It’s fun to think back to a time in the early seasons of Game of Thrones when the show was still massively expensive, but when it was time for a big battle, Tyrion got bonked on the head, woke up, and the whole thing was over. Cut forward to Season 5, and we got the episode “Hardhome”, which featured an unforgettable battle against a zombie horde.
But Game of Thrones only plans to keep upping the craziness, and writer-producer Bryan Cogman promises EW that Season 6 has “definitely the biggest [action sequence yet].” He continued, “We’ve always wanted to get to a place – story-wise and budget-wise and time-wise and resource-wise – where we would be able to do a proper battle, with one army on one side, one army on another side.”
While Cogman wouldn’t reveal any details on what this battle could be, or who it could be between, or when in the season it will take place, EW did reveal that this would be depicted “more like a classic campaign that you typically only see in major films: “Hundreds of human soldiers on one side of a field, another army on the other side, and then there is a clash that is highly tactical, yet character-driven, and shown from start to finish – a ‘proper battle,’ as Cogman put it.”
They’ve also brought back “Hardhome” director Miguel Sapochnik, who spent a month shooting principal photography for the battle, which will also include horses. “Miguel did such a fantastic job with ‘Hardhome’ we thought we should bring him back – this time with horses,” executive producer David Benioff tells EW. “Horses are not easy, at all. And certainly in terms of numbers – number of extras, number of stuntmen, number of shooting days – it’s the biggest we’ve done.”
So will the size and scope of this battle contribute to making Season 6 the best one yet? If “Hardhome” is any indication, it will at least get people talking. Of course, the true measure of any season of Game of Thrones is what happens around the 15-minute set piece, and so while I’m sure that they’ll be able to deliver on their massive battle, I hope that Season 6 ups the intrigue, character drama, and the rest of what makes the show so compelling beyond the bloodshed.