Game of Thrones S8: ‘The Long Night’ Director ‘Wanted to Kill Everyone’ in the Battle of Winterfell
One of the main complaints about Game of Thrones Season 8, episode 3, “The Long Night” (aside from how dark it was) was that the Battle of Winterfell didn’t feature enough major character deaths, especially given the sheer number of wights and White Walkers laying siege to our heroes.
Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who thought that “The Long Night” needed more death and destruction. In a new podcast interview with IndieWire, director Miguel Sapochnik (who also directed the show’s penultimate episode, “The Bells”) revealed that he tried to convince showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss to kill off more characters to raise the stakes – partially because he was concerned that pulling off another episode-long battle with no breaks would end up boring the audience.
“The 17-minute opening that ‘Long Night’ has is because I didn’t want to have a battle. It’s just me trying to hold off as long as f***ing possible because I knew that there is battle fatigue and there is a shelf life for this battle, and once we lose the audience, we’ve lost the audience. And seeing as there’s a battle all the way through to the end, no matter what we do or what we throw at it, it’s just not going to be interesting,” he admitted.
“There was the fear of it feeling like a remix of every battle we’ve ever done. There was the dissatisfaction of we couldn’t kill all the people… I wanted to kill everyone. I wanted to kill Jorah in the horse charge at the beginning,” Sapochnik laughed. “I was up for killing absolutely everyone. I wanted it to be ruthless so that in the first 10 minutes you say, ‘all bets are off, anyone can die.'”
But ultimately, the director deferred to the showrunners: “David and Dan didn’t want to, and there was a lot of back and forthing about that, and ultimately it was because they were saving it for ‘The Bells,’ kind of… So it was hard. So I couldn’t kill anyone, and it had to be interesting – how did we do that? And again, credit to them, they let me engage early; it was a sustained engagement. I got to really question and argue with them, and I’ve learned with them when to stop arguing because there’s a point where they dig in and you just don’t wanna be there.”
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