‘Game of Thrones’ Director Talks Recent White Walker Scene & Leaping Ahead of the Books

Published 4 months ago by

Game of Thrones Nights King Game of Thrones Director Talks Recent White Walker Scene & Leaping Ahead of the Books

[WARNING! This post contains SPOILERS for Game of Thrones season 4, episode 4.]

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David Benioff and D.B. Weiss took a creative gamble with their television adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s epic fantasy novels A Song of Ice and Fire, and the cultural phenomenon which followed is here to stay. Last week’s episode of HBO’s Game of Thrones reached a series high point in ratings, with 7 million viewers tuning in to the episode titled ‘Oathkeeper.

The episode continued to track the changes in Westeros in the wake of the “Purple Wedding,” but it’s fair to say that no one in the audience was prepared for the final scene. Fans of the show and longtime readers of the books were all surprised to see the episode visit territory where even Martin’s books had yet to tread: the court of the Night’s King, where a White Walker delivers Craster’s last son into the fold of the Others.

Written by Bryan Cogman and directed by Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead alum Michelle MacLaren, ‘Oathkeeper’ signaled the beginning of some long-promised changes from the source material. While the show has taken certain liberties from the very beginning, this is the first time we’ve been shown something the books never mention (at least, so far).

MacLaren recently spoke to THR about the episode’s big reveal and hinted at what’s in store in season 4′s fifth episode, titled ‘First of His Name,’ which MacLaren also directed. The director read the ‘Oathkeeper’ script and was just as surprised as the fans to discover the big scene, saying:

“I was so blown away to find out what they are doing with the babies. I thought ‘Wow.’ I was very excited to do that.”

MacLaren added that “I had thought they ate the babies – isn’t that horrible?” Truth is, almost everyone else likely thought the same.

Game of Thrones Beyond the Wall 1024x574 Game of Thrones Director Talks Recent White Walker Scene & Leaping Ahead of the Books

The director went into detail about what showrunners Weiss and Benioff wanted to reveal. The last scene of the episode was a big surprise, but still left some aspects of that realm quite purposely vague. According to MacLaren:

“We saw very little of the White Walkers other than the one on the horse. There’s a lineup of blurry figures and we pull back over the baby. Presumably those are White Walkers, but we left that somewhat of a mystery on purpose.”

As for what’s in store, she offered few real details, but did praise the Game of Thrones showrunners for their vision, saying:

“Dan and David are such great writers. It’s exciting to see where they are going to go moving beyond the books, which is starting to happen more and more.”

Game of Thrones Purple Wedding Aftermath Preview Game of Thrones Director Talks Recent White Walker Scene & Leaping Ahead of the Books

There is still a significant chunk left of A Storm of Swords, Book Three of A Song of Ice and Fire, to cover in season 4, and longtime readers know about some of the major battles still to come. MacLaren also said that she filmed in “the deepest mud” for the next episode, and while the “deepest mud” comment immediately bring the troubles north of the Wall immediately to mind, the lands of Essos and Westeros are perhaps the muddiest fictional locations on television.

The White Walker scene is just one indication that even more changes from the source material are on the horizon. Some recent episode summaries point toward the appearance of storylines from Books Four and Five later this season, which begs the question of just what season 4′s climax will look like. There are several places in Book Three that could serve as strong cliffhangers – will the showrunners end on any of them or choose to hold them over to season 5?

Fans of the book might be wise to expect something entirely new and unexpected to end this season on, so let the speculation begin.

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Game of Thrones airs Sundays @9pm on HBO.

Source: THR

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  1. SPOILERS – i’m hoping they end the season just like book – SPOILERS – with Lady Stoneheart

    • Seems likely but who knows.

      The comment that got me was the “presumably, they are White Walkers”.

      Is that bluff or double bluff? Are they or not and if not, who are they?

      Really can’t wait to find out.

  2. Spoiler: I think (and hope) they end with Tyrion’s final deed in the tower of the hand and then have the lady stoneheart coda at the end.

    • Typically major moments in GoT has come in the 9th episode, so I’m expecting Tyrion in the tower then, and hopefully Lady Stoneheart in the final episode.

      • I think episode 9 will be like the Blackwater episode where it takes place entirely in one location, this time being The Wall. That would push the tower scene to episode 10.

  3. I don’t know why that was such a big deal. Although he wasn’t show the nights king directly in the books, he has mentioned then both as a bedtime type of sorry to stark kids as well as crasters wives talking about this exact scene. They very well might not even show this nights king again untill season 6 or 7 in my opinion. And the only reasons my fellow book fans might be unhappy with this is because 1 they are snobs who think that any deviation the show makes from the book is a mistake and 2 they don’t like being as much in the dark about what’s going on in the world of game of thrones as the none book readers are. P’s I really home they introduce young Griff either at the end of the season or at least some time next season

    • Heaven forbid people enjoy reading something before they see it on tv. The show has been okay, not great, for a lot of us “snobs” and a lot of us would prefer to see this go down by GRRM’s hand, not two average tv writers. They should have told us this season (that episode) would involve something that was ahead of the books. It has nothing to do with either of the points you made above. You’re just a rude person.

      • Yes i am rude and you are someone who obviously doesn’t read comments correctly. I said i too have read the book. I love them as well. But just because the show deviates from the books doesn’t make it bad. They have been saying for a long time that the show is going to diverge from The books so yes technically they did give us a heads up. Also you have to realize some stuff from the books have to be left out because they are too difficult to translate from writing material to actual live action. And the very least you should see this as a Lil teaser to the next book

        • Yep, I agree with matt here (didn’t think he was being rude, either). It’s like the comic book fans who assumed Iron Man 3 would be an exact translation of the Extremis storyline and then were angry that it wasn’t and that they changed aspects of it.

          I haven’t read the books but I think the show is the best I’ve ever seen and if it deviates from the books then cool, I won’t have a feeling of deja vu when I eventually get round to buying and reading the books.

          • Exactly that’s what I love about it! It’s almost like watching an alternative universe but everything still leads to the same basic points

            • As someone who has read all the books and novellas i do not think they spoiled the book at all i knew all the stories old nan were telling were likely true when i read it, also i knew there were some greater power controlling these white walkers i dont even think the night’s king really is the big bad beyond the wall but rather the women who turned him that he saw back when he was the 13th commander of the nights watch so the might have just given us a small sample of a lot of other crazy things to come later on… old nan does mention giant white spiders, some zombie mamoths, zombie dire polar bar, zombie dire boar, a lot of white walkers and a lot of wights there is a difference white walkers were armor and have magic swords wights are just regular zombies with blue eyes

              • I really hope they introduce all of the giant spiders and bears ect. That they have

    • As someone who has read all the books and novellas i do not think they spoiled the book at all i knew all the stories old nan were telling were likely true when i read it, also i knew there were some greater power controlling these white walkers i dont even think the night’s king really is the big bad beyond the wall but rather the women who turned him that he saw back when he was the 13th commander of the nights watch so the might have just given us a small sample of a lot of other crazy things to come later on… old nan does mention giant white spiders, some zombie mamoths, zombie dire polar bar, zombie dire boar, a lot of white walkers and a lot of wights there is a difference white walkers were armor and have magic swords wights are just regular zombies with blue eyes

  4. Thanks to everyone who warned about spoilers in the comments, so I skip and do not read those comments, since I haven’t read the books. I just started reading book 1 and I’m loving it!! Hope the tv show keeps loyal to the story and doesn’t change stuff just for the sake of shocking.

  5. I’m fine with the changes. I just wish Martin would hurry up and finish the books. And pure speculation but could the nights king be benjen stark? The books mention his disappearance quite a bit in Jon’s chapters as if Martin doesn’t want us to forget he vanished. The show however doesn’t mention him as much so maybe he is just a character that won’t return

    • The Nights King has been around for something like 2000 years. Def not Benjen.

    • But Coldhands just might be. ;)

  6. Honestly, the face of that White Walker looked to me that of King Jofrey’s as if he had been resurrected as a White Walker. That’s him right? Or am I completley off. What do you think should King Jofrey come back as a White Walker? Maybe all the Lords and Kings come back as White Walkers?

    • What

  7. Who is JOhn SNows MOm?!

    • R+L=J

      • C’mon man just spoil it already!

        • MAJOR SPOILER…

          Jon snows moms is Lyanna Stark, she was taken by Rhaegar Targaryen because he saw her at a tournament and gave her a rose which you give to the most beautiful woman he gave it to Lyanna instead of his actual wife who gave birth to his 2 children and was no longer able to bear children. (it is seen in a dannys vision that rhaegar says a dragon must have 3 heads and so i must have a third child) since his wife was unable he steals away lyanna who was already promised to Robert Baratheon this leads to Rob and Eddy starting up the rebellion Eddard is the one that finally gets lyanna back he finds rhaegar stashed her in some tower guarded by 3 of the kings guard who eddard and his men take on (why would there be 3 kings guard if they were not protecting royalty the baby in lyannas belly) eddard and his men kill the kings guard and find lyanna with her baby dying or dead he promises his sister we will raise the child as his own and knew robert baratheon would not stand for rhaegars love child with the woman he loved and true heir to the throne and would have the child killed (possible if you don’t count aegon) ….. thats what i think eddard is way to honorable to have cheated so it makes sense that he is keeping this lie of his for the safety of his dead sisters child. Also Howland Reed is the only other Living person left in the boooks who was at the tower with eddard when he found lyanna dead. Howland has been seen in the books but his 2 children jojen and meera reed are, howland may have told them about lyanna and they;ll later travel back to the wall and tell jon whos is given the kiss of life from melisandre because jon just cant die

          • Nice explanation, only that Rhaegar didn’t steal Lyanna, can a PERSON be stolen? mmmmmmmmmm. Lyanna and Rhaegar were in love, she never felt enthusistic about marrying Robert, as she said to Ned: ” love is a sweet thing Ned, but it cannot change a man’s nature”. Also, in the books, it is revealed that Lyanna was like Arya personalitywise, so I don’t imagine her allowing anyone to steal her. Last but not least, Rhaegar was far too honourable to kidnapp and rape a girl, everyone says so except Robert. So my guess is that they fell in love, married in secret and fled to Dorne.

            • this is an exact quote from bran to osha in the book “Robert was betrothed to marry her, but Prince Rhaegar carried her off and raped her,”

              • it might not of been by force initially but lyanna personality doesnt seem like that of a person that would just stay in dorne of her own free will as her brother and father were tortured and burned alive by her “lovers/rapers” father, and her last remaining family eddard is fighting a war to get her back

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