After his first dragon ride on this week’s Game of Thrones premiere, Jon Snow and Varys almost had something unfortunate in common. In Game Revealed, HBO’s behind-the-scenes series about Game of Thrones’ final season, actor Kit Harington revealed the almost-harrowing story of filming season 8’s first episode.
With one of the standout moments of season 8’s first episode involving Jon Snow’s first real dragon ride, it’s no surprise that the scene features heavily in the making-of feature, but it turns out it wasn’t as much fun to film as you might think. For Harington, the shoot ended up being dangerous in the worst possible way.
“In my head, I thought, ‘This is how it ends, on this buck, swinging me around by my testicles,’” said Harington. “Sorry, probably too much information.”
The buck he’s referring to is a mechanized rig, similar to a mechanical bull, that stands in for the dragon that would later be painted over with CG. As we see in the documentary, Harington rides the buck against a green screen reacting to the dragon flight. In order to give the actor a real sensation of flying, and the show’s often temperamental dragons, the buck isn’t exactly peaceful while the actor’s on top of it. Harrington explains, “The dragon swings ’round really violently, like this. And my right ball got trapped, and I didn’t have time to say, ‘Stop!’ And I was being swung ’round.”
It’s worth remembering that before this, the only cast member who had likely had experience with these dragon shoots, and riding the buck, was Emilia Clarke, who plays Daenerys on the show. So, maybe the crew wasn’t quite ready for the ... extra complications that came with Harington’s ride.
Thankfully, it seems things got sorted out, as the scene that made it into the final episode provided one of its best moments — and doesn’t appear to have left anyone with permanent damage. Or if it did, they didn’t tell us in the documentary.