 weeks to complete.
It's known as the great battle of Winterfell, during which the combined army of the living, led by Jon Snow, defends the north against the Night king and the army of the dead and a collection of uneasy allies.
According to EW, the episode is going to feature the longest consecutive battle sequence ever committed to film, bringing together the largest number of GoT major characters together since the show’s debut episode in 2011.
It also proved to be one of the most brutal scenes to film ever divised. Maisie Williams, who plays Arya, said that by the end of filming, she was all but broken. A year before filming on the episode began, episode director Miguel Sapochnik told her to begin training, “because this is going to be really hard.”
And hard it turned out to be. Over 750 people toiled for nearly three months to bring the scene together — most of the time operating in sub-zero temperatures.
“And I said, ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah,’” Williams said. But nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do… there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah Mormont, backed this up, "It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones,” Glen says. “A real test, really miserable. You get to sleep at seven in the morning and when you wake in the midday you’re still so spent you can’t really do anything, and then you’re back. You have no life outside it. You have an absolute f—ked bunch of actors. But without getting too method [acting] about it, on screen it bleeds through to the reality of the Thrones world."
Rory McCann, who plays the hound, also said: “Everybody prays they never have to do this again.”
Kit Harington, our January/February cover star, told us earlier in the year about his experience filming the final season, and also reflected that it was about as miserable as everyone else has said it is.
"Everyone was broken at the end. I don’t know if we were crying because we were sad it was ending or if we were crying because it was so fucking tiring. We were sleep deprived. It was like it was designed to make you think, Right, I’m fucking sick of this. I remember everyone walking around towards the end going, ‘I’ve had enough now. I love this, it’s been the best thing in my life, I’ll miss it one day – but I’m done.’"
Even so, it's looking like it's going to be well worth it. “What we have asked the production team and crew to do this year truly has never been done in television or in a movie,” said co-executive producer Bryan Cogman.
"This [episode] is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle. There are sequences built within sequences built within sequences... It’s been exhausting but I think it will blow everybody away.”