Though no details beyond those that suggest immensity and exhilarating creative challenges could be given, Entertainment Weekly announced today that Game of Thrones‘ upcoming sixth season will host the biggest battle the show’s ever seen — which, given that the show outdoes the budgets of most TV series, could mean this is the biggest battle TV itself has ever seen. Shooting, led by director Miguel Sapochnik (formerly of the episode “Hardhome”) allegedly took a month. So, if you’re into GoT’s propensity for crushing characters’ skulls and subjecting them to multiple stabbings, the prospect of this symphony of violence could very well be just what you’re looking for.
You may not be able to recall many vast, long, swarming battles in the vein of LOTR on television — most likely because TV series have to stretch a budget comparable to half a LOTR film across 13-or-so hours of entertainment. David Benioff, who, alongside Dan Weiss, created GoT and serves as showrunner, elaborated on this seeming lack to EW, saying “You get into the nitty-gritty of what it takes to actually shoot these things in a way that isn’t just helter-skelter chaos but actually gives you a sense of battle geography and the ebb and flow, and you realize why.”
“Horses,” for example, “are not easy, at all,” Benioff continues. But they’ll certainly be using them in this battle in an undisclosed episode of GoT. The creator promises that “certainly in terms of numbers – number of extras, number of stuntmen, number of shooting days – it’s the biggest [they’ve] done.”
And in case one creator saying “BIG” and “HORSES” didn’t make the battle sound battle-y enough, writer/producer Brian Cogman corroborated, saying “It’s definitely the biggest [action sequence yet].” He claims they finally had the budget and resources to go all out, “with one army on one side, one army on another side.”
While there have been battles on the series in the past, they’ve been relatively contained. But EW describes this as something along the lines of what you’d see in movies, with “hundreds of human soldiers on one side of a field, another army on the other side, and then there is a clash that is highly tactical, yet character-driven, and shown from start to finish.”
And the season itself sounds like it’s just as worthy of superlatives as the battle — at least from the self-awarely biased perspective of its creators. Yesterday, in a separate post, Benioff told Entertainment Weekly that he hesitates to say a season is the “best,” but this season is the “best”:
This is not us trying to hype it. Usually there’s an episode or two we’re kind of nervous about, that didn’t turn out as well as we hoped. This season there is not a weak episode… We’re always reluctant to say it’s ‘the best season yet’ because so much of that is in the eyes of the beholder. And Dan and I are so close to it that it’s impossible to be unbiased. But that’s my sense – watching them all together now, this is the best one we’ve done.