Game of Thrones showrunners and director talk about The Spoils of War’s epic battle scene
Game of Thrones has a history of depicting the most amazing battle scenes ever and each one of them just keeps getting better and better. It started with the Battle of Blackwater Bay, then there was Hardhome and later Battle of the Bastards. Expectations are usually high when it comes to the battle sequences on Game of Thrones and the latest one hasn’t disappointed. Episode 4 of season 7, ‘The Spoils of War’ delivered one of the most unbelievable battle scenes we’ve ever witnessed.
Daenerys Targaryen‘s massive attack on the unsuspecting Lannister army with the Dothraki horde plus her best weapon and dragon baby Drogon made up for a brilliant fiery battle scene that’s etched in the mind of every viewer. But an epic battle scene such as that doesn’t come easy. Tremendous amount of effort, editing, and money goes into creating something this mind-blowing. Director Matt Shakman and show runners David Benioff and D.B Weiss discussed the making of this battle.
David Benioff spoke to EW about it, saying, “It was an extraordinary directing from Matt Shakman, who came in with a lot of pressure on his shoulders. He’s a phenomenal director, but he’s mostly known for doing shows like The Good Wife, which is an excellent smart drama, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which is an excellent smart comedy. He’s never done a major battle like this. And it worked because of the massive planning he put into it and the crew really coming together. It’s very difficult to shoot a three-dimensional battle in terms of like the ground forces, the sky element… it was a lot to pull off.”
It’s the first major battle we’ve ever done that has a cavalry and creature effects — and it happens to include lots of things catching on fire. We’ve never really blown s— up like we’ve done in this episode,” D.B Weiss said.
This battle scene set the record for most people simultaneously being set on fire for entertainment purposes. Most movies and tv shows use special effects to create fire, but Game of Thrones used actual fire on the extras. 20 people were set on fire all at once, with over 72 fire burns for a single shot: a record breaking event for the first time on television.
Shakman spoke about the episode as well and what he wanted to do with it. “I wanted to tell the story of what it would be like to be on the ground in the middle of a dragon attack, to see what it’s like; to be in a napalm attack, to see the birth of a new weapon,” he said. “And all of a sudden the Lannister army — which is a Roman army in a way, an army of order and precision, who can handle pretty much any obstacle — they encounter something they cannot handle and realize that war has changed forever. Jaime, especially, is a great soldier and realizes this is going to be a new era.”
He went on, describing how he wanted the concluding scene of the episode to turn out. “There’s a point where we think someone is going to die — either Jaime or Dany. And when he charges, it’s meant to be the most beautiful death you’ve ever seen. He’s charging through the ash and, in a way, tilting at windmills like Don Quixote. Then he’s obviously saved at the last second — from the dragon fire at least.”
It is certainly not easy to create something as complicated as a fire-breathing dragon over a battlefield where 20 people are set ablaze all at once. The makers discussed the filming of this episode during a behind the scenes video, and it’ll astound you just as much as the episode itself. Check it out below and tell us what you think in the comments: