Ever since Game of Thrones began filming in Spain for season five, Spanish media has been deeply connected to the show, so it’s perhaps not too surprising that they were one of the very few (besides EW) to gain entry into the secretive season eight set, giving us new insight into the final season, as well as new promotional photographs, and interviews with Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster Waldau, Jerome Flynn, Jacob Anderson, Joe Dempsie, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Hannah Murray, John Bradley, Bella Ramsey, Richard Dormer, Liam Cunningham, Rory McCann, and Kristofer Hivju.
Sunday magazine XLSemanal provides an extensive set report. Though they weren’t present at the famously tearful table-read, they were told all about it by Emilia Clarke months later, while filming Winterfell scenes: once writer and co-producer Bryan Cogman put an end to the read-through with a somber “End of Game of Thrones”, “all of us started crying,” says Clarke. Kit Harington, in turn, admitted he’d cried more than once during the table-read—which was “cute to see,” according to a teasing Clarke.
XLSemanal saw Emilia Clarke, Kit Harington and many others film in the expanded Winterfell set (which is apparently 35% larger in surface area than it was last season.) In the scene described, Dany, wearing her now signature white fur dress, enters the Winterfell courtyard for the first time—a scene we glimpsed back in January.
“It’s one of the first scenes of the season, when Daenerys meets the family of her new boyfriend Jon,” explains Harington. “It’s a difficult situation for him… I can’t say more.” The Northerners will need some convicing to trust Dany: according to Bella Ramsey, her character Lyanna Mormont “isn’t very happy with the arrival of a foreign queen. I can’t say more!” This secretism is a constant. Reportedly, during filming for the series finale, security was such that only the people involved in the scenes were allowed on set.
Dany’s arrival into Winterfell was filmed many times. We’ve heard this before: the almost doubled production time wasn’t just for the sake of battles, but to ensure every scene is filmed in the best way possible. Showrunners Benioff and Weiss didn’t want to spare any expense to do the ending justice; or, as they put it to XLSemanal, to “not fuck it up.” And so they spent ten months filming only six episodes, with as many as three units, repeating takes, tweaking movements and dialogue; polishing for days scenes that should take hours. The showrunners took it more seriously than ever before.
This also applies to everyone in the crew. The costume department’s Kate O’Farrell, who has more than 80 people working for her, claims they “made 22,000 pieces of clothing for extras this season, and another 300 for our stars.” Armorer Natalia Lee’s team worked overtime as well, creating countless “daggers, spears, bows, catapults, hammers, shields, crosbows and scorpions, halberds, maces, flails, tribal weapons; swords of steel, copper obsidian, wood and rubber; sword sheaths…”. And on and on it goes.
Regarding the above-mentioned secretive ending, the cast cannot say much, but, according to Liam Cunningham, “it’s beautiful, it’s fantastic!”. Iain Glen agrees: “It lives up to all my expecations. But you’ll never guess how it ends.” As usual, Sophie Turner amps up the hype: “There will be more blood, treason, and death than ever before.”
“Creo que Daenerys es una mujer que ha buscado y después ocupado una posición de poder. Eso en sí mismo es algo que desde una perspectiva social, no ha sido lo normativo durante los años que lleva emitiéndose #JuegoDeTronos“. Emilia Clarke #VivePoniente pic.twitter.com/eAo2bJWsVQ
— Series en Movistar+ (@MovistarSeries) March 25, 2019
Amor en tiempos de guerra, amistades para toda la vida, recuerdos imborrables del rodaje, subversión de expectativas y, sobre todo, orgullo, mucho orgullo por haber formado parte de #JuegodeTronos. #VivePoniente🐲 pic.twitter.com/5XipipDYCD
— Juego de Tronos en Movistar+ (@juegotronosplus) March 26, 2019
Highlights include Clarke calling Daenerys a “powerful motherfucker” (and being immediately embarassed about the wording) and claiming the final season asks “a very big question about power,” that it’s “gone far and beyond who’s sitting on the throne; it’s bigger than that. What we’re bringing to the table is bigger than the throne.”
As seen in the trailer when Jon exclaims “the enemy doesn’t feel” while Grey Worm and Missandei share a kiss, “there’s always time for love,” says Jacob Anderson. “In times of war, in desperate times, that’s when you most want to connect to the people you love.”
“All the actors here have such an ownership of their character. They protect them, they’re proud of them, they love playing them, they love the journey,” Liam Cunningham assures us. “And that’s a huge compliment to the writing of [showrunners] David [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss], and the characters created by [author] George [R. R. Martin].”
“When they killed Ned Stark, killed the main character, in season one, then everything can happen and everything has happened,” Kristofer Hivju reflects on, before teasing us about what’s coming: “And more will happen. And it will be horrible and beautiful.”