If you watched last week’s episode of Game of Thrones and thought the climactic battle sequence seemed faster paced, darker and more chaotic than previous large-scale fight sequences on the show, there’s a reason for it.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season seven, episode two.]
When Euron Greyjoy descended upon the Sand Snakes with his massive ship, The Silence, and his army of men, the episode devolved into chaos. The framerate was sped up, the lighting became even darker than usual for a Game of Thrones episode, and it felt claustrophobic with too many people placed in front of the camera.
All of this was purposely crafted by the special effects and stunt coordination team. In a behind-the-scenes video released by HBO, director Mark Mylod it was meant to feel like the audience wasn’t catching everything, adding that there was a different act of terror occurring in every corner.
“We agreed that the violence should be brutal and feel un-choreographed, that it shouldn’t feel structured,” Mylod said.
Rowley Irlam, a stunt coordinator on Game of Thrones, said the scene was inspired by riots where it quickly descends into violence. Irlam said in those moments, there is a catalyst that throws everything into an unforeseeable madness. The Game of Thrones team wanted to take that immediate reaction to explosive drama and apply it to the scene.
Due to the level of maelstrom surrounding the scene, it was equally important to have characters that could keep it grounded. It’s why Mylod decided to make Euron, Yara and Theon Greyjoy the scene’s primary concern. While violence erupts around them, the audience can focus on the conversation taking place and the emotional turmoil the characters are going through.
Although the battle was much different from previous fight sequences, which tend to slow down the movements so the audience can see what’s happening, it acted as a terrific introduction to the level of depravity Euron is capable of. With a few hostages (possibly), Euron is headed back to King’s Landing to deliver his promised “gift” to Cersei Lannister.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.