A director on Game of Thrones' epic White Walker battle

CG is like taking it in the butt, you want to ease into it slowly. More enjoyable that way.

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That would be a Next Tier Power-Up to even greater powers of being annoying.


I’m not sure about Pixomondo, but I know that Atomic Fiction did a lot of work in the White Walker battle!


“His accent is still all over the shop after five years”

What planet do you think this story takes place on?

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I think he’d like consistency. But I agree, Dinklage is mesmerizing onscreen. I wonder if GRRM ever thought he’s see Tyrion the best performed character in his world?


I’ve seen complaints about Tyrion’s accent before, even though I don’t notice it. To me they’re more about it supposedly being inconsistent than not perfectly British or whatever.

I like the way GoT sometimes uses the native accents of the actors in clever ways, as in the vaguely Germanic way both Shae and Jaqen speak being a clue about their shared Lorathi origin. Or supposed origin, it’s hard to tell with that guy.

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Hardhome, short review: Epic.


I really liked the article, thanks for sharing about the stagecraft of the episode; I really enjoyed it.

Nevertheless, I have to disagree with most people on the overall quality of the episode. I thought the battle in Hardhome dragged on too long (there are only so many arrows going into the undead that I can watch). The fight between Jon and the Whitewalker was, as you mentioned, completely telegraphed by the “Previously On” scene; that took some of its bite. The scene felt constructed to show what Valyrian steel can do; it lacked in any real emotional content.

Otherwise, Hardhome’s main purpose is to remind us of the grave threat posed by the White Walkers (except to anybody slowly drifting away in a rowboat). While I agree that the Hardhome scene managed to make the threat more visceral than it ever has been portrayed, whether in the books or the show; I’ve never felt it necessary to make the threat that visceral. I’ve enjoyed the mystery that shrouds the White Walkers and never needed much reminding that they were an existential threat (but perhaps that’s a viewpoint I bring from the books). Indeed, though I love the title “Game of Thrones” and completely understand HBO’s decision to use it for the series name, it is misleading since the book series is called “A Song of Ice and Fire”. I still scratch my head when I see writers pen articles with titles like “Who will win the Game of Thrones?” It’s one of the least interesting questions about the series now.

At any rate, regarding the stagecraft of the episode. Did anyone else feel that the directors were undercutting the very purpose of the Hardhome scene by having the zombies stop at the water’s edge? The ending again felt artificially constructed for symmetry (the living wildlings when Jon first arrives and the undead wildlings as Jon leaves). As a dramatic flourish, it was a good idea, but the contrivance took me out of the moment. We had just watched the wights hurl themselves over a cliff only to stop their pursuit at water’s edge? Why would the king White Walker send them after Jon if he wasn’t planning to finish the chase? Can they really not go in the water? (My wife and I started laughing when the camera panned out and we could see how little the boat had drifted)

While I certainly respect all of the reasons people have given for loving this episode, ultimately I can’t help but feel that the opportunity cost of spending more time on action wasn’t worth it; the battle could have been shorter and still gotten the same points across. To me, Blackwater Bay is how you do a full episode on a single battle. Hardhome and the battle at Castle Black could have been better spent elsewhere (so long as it isn’t with the Boltons).


Keep in mind that we do not know what the White Walkers are up to in general.


I used to be a bit bugged by Tyrion’s accent until I noticed Littlefinger doing the same thing. They both have mysteriously wandering accents, which at this point must be deliberate. And both actors are good enough that I’m ok to roll with it.


A little too World War Z for me.

I agree completely… I loved the gist of what was happening, but could not for the life of me figure out where everything was taking place… Where was this gate? Are the docks inside the gate? I want to see a family circus style graphic of the action.

Some major factors that make them more threatening, though:

  • These are the running kind of zombies, not those shuffling “Walking Dead” losers. They even dig under the walls!
  • They use weapons!
  • Protagonist-to-zombie turnaround can be measured in seconds, not hours.
  • Headshots don’t kill. I SAY AGAIN, HEADSHOTS DON’T KILL.

On the plus side… I’m guessing these guys only hang out in places that are cold? Probably just an anti-decomposition thing. I think real estate values are about to skyrocket in the Summer Isles.

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This really was totally badass. And great as a capper to an episode of smaller matters - essentially saying “it’s well past time for all of you squabbling meat sacks to get it together.”

As an aside, am I the only one who was secretly hoping for this?


The docks seem clearly inside the gate for most of the POV shots, establishing shots, and even the middle-ground action shots. But in the many close-ups it seems reversed, as if Jon et al. were somehow teleporting (out of fear or editorial-directorial convenience or whatever) back and forth. And then in the extreme closeups there’s tons of jiggly-cam and very little reference to what’s happening around them, which is tense and all that, but which often loses sight of where everything is happening in relation to everything else.

I would like to see GoT shot like a lot of the Samurai epics got shot: middle- to long-distance, camera tracks back and forth, depth of field, lots of stuff happening throughout the frame (close, middle, far), and the eye has the privilege to look at individual things or at the entire spectacle at once. And then close ups for special emphasis etc. Some generosity would be nice.

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Yeah, the arrows seemed kind of pointless, and for cunning survivor types types the wildling archers sure seemed slow to catch on to this.

Well, you are watching Game of Thrones, and I believe the first episode of season 1 already announced that zombies were coming.

I love how that first skeleton jumps through the hole in the roof of the main building. I kept rewatching that jump.

[quote=“jonbly, post:17, topic:58813”]I read it as, so that Sam can feel really guilty when Olly does something stupid later on. Something stabby, I reckon…

I suspect it’s to show the Olly is not merely a young sidekick to Jon, but has some seriously different viewpoints. I suspect he may turn out to be one of the main hardliners later on, and may possibly even betray Jon or his plans.

That’s all speculation, mind you. I haven’t read the books. But I found that scene very foreboding.