[This article contains SPOILERS for Game of Thrones ‘Battle of the Bastards.’]
Yes, Game of Thrones’ ‘Battle of the Bastards’ is complete, and battle that took up much of episode 9 certainly lived up to expectations. While the episode took its time in Meereen with separate, smaller battle sequence, the entire second half of the hour was taken up by the titular battle itself, which pitted the Stark forces, Wildlings, and other assorted allies against the Warden of the North, Ramsay Bolton.
After a deadly battle that featured a lot of blood, and piles and piles of corpses, the Stark side emerged victorious, with an assist from the returning Knights of the Vale. The Stark banners were once again unfurled at Winterfell, and Ramsay Bolton is dead. But the episode wasn’t without its tragedies for the Stark side of the fight, as Rickon Stark caught a fatal arrow, and it appeared Wun Wun the giant met his untimely demise as well.
Now that the episode has aired, HBO has released a pair of videos looking at the Battle of the Bastards. The first looks at the making of the battle sequence itself.
“As soon as we wrote episode nine, we know that it was going to have to operate on a scale we have never operated on before,” co-showrunner D.B. Weiss says in the video. The producers note that this sequence differs from past major battle sequences in key ways: It’s not shot at night, there’s not much in terms of dialogue during the fighting and rather than a massacre (like last year’s ‘Hardhome’ battle) it’s a competitive battle. The video also goes into the strategy of the battle, in the way that Jon goes after Rickon, even if it means falling into the trap of getting his forces surrounded. Kit Harington, who plays Jon, also shares that he had to stand still as 40 horses charged directly at him. We hear from the Horsemistress, and production designer, who shares that it was necessary that every prop body in the pile of corpses needed to be wearing the correct uniform. And the director shares that the Jon/Ramsay fight scene was filmed over 10 hours.
The other new video features three actors — Harrington, Sophie Turner, and Iwan Rheon — discussing their work in the episode:
This video contains much of the same footage of the first, but goes more into the motivations of the actors. Rheon, who will be making his exit from the series, even says he thought Ramsay had a good plan for the battle. But by the end, he ended up comparing Ramsay’s last stand to “Hitler in his bunker in his last days.”
So what can fans expect from the finale? Well, positive as this week was for the “good guys” of the show, anyone who has watched Game of Thrones knows it’s never happily ever after — especially when Littlefinger is involved. What will Lord Baelish demand, after delivering Winterfell back to the Starks? Will there be other intrigue involving the other Northern houses? And who rules the North now, Sansa, or Jon Snow?
The Game of Thrones season 6 finale, ‘The Winds of Winter,’ airs Sunday, June 26, 2016 on HBO.