Game of Thrones is not only a fantastic show—it’s a feast for the eyes. From the costumes to the sets to the CGI, every episode has gorgeous moments and amazing acting beats that are well worth freezing in time and considering.
This week, “Battle of the Bastards” set a completely new benchmark for what can be accomplished in a battle scene for the small screen. Because of this achievement, this recap will be far longer than usual. Usually, we post these on Tuesday. We are a full 24 hours behind due to the sheer number of shots that we pulled from the episode. (Usually, we can edit the shots down to around 45-60. This week, we pulled 200 shots, which we have ruthlessly edited down to 150.)
The award this week for Best Vista goes to the expanse in Saintfield, Northern Ireland, where the production spent 25 days filming the battle sequence at the heart of the episode.
Let us begin…but not in Winterfell.
How many people were shocked this week when “Battle of the Bastards” started mid-battle….in Meereen?
I want to point out that this wasn’t an appetizer round or anything. This was full-on hardcore fire-based stunt work.
And digital effects for days! And that’s only in the first two minutes!
Meanwhile, in dialogue land, Tyrion is attempting to recap episodes 1-8 in under a minute, while Daenerys is showing her newfound penchant for fascism.
For the record, Tyrion isn’t the only one shocked at Dany’s behavior. I’ve seen quite a few on Twitter who are appalled by her conquerer moments this season, saying that she’s gone over the edge and is no longer a good guy.
I thought this was another case of the show failing to see how their choices would be interpreted, but with this scene, I’m seeing that they knew that would be the case, and that having Tyrion around to temper her impulses would become necessary going forward.
Speaking of which, Tyrion’s misdirection plan here is wonderful. The Masters walk right into his trap.
You know that moment in horror movies when everyone yells “BEHIND YOU!” This is that moment.
The building Drogon is seated on is known as the Mesa Rolan, and is a tourist attraction in Spain. The Spanish Tourism Board invites you to come visit anytime.
Dragons and conquerors are not included on the tour.
This moment was so funny to me. All season we’ve debated who would take Quentyn Martell’s spot in the show and die in the service of freeing Dany’s other dragons. Turns out the answer was “we don’t need no stinkin’ service.”
One of the best things about the khalasar galloping around the corner here is that it was filmed in the desert where so many spaghetti westerns were back in the 1960. It’s so fitting that we finally see Dany’s ground forces in action.
Ground forces in one shot, air forces in the next. The way the dragons are half in and half out of frame feels like it’s a World War II dogfight movie…
…except, you know, with fire-breathing air forces instead of bomb-dropping planes. The naval forces are still hosed either way.
Tell everyone what you saw here today. We need to save our budget for Season 7 and don’t want to do this again.