[SPOILERS for those not caught up on Game of Thrones ahead.]
Actor John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly in the series, breaks down how they filmed that disgusting Citadel montage on Game of Thrones. The highly anticipated seventh season of the HBO fantasy/drama finally premiered Sunday with 'Dragonstone' and with it came the show's largest debut to date - with a whopping 16.1 million viewers across all of HBO's platforms tuning in to watch Dany (Emilia Clarke) step foot in Westeros, Ayra (Maisie Williams) take her sweet revenge and Queen Cersei (Lena Headey) plot to keep control over her fragile rule.
Of course the episode featured other characters as well, most notably Sam Tarly, who found himself in a stomach-turning situation at the Citadel in Oldtown. As it turns out, Sam's dream job isn't all it's cracked up to be. Instead of spending his days researching how to stop the White Walker invasion, Sam is cleaning out bedpans in the infirmary, which the Citadel also uses to cook their stew (that looks a lot like what Sam's cleaning out of the bedpans). It's a hilarious, yet nauseating break from the drama of Westeros that has garnered quite a lot of positive and negative attention from fans - and has been hailed as one of the most disgusting scenes in Thrones yet.
In a new interview with THR, Bradley breaks down how they shot the gross scene (he missed the Emmys for it), what the mysterious brown goop in the pans is actually made out of and why the scene is important moving forward with Sam's story. Here is what Bradley said about shooting the scene:
"It was quite a long time shooting it. It was shot over a period of about five full days. We're talking about 50 or 60 hours of shooting all of that. It was quite an experience, really. For the first time in my career on the show, I was completely alone. It was weird to be working so closely with the director and shooting that sequence in these five second bursts. It was kind of strange, just making sure you got those tiny little microscopic five second moments in the can, and then hand it over to the editors to stitch it into the montage that it became. I had no vision of what it might look like, no expectations of what it might look like. When I saw it at the screening [in Los Angeles], that was the first time I had seen it. It was kind of extraordinary, the fact that they could take these tiny fragments and build it into a narrative."
Even though Thrones is a pretty intense show to shoot (it's put its actors through blizzards and eating fake horse hearts), the series didn't go as far as using actual human remains while shooting the Citadel scene. Here is what the gunk in the pans is actually made out of:
"We didn't use real human waste. It was one step down on the unpleasantness scale. We used wet fruit cake, for all of the... I don't know you say it politely. (Laughs.) That was wet fruit cake. It smelled fine, but shooting under lights for 13 hours or so, it can get a little nasty. I was reminded last night that while I was shooting that scene, everybody else on the cast was at the Emmys [in 2016]."
Of course, not everyone loved the scene. In fact, it had quite a lot of criticism for being a waste of time considering there are only twelve episodes left in the series, but Bradley has a different view on the scene. Here is what he said:
"He knows that his time is being wasted. That frustration, to see that so instantly in the season and see that he is frustrated and that he's been sent there to do a job he's not allowed to do? That's important. It's a great moment of character development that's disguised in a bit of fun. It's not a waste of screen time. It's important to establish how Sam feels in the opening episode and moving forward regarding the Citadel."
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