The Battle of the Bastards in Game of Thrones Season 6 is considered one of the best episodes ever because of its grandeur and realism.

Military historians ensured authenticity, and showrunners minimized the use of CGI, which led to a realistic battle sequence. 

Kit Harington faced physical and mental challenges while performing stunts in muddy conditions and overcoming his claustrophobia.

The epic battle scene, Battle of the Bastards, in Game of Thrones season 6 had everyone on the edge of their seats. It turns out it was not just intense for viewers. Kit Harington, who played Jon Snow, also went through hell filming it.

Battle of the Bastards
Battle of the Bastards | via GameofThrones YouTube

This episode was somewhat like a movie in its scale, as the major fight scene took almost a month to shoot. Considering hundreds of extras, dozens of horses, and some very complicated fight scenes, it is not surprising that it is considered one of the best episodes of the entire series.

The Grandeur of Battle of the Bastards in Game of Thrones Season 6

BTS of Battle of the Bastards
BTS of Battle of the Bastards | via GameofThrones YouTube

While Jon Snow was fighting for his life on screen, Kit Harington was struggling behind the scenes. Shooting scenes was so exhausting that during those times, it seemed like the line between fiction and reality was blurring.

Considering the scale only, the Battle of the Bastards was massive. According to Entertainment Weekly, 600 crew members, 500 extras, 70 horses, and 25 stunt people were used while shooting the sequence. It’s like the makers were staging an actual medieval battle.

These scenes were shot in a big, open field near Belfast, which was going to be plowed. According to Medium, the makers even sought help from military historians to ensure that the fighting scenes resembled a real battle as much as possible.

Usually, most hour-long TV shows take about 8 to 12 days to shoot. This battle sequence alone took 25 days, and this is only for the battle and does not include the things before and after it. It’s like they were making a whole movie within the show.

Showrunner David Benioff revealed in the BTS video of Battle of the Bastards that they tried to use CGI as little as possible. The horses and the cavalry were all real people who had to go through that challenging routine. Apart from that, about 257 dead bodies were created and piled up in this episode alone.

More than 160 tons of gravel were brought in to give the horses some traction as the entire war field was muddy. According to Entertainment Weekly, Game of Thrones Season 6’s production cost is over $10 million for each episode. 

Kit Harington’s Struggles During the Battle of the Bastards

Kit Harington in BTS of Battle of the Bastards
Kit Harington in BTS of Battle of the Bastards | via GameofThrones YouTube

Talking about Kit Harington, he was truly up for a challenge. The actor had to perform a lot of physical stunts, including sword fighting, riding horses, hand-to-hand combat, and more. All of this had to be done while moving through mud and wet weather conditions.

The scene when Jon Snow climbed on top of the pile of corpses in desperation was quite challenging for Harington, as he himself is claustrophobic. In an interview with the Belfast Telegraph, he revealed,

I’ve got a few fears, spiders being one of them, but the worst is my claustrophobia – I’m mortally afraid of crowds. I panic. It was one of the most terrifying things and most uncomfortable – 15 bearded Irishmen crushing you.

Harington’s real desperation merged with the requirements of the scene, and fans saw Snow crawling up the pile of dead bodies in desperation. In another scene, Harington also had to face his fear when Snow faced the Bolton Cavalry alone while 40 real horses were charging at him.

In the BTS video of Battle of the Bastards, it is revealed that the scene when Snow punches Ramsay Bolton violently in the face took about 10 hours to shoot. The makers shot the scene from every possible angle, with both normal and slow-motion shots.

Harington had to get into a pretty dark headspace to play Jon Snow in this battle. He had to show desperation, determination, and a whole range of intense emotions, but it was worth it for the viewers.

All seasons of Game of Thrones are available for streaming at Max.

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