The eponymous “Battle of the Bastards” came and went on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones, and it was a blood bath. Jon Snow (Kit Harington) found himself in a chaotic, impossible-to-navigate tussle of charred limbs, flayed corpses, and frantic swordplay — and it was all executed to perfection by director Miguel Sapochnik, the same guy who helmed the Whitewalker battle at “Hardhome.” Following the hour, HBO unveiled two new featurettes that detail just how the war for Winterfell was filmed.
There are a numbered of featured interviews, including with series co-creator D.B. Weiss, Ramsay Bolton actor Iwan Rheon, and Harington. But the real meat and potatoes about how it came together come mostly from the other showrunner David Benioff, Sapochnik, and horse master Camilla Naprous. “They [Benioff and Weiss] really wanted to kind of get into the mindset of what it would be like to be in a battle like that,” the director said, while Benioff revealed some of the non-CG moments.
“The calvary wall” — i.e. the wall of riders sprinting towards Jon after the Rickon situation — was real. “That’s 40 horses charging full speed at Kit Harington,” he said, later adding, “Camilla, our horse mistress, kept asking every year, she said, ‘Gimme more stuff to do. This year was boring. It’s just people trotting from here to there on their horses.’ So finally we gave her stuff to do.”
In the second video, the latest installment of “Inside the Episode,” Weiss talks about some of the inspirations in crafting the scene, including ancient Roman fighting techniques. Harington remarks elsewhere that the battle “morphed” throughout development, and Weiss explains that one way it did so was the ending at Winterfell. He remarked that originally the fight took place entirely in the field, but they then had a revelation that the home Jon and Sansa were fighting to reclaim should be a part of it.
Watch the videos below, followed by some new images, and check out our recap of “The Battle of the Bastards.” Sapochnik also directed next week’s episode, the season finale titled “The Winds of Winter.” The name is shared with the next installment of George R.R. Martin’s books series, which has yet to be released.