The end of Game of Thrones is nigh. But before then, we’re gearing up for the Battle of Winterfell, which is casually being touted as the largest fight scene in movie and TV history. So we couldn’t help but wonder: What goes into a filming and coordinating a Game of Thrones fight scene anyway? As it turns out, the word “banana” is a major component.
“It needs to look like a complete maniacal riot, but you have to make sure that no one gets so much as a chipped tooth or a sprained ankle,” Irlam explained. “We’re trying to make it look as dangerous as possible, but we also try to keep it as safe as possible.”
So how does he accomplish that? By introducing a safe word, of course. But, as Irlam explained, it’s not a Fifty Shades of Grey–type of safe word. It’s actually kind of funny.
Irlam revealed, “When we’re doing these battles and people are screaming and crying and dying, you might not know if anyone’s in trouble. So our safe word was always ‘banana.’ If someone started shouting ‘banana!’ at the top of their voice, you’d know they’re in trouble.”
The stunt coordinator went on to explain that Kirstofer Hivju, who plays Tormund, and Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah, are the most spirited fighters of the bunch. “Kristofer is very full-on, but in a very positive way. He’ll go, ‘Hey, Rowley, I’ve got this great idea. I think I’m gonna jump on this guy and kick this guy in the head!’ And you have to go, ‘No, no, Kristofer, we can’t do that,’” he laughed.
As for Jorah, Irlam says, “Iain Glen is a very serious actor, and he’s very physical,” so much so that the stunt people who work with him call the bruises they get from fighting with him a “Jorah badge of honor.”
You go, Ser Jorah.