Regardless of your opinion on the Game of Thrones’ final season, this documentary will make you appreciate the effort it took for those stunning battle scenes and other set pieces to come alive.
Game of Thrones: The Last Watch is well-made documentary that details how the final season of the HBO show came to life. While it does feature the actors of the show, the better part of it is dedicated to people who tirelessly worked behind-the-scenes like production designers, makeup and VFX artists, stuntmen and extras.
Regardless of your opinion on the show’s final season (I think it was terribly written but had some of the best fantasy imagery I have ever set my eyes on), this documentary will make you appreciate the effort it took for those stunning battle scenes and other set pieces to come alive.
Here are our most favourite moments and reveals from the documentary. Do not read if you have not seen the final season and wish to do so in future.
The tapestry at the beginning
The documentary begins with the visual of a tapestry being weaved (the tapestry is basically textile art; woven thread depicting scenery). It is absolutely beautiful and makes us wish we could get our hands on it (we do not know if it is computer-generated or really exists). The tapestry shows important scenes that occurred throughout the season.
The snow at the Battle of Winterfell was fake
We were told the major battle of the final season — between the Army of the Dead and the armies of Jon, Danerys and others — was shot in winters. I thought it was shot in the snow. But turns out, either entire or most of the snow was fake. Shredded paper was mixed with water and then sprayed.
Kit Harington realising for the first time Jon Snow kills Daenerys Targaryen
Interestingly, Kit Harington came to know about a major Jon Snow moment during the table read. He had not read the script before. His reaction, when he reads that Jon kill Daenerys, is a sight to behold. Kudos to Jeanie Finlay for capturing that. It is nice to know that even the actors were sometimes indignant or shocked about the choices writers on the show made.
Conleth Hill made his displeasure about Varys’ grisly end known
Varys died at the hands of Daenerys Targaryen (Drogon to be precise) when she was told by Varys’ friend Tyrion Lannister of his treachery. Hill explained later in an interview that he was not fond of how his character was killed off and also some other stuff that was written for his character. In the table read, as well, his face was grim when he read the final lines of his character as Lena Headey and Emilia Clarke looked at him in sympathy.
The Stark wights in the crypts proved to be a challenge
Game of Thrones has featured wights from the very first episode and surely the makeup and VFX artists had no particular problems in that. But the Battle of Winterfell episode of the show had some of the not-so-good-at-fighting people like Tyrion, Varys, Sansa, women and children hiding in the crypts beneath Winterfell that had the graves of the Starks since the ancient times. But when the Night King did his thing in which he raises the dead by lifting his arms wide, the graves opened and the dead Starks came crawling out and attacked the people there. To make those dead people look ancient was a challenge as they were different from the wights of the Army of the Dead. They were not killed in the recent past. Over the hundreds and thousands of years, their flesh had rotted and they had basically become mummies and fossils. So, they had to look the part.
Every moment with Andrew McClay
McClay is an extra who has a long history with Westeros. He was in Stannis army as he burnt his own daughter alive, he served Jon Snow in the Battle of the Bastards and he was also part of the Stark army in Battle of Winterfell and also the Battle for the Iron Throne (King’s Landing). McClay, an extra who was spotted in several scenes for a huge part of the show, is the true star of the documentary. His enthusiasm towards the show and his jolly demeanour despite being an unacknowledged extra is infectious. We hope he gets better roles in other TV shows and films in future.
The odds in The Battle of Winterfell were 1,20,000 vs 18,000: Turns out 1,20,000 wights were at the Battle of Winterfell and defenders with combined armies of Daenerys, the Starks and other Northmen numbered only 18,000.
Was this the little mobile shop from where Daenerys Targaryen’s notorious coffee cup came?
This little shop served refreshments to the cast and crew of the show and you can see Yohn Royce sipping from a hot cup in his spare time. If you have seen the final season and are on social media, you must have spotted that notorious and anachronistic coffee cup that popped up in the Winterfell’s Great Hall scene before the Battle of Winterfell. We are almost sure this shop was where it came from.
The season 8 episodes cost at least 15 million dollars to make: Game of Thrones is the most expensive show in the history of television but the final season was even a step further. Every episode of the show cost at least 15 million bucks. We think episodes like Battle of Winterfell and The Bells must have cost a lot more.
Decoy actors were brought to the Spanish set of the show to throw people off: Protecting the spoilers of the show was understandably a huge priority for the makers. For this reason, they brought actors to the Spanish (King’s Landing) set of the show to confuse the onlookers and the press who could have leaked the secrets.