Game of Thrones films epic 55-night battle: here's everything you need to know

Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 10:56 am
Updated Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 11:11 am

*Spoilers for Game of Thrones seasons 1-7 *

Over the last few years, fantasy epic Game of Thrones has set a new standard in the field of TV action sequences - bringing viewers exhilarating centrepiece clashes such as the desperate Battle of the B**tards and last season's jaw-dropping Loot Train Attack.

But a new battle sequence shot for the eighth and final season looks to be the show's most extraordinary undertaking yet.

For 55 consecutive nights in Northern Ireland, cast and crew have been filming a single epic Game of Thrones battle.

Fan site Watchers On The Wall have been following the shoot closely, and recently revealed some interesting details about the unprecedented action set-piece.

Location, location, location

The focus of the filming has been Toome in Northern Ireland - which happens to be where the Winterfell set is located.

From this, it seems inevitable (perhaps unsurprisingly) that this fight will take place at the Starks' stronghold in the North. But under what circumstances?

There are a lot of possibilities of what could happen in season eight. The most likely event would be an attack on the castle by the Night's King and his army. But this being Game of Thrones, there's always the chance that it could be a dastardly civil war or double-cross taking its toll.

Given the likely Northern contingent at the end of season seven, Jaime, Jon, Arya, Sansa, The Hound, Gendry, Brienne, Daenerys and many more could all be involved.

The night is dark and full of terror

Game of Thrones battles are usually a winning combination of dramatic spectacle and nerve-jangling character moments. Season seven's 'Spoils Of War' instalment was our TV episode of 2017.

Jaime and Bronn refused to retreat in the face of overwhelming odds (Photo: HBO/Sky)

The fact that the action has been shot exclusively after sundown, with shots taken of the set showing flames rising against the night's sky, bodes well for atmosphere.

This will be the first major night-time battle since the Wildling assault on Castle Black in season four.

The show has a real pedigree for those, as Stannis Baratheon's attack on King's Landing in season two was also a thrilling highlight.

'This has never been done before'

To emphasise the sheer investment of time, money and energy this battle shoot has seen, it took nearly two months to complete.

By way of comparison, The Battle of the B**tards took 25 days to film. This has, therefore, more than doubled that record endeavour.

Assistant director Jonathan Quinlan sent a thank you note to the hundreds of extras who worked on the mammoth shoot after it wrapped:

"When tens of millions of people around the world watch this episode a year from now, they won't know hard you worked," he said.

"They'll just understand they're watching something that's never been done before."

A new standard in small screen entertainment?

The fact that previous battles have formed almost the entirety of episodes (Hardhome, Blackwater etc), and this new one has taken two months to film, suggests we could be seeing an action scene that runs to an hour or more.

Given this, it's no surprise Game of Thrones will be concluding the saga after a longer break than usual - with the show set to return in Spring 2019.

The six episodes in the final season are all set to be feature-length - and have reportedly cost $15 million each to make.

With Amazon's Lord of the Rings series now setting an alleged budget of $1 billion across five seasons, it's fair to say the armoured gauntlet has truly been thrown down.

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