It’s hard to imagine the penultimate episode of this year’s Game of Thrones being any more impressive – it had a huge wall of horses running at Kit Harington, mountains of dead bodies and a giant, for goodness’ sakes – but according to Battle of the Bastards director Miguel Sapochnik, the Stark-vs-Bolton clash was once intended to be even more epic.
Speaking at San Diego Comic-con last week, Sapochnik revealed that the battle’s most tense moment – when the Bolton forces encircle the Starks with a wall of shields and spears – was originally supposed to feature a crushing force of cavalry instead.
“Originally, we were gonna have a lot of horses, like seven-horses deep and they were gonna charge the horses,” he told the crowd, adding that they would then… “actually surround the allied troops and crush them with the horses.”
However, the plan soon hit a fundamental snag when it turned out that the horses really weren’t keen on the idea…
“The trouble is, if you run horses at people, they don’t like it,” the director explained.
“The first time they’re alright, the second time they’re like, ‘I don’t really wanna run at these people’, the third time [the horses think], ‘I’m not going’.”
“So the decision was, we weren’t gonna run horses at people, we were going to run people at people.”
So there you have it – the staging of one of the best battle scenes in TV history was largely down to some prima donna horses. And we thought dragons were difficult to train…