As we endure the annual and always agonising Game of Thrones hiatus – a hiatus we now know will be even longer than usual – it’s reassuring to know that we can always go back and re-watch the stupidly brilliant ‘Battle of the Bastards’ when we need that Westeros fix.
Immediately lauded as one of the best episodes in the show’s history, the penultimate instalment of season 6 was the epitome of what makes GoT so good when it’s on form. Nobody (SPOILERS INCOMING) who spent the best part of three and a half seasons waiting for the sadistic maniac Ramsay Bolton to get his comeuppance will have been disappointed with the gory way he met his demise.
But we digress. Back to that battle. That bloody battle. What a battle it was, and according to a Game of Thrones Comic-Con panel it might have had a different ending.
Digital Spy reports that BOTB (we’re calling it that now) director Miguel Sapochnik told ‘Thrones fans in San Diego that it had to be a ‘strategic, pitched battle’, originally based on the Battle of Agincourt, before it ended up being more like the Battle of Cannae.
Sapochnik and his team has envisioned Jon Snow’s army being circled by horses, rather than men, but scrapped that idea when they realised that the horses were unlikely to have played ball.
“Originally, we were gonna have a lot of horses, like seven-horses deep and they were gonna charge the horses… and then actually surround the allied troops and crush them with the horses.
“The trouble is, if you run horses at people, they don’t like it.
“The first time they’re alright, the second time they’re like, ‘I don’t really wanna run at these people’, the third time [the horses think], ‘I’m not going’.”
“So the decision was, we weren’t gonna run horses at people, we were going to run people at people.”
It might surprise you to learn that a show as gargantuan in size as Game of Thrones would have any budgetary considerations to worry about, but Sapochnik added that the reason that Snow’s men were surrounded by a wall of shields – other than the fact it looked really fucking cool – was because they wanted to save a bit of cash. If the shields hadn’t been there, they would have needed to show all the fighting that was presumably going in the background.
“It was all about trying to cover this big pile of chicken wire that we didn’t have time to cover,” he added.