There are SO many moments that are worth watching out for on Game of Thrones season 8, but none will have the significance of the Battle of Winterfell. This is a battle that took months to put together, and all early indications indicate that this is the longest fight sequence in the history of television. It’s enormous in scale, muddy, bloody, and will definitely be fantastic viewing when it airs later this year.
Before we get any further, let’s go ahead and talk about the premise for this specific showdown. As you can imagine, this is the battle between most of your favorite characters and the White Walkers, the Army of the Dead led by the Night King. Miguel Sapochnik, (who is no stranger to epic battle scenes on Game of Thrones) was the director in charge and he had to prepare extensively, as did the producers, the cast, the crew, and everyone else involved. It tested them in ways nothing else has. This is something that co-executive producer Bryan Cogman describes in a new Entertainment Weekly interview:
“What we have asked the production team and crew to do this year truly has never been done in television or in a movie … This final face-off between the Army of the Dead and the army of the living is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle. There are sequences built within sequences built within sequences. David and Dan [wrote] an amazing puzzle and Miguel came in and took it apart and put it together again. It’s been exhausting but I think it will blow everybody away.”
For the cast, it seems like there is one word to describe this: Miserable. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) discusses with the publication how she had to train for this sequence for a solid year, and how there was no real option for her to get sick or miss any work time. It was dependent on every major cast member in attendance to be there, be ready, and deal with the long nights and the harsh conditions. Temperatures were at times below freezing, and you were working in the freezing rain. Sounds like paradise, right?
We think that Iain Glen (who plays Ser Jorah) describes it perfectly:
“It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones … 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.”
The piece notes that getting the actors to even discuss filming this sequence was not easy, mostly because of a fear it would come across as them complaining or being ungrateful … but you can still be grateful and have a hard time with something, right? This feels like the sort of sequence everyone was struggling with in production, but may be immensely satisfied with on the other side when they see it on the show. One series regular did reportedly faint in production of the battle scene, but they were okay and were sent home for the day afterward.
Will all of the struggle be worth it?
You’ll see very soon — but you don’t have to wait all that long to see the most-recent footage from the final season! That was officially unleashed by HBO recently, and you can see it over at the link here.
Are you excited for this battle, or do you really even care about Game of Thrones battle sequences at all? Be sure to share in the comments. (Photo: HBO.)