Sophie Turner, Iwan Rheon and Gemma Whelan discuss the impact of last week’s enormous Game of Thrones episode on their characters, and director Miguel Sapochnik enlightens viewers as to why the direwolf Ghost was a no-show to the “Battle of the Bastards.”
Sophie Turner talked to HBO’s Making Game of Thrones about Sansa’s influence on the outcome of the battle between her brother and her former husband (which “Sansa wasn’t expecting to win”) and said that Jon’s reluctance to take her strategic advice the night before has sexist roots.
“I think the social boundaries of the time period that Thrones is loosely based on means that these men still view women as less capable of battle planning or anything to do with typical seemingly ‘male’ activities. Patriarchy, even in this fictional world, is very real,” she said.
She also talked about Sansa’s final confrontation with Ramsay – which was a “very, very intense” scene to film – and its significance to her character’s development.
“It means so much because it’s finally her chance to directly get revenge for what he’s done to her. Emotionally, it is so gratifying to watch this man suffer for what he’s done but also to be given the opportunity by Jon to solely take charge of something that typically would be his job. The fact that she doesn’t have to persuade him to give her this opportunity is also very important in her eyes, because it’s really the first time this season that Jon has acknowledged her as capable of taking charge.”
Iwan Rheon also discussed the scene, saying that, though he’s sad to be leaving the show (and disappointed that he couldn’t have one final meeting with Theon) he feels Ramsay’s violent demise was a fitting end for his character.
“He does talk about those dogs quite a lot, so I think fate has a sense of irony there for him. It’s a justified, gruesome, horrible ending for a horrible character. I feel glad he didn’t die in his sleep or something – he goes out with a bang.”
He addressed Ramsay’s haunting line to Sansa, “You can’t kill me, I’m part of you now.” Rheon doesn’t think Ramsay really believed Sansa’s statement that his legacy will be lost, partly because “he’s put his mark on her.”
“It’s really twisted, but I think he’s kind of right,” he said. “He has broken her in a really dark way, but, thankfully, she has found her strength. It’s great to have another strong female character in the show.”
Despite its title, episode 9 wasn’t only about northern politics. We also got to see Yara Greyjoy forge an alliance with the Dragon Queen in a scene that Gemma Whelan told Making Game of Thrones she was thrilled to film. “I was so excited when I saw that I had a scene with [Daenerys and Tyrion].”
Whelan discussed the developing rapport between the two aspiring queens. Though Yara initially felt “enormous trepidation” about their meeting, “it’s clear as the scene plays out that Yara quite likes Dany. We share a lot of little looks and there’s some playful language in how we talk to one another – Dany asks if the Iron Islands ever had a queen, and Yara says, ‘No more than Westeros.’ They recognize the girl power undertow between the two of them.”
She also admitted that she was surprised, herself, at how quickly Yara agreed to abolish the time-honored ironborn practice of reaving and raping.
“I think at that moment, Yara knows that she’s got to cut something that means a great deal to her for the long game. Yara recognizes that her whole way of life has changed anyway. As it stands, she’s not welcome back at the Iron Islands, so sacrificing that way of life possibly isn’t that big of a deal. She’s taking a leap and teaming up with someone who’s got other ways of doing things. In a very quick amount of time, she has to play that chess game and say, ‘OK, no more.'”
And finally, we have a direct answer as to why Jon’s direwolf Ghost was suspiciously absent from “Battle of the Bastards.”
Director Miguel Sapochnik spoke with Business Insider, saying “[Ghost] was in there in spades originally, but it’s also an incredibly time consuming and expensive character to bring to life,” he says. “Ultimately we had to choose between Wun-Wun and the direwolf, so the dog bit the dust.”
Sapochnik explained the process of creating the giant as having to “shoot multiple layers for each shot,” with extras reacting to the actor who isn’t even there, since the footage with Ian Whyte as Wun Wun was filmed “months later on a green screen stage.”