The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Cast Was ‘Miserable’ While Shooting The Biggest Battle In Pop Culture History


The only episode from the super-secret final season of Game of Thrones that the cast and crew are willing to talk about is the one with the “most sustained action sequence ever made for television or film.” The battle takes place in Winterfell and pits the living against the dead, our heroes versus the Night King and his army; it’s what Game of Thrones has been leading towards since the first scene of the series, and it was a f*cking miserable experience to shoot.

“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,” Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) told Entertainment Weekly about the episode. Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) called it “the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones” and “miserable,” while Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane) added, “Everybody prays they never have to do this again.”

During one scene that requires a lot of standing still (not during the fighting) one of the show’s series regular actresses abruptly collapses. “Medic on set!” a crew member yells. The showrunners are out of their tent in a flash and run to her. For a few still moments, it feels like the whole cast and crew are holding their collective breath. Then the news circulates that she’s okay, “just fainted.” The actress goes home early and is back the next day.

One particular challenge for director Miguel Sapochnik (who also helmed “Hardhome” and “Battle of the Bastards”) was deciding which character to focus on when he’s got “20-some cast members and everyone would like it to be their scene. That’s complicated because I find the best battle sequences are when you have a strong point of view. I keep thinking, whose story am I telling right now?” (At one point, it’s Sam’s story, who had to be told to look like badass.) Sapochnik also watched other memorable battle scenes before shooting the episode, including the Helm’s Deep siege in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, to find one longer than whatever Thrones is cooking up. He couldn’t.

As for the series finale, all co-showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss will say is that “we want people to love it,” and that when it airs on May 19, Benioff plans to be “very drunk, and very far away from the internet.”

(Via Entertainment Weekly)