Nothing good comes easy—just ask the Game of Thrones cast and crew.
The crew went to great lengths (about 40,000 steps a day to be exact) to keep the season eight spoiler tea from being spilled. In fact, production of the final season was so top secret it was filmed in a government-protected airspace in Northern Ireland.
Then, of course, there’s the epic battle between good (Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen) and evil (the Night King and his army). The great battle of Winterfell is expected to be the longest consecutive battle ever filmed and it brings together about as many GoT characters as a Marvel movie. Filming a fight scene like that doesn’t happen on a whim.
Game of Thrones co-executive producer Bryan Cogman reflected on the experience, saying, “What we have asked the production team and crew to do this year truly has never been done in television or in a movie. This final face-off between the Army of the Dead and the army of the living is completely unprecedented and relentless and a mixture of genres even within the battle…It’s been exhausting but I think it will blow everybody away.”
So, what went into filming the long-awaited face-off? Well, 11 weeks of night shoots in 30-degree weather with 750 people on set. Oh, did we mention the mud, horse manure and icy rain?
It was a grueling task not even Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) was expecting. “Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop,” she explained. “You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do…there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
Soul crushing or not, we can’t wait to watch the battle begin when Game of Thrones returns on Sunday, April 14, at 9 p.m. on HBO.