Game of Thrones gained a reputation for having great action scenes…but there are a few exceptions that prove the rule. What went wrong here?
Over the years, Game of Thrones became known for its spectacular fight scenes, whether it was big battles like the Loot Train Attack or one-on-one skirmishes like the fight between the Mountain and the Viper. The action sequences on the show were second to none…
…most of the time. Then there was the fight scene in season 5 between Jaime Lannister and the Sand Snakes, Oberyn’s daughters, which…
I mean, there are just so many problems here. To start, the whole plan is a little silly. So Jaime and Bronn want to try and steal back Jaime’s Myrcella from the Martells, and their bright idea is just to wander around the Martell stronghold in broad daylight and hope to run into her? And the Sand Snakes had the same dumb plan?
Apart from the writing, the fight itself is just way less exciting than most of the action scenes on the show, with lots of cuts and lackluster choreography. Talking to James Hibberd for the new book Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon: Game of Thrones and the Official Untold Story of the Epic Series, episode writer Dave Hill explained how production problems were partly to blame for how the scene turned out:
"It was a perfect storm. We had this gorgeous location, the Alcázar palace, but we weren’t allowed to shoot there at night. So we couldn’t have a night infiltration, when you’d logically do it. But at least we could have a cool fight during the day, where you can see everything. Then we lost our stunt people a few days before, so we had to make do with what the actors had learned up until that point and cut around it. The Water Gardens fight was supposed to be much more elaborate. I remember Jeremy [Podeswa, the episode’s director] at the time not being happy with it."
For his part, Podeswa doesn’t fully remember what happened, but “thought we were going to be using the doubles a lot more.”
“We thought it would be a fun adventure, but it fell prey to all the other storylines,” Hill continued. “We realized one storyline had to be cut down a bit.”
The explanation about not being able to film at night does clear some things up. The Royal Alcázar of Seville may be beautiful, but when you film at a historically important castle, I guess it makes sense that there are going to be restrictions.
I’m not saying having this scene happen at night would have salvaged the entire Dorne plot, but it definitely would have made more sense. Notably, the show used a different location as the Water Gardens after season 5.