In last two episodes of Game of Thrones, season six, fans have been given a lot of surprises. Surprises in terms of how the story is going to go ahead and how well the actors chosen for every character can portray their part. But the director has to be given his due credits. And the director for episode 3 and episode 4, Daniel Sackheim, has done a remarkable job in giving Jon and Daenerys, a new birth, albeit in a different manner.
Daniel recently spoke about what went into the making of episode four sequence where Daenerys had burnt the temple of Dosh Khaleen and the Khal and claimed her throne again and said that, “The producers are extremely generous. I should preface this by saying that. By that I mean, some of the sequences in the script are detailed to their finest, minute detail. Some sequences are more broad ideas of where you start and where you end, and the journey. In the instance of that sequence with Daenerys, it was kind of broad strokes. You needed to do something that sets the place on fire, and the guys get trapped, and then the people are assembled outside, and they start to bow as she comes through the fire. So, you go through that process. You pitch [showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss] on how you think you should go from point A to point B: “These are the events that transpire, this is the methodology she uses.” For example, having these three or four braziers that she tips and uses to set things on fire. Just generally speaking, cinematically, how I see it. They would say, “I love this, this and this, but go back to the drawing board on that.” That process takes several weeks. Then you start to storyboard the sequence.”
“You work with the digital effects people and the stunt people, and you all jointly come up with a plan in terms of how to execute this. The interior was shot on a set we built in Belfast in a parking lot on a completely nonflammable set that we had to make look like it was on fire. The exterior was shot on location in Almería, Spain, where they’ve shot many Spaghetti Westerns. That building we actually did set on fire. That was shot over the course of two nights. The interior work was shot over the course of a week. It was close to a week and a half between the two locations. The amount of time and prep that went into it all was probably about three months or more. It took two months just to build it. It’s an amazing application, or devotion, to provide the resources for a building that burns down in about three minutes.”
He then spoke about the sequence with Jon and how it was working with him before being dead and after being dead and the transitions and said that, “We talked a lot about it. We talked a lot about it with Dan and David as well. Really, in that scene when he’s woken up and he’s coming to terms with where he is and what’s happened… we talked about, believe it or not, the Elisabeth Kübler-Ross book on the seven stages of death. We wanted to play them in reverse. Within forty-five seconds of him coming to, there was this level of surprise, confusion, denial, anger, fear, etcetera. We clicked off all of those emotions. We talked about it, not surprisingly, as a rebirth — as when a child is born, they’re sort of helpless. That’s what we wanted to communicate. For a character who has been so immensely powerful, strong and commanding, we wanted to find the absolute opposite dynamic of that. We talked about that a lot. But also, there’s a hollowness to him. He knows what’s on the other side. He knows there’s nothing on the other side. There is no afterlife.”
He truly made the episodes memorable and did a beautiful job with both Daenerys and Jon.