(Warning: Spoilers for the final season of Game of Thrones below.)
Miguel Sapochnik directed many of the best and most visually-captivating episodes of HBO’s Game of Thrones, including “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “The Long Night.” He also, in his words, royally “pissed off” co-showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss — the duo told him that some his choices were “so self-conscience and we hate it basically,” and they “frowned on a director imposing his own specific cinematic flair to their show.” They’re probably not going to be happy about Sapochnik’s recent confession, either.
In a recent interview with the Hollywood Reporter, Sapochnik was asked about Arya killing the Night King, specifically his reaction to it. “I questioned everything and we worked long and hard to find the right balance of credibility versus wish fulfillment. Then we shot it and reshot it and found that what was really important was rhythm,” he responded. “At one point there was an elaborate plan to have her fight her way into the Weirwood forest, but as we progressed we realized she’d already done that earlier in the episode, so it felt like a repeat. In the end, we felt it didn’t matter how she got there — what mattered was setting up that moment when the Night King catches her mid-leap and we think she’s done for, then she pulls her knife switch and takes him out.” (For reference, the last time we see Arya before she takes out the Night King is her scene with Melisandre, who asks her what we say to death: “Not today.”)
Among all the criticisms that can be thrown at season eight, Arya’s path to the Night King isn’t at the top of the list; television shows have to make these kind of plot shortcuts. But it’s still puzzling that Sapochnik, along with Benioff and Weiss, would dismiss the set-up to one of the most important scenes on the show with “didn’t matter.” Oh well, it was still pretty freaking cool.