Game of Thrones horse mistress prepares for HBO’s prequel show


Game of Thrones Horse Mistress Camilla Naprous has been with the show since season 1. She’s helped choreograph some amazing sequences, including season 6’s “Battle of the Bastards.”

And she’s not done with Westeros. Naprous recently she talked with Elle about her memories of working on Thrones, and what it will be like moving over to HBO’s Game of Thrones prequel series.

That show is set thousands of years before the story we know and is currently codenamed Bloodmoon, if you can believe the reports. Will there be an “epic equine sequence” in the new show?

"I can’t say! But this project is going to be really fun, because it’s not Game of Thrones anymore—it’s a whole new world. It’ll be interesting to go back without the same faces, with a brand new way of doing things, so I’m looking forward to see how that sits with me."

Through her company, The Devil’s Horsemen, Naprous keeps 98 horses on a private 120-acre property in Buckingham, England. There were 100 used for the Battle of the Bastards. “I had said the season before to [show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss] that I was getting a bit bored,” Naprous recalled. “Everybody else was getting all these exciting sequences and I’m just, like, turning up at castles with horses. When they sent over the script for ‘Battle of the Bastards,’ I was like, ‘Okay, game on. I get to show myself off.'”

"One day, before shooting the episode, I decided that I wanted to make a grand arrival on set, so I had all 100 horses and their riders gallop down the hill as William Tell played on this giant speaker contraption that I built. I was like, “Yes! That is the way to make an arrival.” And nobody got it on camera."

Well, there’s a moment I wish they had captured for The Last Watch.

“[A]s I look back at it now and I smile, but if I’m being really honest, it was the hardest I ever worked,” Naprous recalled of the battle we can now say with certainly was the best of the show’s many wonderful action set pieces. “I’d be starting work at 3 A.M. and getting back at 11 P.M. Most of the days it was raining and freezing cold. It was hard work, but I can watch it now and be proud of what we did.”

Even though the horses on Game of Thrones often meet violent ends, Naprous says that none of them were ever hurt. “Luckily, nothing horrific ever happened on set during all eight seasons. The safety of our animals and riders is the number one concern, and I like to think of myself as the voice of my horses. In every other department on a movie set, people can speak up for themselves. The horses, of course, can’t, so I pride myself on making sure their safety is a priority.”

Naprous says she likes to pick horses for actors that match their personalities. For example, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) is “very brave,” so she found fearless horses for him. “Kit actually had three horses that he used over the eight seasons: Concord, Quentin, and Tornado. I think continuity is important, because a rider and a horse need to build up trust.”

Apparently, Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), and Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark) were all confident riders, but Naprous wouldn’t say who was a bad rider. “I don’t want to hurt any feelings!”


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In November, Naprous was inducted into the National Cowgirl Hall of Fame, thanks mostly to her work on Game of Thrones. And next month, she’ll be taking the horses back to Northern Ireland where they’ll be part of the Game of Thrones prequel show!

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