It’s become a tradition. Each season of Game Of Thrones has to have a big battle that tops the big battle of the previous season. Not just in terms of sheer numbers but in terms of complexity and nastiness. Season six will no different and once again the major skirmish will take place in episode nine with writer/producer Bryan Cogman and executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss telling Entertainment Weekly that this battle will dwarf all previous battles, while also bring a whole new level of strategy to filmed conflicts.
“It’s definitely the biggest,” says Cogman. “We’ve always wanted to get to a place – story-wise and budget-wise and time-wise and resource-wise – where we would be able to do a proper battle, with one army on one side, one army on another side.”
“We wondered, ‘Why don’t you see more fully fleshed-out battles in movies and TV?’,” adds Dan Weiss. “Then you get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to actually shoot these things in a way that isn’t just helter-skelter chaos but actually gives you a sense of battle geography and the ebb and flow, and you realise why.”
To shoot the action, which according to Winter Is Coming, took nearly 13 weeks in Saintfield in Northern Ireland, the showrunners brought back director Miguel Sapochnik, who called the shots on season five’s breathtaking White Walker carnage in “Hardhome”. Apparently a lot of snow and smoke was involved but all sources agree, it will be a White Walker-free zone this time.
“Miguel did such a fantastic job with ‘Hardhome’ we thought we should bring him back – this time with horses,” says David Benioff. “Horses are not easy, at all. And certainly in terms of numbers – number of extras, number of stuntmen, number of shooting days – it’s the biggest we’ve done.”
The producers are giving no clues about who might be on each side, but if you want some major spoilers (even the name fans are giving to the battle is a bit of a giveaway) then you can find them here. We say again, these are MAJOR spoilers.