HBO might not want to release an absurdly vague synopsis for the next episode of Game of Thrones, but they would like you to know that the big bastard-y brawl between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton due in the next episode happened because of a ton of people’s gruelling work. Yes, “Battle of the Bastards” will finally see Jon Snow and his allies take the fight to Ramsay, with the Stark’s ancestral home of Winterfell on the line for whichever one of them makes it out alive. But Entertainment Weekly has revealed some nifty factoids about the scale of the work that went into filming the scenes, which took place at Saintfield in Northern Ireland, and it really hammers home just how crazily huge Game of Thrones‘ production can be.
According to the site, 600 crew members — from cameramen to propmasters — had a hand in working on the scene, which itself featured 500 extras, 70 horses and 25 stunt actors (on top of the principal cast!) that will be duplicated through CGI to turn those 500 real people into thousands of soldiers. Also, fun fact: The extras were split into Stark and Bolton sides and trained separately, to breed a competitive rivalry ahead of filming. No expense spared!
Seriously, no expenses were spared: The episode also brought 145,150kg of gravel — 160 tonnes — to Northern Ireland, just so the horses could fight on something approaching solid ground instead of mud.
Entertainment Weekly doesn’t offer an exact cost, but considering an average episode of Game of Thrones costs takes around 10 days to shoot and has a budget of a whopping $US10 million ($13.5 million), the fact that “Battle of the Bastards” took 25 days to film means that it likely cost quite a bit more than usual, even before you start factoring all those hidden gravel fees. Only a few more days before we get to see it in action!