GQ has named Game of Thrones‘ season two episode “Blackwater” the best episode of television in 2012. They have a comprehensive interview with producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, writer George R. R. Martin and director Neil Marshall, where they delve into the process of making the episode. Here are a few quotes I found most interesting.
David Benioff (co-creator): We had one really intense conference call with the HBO brass. It was awkward: They said, “So, what are you guys talking about, an extra $500,000?” We said, “Noooo….” “You guys need a million dollars?” “Ummmm….”
Weiss: I think we asked for $2.5 million. We got $2 million-something. That’s a lot of money in TV. It was a big ask for them, and they understood it was really important. Our point was that the entire season was pointing toward this confrontation. To do what’s normally done on television—the Shakespearean model of talking about battles off-screen—would completely kill the season.
Weiss: At the pace we were shooting, we didn’t really have that much time for dramatic scenes. For this monologue, if Peter didn’t get it right in two or three takes, he had to move on. And he nailed it.
Benioff: Initially, we didn’t know if anyone would watch Game of Thrones, but if they did, we knew they’d be drawn to Tyrion because he’s such a great character, and Peter’s so perfect to play him. When we were courting him, we said, “You will win an Emmy for this.” I’m sure he thought we were bullshitting. (Dinklage won the Emmy in 2011.)
Marshall: In the original script, Stannis Barantheon didn’t get any further than the bottom of the ladders [at the wall of King’s Landing] and then he sort of disappeared from the script. I thought, “We have to have him do more than that. If he’s the polar opposite of King Joffrey, then he should be the first one up the ladder. Let’s have a fight with him on the wall.’ We choreographed a whole sequence which was never scripted, of Stannis having a sword fight on the wall, chopping a guy’s head off, and then basically watching his army’s defeat from a bird’s-eye position before being dragged off by his own men.
Benioff: There’s another battle bigger than this one coming up, but not until the end of season four. So we’re preparing our speeches for how we’re gonna ask for more money.
The whole article is a great read, so be sure to head over to GQ and check it out.
Winter Is Coming: A fascinating look at “how the sausage gets made” as David is fond of saying. I appreciate that these guys were determined to get this big battle on screen and, despite the many hurdles, they managed to succeed in a big way. And that last quote has me soooo hyped for season four!