“Game of Thrones” Season 5, episode 8 featured a major battle scene involving the men of the Night’s Watch and the Free Folk fighting the White Walkers and their army of the dead. The producers, director and the cast members share their insights about the scene in a new video. [Spoiler Alert!]
The episode is titled “Hardhome,” a name from the George R.R. Martin novels on which the HBO series is based, executive producer David Benioff reveals in the video. The books, however, do not reveal exactly what happened at the Free Folk village, giving the producers an opportunity to give the fans of the books something that was never seen before.
Executive producer D.B. Weiss revealed that the battle scene was initially planned to be much bigger than what the viewers got to see on the show. According to a report by Making 'Game of Thrones,' when episode director Miguel Sapochnik first heard about the massive scale of the scene, he was flabbergasted.
Weiss explained that it was the director’s idea for “reining the scene in” to keep the camera angle behind the wooden wall, which was built by the Free Folk. Another idea was to not let the viewers see the “monster” behind the wooden wall at the start of the battle, to make it more “terrifying.”
The army of the dead comprises reanimated corpses in various stages of decomposition. Some 220 extras are said to have been used for the scene, and the process of turning some of them into Wights and the Free Folk can be seen in the video.
The main villain, who was leading the army of the dead, was the leader of the White Walkers known as the Night's King. A brief history of the character has been posted by Ani Bundel on Winter Is Coming. According to the report, old stories about the north in Westeros talk about the 13th Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, who fell in love with someone from beyond the Wall and later became a White Walker and the Night’s King.
The Night’s King is said to have ruled from Castle Nightfort and was later defeated by Brandon the Breaker many years ago. The report speculates that the villain seen in “Game of Thrones” Season 5 is same as the one defeated in the stories of Westeros.