Game of Thrones director Daniel Sackheim took to Reddit yesterday to answer fans’ questions about his episodes, “Oathbreaker” and “Book of the Stranger.” Here are some of the more noteworthy and interesting answers to come out of that.
First, a couple of questions about his directing of specific moments and interactions:
Q: You directed what I, as well as many others, consider to be one of the most iconic scenes in Jon and Sansa’s reunion. Between their meeting in the courtyard to their discussion by the fireplace, what were some things you wanted to nail down to give the audience those heartwarming moments? These are characters that have changed drastically from when we first met them, so I’m curious as to how you approached this.
A: The characters had not seen each other for a number of years (six seasons) and so what we discussed was that it should seem almost dream like to them, and that there would be some tentativeness to their actions. It was about stringing along the anticipation of the reunion as long as possible to create the feeling of longing and so that the moment they hugged would feel earned and satisfying.
Q Thank you so much for the comedic breaks! It truly does help cut into some of the melodrama. My question: How much of the Tormund/Brienne dynamic was written into the script, and how much was your whim?
(Yes, I am shamelessly trolling for any hope that this ship might sail.)
A: That was definitely written into the script, however we did play around a bit with it on set, tonally. I will say I was amazed by the reception that flirtation received on the internet. It was surprising certainly because Brienne’s character has been driven largely by duty and honor, and we’ve never gotten to seen her as a sexual being. Torment, is… well he’s a Wildling, so enough said there. It was a very unexpected development.
And then some about working with the cast:
Q: Hey Daniel, thanks for your time! Who was the actor that most surprised you when directing your episodes? Also, who did you have the best time working with? Thanks!
A: Lena Headey was the most surprising. She would routinely come to set with very specific ideas, some of them different from my take on the scene. She would say, just let me try it this way and if you don’t like it I’ll do it differently. At every turn her ideas were inspired and that’s what ended up on screen. I had a ball working with Iain Glen
Q: I wanted to ask if there’s anyone on set who tends to stay in character between scenes or does everyone just start chatting normally as soon as you shout cut? I find it hard to imagine, as nice as he is in real life, Kit Harington stop brooding about between shots. Also I hear Conleth Hill is hilarious on set and makes people break constantly, as the director does it make you laugh too or is it at all annoying?
A: I would say as a rule, most of the actors break character after the camera cuts. Sophie Turner, for example is a real cutup. Conleth and Peter Dinklage love to take the piss out of each other. They cast are very close, and while they work very hard, they like to try and keep the atmosphere on set light.
Lastly, some lore and plot related questions:
Q: Hi Daniel, can you tell if the sword that Arthur Dayne sticks in the ground at the beggining of the Tower of Joy fight scene is DAWN?
A: Yes it is.
Q: Why do you think the “Pink Letter” theory got so popular? Would you change anything knowing what you know now about that scene? Thanks!!
A: My understanding of the theory is that the letter was not written by Ramsay, correct? I went on record with Tech Insider that it was written by Ramsay. No idea why this theory has gained traction.
Q: Hi, great work! Are you positive that is Shaggydog’s head? Kinda small for a direwolf, if you ask me…
A: Your right it does seem small. I had the same question, but I was assured by the creature maker that was responsible for crafting the head that it was the correct size. Good question.
WinterPhil: What a fascinating way to word that last answer. It definitely lends a bit more fuel to the fire that the Umbers are setting Ramsay up and Rickon is in on it. If that is the case though, it does make Osha’s death even more tragic. Either she wasn’t aware of the plans or had no choice but to go to Ramsay so as not to ruin the surprise of a later betrayal. Poor Osha.
The rest of Sackheim’s answers were more straight-forward but no less interesting. It’s always great to get these behind-the-scenes glimpses into the production decisions and what it is like working on this show. Thanks Dan!