Red Wedding director says he wouldn't return for Game of Thrones spinoffs

David Nutter directed some of the most iconic episodes of Game of Thrones, but has no interest in working on prequel shows like House of the Dragon.

Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon season 2
Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower in House of the Dragon season 2 /

David Nutter is an award-winning director who's worked on some of the biggest TV shows of the past few decades, including The X-Files, The Sopranos and Game of Thrones, where he was behind the camera for most of the show's most famous episodes. For instance, he directed "The Rains of Castamere," "The Dance of Dragons," and "Mother's Mercy," better known respectively as the one with the Red Wedding, the one where Stannis Baratheon burns his own daughter alive, and the one with Cersei Lannister's walk of atonement. The man knows how to make a memorable TV moment.

Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, Nutter revealed that the most difficult sequence he shot for Game of Thrones was from "The Dance of Dragons": it was the last stretch, where Daenerys Targaryen is attacked at Daznak's Pit in Meereen and ends up flying on Drogon for the first time. "You have this huge arena full of people. There are gladiator fights. Then there’s a riot. And then a dragon comes in. That was the most difficult," he remembered.

Nutter also directed three episodes in the show's infamous eighth and final season, which was widely criticized by fans when it came out. That's a complex topic, altough it should be noted that Nutter directed what is widely considered the best episode of that season, "A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms," the one where everyone chills out at Winterfell before the fight against the Night King.

THR touches on the backlash when it asks Nutter if there's anything he wishes he'd done differently in that final season, but it doesn't sound like Nutter dwells on that sort of thing. "When I used to direct episodes early on, I’d wake up in the middle of the night saying to myself, 'Why did I do it that way?' Then I decided that every day, I’m going to work as hard as I can, and then I’m going to let it go. The scripts [on Thrones] were so great, I really enjoyed it so much. That said, I really enjoyed the fireplace scene [where several characters contemplate the battle to come and Jaime Lannister knights Brienne]. That whole sequence I loved doing."

Nutter also revealed that he was struggling with Parkinson's disease while working on the final season of Game of Thrones. The experience has given him a new kind of perspective on his work. “What I found was I became more empathetic, more compassionate and caring about people. I might be a little more tired when the day is over, but during the day I move and move.  It doesn’t slow me down and when you love what you’re doing, nothing is going to stop you.”

It's onwards and upwards for him. Not only does Nutter not dwell on his old Game of Thrones episodes, it sounds like he's moved on from the franchise entirely, and isn't interested in returning to direct episodes of spinoffs like House of the Dragon or the upcoming show A Knight of the Seven Kingdomes: The Hedge Knight. "It’s like when Warners president Peter Roth wanted me to direct Fringe and I was like, 'This is a copy of X-Files.' It would be difficult to do something in that world unless the same people were involved."

Nutter recently received a lifetime achievement award from the Directors Guild of America. Whatever he does next, he can rest easy knowing he earned it.

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