When it comes to the making of “Game of Thrones”, HBO basically holds back in revealing further information. However, it is a different story when the show has something to boast about.
And because of the excellent reviews of the latest episode “The Spoils of War”, HBO is ready to tell everything behind the scenes. Matt Shakman, director of the episode, participated in a featurette together with the technicians, producers, and the major characters of the episode.
Horse and Dragon Riders
One of the spectacular features of the episode had nothing to do with dragons. We have heard about the power of the Dothraki riders for years. And it was the first we have seen it in that episode. Camilla Naprous,
Camilla Naprous, horse coordinator, came up with the idea of the scene where Dothrakis stand up on their horses. Shakman was not sure that could be done. However, thanks to some agile riders, the scene was pulled off.
The Dothrakis were not the only one riding in the episode. In the past, the number of shots they had taken of Daenerys riding Drogon was 11 in Season 6. However, they took 80 shots in this episode alone.
Mad Max was the inspiration of Naprous for the Dothraki battle scene. Naprous wanted the Dothrakis to look like “mad” men charging on the Lannister forces.
Thanks to the substantial use of previsualization, the technical team was able to imagine all the scenes. Previsualization is a very popular preparation. You have seen a lot of it if you frequently watch featurettes.
“The Spoils of War” episode did not earn its “record breaking” title because of the dragon or the Dothraki Scene. It is because of the large number of stuntmen who were set on fire. In the scene, around 20 men were set aflame, screaming and rolling until the team rushes in to wet them.
There are many discussions about TV stunts and safety concerns. So it is fascinating to watch how much care and thought is made to pull off that impressive scene.
However, none of the tricks in the episode will pull off well without emotional stakes backing up. Shakman and the writers discuss also using Jaime as their POV for the whole battle. The episode is about a man who watches his whole world order change. And that is the reason why “Spoils of War” might be an all-timer.