Earlier this year, assistant director Jonathan Quinlan shared a thank you card sent out to the Thrones crew following the completion of a massive action sequence. “This is for the Night Dragons,” the card read. “For enduring 55 straight nights. For enduring the cold, the snow, the rain, the mud, the sheep s*it of Toome and the winds of Magheramorne. When tens of millions of people around the world watch this episode a year from now, they won’t know how hard you worked. They won’t care how tired you were or how tough it was to do your job in sub-freezing temperatures. They’ll just understand that they’re watching something that’s never been done before. And that’s because of you.”
Turns out, it was even bigger than it sounds. “The drama builds to a confrontation with the Army of the Dead that’s expected to be the most sustained action sequence ever made for television or film,” Entertainment Weekly reports.
The 55 nights were only for the battle’s outdoor scenes at the Winterfell set. Filming then moved into the studio, where [director Miguel] Sapochnik continued shooting the same battle for weeks after that. The battle doesn’t have just one focus, either, but rather intercuts between multiple characters involved in their own survival storylines that each feels like its own genre. “Having the largest battle doesn’t sound very exciting — it actually sounds pretty boring,” Benioff says. “Part of our challenge, and really, Miguel’s challenge, is how to keep that compelling… we’ve been building toward this since the very beginning, it’s the living against the dead, and you can’t do that in a 12-minute sequence.”
The sequence is set in Winterfell, where the “ground is covered with snow and blood” and “air is thick with smoke from the fire pits.” All that Peter Dinklage would say about the scene is that “it’s brutal. It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park.” Maybe stay away from the sausages in the food court.
(Via Entertainment Weekly)