Kit Harington on filming the Battle of Castle Black, and a broken Jon Snow heading into the finale
By Lightbringer on in Interview.

In this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow’s warnings rang true, as the Wildlings made their move on Castle Black. Severely outnumbered, Alliser Thorne had fallen, and Janos Slynt went into hiding, leaving Jon to step up as a leader for his brothers at the Night’s Watch. After a night long battle, The Wall’s fortifications would hold, and Jon would lead his brothers to a temporary victory, but suffer a great loss himself.

Kit Harington also stepped up to deliver one of his most powerful performances to date. In a number of new interviews given this week, Kit talks about filming the episode, saying goodbye to his cast mates, Jon’s new role as a leader, and his mindset heading into Sunday’s big finale.

Kit tells The Daily Beast what it was like to film the epic battle, and which was his favorite kill scene.

What was it like shooting the Battle of Castle Black, and where did you film it?
It was all filmed in Belfast, split between a set and the studio—the studio being the top of the Wall, and the set being the Castle Black set, which we know quite well by now. It was two solid weeks of night shoots on-and-off for about a month, which puts your frame of mind into an emotional place anyway without doing scenes where you’re saying goodbye to actors you love. It was one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I’ve done in my life—for all of us, I think—but it really paid off. It felt like shooting a Game of Thrones movie within Game of Thrones, and Thrones is movie-like anyway, and quite cinematic. We all became very close during the time filming it.

Did you have any favorite kill scenes during the Battle of Castle Black?
There’s the moment where I smash a hammer through someone’s head. That was quite cool. You see him in the shortest amount of time kill more people than Jon’s ever killed, but this is what he’s been trained to do from day one. He’s been fighting and training to be a warrior from the moment he was born, so it’s payoff for him—getting to finally do what he’s been waiting and training to do.

Was the hammer scene, for you, like that strength game at the carnival where you hit the block with the hammer?
Exactly like that! [Laughs] It was exactly like that. You pinpointed exactly how I felt about that, actually.

 

Kit spoke with Access Hollywood about filming his last scene with Rose Leslie, and saying goodbye to friends he’s worked with for the past four years.

“That was pretty much my last scene that I filmed. It was also Rose’s last scene, which was really nice ‘cause we’d gone through a lot together in the series, and as characters and as actors, and so it was nice to say goodbye to her in that way — that we got to share that last scene together. And very emotional. You grow very close to your fellow actors on a show like this where you’re working so closely together and you become very, very good friends.

I really enjoyed filming that. It’s a weird mixture, isn’t it, because you don’t enjoy it and you do enjoy it and I’m hoping that it’s gonna have the payoff that viewers want. I don’t know, it’s the only time we ever used slo-mo in the whole f***ing ‘Game of Thrones,’ so it’s gotta mean something, right?

It’s a sort of really horrible moment saying goodbye to someone on the show, like Mark [Stanley] as well, who plays Grenn. I’ve worked so closely with him over the last four years that the fact that he’s not going to be in next season is really horrible.”

 

Kit spoke with TV Line about Jon taking any satisfaction from the fact that his warnings were right, and his new role as a leader.

Everything he’s been warning his brothers about has come to pass – does he derive any satisfaction from the fact that he’s been right this whole time?
I don’t think there’s time for satisfaction within him, and I don’t think Jon’s that person. He’s very practical. When he sees the greatest battle the north has ever seen, when he sees the army approaching, it’s everyone to their action stations. I don’t think he has any satisfaction in it. He’s just terrified. They all are. That was important – there’s no heroism in this episode. It’s not about heroics. It’s just about doing the job.

Jon’s natural leadership comes to the fore. Is this a role he likes? Is it something he feels he’s good at?
I think it’s that old quote that some men are born great, some achieve greatness, some have greatness thrust upon them. I think Jon very much has greatness thrust upon him. He’s always been a reluctant leader in a lot of ways; he just has to do his job. I think he’s ambitious. I think he steps up when he has to step up. But again, for me, it was never about proving he’s right or wanting to lead people. He’s always been that person that just has to. That’s what I like about him: He’s not vying for power. He just has to take it, really.

 

Kit spoke with TV Guide about whether or not Jon will be upset with Olly for shooting Ygritte, if it was hard for Jon to send his friends to certain death, and Jon’s mindset going into this week’s finale.

Although Olly doesn’t know better, is Jon Snow angry or upset over his killing of Ygritte? Was it frustrating that this little boy is the one that dispatches her?
I think that was one of the most interesting choices that the writers made. In the original script, it was an unknown Night’s Watchman who shot her. But it was one of the writers ideas … that actually this boy whom I’d mentored all the way through should be the one [who killed her]. It’s so significant when he says, “I can shoot a rabbit from 30 yards,” in one of the episodes, and everyone just sort of passes it off. And when Jon looks up and sees that it’s Olly — I think one of the really interesting aspects of that story line is going to be that Jon loves this boy and mentors him but he’s got this overhanging hatred towards him.

Jon has to be a leader. Does he take it hard when he knows he has to send of his friends to their death, such as Grenn when he secures the gate?
I think he’s a soldier, he’s a warrior. The way I’ve always wanted to play Jon is that he hasn’t gotten the sentimentality that modern man has. Yeah, of course it hurts going to Grenn and telling him that he’s the one who needs to secure the gate because he’s the only one who can do it. He knows Grenn is going to die, but after he finds Grenn dead, after Ygritte’s death, he’s not one to dwell on these things. It hurts, and he knows he has to do it. He knows what sacrifices he has to make and he deals with them appropriately afterwards.

Kit, what is Jon’s mindset going into the finale?
Harington: I think he’s a broken man at the beginning of 10. That’s the way that me and the director Alex Graves discussed it. He’s walking to his death, probably a slow death. He’s lost all of his friends really and the only person he’s ever loved. So, he’s kind of a man on death row, and that’s how I sort of wanted to end. We’ll have to wait and see what happens to him. He’s very broken, he’s in the lowest place he can be in the beginning of 10 really. Poor Jon!

 

On a lighter note, Kit stopped by Live with Kelly and Michael on Monday. He quickly teases the situation Jon Snow is in as we approach the finale, and reveals that his lovely locks are actually under contract by Game of Thrones, and haircuts are taken very seriously.

 


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33 Comments

  1. serum
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Pygrenn!!!

    If I’m not mistaken this was the second time they used slo-mo in Thrones. The first being when Tywin and Loras initially show up in Blackwater on the horses. Correct me if I’m wrong.

  2. Varamyr 4 skins
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Very good question because that did seen to be slow mo but many of the ppl on the show including Dan and Dave said this was the first fine

  3. jentario
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    One up to Kit Harrington who is pulling it off as Jon Snow this season! I hope we see some of this breakage he spoke of in the finale, though.

  4. Noob Takes the Black
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    I like what they did with the Allistair Thorne and Janos Slynt stories — I think it should tighten up things neatly for Jon Snow to become Lord Commander without the machinations of Sam. Although, if they don’t want to get too far into DwD, I suppose that — and Stannis’ offer to grant him legitimacy and make him heir to Winterfell — could be the story of the first half of S5 before they head for Winterfell.

  5. WinterRy71
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    I seem to have forgotten.. But when stannis appears isn’t it during the second nights battle when they are about to lose? How would they film another similar battle scene without Neil Marshall and in such a short amount of time allowed?

    I bet they won’t even show the battle.. But will just somehow show stannis showing up and that’s it.

  6. Sweet summer child
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    His hair should be in the power ranking.

  7. Lyn
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    From Kit’s comments it seems that episode 10 will start with him and I like that. I think this confirms that the hopeful end to the season will not be the arrival of Stannis, as some people suggested, and makes the chances of Lady Stoneheart appearing much better.

  8. Ser Florian
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    WinterRy71,

    No… Stannis shows up during a lull, after several days of battle/siege. Jon is sent out during this lull (I think the Wildlings ask for someone to come hear their demands) to treat with Mance, or to kill him. Loss for the NW is inevitable, as Mance explains, he could send more climbers etc. But it’s not imminent when Stannis turns up… there’s no fighting going on, the Wildlings are held back, not assaulting the Wall/tunnel.

    Also, going by the preview/previews for the next episode, there definitely is some battle scene involving cavalry, Wildlings, snow, and trees.

  9. Greatjon of Slumber
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Kit absolutely killed it this episode. Bravo.

  10. Irri
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    Greatjon of Slumber,

    It is known.

  11. Ser Florian
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    Greatjon of Slumber,

    Definitely. Whether it is the writing/direction for his character that’s changing (that is, they made him play the gloomy pouter for the first 2 seasons, lifted it slightly in season 3, and now this), or he’s just growing up as an actor, he’s been terrific this whole season. And not just the acting side… the action side as well, with the fight at Craster’s, and the episode just been. That scene when he leaps out the winch and rolls on the ground (a touch cheesy) then starts fighting (just before the 360 shot), everything after the roll is phenomenal.

  12. Dutch maester
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    Ser Florian,

    I think it’s the fact that:
    1. the material is better
    2. the conditions in Iceland really do affect acting abilities.

  13. ArgonathofBraavos
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

    I’m one of those few that doesn’t like the Lady Stoneheart idea. I hope she’s been excised.

    This is not because I dislike zombies (though I don’t like them either).

    It’s because I believe the post-Red Wedding story is mostly about the Stark children eventually, over a long period of time, plotting their rise and possible revenge.

    Having their mother come back just messes with that, IMO. The Stark elders – the older generation – have passed, and that’s sad. Now let the story get on with it, and tell the story of the Stark children – the new generation.

  14. Patchy Face
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Really dude – spoiler tags!! Come on.

  15. Ulf the Wolf
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Kuh, Kuh, Smash ygritte!

    Damn that hurt. GRRM must die for this!

  16. Veltigar
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    The way I’ve always wanted to play Jon is that he hasn’t gotten the sentimentality that modern man has. Yeah, of course it hurts going to Grenn and telling him that he’s the one who needs to secure the gate because he’s the only one who can do it. He knows Grenn is going to die, but after he finds Grenn dead, after Ygritte’s death, he’s not one to dwell on these things. It hurts, and he knows he has to do it.

    Yeah, you should have told him to take some spears you dumbass. Jon send Grenn and the other NW redshirt to their death because of his incompetence.

    Young Simba: Hey, Uncle Scar, guess what?
    Scar: I despise guessing games.
    Young Simba: I’m gonna cast Mads Mikkelsen when I’m King of Pride Rock.
    Scar: Oh, goody.

  17. Matt Sinopoli
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    serum: If I’m not mistaken this was the second time they used slo-mo in Thrones. The first being when Tywin and Loras initially show up in Blackwater on the horses. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    I could swear the shot at the beginning of 1×10, with the bloody sword after Ned’s beheading, was slo-mo as well…

  18. Tatters
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    WinterRy71,

    They have tons of horses, just watch the preview.

  19. Tatters
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    ArgonathofBraavos,

    Its fantasy :) you should have checked the teeth before you bought the horse.

  20. Ser Florian
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Matt Sinopoli,

    Just had a quick watch of the two scenes. Season 1 Episode 10 opening isn’t slomo, it’s in real time. The sound is muted for the first few seconds and it is just a panning shot down the blade, and then the slow drip of the (very thick) blood… so it does seem as if it’s slowed down. But you can see by the drip of the blood, and the movement of the crowd behind the sword that it’s in real time.

    Season 2 Episode 9, at the end, there are a couple slomo shots as Cersei tells Tommen the story about the Lion in the wood… The line of Tyrell/Lannister cavalry charging, Stannis’ reaction, a couple shots of Loras/Renly’s Ghost hacking away. Then it cuts back to Cersei, then back to the fight, in real time once again. And as Podrick lays Tyrion down you get some more slomo of Loras/Renly’s Ghost fighting away.

  21. Choukai
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    I’d need to go back and take another look but wasnt Ned’s beheading done in slo mo?

    Edit: Matt beat me to it :)

    2nd edit: Ser Florian is right, just rewatched the scene, the sound is muted but it plays in real time.

  22. Ser Florian
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    Choukai,

    I just had a rewatch of the beheading in episode 9… again, it’s like the opening to episode 10… the sound is muted but for Ned’s breathing, and most of the shots are of Ned’s face, as he looks out over the crowd and there isn’t much movement, so it does seem like it’s all slowed down, but it’s all in real time.

    Edit: I actually thought those 2 scenes (or the same scene, split by credits, really) were in slomo, or there was some slomo in them (the sword descending or that) when I started thinking about it, before I watched them back.

  23. ash
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Although Olly doesn’t know better, is Jon Snow angry or upset over his killing of Ygritte? Was it frustrating that this little boy is the one that dispatches her?
    I think that was one of the most interesting choices that the writers made. In the original script, it was an unknown Night’s Watchman who shot her. But it was one of the writers ideas … that actually this boy whom I’d mentored all the way through should be the one [who killed her]. It’s so significant when he says, “I can shoot a rabbit from 30 yards,” in one of the episodes, and everyone just sort of passes it off. And when Jon looks up and sees that it’s Olly — I think one of the really interesting aspects of that story line is going to be that Jon loves this boy and mentors him but he’s got this overhanging hatred towards him.

    I loved this question – its actually a thoughtful one, unusual for a tv interviewer nowadays. And I really liked his answer.

    I agree that his acting has improved; I wasn’t interested in his character in the books (sorry, the Wall was not one of my fav archs) but I was seeing him in action on the show. Even at the beginning, I saw a lot of potential. Now tho, he’s such a complex character. -Not sure if its just better writing, or they have reached the point in the books where he actually has something to do with the talent. Whatever the reason, I am absolutely loving what he does!

  24. Ginevra
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Well, he’s in a bit of a spot of bother, really.

    LoL! Ya think?

  25. The Bastard
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Never understood the Kit Harrington hate. Seems like there is much less of it lately anyways.

    The guy is an amazing actor. He has transitioned from a bastard to something special in the Nights Watch with near perfection.

    I really hope he either sits on the Iron Throne at the end or is at least the King of the North.

  26. dunk the lunk thick as a castle wall
    Posted June 11, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    isnt it Neil M. himself loosing arrow on Jon’s command?

    http://imgur.com/wHoKGSP

  27. Hexonx
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    Veltigar: Yeah, you should have told him to take some spears you dumbass. Jon send Grenn and the other NW redshirt to their death because of his incompetence.

    Actually a couple of the guys behind Grenn had spears.

  28. caliope
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    I think Kit is an amazing actor! Kit ROCKS! BRAVO.

  29. House Mormont
    Posted June 12, 2014 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I love Kit’s interviews. Most celebrities are chirpy and energetic and bubbly, but he’s very calm and mellow an profound. He just seems very magnetic and genuine. He’s also very interesting, he’s a big book fan and he’s really into the backstory and doing Jon’s character justice.

    I just love our cast really, but especially Kit

  30. Morna the Witch
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 4:36 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t have said it better myself, House Mormont. Kit may not have the teeth and charm personality that other actors have in interviews, but he always displays a lot of character. It’s probably a matter of personal taste, but I find his dry British wit very funny.

    I’d love to see much more of Jon in each episode, but the underplayed appearance of the character might, for now, also be deliberate.

  31. kris
    Posted June 13, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    I fist pumped when Jon said “Aye, you should have….” to Tormund. Well played, Kit!

  1. […] a doubt the finale is going to be packed, with a broken Jon Snow heading to treat with Mance Rayder, Tyrion’s fate hanging in the balance, Arya’s next move, the […]

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