Everyone is here. But also? There’s a good chance that a good chunk of them is also very dead.
Entertainment Weekly has just dropped a new cover story for Game of Thrones’ final season, detailing the biggest battle the show has ever done—and one of the biggest battles ever committed to film, full stop. Directed by Miguel Sapochnik (known to Thrones fans for both the Nights Watch’s battle with the White Walkers in “Hardhome” and Jon Snow’s corpse-mountain bloodbath with Ramsay Bolton in “Battle of the Bastards”), the sequence has a lot to live up to, but it sounds like it’s shaping up to be one of the most important sequences in the entirety of Game of Thrones’ history.
Where? Winterfell. When? Just when the Night King and his undead hordes are passing through having broken down the Wall last season. With who? Well, a lot of people, but Tyrion, Brienne, Arya, Sansa, Jon, Jorah, The Hound, and Dany are all namedropped as participants, with seemingly more on the way—because it’s actually the largest gathering of main Game of Thrones protagonists in once sequence since the very first episode of the show.
But this is Game of Thrones, and when you mix a gigantic bloody battle with zombies and a large number of beloved characters, you can guarantee that not all of them make it out of the battle alive (EW even teases a moment from filming with “beloved” characters laying dead at Winterfell’s gates). And if it’s dire for our heroes, by the sounds of it, the monumental 11-week shoot for the fight was just as dire for the stars, according to Iain Glen:
It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones. A real test, really miserable. You get to sleep at seven in the morning and when you wake in the midday you’re still so spent you can’t really do anything, and then you’re back. You have no life outside it. You have an absolute f—ked bunch of actors. But without getting too method [acting] about it, on screen it bleeds through to the reality of the Thrones world.
What does breaking the cast of Game of Thrones for nearly three months of shooting get you? A battle that not even the near 40-minute runtime of the battle of Helm’s Deep in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers can match up against, according to Sapochnik. So buckle up, Thrones fans: you’re gonna get something bloody, bloody long, and bloody awesome when Game of Thrones final season begins April 14.
Bring snacks. Just...maybe ones you’d still want to eat while watching beloved characters get butchered by the undead for an hour. Head on over to EW to read a lot more cryptic hints for the battles to come.