Game of Thrones assistant director talks about the challenges of filming “Eastwatch” and handling Gendry’s return

Gendry

Game of Thrones‘ first assistant director Charlie Endean spoke to The Verge about the various ends and outs of his vital but, by his own admission, “unusual role” on the show.

In his interview, Endean explained  – for those in the back unfamiliar with the behind the scenes logistics of television production *ahem*-  just what his job entails on a show like Game of Thrones.

“You want to ensure that the director’s perception of the script is visualized to the highest standard. You also want to make sure that you protect the production, and bring that vision in on time,” he said. “So it begins by breaking down the script, scene by scene, beat by beat, into its component parts. That could be anything from what’s written on a scroll in a character’s hand, and whether you see the writing, to how long a section of pyrotechnics rigging will take to set up, and then how much the aftermath of an explosion will take the art department to dress up.”

Endean offered a few anecotes about the various challenges he and the rest of the crew encountered during production for “Eastwatch.” Jon Snow’s bonding moment with Drogon, for example, was quite a difficult scene to shoot. In addition to the obvious challenge of having to regard a green ball on a stick as if it’s a dragon, Kit Harington had to be put in a harness attached to a rope because the strong winds whipping about on set coupled with his heavy cloak, put him very real danger of getting turned “into a human kite.”

Endean also discussed Gendry’s long-awaited return, and how his reveal was intended to be built up to with a bit of mystery. “[Y]ou wouldn’t just reveal him in an obvious way,” he said. “You wanted something with a little tension and allure.”

He also dove into the lengthy process of designing and building Gendry’s battle hammer, giving us a sense of just how much manpower and effort goes into every aspect of this show:

“They make real versions that are metal and weighty, so they’re perfect for close-ups, and then rubber versions of different weights for different fight sequences,” he said. “With anything that’s going to be seen repeatedly on the show, Tommy would offer up multiple designs for feedback, and then a mock-up will be made and sent around to the various departments. So stunts would feed back on whether it’s the right weight, or it’s long enough for the fight sequences that have been planned.”

Looking forward, Endean talked about season 8, which he’s already working on and how a seven year journey has fine-tuned the production team into a well-oiled yet amicable machine.

“One thing you can say going forward is that on Thrones, you feel like you’re working with the best of the best,” he said. “You trust the people around you, because at this stage, they’re friends as well as colleagues … That said, you are always being challenged by the writers on Thrones. They look after their characters so well in the writing, but the challenges and sequences get bigger every year. So although the teams are strong, what’s being asked of them each year is more challenging. But that’s great! It keeps you interested.”

41 responses

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    1. My favorite part of “Eastwatch” was definitely the meeting at the end with Jon, Davos, Tormund, The Hound, Beric, Thoros, Jorah, and Gendry.

      I am soooooo freaking excited to see episode 6……this Sunday when it’s supposed to air!

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    2. The potential of conversations that could take place between all of these guys is almost too rich for words.

      Jon has a lot to discuss with Jorah about Jeor, Lyanna, and Daenerys
      Jon could have some things to discuss with The Hound, such as Arya, and perhaps some back and forth on their interactions with Littlefinger.
      Jon and Beric could have some serious bonding moments if they both knew about each other’s resurrections.

      Conversation gold right there.

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    3. Just when is the green ball on a stick going to get the accolades it deserves? It’s been integral to so many great scenes and yet how many times have people completely overlooked its contribution to the show.

      It’s an outrage!

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    4. Mr Derp:
      The potential of conversations that could take place between all of these guys is almost too rich for words.

      Jon has a lot to discuss with Jorah about Jeor, Lyanna, and Daenerys
      Jon could have some things to discuss with The Hound, such as Arya, and perhaps some back and forth on their interactions with Littlefinger.
      Jon and Beric could have some serious bonding moments if they both knew about each other’s resurrections.

      Conversation gold right there.

      Agreed, but do they have time for that?

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    5. Jack Bauer 24,

      Couldn’t say for sure, but they should have time for plenty of these conversations. The episode is the longest of the series to date and there are far fewer locations to cover. The episode should heavily revolve around the wight hunt, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and King’s Landing. At least, that’s what I would assume. That fellowship needs something to discuss on the way to find a wight.

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    6. Id like to hear them discuss how exactly they plan on catching one honestly. And what their exit strategy is.

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    7. I hope that they genuinely discuss the ins-and-outs of this wight capture. I’d be thoroughly pissed off if they didn’t have a plan and just picked a random one and buggered off. With the right planning this heist could be a piece of cake.

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    8. Mr Derp:
      Jack Bauer 24,

      Couldn’t say for sure, but they should have time for plenty of these conversations.The episode is the longest of the series to date and there are far fewer locations to cover.The episode should heavily revolve around the wight hunt, Winterfell, Dragonstone, and King’s Landing.At least, that’s what I would assume.That fellowship needs something to discuss on the way to find a wight.

      I was thinking that they weren’t going to actually show them walking all the way to the walkers. Probably just cut to them already there. They really haven’t showed anyone else traveling anywhere.

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    9. I haven’t watched any leaks or anything. Do we even have a title for this episode?? I’m too afraid to google it lol.

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    10. QueenofThrones:
      I haven’t watched any leaks or anything.Do we even have a title for this episode??I’m too afraid to google it lol.

      No title yet. I guess they aired the episode but not the title lol

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    11. QueenofThrones,

      Not sure. The word going around the campfire is that “Death is the Enemy” is the title and someone said they saw that particular title in their tv guide. However, WOTW said the other day that it wasn’t the title, so I’m confused.

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    12. Mr Derp:
      QueenofThrones,

      Not sure.The word going around the campfire is that “Death is the Enemy” is the title and someone said they saw that particular title in their tv guide.However, WOTW said the other day that it wasn’t the title, so I’m confused.

      I thought Blood of the Dragon is the rumored title

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    13. Theyre just being salty about titles this year because of the leaks. They’ve never released a title which has been ‘spoilery’ in any fashion.

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    14. Ryan:
      Theyre just being salty about titles this year because of the leaks. They’ve never released a title which has been ‘spoilery’ in any fashion.

      Ryan,

      Not sure if you’re referring to my post or not, but my comment about episode titles being dark and full of spoilers was sarcasm.

      If you’re not referring to me then nevermind.

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    15. Mr Derp:
      This place is dead today.I guess the leak has everyone running for the hills.

      I’ve been scratching my head, thinking there’s something wrong with WotW – it was actually down for a short while a few hours ago. Do you really think the leaked episode is the reason?

      It’s like most fans suddenly vanished last night and for the rest of the evening, we were only a few guys commenting in the latest 4-5 articles combined… Today really hasn’t been much different in spite of new articles! Sue’s article with closed comment section and still less than 40 comments in the other two articles combined almost has an eeriness to it…

      Oh well – got a lot of work done instead, so not all that bad! 😀

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    16. It’s getting very frustrating, I’m on a general forum where we have an ongoing discussion about GoT, but despite an accord and requests not to spoiler it with leaked info/episodes, some insist on trying to sneak in a “little” detail as if to prove they have watched it. WTF is wrong with people who can’t wait a few days before talking about it when there is an agreement to not spoiler?

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    17. Hope they didn’t bring Gendry back just to kill him off.
      It’s always weak and annoying when a show either can’t find a believable way of writing a character out of the story or jumps at a cheap death scene for sheer shock value.

      There are plenty of cases where people involved in a series of major world-changing events simply decide to step back and leave, after all. They don’t just drop dead the moment their lives stop being thrilling or relevant to the big players around them.

      They did it right with Meera, though.

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    18. Mr Derp,
      I totally understand. I have them both, but not using them at all during these GoT weeks, and I’ve installed the GoT-leak blocker in Chrome and it’s actually working very well 🙂

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    19. Ser Not Appearing in this Series: some insist on trying to sneak in a “little” detail as if to prove they have watched it

      What I find even worse, is that one leak-informed user here and there pretending to make “predictions” just to sound really clever, when we all get the same knowledge the right way. Then when the next episode aires, you just know their earlier “predictions” were just too damn precise to be legit!! Buuuut…you kindda learn along the way, who they are 😉

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    20. Dead Dane Walking: What I find even worse, is that one leak-informed user here and there pretending to make “predictions” just to sound really clever, when we all get the same knowledge the right way. Then when the next episode aires, you just know their earlier “predictions” were just too damn precise to be legit!! Buuuut…you kindda learn along the way, who they are 😉

      I find that so stupid. I mean, I watch leaks, I read spoilers. But I’m not going to be all snobby about it, like “Oooooooh I know something you don’t know, nyahhhh!” It’s so childish.

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    21. Dead Dane Walking: What I find even worse, is that one leak-informed user here and there pretending to make “predictions” just to sound really clever, when we all get the same knowledge the right way. Then when the next episode aires, you just know their earlier “predictions” were just too damn precise to be legit!! Buuuut…you kindda learn along the way, who they are

      I’m not worried about that ever applying to me; I’m always wrong. haha. I won’t post my speculations here because you’d start questioning if I’m even watching the same show! I know what my problem is, though. I see everything! as foreshadowing. But, as I’ve said before, I haven’t yet been disappointed.

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    22. I watched the leaked episode largely because it was available in HD and it saves me getting up at 2am to watch it live (I don”t like to wait until 9pm the next day) however I won’t post any spoilers and instead joined the forum to discuss the episode. One thing I will say though is that I avoided Watchers when Spoils of War leaked, I then went and read all the articles after the event and you could see several posters who had clearly seen the episode dropping spoilers in the build up so becareful all you unsullied out there and note those names!

      As for Eastwatch it was enjoyable but a little predictable in my eyes. Was Gendry coming back a surprise for anyone? I know it had been reported on here and Joe Dempsie was at the premiere so hardly under wraps.

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