‘Game of Thrones’ producers on epic Season 8 battle: ‘Never been done before’
Warning: Spoilers loom ahead.
Year after year, nearly every Game of Thrones season is defined by one major, sprawling battle sequence. And from the sounds of new reports, Season 8 will deliver a battle to end all battles.
And we are straight shook by what it could mean.
Watchers on the Wall reported on the now-deleted Instagram post from a Game of Thrones assistant director, Jonathan Quinlan. The post featured a letter from “The Producer Types” on the show, thanking “the Night Dragons” (aka the cast and crew) for shooting in “the cold, the snow, the rain, the mud, the sheep shit of Toome and the winds of Magheramorne.”
Weeks ago, we warned you about leaked set images of what appeared to be an epic battle showing Winterfell entirely engulfed in flames. We did lots of analysis on what it meant, concluding that the most logical answer was that the White Walkers — equipped with an ice-breathing undead dragon (or dare we say, Night Dragon?) — went straight to the nearest stronghold close to the Wall.
And by the looks of that, and the sounds of this, you should start saying goodbye to the ashes of Winterfell.
The two sets mentioned in the note are known locations for the Winterfell region. In the now-deleted Instagram caption, Quinlan mentions a mysterious, unnamed third location, too.
One thing is clear though. We’re in for another life-altering battle sequence.
Since “Blackwater” in Season 2, Game of Thrones battles only continued to raise the stakes, redefining what we thought possible for cinematic war experiences (whether in TV or film). We don’t just mean on the level of technical and visual innovation either, though that’s certainly part of it.
The Battle of Blackwater Bay not only shifted the tides of the war (literally), but ignited the most character-defining moments for The Hound, Tyrion, Cersei, Davos, Stannis, and Pod. In Season 3, the Red Wedding changed everything, as we realized nowhere was safe — not even a celebration in a longtime ally’s dining hall. Next, the Battle for the Wall introduced giants led by an army of wildlings with numbers never seen before; not to mention the blurred lines of fighting against people Jon had come to love. The Battle of Hardhome arguably saved Season 5 from total irrelevance, at last revealing what that nebulous White Walker threat was truly capable of, in all its unending horror. The critically-acclaimed Battle of the Bastards changed our perspective on scale, wrestling us into the dirt of a war that Jon could survive (at great cost), but never truly win.
Finally, there was the awfully named but most jaw-dropping of all: The Loot Train Attack, which was the arguable climax of Season 7. Finally, the dragons and Dothraki hordes were put into action, but somehow still paled in comparison to the enormous inner battle of not knowing which side to root for.
All of that is to say: We’re not at all ready for what is to come in Season 8. From fans to Sansa: None. Of. Us. Are. Ready.
We repeat: This is the longest battle shoot in Game of Thrones history. Those 55 consecutive nights of shooting absolutely dwarf the already insane 25-day shoot for Battle of the Bastards. Time is one of the most precious and valuable resources during a production. Investing such a large portion of the show’s limited time, effort, and budget into a single battle already gives us a sense of the sheer scope we’ll be dealing with.
Wanna know the worst/best part? We’re not even sure this will be the biggest shoot. Next up, the cast and crew is set to film for King’s Landing. So hold onto your butts, because other leaks and hints (not to mention Dany’s prophetic vision, as seen above) indicate we’ll see that crumble, too.
Are you hyperventilating yet? Well you should start. Because everything you’ve ever known and loved will turn to ash by the end of Season 8 in 2019.
“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,” the note from producers reads.
“They’ll just understand that they’re watching something that’s never been done before.”