Season 8 Just Finished Filming the Longest Battle Shoot in Game of Thrones History!

Jon Snow Battle of the Bastards 609 Winterfell

Battles are infamously difficult to film. Actors have to learn and repeatedly execute insanely complex choreography; hundreds of extras have to be managed; and horses don’t care about your schedule. So, battles take a long time: the greatest ones yet, the Battle of the Bastards and the Loot Train ambush, each swallowed about a month of precious production time. If you understand that’s a lot, you’ll be properly impressed when you learn that the battle shoot we have been following since late January has now wrapped after 55 consecutive nights! Beware: known spoilers are discussed below!

The largest battle sequence ever in Game of Thrones has finally come to a close, after months of night shoots at the Moneyglass set in Toome and the Magheramorne green screen set. The multi-purpose Magheramorne set may yet be used for other scenes, but this latest battle of Winterfell is over—though we won’t get to see for another year.

As we’ve seen in previous years, when such an ardous shoot is over the producers celebrate the occasion in some way, and we know this time was no different, as much of the crew went on social media to share a thank you note by “the producer types.” Jonathan Quinlan, assistant director in 20 episodes, was one of these crew members:

Thank you note by "the producer types". Photo: Jonathan Quinlan
Thank you note by the producers. Photo: Jonathan Quinlan’s Instagram (now removed)

The funny, heartfelt note cites “the cold, the snow, the rain, the mud, the sheep shit of Toome”, in reference to the Winterfell set in Moneyglass, Toome; as well as “the winds of Magheramorne.” In the caption below the photo, Quinlan helpfully added: “Says it all. 55 consecutive nights. 11 weeks. 3 locations. You’ll never again see anything like it.”

These two and a half months of shooting more than double the previous record for a Game of Thrones battle shoot—which likely already was a TV record, as well. Unless the upcoming King’s Landing shoot dethrones it, which seems unlikely, this battle of Winterfell will be the biggest, most expensive action scene we’ve ever seen on TV. Of course, shooting time doesn’t necessarily translate to screen time, so this may or may not be the longest battle in the show, but it will certainly be the most elaborate.

As for the “3 locations” Quinlan makes reference to, aside from the obvious Moneyglass and Magheramorne (specified by the producers’ note and reported on by us for months), the mystery location could be Saintfield, in which we know they filmed but little else.

So that’s it! No more furtive photos in the dark for us to obsess over. Coming up next: the Dragonpit, the King’s Landing battle, and who knows what else! Stay tuned.

81 Comments

  1. I am completely in awe of all of the people who have made Game of Thrones. It is and always will be one of my most favorite shows. It will be epic and bittersweet for this last season. I am going to miss it when it’s over. Everyone is so talented that has worked on it. Gratitde to all who have worked so hard to entertain us over these years.

  2. Port,

    I understand the confusion: they are old spoilers, but spoilers nonetheless. Some people are extremely sensitive to spoilers, and I’m learning to accomodate to them. The mere mention of battles taking place in Winterfell and King’s Landing is a spoiler for some people, and we have to respect that.

    To avoid any confusion, I changed “spoilers below the cut” to “known spoilers are discussed below.” Hopefully that clears things up.

  3. 55 days is bonkers!! I can’t imagine what they’ve come up with. I’m thinking something with the tension of Hardhome and BotB but multiple time larger!!

  4. Well, if all of this filming has been dedicated to one battle sequence or perhaps a sequence of battles, then it may suggest (much to some people’s chagrin, I’m sure) that the Night King will be defeated in The North.

    If they’re never going to repeat this sort of shoot again and, given that the King’s Landing battles/scenes don’t yet appear to be set in the midst of a deep winter, does that point towards the King’s Landing conquest/destruction being pre or post War for the Dawn?

  5. Wow, that’s impressive shooting time.

    Will it be screentime long? Maybe it’s so elaborate, so complex, with added cgi elements, that shooting it took 55 days, but it’ll end up only 15-25 minutes screentime?

    I personally am not big on battles. Yes, they happen, but most of big battles in S1, S2 and S3 took place off screen and it didn’t bother me. I loved Blackwater (S2E9) and the battle for the Wall in S4 (especially that 360 degree single shot!), and Hardhome, BoB and Loot train have been impressive… but… Well, big battle scenes aren’t why I watch this show. I don’t mind them, just as long as there’s time for character moments.

    Still, a huge hat tip to everybody involved in the gruelling work to produce the S8 battles for us. We’ll love them.

  6. talvikorppi: Maybe it’s so elaborate, so complex, with added cgi elements, that shooting it took 55 days, but it’ll end up only 15-25 minutes screentime?

    Probably.

  7. With the green screen we could be looking at the battle for Winterfell and also the battle (Finale) at KL.
    If winter has come and Dannys vision is correct there should be snow at KL as well.

  8. Freefolk has pictures from the battle, with corpses and house sigils (very interesting, some would say, spoilery mix). They are great pics, reveal a lot, and are clearly from a guy involved in production, who had actual MAJOR spoilers relating to the battle, that clearly come from being firsthand on filming.

    Curious as to why there was no post for them, they’re pretty spread around (I didn’t even originally come across them on Freefolk).

    MOD EDIT: You must properly tag any spoiler (or reference to spoilers) outside the purview of the article in which the comment is made.

  9. ”When tens of millions of people around the world watch this episode A YEAR FROM NOW…”

    So, the premier is most likely end of February or early March.

  10. I can’t wait to see it. I know it’s highly unlikely but what if we a battle that was same time length as the battle of Hogwarts or two towers from LOTR. That would be insane.

  11. HouseMartellBitches,

    I’m not sure about those photos and those so called spoilers he leaked were already posted by several people writing fan-fiction, unless they guessed right but I don’t buy it. Essentially someone got on set while the crew was on March break and filmed a bunch of prosthetics arranged in piles. We know there is going to be fighting and we know people will die – it’s GOT and it’s the final season so I don’t think there is much in the way of ‘spoilers’ there. I also doubt he was involved in Production – he’d have broken his NDA and his job would be lost and his reputation toast. I think that site is being trolled big time. I trust this site more than I would Freefolk as this point for GOT news.

  12. Boy, being part of a night shoot would be amazing. I love the dark and even the cold, a little sheep shit is fine. 😂

  13. Can’t wait to watch and understand what happens up there.

    That is a lot of time to dedicate to a battle so it must be very significant plot and character wise.

  14. This fight will go down in history as the most awesome GoT action sequence. There’s no way it can’t. Having it at night already sets a really grave tone that I can’t help but to look forward to.

  15. HouseMartellBitches:
    Freefolk has pictures from the battle, with corpses and house sigils (very interesting, some would say, spoilery mix).They are great pics, reveal a lot, and are clearly from a guy involved in production, who had actual MAJOR spoilers relating to the battle, that clearly come from being firsthand on filming.

    Curious as to why there was no post for them, they’re pretty spread around (I didn’t even originally come across them on Freefolk).

    I’m a little bit surprised there was no post too actually. I’m sure there’s a good reason for it. But I (very rarely) visit WiC 2.0, if you will, and I found them there. Ever since WotW was founded, I migrated over like 99.9% of the way. I think this was the first time I spent that 0.01% on WiC and stumbled upon something the good folk here hadn’t already reported!

  16. I just hope the battle scene isn’t so frenetic that it becomes a blur. I prefer when there are action breaks to focus on a character’s mindset in the moment.

  17. We knew that the second Long Night was coming, and there’s a good reason why these big action sequences need to be shot after dark. But it still makes me a little nervous that the end product will prove inadequately lit for the viewer with anything less than a gigantic TV screen with easily accessible brightness control. There have been a fair few nighttime scenes – and even just indoor scenes in somber places – in previous seasons that were way too murky for my screen.

  18. I hope it’s not all “explosions connected by dead bodies.”
    I want some story and characters as well.

  19. Given how long it is, I’m almost certain there will be plenty of personal interactions. I know certain people here such as Firannion are really worried the little moments will be lost in the chaos but we’ve never had a massive battle with this many important nonfighters together.

    I’m pretty sure we are in for something truly special, something which will dwarf every single large scene in the show.

  20. 11 weeks sounds insane!! I am sure is going to look great!!
    Congratulations to everyone involved for your hard work!!

  21. Once season 8 finally arrives, I need a t-shirt that says “I survived the Long Night between season 7 and 8”.

  22. HouseMartellBitches,

    How can I say this politely….

    Can you cover your alleged “Freefolk” spoilers with spoiler coding, or not bring it here at all? As far as I’m concerned, that place is an enabler and disseminater of stolen, fabricated and illegal material. Can’t we confine the Comments section of this WoW article to the contents of the article, so the Comments don’t become contaminated with threads about extraneous, unauthorized pollutants?

    Most us don’t want to be ambushed by supposed “spoilers” from other places. “It drains the fun right out of it.” – Polliver

    Please!!!
    🚱🚱🚱🚱🔞🚱🚱❌

  23. Ten Bears,

    I do wonder why some people come on open forums and social media just to bitch about spoilers.
    If you don’t want to see anything stay off the computer.
    It’s not difficult to understand.

  24. talvikorppi,

    “…Well, big battle scenes aren’t why I watch this show. I don’t mind them, just as long as there’s time for character moments.”
    ———————–

    Precisely. As much as I appreciate big battle scenes on a technical level, I don’t think there are any that I’ve rewatched more than once.

    For S8, I’d trade a half hour big-budget battle for a well-written 30-minute, quiet scene of Sansa and Arya reuniting with the repentant Sandor and quaffing ale together. The big fella deserves one happy memory before his big showdown….

  25. Colin Armfield,

    Nope. This is not an “open forum” to spew anything and everything. It is not “social media” where it’s a free-for-all for fake news, slurs and personal invectives. Check out the moderation policies.

    There’s a reason discussions here are consistently dignified and intelligent.

    “If you don’t want to see anything stay off the computer” is not the solution and not the problem.

    If for some reason you feel compelled to inject “spoilers” from other sources, would it be that much of an inconvenience for you to use spoiler coding? As an act of kindness?

    Thank you in advance for your anticipated courtesies.

  26. I still believe the big battle episode(s) and aftermath will be performed as an opera. Wagner, eat your heart out. (Djawadi, therein lies the challenge…Götterdämmerung!) 🙂

  27. I don’t consider this a spoiler but do we all assume this big battle is episode 3 or episode 5 given Miguel is directing those two, common consensus seems to be number 3 right?

  28. While I totally agree with the sentiment that the character interpersonal moments make GOT as addictive and watchable as it is, I do have to admit, I am a sucker for the beautiful (and very engaging) way they shoot their battle scenes. I am very excited to see what this 11 week shoot has been crafting. And also very scared for our favourites!!

  29. Jon Snowed,

    I would say…it’s hard to tell at this point. “The Watchers on the Wall” (S4e9) was a fabulous non-stop battle that wasn’t “climactic” – in the sense that the defenders merely held off the invaders and lived to fight another day. It was still glorious – except for the romantic casualty. 🏹😢

  30. Thanks you to the unsung heroes of this great show! 55 nights of shooting? And we have to wait a whole year to see the results, it will be worth it. Shout out to the hard working costumers, make-up and hair people, weapon makers, set dresser…..all those behind the scenes tech people the make the magic happen.

  31. Allow me to get a bit emotional for a second (those who are too jaded to tolerate a bit of sentimentality, look away):

    I, too, love the small character moments, but the grandeur and quality of the battle scenes always remind me of how lucky I am as a viewer. The people involved in this show are fucking incredible. I, for one, couldn’t be happier with the quality of the adaptation of a series of books I loved. There have been a couple of missteps, but they’re minor quibbles when compared to the overall product. The casting is uniformly perfect, and the dedication of all involved, from said cast and the extras, to the writers, stunt team, crew, producers – fuck, c’mon. We have to give them the credit they deserve.

    Also, it should be recognised that the battle sequences in Game of Thrones aren’t mindless action scenes. They’re impactful because they do take the time to slow down and focus on the character moments. Here are but a few: Grenn reciting NW oath as he faced his death; Jon holding Ygritte in his arms while the fighting went on around him; Jaime’s heroic charge toward Drogon.

    There’s no better example than the Battle of the Bastards. It was a unique moment in television mostly because of the acutely painful realism of the fighting itself, and because of the emotional beats hit with respect to Jon – none of which relied on CGI. Jon’s desperate race out to save Rickon? No CGI. Jon standing to face the cavalry? No CGI (and I’m tearing up just thinking about it even now). The crush, where Jon almost died, and fought his way out through the bodies? No GCI.

    All of those moments had way more impact than the arrival of the Vale, which was all GCI, and had been telegraphed (and for me, it wasn’t triumphant as perhaps the writers hoped, but tainted with wrongness because of the deceptive way it came about). So I have confidence that this battle will be no different. And it’s for Winterfell. It could be anything other than emotional. I’m anticipating it with excitement and fear both.

  32. I hope the showrunners will issue some behind-the-scenes material, so we could understand this truly heroic shooting better and preferably, before the show airs. I remember how we speculated about the BOB behind the scenes materials and wouldn’t mind repeating that, though after the show will do for me as well.

  33. Jon Snowed:
    I don’t consider this a spoiler but do we all assume this big battle is episode 3 or episode 5 given Miguel is directing those two, common consensus seems to be number 3 right?

    This will be in episode three, yeah, that’s what we think.

  34. iridium,

    There have been a couple of missteps, but they’re minor quibbles when compared to the overall product.”
    ————-
    Amen to that.

  35. Ten Bears,

    Very much agreed. I was accidentally spoiled all over the place last year, and it greatly diminished my enjoyment of the season (in part because of the bitching associated with some of the information). WotW is a relatively safe place because spoilers are well labelled, and because it doesn’t tolerate uncensored spoiler chat in the comments.

    As an aside, I hope there aren’t any major script leaks this year. It was a massive insult to everyone involved in the show, and I hope that guy was found and fired. But not before getting a punch to the nuts courtesy of the Mountain.

  36. Ten Bears:

    Sansa, Arya and Sandor scenes have so much potential. I hope they have at least one big scene like you just mentioned.

  37. Colin Armfield:
    Ten Bears,

    I do wonder why some people come on open forums and social media just to bitch about spoilers.
    If you don’t want to see anything stay off the computer.
    It’s not difficult to understand.

    This is a moderated community, not an open forum or social media. There are clearly established rules you gotta follow. One of them is to cover spoilers not discussed in the article with proper spoiler tags; another is to not discuss script leaks at all (thankfully, there have been none for season eight.)

  38. Didn’t read all the comments so I don’t know if anyone addressed this yet, but I’m kind of disheartened over the “they won’t care how tired you were or how tough it was to do your job…” part. I know myself and many others thoroughly enjoy the amount of work that goes into our favourite, and award-winning, scenes. My favourite featurettes are usually about the stunt coordinators and the amount of work that goes into scenes like BoB, the Loot Train attack, Battle at Blackwater Bay, and the battle at Castle Black. Anyways, can’t wait to watch what the crew has been working so hard on!

  39. What I think will happen:
    I think this will be episode 3, why it will be the biggest battle is I think the way it will be told. What I think will happen is the following in episode 3:
    – We open the episode with some character moments, tension will run high emotionally (maybe an argument with Dany or Sansa).
    – Then somebody will attack winterfell, this will be done by some humans: Unsatisfied Northerners because of Dany (would be amazing if this is the case and we have couple of minutes before a big argument that for instance Sansa explain to Jon working with Dany will lead to northerners deserting him) or maybe Cercei will attack them.
    – Jaime will save the day at winterfel defeating the attackers and swears fealty to the starks and Dany. We get the feeling this is going to be all okay. Then there will be 3 blasted.
    – The Night King is at their door. Big sequence with them.
    – And maybe even something after that scene (like beyond the wall)

  40. Che,

    Interpersonal, “high thread count”™ emotional moments incorporated within pulse-pounding action scenes are when GoT is at its best.

    Exhibit A: The last segment of “The Door.” I felt like my heart was inside a Cuisinart riding on a rollercoaster. That back and forth between idyllic past WF and future 3ER cave, with Meera’s pleading voice echoing from the future, followed by the desperate chase through the cave tunnel, and the final alternating young Hodor/future Hodor….
    That was some incredible work by director Jack Bender, the special effects dept., the actors, and countless other crew members. I’m sure it took days or weeks to put together that ~ 15 minutes of on-screen craziness. To top it off, was the reveal that the lovable simpleton sidekick character was really a tragic, heroic figure.
    I usually loathe “unhappy” endings because most of the time they involve cheap deaths or deaths for shock value. This was one of the rare exceptions: going out as a hero, or for the sake of the greater good.

    I’ll stop. Sorry. I got carried away.

    ™ Thronetender term

  41. iridium:

    Am not jaded enough and definitely agree with everything in your post! The battle sequences are incredible TV in and of themselves, but what has me re-watching them time and time again is the human aspect.

    Blackwater back in season two was the first big battle sequence in GoT – and when I think of that, I think of Davos’s grief at the loss of his son, the Hound’s fear of fire, and Pod’s loyalty towards Tyrion. I think of Tyrion’s determination to fight regardless of his physical prowess. I think of his speech to rally the men; a speech a king should’ve given.

    You make soooooo many good points on Watchers on the Wall and Battle of the Bastards. In my opinion, one of the reasons the latter made such good TV was the decision to follow Jon and show the battle through the perspective of one key character. It was as much about Jon’s emotional and physical journey through that battle as anything else.

    Watchers on the Wall is definitely the main part of the final chapter of Jon and Ygritte’s story, but it is also important in Sam and Gilly’s. Their story is told beautifully in that episode.

    When I contemplate season eight, one hope I have for the major battle sequences is that they continue this human element. That they continue to be about not violence for the sake of violence, but of the cost of war both physically and emotionally.

  42. Ten Bears:
    Che,

    Interpersonal, “high thread count”™ emotional moments incorporated within pulse-pounding action scenes are when GoT is at its best.

    Exhibit A: The last segment of “The Door.” I felt like my heart was inside a Cuisinart riding on a rollercoaster. That back and forth between idyllic past WF and future 3ER cave, with Meera’s pleading voice echoing from the future,followed by the desperate chase through the cave tunnel, and the final alternating young Hodor/future Hodor…. That was some incredible work by director Jack Bender, the special effects dept., the actors, and countless other crew members. I’m sure it took days or weeks to put together that ~ 15 minutes of on-screen craziness. To top it off, was the reveal that the lovable simpleton sidekick character was really a tragic, heroic figure. I usually loathe “unhappy” endings because most of the time they involve cheap deaths or deaths for shock value. This was one of the rare exceptions: going out as a hero, or for the sake of the greater good.

    I’ll stop. Sorry. I got carried away.

    ™ Thronetender term

    You are so right. That sequence in the door is the most moving piece of television/film I have ever watched. I usually watch with my husband, but that one I watched alone and was therefore able to unashamedly weep. And weep I did! Nothing but GOT could wring the tears out of you while simultaneously pulling off an action heavy sequence at the same time. That example was spot on.

  43. iridium:
    I, too, love the small character moments, but the grandeur and quality of the battle scenes always remind me of how lucky I am as a viewer. The people involved in this show are fucking incredible. I, for one, couldn’t be happier with the quality of the adaptation of a series of books I loved. There have been a couple of missteps, but they’re minor quibbles when compared to the overall product. The casting is uniformly perfect, and the dedication of all involved, from said cast and the extras, to the writers, stunt team, crew, producers – fuck, c’mon. We have to give them the credit they deserve.

    So true! When you consider the sheer complexity of the story, and adapting something like that to the screen, there are so many ways this could have gone horribly wrong. And for the few missteps there have been along the way, we have so many classic and memorable moments to be thankful for!

  44. Ten Bears,

    Ah, I see as BoB as GoT’s greatest battle sequence to date, but I do agree that Hardome was amazing. For me, that was all about the suspense and horror. With the scrabbling horde of dead and the unearthly ice monsters, it was like a nightmare come to life. The only respite we get from the relentless terror is when Jon is on his knees and coughing up blood, the Night’s King observing from him above.

    It’s only afterwards when Jon, Tormund, Edd and the rest are on the boat that we get a sense of their overwhelming sadness as they watch the massacre of the remaining free folk. And then it’s back to abject fear again when the Night’s King locks eyes with Jon and shows the terrifying extent of his power – and how sincerely fucked Westeros is. That battle, though seemingly inconsequential in terms of the stakes as opposed to say, Blackwater, was just as much as a game changer plot wise. Another remarkable piece of television.

  45. iridium,

    (Celebration of “Hardhome” – my perspective)

    The highlights for me were the “character moments” immediately preceding, during, and after the zombie swarm, especially:

    • King Crow’s speech to the Wildling chieftains
    • Ex-enemy Tormund now Jon’s ally and BFF
    • The f*cking Thenn who walked out saying the NW is and akways be “the enemy”, winding up fighting side by side with Jon, and giving his life, in the failed attempt to recover the dragonglass.
    • Edd: “F*ck the glass!!! We’re going to die here!!”
    Me to TV: “Listen to Edd!!! Run!!! Aaccckkk!”
    • Karsi, Karsi, Karsi. You made me love you in fifteen minutes…and then you were gone …and then you sat up at the end as a blue-eyed zombie 💔
    • Tormund shines: “He needs us. And we need him.” Explaining Jon’s arrow to Mance was mercy, in defiance of “southern king.”
    • “He’s prettier than my daughters, but he knows how to lead”, etc.
    • Karsi re: ancestors. “but f*ck em. They’re dead.” 😄
    • Wun Wun to staring Edd: “the f*ck you lookin’ at?”
    • Karsi and the weird wight kids.
    • That moment when the dogs start barking and mist forms on mountain…
    • Jon w/ Longclaw shocks WW; with VS sword stroke WW disintegrates into pixie dust
    • Showboat NK at the very end raising his arms…and all the dead sit up.
    • Jon’s anguished look back as his boat rows away
    • Did I mention Karsi?
    • Tormund’s “response” to Lord of Bones insult
    • Wun Wun bursting through roof, flinging off wights and swatting them with log
    • The “courage to make peace” theme

    And the other parts of the episode – before those last twenty minutes – were excellent too. (Tyrion-Dany conversations, etc.)

    I’d have to watch it again. It’s been a while. I just remember that it wasn’t (just) the “horror show” aspect that made it memorable.

  46. Firannion,

    “…There have been a fair few nighttime scenes – and even just indoor scenes in somber places – in previous seasons that were way too murky for my screen.”
    ———-

    It wasn’t until I rewatched S6e10 on a wide screen high def TV that I could make out Lothar’s finger in Walder Frey’s slice of pie. 🍰
    (I’m assuming it was Lothar’s because Black Walder especially wasn’t easy to carve. 😃)

  47. If Bran and Bronn battle Brienne at the Blackwater before the Blackfish belittles Baelish behind Bobby Baratheon’s back but Brandon the Builder besieges Bolton in Braavos how many Boltons would a Bolton bolt if a Bolton could chuck wood?

    Asking for a friend named Benjen

  48. talvikorppi,

    I concur that complex characters who have interesting arcs and interactions with others are integral to any show.
    Imo one reason that GoT is one of the–if not THE best series in TV history is for that very reason. The battles are epic because we’re invested in what happens to the characters we’ve grown with.

  49. Pigeon,

    I love it, but I’m not very well sighted, and have a bugger of a time seeing episodes which are dark from snow and smoke. Kills me. If I lighten my screen up a whole lot, I’ll see things but it does lose something.
    But GOT has been such a great series absolutely the best, I love the books, the fan sites, anything ASOIAF that I can wrap my eyes around. This last season is going to ruin me. Mentally and physically.

  50. Ten Bears:

    (Celebration of “Hardhome” – my perspective)

    The highlights for me were the “character moments” immediately preceding, during, and after the zombie swarm, especially:

    • King Crow’s speech to the Wildling chieftains
    • Ex-enemy Tormund now Jon’s ally and BFF
    • The f*cking Thenn who walked out saying the NW is and akways be “the enemy”, winding up fighting side by side with Jon, and giving his life, in the failed attempt to recover the dragonglass.• Edd: “F*ck the glass!!! We’re going to die here!!”Me to TV: “Listen to Edd!!! Run!!! Aaccckkk!”
    • Karsi, Karsi, Karsi. You made me love you in fifteen minutes…and then you were gone …and then you sat up at the end as a blue-eyed zombie
    • Tormund shines: “He needs us. And we need him.”Explaining Jon’s arrow to Mance was mercy, in defiance of “southern king.”
    • “He’s prettier than my daughters, but he knows how to lead”, etc.
    • Karsi re: ancestors. “but f*ck em. They’re dead.”
    • Wun Wun to staring Edd: “the f*ck you lookin’ at?”
    • Karsi and the weird wight kids.
    • That moment when the dogs start barking and mist forms on mountain…
    • Jon w/ Longclaw shocks WW; with VS sword stroke WW disintegrates into pixie dust
    • Showboat NK at the very end raising his arms…and all the dead sit up.
    • Jon’s anguished look back as his boat rows away
    • Did I mention Karsi?
    • Tormund’s “response” to Lord of Bones insult
    • Wun Wun bursting through roof, flinging off wights and swatting them with log
    • The “courage to make peace” theme

    And the other parts of the episode – before those last twenty minutes – were excellent too. (Tyrion-Dany conversations, etc.)

    I’d have to watch it again. It’s been a while. I just remember that it wasn’t (just) the “horror show” aspect that made it memorable.

    All of this! I love Hardhome, it is one of my faves, and to me it encapsulates the entire series (battle for power, but, yeah, there is an army of dead people coming for everyone) and it shows the human side of conflict. There are those – like Loboda – who are uncertain about Jon and his motives, but who fight with him when the true threat comes.

    And you are correct – it is the character moments that make it. The action bits are nothing without them.

  51. Catspaw Assassin:
    If Bran and Bronn battle Brienne at the Blackwater before the Blackfish belittles Baelish behind Bobby Baratheon’s back but Brandon the Builder besieges Bolton in Braavos how many Boltons would a Bolton bolt if a Bolton could chuck wood?

    Asking for a friend named Benjen

    Twenty good men.

  52. Hezr:
    Pigeon,

    I love it, but I’m not very well sighted, and have a bugger of a time seeing episodes which are dark from snow and smoke. Kills me. If I lighten my screen up a whole lot, I’ll see things but it does lose something.
    But GOT has been such a great series absolutely the best, I love the books, the fan sites, anything ASOIAF that I can wrap my eyes around. This last season is going to ruin me. Mentally and physically.

    I have a bit of a hard time with the lighting or lack thereof as well. It seems a shame that they put so much into scenes when a lot of us have trouble with being able to see what’s going on. Especially if there’s a lot of action, there’s no way I have a clue who is doing what. 😜

  53. Chris Medina: I concur that complex characters who have interesting arcs and interactions with others are integral to any show.

    I seem to remember my literature professors saying that this is what creates “story” in any medium!

  54. Firannion: ut it still makes me a little nervous that the end product will prove inadequately lit for the viewer with anything less than a gigantic TV screen with easily accessible brightness control.

    For good or for ill, it seems that most major TV series now work on the assumption that people will be watching shows this way. So, they are produced like movies. As a result, I find that most TV shows (just like most movies) are best viewed in dark rooms.

  55. Hodors Bastard: I still believe the big battle episode(s) and aftermath will be performed as an opera. Wagner, eat your heart out. (Djawadi, therein lies the challenge…Götterdämmerung!)

    Hmmm: will we get the great moments or the awful half-hours? 😀

    Seriously, though: we really do need the musical episode at some point. I want to see Sophie Turner sing “I’m so pretty…” while mincing about the ramparts of Winterfell as the Night King rides down….

  56. H.Stark:
    GoT wins best location for a period series😀

    https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/lists/location-managers-guild-awards-nominees-2018-1079654/item/outstanding-locations-a-period-tv-series-1079740

    Nice! Imagine making one’s living being a location scout. Sounds like immense fun, but challenging in terms of logistics. When I’m hiking I not infrequently pass through spots that seem to belong in some sort of movie (usually fantasy genre), but then I have to consider how costly it would be to get cast, crew and equipment that far from a road. And maybe that’s partly why such sites manage to retain their magical look and feel. (I suppose I have this topic on my mind this week because the rail trail bridge that figures prominently in ‘A Quiet Place’ is a place that I have visited many, many times.)

    I’m pleased to see that ‘Baby Driver’ also won one of these location awards. Some small compensation for getting skunked at the Oscars, where I thought it would waltz off with all the awards for editing, sound editing and sound mixing.

  57. Firannion,

    It probably is better for all concerned if they just film those areas in which you hike and then use green screens to put the actors there.

  58. Quinton O’Connor:
    Just watch: the spinoff will be operatic as heck. The Musical Doom of Valyria.

    With the closing finale of “Under Pressure,” I should think.

    Of course, I would have ended last season with Tormund wandering across the wreckage of the Wall with a mandolin singing “All alone or in twos….”

  59. Quinton O’Connor:
    Just watch: the spinoff will be operatic as heck. The Musical Doom of Valyria.

    I’d prefer operetta: all the funny GoT characters, as rendered by Gilbert & Sullivan. Has no one done this yet?

  60. Penny Douglas:
    I am completely in awe of all of the people who have made Game of Thrones. It is and always will be one of my most favorite shows. It will be epic and bittersweet for this last season. I am going to miss it when it’s over. Everyone is so talented that has worked on it. Gratitde to all who have worked so hard to entertain us over these years.

    This! Perfectly stated.

  61. Thank you, Luka, for putting the picture of the card back on there. At the time I scanned the article yesterday, there was a notice that the picture had been removed by Instagram. Actually seeing it makes all the difference. I hope the “producer types” filmed during the 55 grueling days – I’d love to see how the scenes were achieved. Those behind the scenes snippets of how the show is created are some of my favorite things. I love the before and after shots of the CGI and love love watching the crews at work putting the battle scenes together and taking them apart.

    I don’t think we’ll have to worry about having a lot of “character to character” moments. As I watched the wights cross over the Wall, I was impressed by the sheer numbers of them. They are a swarm – I kind of envision Winterfell being beset from all sides by the advancing Army of the Dead, with different characters teamed up in defense of their place on the ramparts, or outside the gates of Winterfell, much like when the Wildings were besieging Castle Black from both the Wall side and the front gates.

    There were so many memorable character interactions then: Sam and Pyp teaming up to shoot arrows, until Ygritte got Pyp; The action in the courtyard, with Janos Slynt lurking about the edges until he took refuge in the storage room with Gilly; Alliser Thorne’s semi apology/explanation to Jon for the his decision not to block the tunnel, then Thorne’s badass performance in the courtyard. He might have been a pr**k, but he was no coward. And Ten Bears pointed out in that excellent recap of Hardhome so many of the highlights. The only thing I’d add is when Jon and Tormund landed on the shores: Tormund “Do you trust me, Jon Snow?” Jon: “Does that make me a fool?”

    Whatever, at Winterfell, I think we are in for some monumentally memorable interactions between characters, and more than a few tears. After all, almost every character remaining is beloved and/or redeemed somehow, except for Cersei, and it’s going to be a torment to lose any of them. (Damn, I might even shed a tear or two when Cersei bites the dust.) I think Grey Worm will have Unsullied at the front gate, maybe being aided by men from the Golden Company or even Beric or Jorah, while Jorah keeps a watchful eye on Dany flying overhead. Maybe Arya and Sansa will have a spot at another point, and surely Jon and Tormund will be on the ramparts flinging wights off and filling them with flaming arrows.

    However it unfolds, all portents are of a masterpiece season in the making. I might even be so bold as to contradict the “producer types” and say that, yes, we will know how hard the cast and crew worked, and be ever grateful to them for it.

  62. Firannion: I’d prefer operetta: all the funny GoT characters, as rendered by Gilbert & Sullivan. Has no one done this yet?

    You know what we need? Someone to recut the Sansa/Arya/LF scenes from S7 to Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf. Any video editors here in the comments? Get on that post-haste! 🙂

  63. Full list of 150 alive characters from GoT season 1 – 7:

    All credited starring cast in the opening sequence:
    1. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
    2. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
    3. Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
    4. Jerome Flynn as Bronn
    5. Kit Harington as Jon Snow
    6. Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth
    7. Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
    8. Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Brandon Stark
    9. Maisie Williams as Arya Stark
    10. Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
    11. John Bradley as Samwell Tarly
    12. Hannah Murray as Gilly
    13. Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane
    14. Joe Dempsie as Gendry
    15. Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane
    16. Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
    17. Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei
    18. Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont
    19. Conleth Hill as Varys
    20. Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
    21. Carice van Houten as Melisandre
    22. Tom Wlaschiha as Jaqen H’ghar
    23. Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis
    24. (Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand)

    Animals
    25. Drogon (Dragon)
    26. Rhaegal (Dragon)
    27. Ghost (Direwolf)
    28. Nymeria (Direwolf)
    29. Ser Pounce (Cat)

    Selected guest starring cast:
    30. Mark Gatiss as Tycho Nestoris
    31. Anton Lesser as Qyburn
    32. Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson as Gregor Clegane
    33. Pilou Asbæk as Euron Greyjoy
    34. Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy
    35. Jacob Anderson as Grey Worm
    36. Ben Crompton as Eddison Tollett
    37. William & James Wilson as Baby Sam
    38. Richard Dormer as Beric Dondarrion
    39. Daniel Portman as Podrick Payne
    40. Tim McInnerny as Robett Glover
    41. Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont
    42. Harry Grasby as Ned Umber
    43. Megan Parkinson as Alys Karstark
    44. Richard Rycroft as Maester Wolkan
    45. Rupert Vansittart as Yohn Royce
    46. Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn
    47. Ellie Kendrick as Meera Reed
    48. Jim Broadbent as Archmaester Ebrose
    49. Tobias Menzies as Lord Edmure Tully
    50. Vladimir Furdik as the Night King

    Season 1
    51. Roger Allam as Illyrio Mopatis
    52. Wilko Johnson as Ilyn Payne
    53. Ben Hawkey as Hot Pie
    54. (Miltos Yerolemou as Syrio Forel)
    55. Emun Elliott as Marillion
    56. Mark Lewis Jones as Shagga and the Hill tribes
    57. Andrew Wilde as Tobho Mott
    58. Robert Sterne as Royal Steward
    59. Ciaran Birmingham as Mord
    60. Susie Kelly as Masha Heddle

    Season 2
    61. Lucian Msamati as Salladhor Saan
    62. Sara Dylan as Bernadette
    63. Laura Pradelska as Quaithe
    64. Steven Cole as Kovarro
    65. Robert Boroje as Malakho
    66. Sarita Piotrowski as Jhiqui
    67. Patrick Fitzsymons as Reginald Lannister
    68. Roy Dotrice as Hallyne
    69. Antonia Christophers as Mhaegen
    70. Sahara Knite as Armeca
    71. Maisie Dee as Daisy
    72. Josephine Gillan as Marei

    Season 3
    73. Alexandra Dowling as Roslin Tully
    74. Roslin and Edmure Tully’s baby
    75. Will Tudor as Olyvar
    76. Philip McGinley as Anguy
    77. Paul Bentley as the High Septon
    78. Pixie Le Knot as Kayla
    79. Elisa Lasowski as Mirelle
    80. Kylie Harris as Genna
    81. Will O’Connell as Todder

    Season 4
    82. Paola Dionisotti as Anya Waynwood
    83. Alisdair Simpson as Donnel Waynwood
    84. Richard Doubleday as Vance Corbray
    85. Dez McMahon as Endrew Tarth
    86. Gary Oliver as Ternesio Terys
    87. Deirdre Monaghan as Morag
    88. Craster’s wifes (Mothers of the White Walkers)
    89. Gordon Mahn as Imry Florent

    Season 5
    90. Enzo Cilenti as Yezzan zo Qaggaz
    91. Elizabeth Cadwallader as Lollys Stokeworth
    92. J. J. Murphy as Denys Mallister
    93. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Malko
    94. Meena Rayann as Vala
    95. (Hannah Waddingham as Septa Unella)
    96. Murray McArthur as Dim Dalba
    97. Ali Lyons as Johnna
    98. Karla Lyons as Willa

    Season 6
    99. Ania Bukstein as Kinvara
    100. Gerald Lepkowski as Zanrush
    101. Michael Feast as Aeron Greyjoy
    102. Lucy Hayes as Kitty Frey
    103. Staz Nair as Qhono
    104. Souad Faress as High Priestess of the Dosh Khaleen
    105. Hannah John-Kamen as Ornella
    106. Sean Blowers as Wyman Manderly
    107. Tom Varey as Cley Cerwyn
    108. Samantha Spiro as Melessa Tarly
    109. Rebecca Benson as Talla Tarly
    110. Richard E. Grant as Izembaro
    111. Leigh Gill as Bobono
    112. Eline Powell as Bianca
    113. Rob Callender as Clarenzo
    114. Kevin Eldon as Camello
    115. Nathanael Saleh as Arthur
    116. Annette Hannah as Frances

    Season 7
    117. Brendan Cowell as Harrag
    118. Danny Kirrane as Henk
    119. Joseph Quinn as Koner

    Presumed current Queensguard:
    120. Ser Boros Blount
    121. Ser Preston Greenfield
    122. Ser Arys Oakheart
    123. Ser Balon Swann
    124. Ser Osmund Kettleblack

    Mentioned and seen Lords throughout Westeros who may be still alive:
    125. Gerry O’Brien as Jonos Bracken
    126. Vinnie McCabe as Leo Lefford
    127. Damon and Addam Marbrand
    128. Harys Swyft
    129. Maro Drobnic as Desmond Crakehall
    130. Eldrick Sarsfield
    131. Gyles Rosby
    132. Paxter Redwyne
    133. Jason Mallister
    134. Lady Dustin

    Oberyn Martell’s remaining daughters:
    135. Obella Sand
    136. Dorea Sand
    137. Loreza Sand
    138. Sarella Sand

    Unknown faith and characters from flashbacks:
    139. Howland Reed
    140. Lyanna Stark’s midwife
    141. Maggy the Frog
    142. Melara Hetherspoon
    143. Selwyn Tarth
    144. Marya Seaworth
    145. (Alerie Tyrell)
    146. Dorna Lannister
    147. Cotter Pyke
    148. Jaremy Rykker
    149. Hobb
    150. Tysha

  64. Ole,

    Some of the characters on your list should probably be considered dead at this point, such as Ellaria Sand, Syrio Forel, and Septa Unella, but I don’t know how technical you’re trying to get. They should probably be separated from your alive list and moved to a “presumed dead” list, but ymmv.

  65. *Edit* I see they’re in parenthesis, so I assume that’s your version of saying they may or may not be alive.

  66. Ole,

    Great list! The only thing is a bunch of them are book-only characters that won’t be in the show, so it is a bit odd to use this full list when thinking of remaining characters in the show. And the flip side of that (as I’m sure you know), some characters in the books are dead but aren’t dead in the show and vise versa.

    That being said, it would be nearly impossible to make a list like this for book characters, but I believe the show-only character list would be much smaller. I see that the list is exactly 150 people long, so I’m guessing you just wanted to blend the show and books together to get to that number. But still, really cool list!

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