Last night’s Game of Thrones episode featured a couple of intense, spectacular battle scenes but one stood out above the rest.
[Warning: The following contains spoilers for Game of Thrones season seven, episode four.]
The final scene of the episode, which saw Jaime Lannister and his collection of soldiers take on the fierce Dothraki army alongside Daenerys Targaryen and her dragon Drogon, was one of the most spectacular. It’s a 10-minute, highly choreographed scene that focuses on a number of different elements. The scene is chaotic, and that’s why it was important to have the focus remain on one character, according to director Matt Shakman.
Shakman said one of the challenges he had was finding a chief point of view amidst a sea of important characters involved in the battle. One of the reasons he landed on Jaime was because the character represented the biggest change Westeros was going to see. Dragons were very much back, alive and well. Daenerys Targaryen was no longer a possible threat, but a real issue that the Lannisters will have to contend with.
The team designed the scene to make audiences feel like they shouldn’t know who to root for. While Jaime’s point of view gets the most play, it’s not the only important one. This was Daenerys making her grand debut. This was Tyrion’s most conflicted moment, watching the woman he’s vowed to serve take on the brother that he loves very much.
Beyond the emotional aspects of the scene, which makes it stand out above others, is just how brutal the battle was. There were men on fire, dying grotesque deaths; Shakman doesn’t shy away from the horrors of war, but uses the tools at his disposal to illustrate how crushing it is. The video goes over the technicalities that came with setting multiple men on fire and ensuring the cast was OK with what they were doing and seeing. It’s a tough, intense scene and, based on the conversations had in the video, it was a tough one for the actors involved, too.
As the show progresses, the battle sequences will only get longer and more extreme, but this video confirms just how much effort goes into creating these moments like last night’s climactic scene. HBO has the talent — and financial backing — to do even more, which is very, very exciting.
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.