Filming Game of Thrones’ Battle of the Bastards was probably the crew’s idea of hell on earth. Braving the harsh Northern Irish elements to film the HBO show’s most ambitious—and expensive— sequence to date, the cast and crew engaged in a highly stressful few weeks which eventually gave us a truly memorable scene of television (and one of Game of Thrones’ finest ever).
However, nobody hated filming the Battle as much as star Kit Harington, with the Jon Snow actor revealing he was forced to confront his worst fear during it. Episode director Miguel Sapochnik revealed the 29-year-old is terrified about being buried alive (as most of us are), so the idea of being smothered by hundreds of extras playing wildlings wasn’t all that attractive to him.
“Kit had mentioned to me that his worst fear is being buried alive,” Sapochnik told The Hollywood Reporter. “So I exploited that to its fullest – and being the amazing game player that he is, he let me.”
Sapochnik said the most important narrative issue was establishing what staying alive meant to Jon Snow, who urged Melisandre not to resurrect him (again) if he was slain by Ramsay Bolton.
“The key was to give it a point,” he says. “Our idea was that after the chaos subsides, Jon must fight to survive, but when his men are killed in front of him, it kind of breaks something in him and he becomes somewhat of a monster himself.”
Sapochnik also explained that they clipped Harington under a fake horse corpse, saying: “We ran 250 allied troop extras over him with one stunt man lying on top of him that he could both struggle with and would keep him protected in case for any reason things went south.
“Then Sean Savage, our amazing A-cam operator, sat in there with a camera and someone ready to pull him out if things got hairy, and we literally covered them with extras and stunt men.”
Game of Thrones’ season 6 concludes this weekend with the feature-length episode ‘The Winds of Winter.’ Watch the trailer below: