After his stellar work on Game of Thrones Season 3, Director Alex Graves was told by the powers that be that in Season 4 “we’ll give you all the big stuff.” The big stuff started off with a bang, with his Season 4 directorial debut of The Lion and the Rose including what was sure to be one of the year’s most talked about scenes.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter Alex Graves discusses the challenges of creating a truly monumental event, the Purple Wedding.
“The Purple Wedding took six months to prepare. It was a show-wide, gigantic effort on everybody’s part — from the design of the set to the costumes to the circus performers. There was a lot of pressure I put on myself. It was a 32-page scene that was actually 18 scenes, and it involved an enormous number of the cast, who were going to hang out for five days in Croatia while we put on dwarf shows and allowed jailed birds to literally go free. We had the death, and almost more important, we had Tyrion’s humiliation in the middle of it. It was a lot for five days — especially with rain.”
At the end of the episode viewer’s are not only left with the shock of King Joffrey’s death, but the so far unanswered question of who did it. Graves reveals that there are some clues hidden between the cuts.
“I tried to shoot it and then edit in such a way that so that if they reveal later in the season who did it, it makes sense. If you watch what’s going on, where the killer is and when, you’ll go, “Oh, it’s happening and progressing visually.” It’s not like you see it happen, because of the way he dies, but you will notice the movements and the adjustments.”
The shock factor of King Joffrey’s death was increased by placing it so early in Season 4, Graves explains that it is a catalyst for much bigger things to come.
“Episode two is completely intertwined with the end of the season. Joffrey’s death is a beginning. Ned Stark’s death was not an end — it was a beginning. It’s when the show began. All the deaths are like that, and Joffrey’s is no different. Joffrey’s death affects the show through to the climax.”
Graves expands on the idea in another new interview with Huffington Post, saying that of the four episodes he helms in season four (2, 3, 8, and 10), the second was the smallest, and unlike previous seasons, episode 10 is not reserved for the falling action, but instead will be grand finale.
“Well let me just say this, I directed four episodes [this season] and number two [“The Lion and the Rose”] was the smallest episode. Wait till you see episode 10. The finale is really a finale. It’s not the episode after episode nine, it’s the big one.”
Looking forward to next week’s episode, “Breaker of Chains,” Graves says we can expect much more from Daenerys, and touches on the challenges of creating the great city of Meereen.
“Daenerys’ story really kicks in a big way in episode three. That was a case of a real starting from scratch. We had the script, we knew what happened, we had the dialogue, but it was like where in the world and how in the world are we going do this sequence? That was a real blast, it was like making a movie, you’re starting from nothing. It’s basically the largest city she’s ever gone to and the biggest challenge she’s ever had, yet there was no set for that. That was fun, but I won’t say anymore than that.”