“Game of Thrones” Season 6 episode 9 director Miguel Sapochnik talks about the biggest battle sequence in the show’s history.
“Game of Thrones” “Battle of the Bastards” was shot so well it had people talking about it days after being shown. This should come as no surprise as Sapochnik also directed ‘Hardhome’, arguably the best episode of season 5.
Entertainment Weekly sat down with Miguel Sapochnik to get into the details of the biggest battle sequence of “Game of Thrones” and how he managed to pull it off. He also talked about the epic show of force in Mereen which showcased the capabilities Daenerys’ dragons.
When asked about the making of last Sunday’s episode, he described it as “The most logistically complicated thing I’ve ever been involved in.”
Instead of following tradition in filming large battle scenes where aerial shots showing the entirety of the battle is the norm, Sapochnik opted to film at ground level. He reasoned that he was interested to see what it feels like to be on the ground “when sh** happens.”
The perfectly executed scene did give fans that gut-wrenching feeling of being in a real battle, filled with fear, disgust, and anger. Using real historical battles as inspiration, particularly the Battles of Agincourt and Cannae, the “Battle of the Bastards” brought the realism of war to viewers.
The director also revealed that filming the episode was a battle in itself. Working with several hundred extras, crew, extras, and horses was made worse by Northern Ireland’s wet climate. There was a previous report that says it was epicly expensive too.
Another hurdle was the schedule, with the sheer scale of “Battle of the Bastards” making it impossible to follow the entire script. Fortunately, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff gave Sapochnik the freedom to “have at it”.
Compared to the scenes from Mereen, where most of the scenes were created in a computer rather than in a wide open field, it was an uphill battle. Daenerys’ scenes were also filmed in Northern Ireland where the crew needed to burn men and boats, though not for real of course.
Miguel Sapochnik will also direct “Game of Thrones” season finale titled “Winds of Winter.” Catch it this Sunday exclusively on HBO.