Miguel Sapochnik is back to direct another Game of Thrones episode. This is huge news since he is the Emmy-winning director of the iconic Battle of the Bastards from Season 6. This Sunday's episode is promising to top any battle that has ever been shown on the hit HBO series and fans have been waiting over a year to see it. While the waiting is hard, Sapochnik reveals making the episode was a lot harder than waiting over a year for it and describes it as "survival horror." This article is SPOILER-Free.
The Army of the Dead has arrived and Westeros is barely prepared. Things are about to go down, and it feels like Game of Thrones fans have no idea what they're in for. To give an idea of the massive scope of Sunday's episode alone, Miguel Sapochnik started working on it back in June of 2017, nearly 2 years ago. The episode is going to be an all-out war, which was a particular challenge, even with so much prep time. Sapochnik describes the incredible process he and the cast and crew went through to make the episode, which you can read below.
"It's been six- and seven-day weeks, 16-to-18 hour days and, yeah, it's a lot. I knew that was a lot when I came on board. I felt more confident because I've got a format now for how to approach (the episodes) and break them down into pieces. As usual, the scripts are bigger than what we actually end up making. The process of whittling it down took longer this time. Because David (Benioff) and Dan (Weiss) wanted everything. We all want everything but we were up against the reality of what we could achieve in the time we had. The thing I've put the most hours into was is how, in episode 3, how to not have an audience feel battle fatigue. After 20 minutes of watching a battle, you're over it. So how do you stop it from being a battle in that sense?"
To prepare for the action in Sunday's Game of Thrones episode, Miguel Sapochnik watched The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers to get a handle on shooting an episode so heavy on battle. The director estimates there will be over an hour of battle when the episode arrives tomorrow night, which is huge for GOT fans. However, that was another challenge for Sapochnik. He explains.
"This is survival horror. That's the whole episode for me. What we realized is you look at like Assault on Precinct 13 - movies where a group is under siege - usually there's an ensemble cast and a central theme in there. So I've been trying to work out whose story this is. That's different than the stuff I've done previously which was generally from Jon's perspective. Here I've got 20-some cast members and everyone would like it to be their scene. That's complicated because I find the best battle sequences are when you have a strong point of view, and here the point of view is objective even when you go from one person's story to another. Because when you're cutting back and forth, (the perspective) becomes objective whether you want it to or not. I keep thinking, 'Whose story am I telling right now? And what restrictions does that place on me that become a good thing?'"
Game of Thrones fans know Season 8 episode 3 is going to be completely insane and some death is expected. But who will die and who will survive? That is the main mystery at this point in time. Fans are rooting for their favorite characters, but we all know nothing is permanent with this particular show. One of the big theories floating around is the Night King controlling the Winterfell Crypts, which would not be a good thing for the living who are locked down there for safety.
It's amazing to see how much time and effort went into making one episode of the hit series. Game of Thrones is always pushing boundaries, but this is nuts and one can easily see how taxing making the show is on the cast and crew. For now, fans will have to wait patiently for the episode to arrive. After that, we'll be halfway through the final season. The interview with Miguel Sapochnik was originally conducted by Entertainment Weekly.