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“I wanted to kill everyone” in the Battle of Winterfell, reveals director Miguel Saponchik

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Remember all the cribbing about “too few deaths” in the Battle of Winterfell? Director Miguel Saponchik agrees. The long-time Game of Thrones director who helmed Season 8 episode 3 ‘The Long Night’, told Indiewire’s Filmmaker Toolkit Podcast that he was perfectly up for killing “everyone” in the battle, but showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss did not agree.

Have it from Saponchik’s own words:

“I wanted to kill everyone. I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning. I was up for killing absolutely everyone. I wanted it to be ruthless, so that in the first 10 minutes you say, ‘All bets are off; anyone could die.’ And David and Dan didn’t want to. There was a lot of back-and-forth on that.”

The Battle of Winterfell, while being a high point of the show, has been criticized on several grounds, and an unbelievably small death toll is one of them. A lot of characters did die in the episode, but all the main characters survived, including someone as inept as Samwell Tarly, which did not make sense for a battle supposedly so deadly. Looks like Saponchik also thought the same.

But unlike angry fans who wanted Season 8 to be remade entirely, Saponchik is at peace with the way things worked out. In speaking of his creative equation with creators Benioff and Weiss, Saponchik says:

“It was a sustained engagement. I got to really question and argue with them, and I’ve learned with them when to stop arguing because there comes a point when they dig in and you just don’t want to be there.” 

At the end of the day, Game of Thrones is Benioff and Weiss’ show and their vision. As Saponchik says:

“I didn’t come up with the show and make it. I am a hired director to go and do that. They have let me in and let me be involved, and I’ve really loved doing that. But final cut is not mine. Final cut is theirs; it’s their choice.”

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.

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