Game of Thrones fans: we’re in for a treat. Yes, we already knew that from glimpses of dragon-filled skies and fiery battlefields in the season seven trailers, but now RadioTimes.com has been given a few more clues about what’s to come after speaking to Robert McLachlan, an award-winning Thrones cinematographer who worked on a pair of upcoming episodes. And they sound incredible.
Although naturally tight-lipped about exact details, McLachlan dropped potential hints of a White Walker battle towards the season’s close and teased that we’re in for a treat from a “surprising and epic” episode four and a “very satisfying” and “crowd-pleasing” episode five.
He told us: “I’m extremely pleased with them. Four is definitely going to impress people and five I especially like too – there are some lovely crowd-pleasing scenes in it.”
He went on to say episode four was his favourite of the two, hinting “it was really hard work – uncommonly hard work. It was the toughest one I’ve done of the eight episodes I’ve worked on.”
So, what will the “surprising and epic” episode four feature? Perhaps a battle further south featuring some unexpected characters? Could the “surprising” element be the death of a major player in brutal Thrones style? #PleaseNotTyrion
And, arguably more interesting, what will happen in the “very satisfying” and “crowd-pleasing” episode five? Well we may just have another clue to that. McLachlan revealed that David Nutter had originally been scheduled to direct episode four and five, but after undergoing back surgery he was replaced by Thrones newbie Matt Shakman. Nutter’s original hiring might offer a hint at what’s to come.
Although we can’t be sure what made Nutter the showrunner’s first pick for this episode, a look into the Citadel’s vaults/previous Thrones episodes may shed some light. Nutter has a track record for directing massive moments in the show, but particularly those gasp-inducing and slower-paced scenes. Nutter was selected to commit the Red Wedding to film in series two, plus Cersei’s walk of atonement and the burning of Stannis’ daughter at the stake in season five. All incredibly powerful scenes, yes, but not of the scale of Battle of The Bastards, for instance.
So we have to ask what “crowd-pleasing” moments await that could suit Nutter’s portfolio. Could we be in for another Stark family reunion? The return of Gendry? Do we even dare to dream of that elusive Cleganebowl?
However, while Nutter is known to make the best of emotional scenes, he’s also proved adept at portraying one of the most important elements of the show: Dragons. He helmed season five’s The Dance of Dragons where Drogon rescues Daenerys from Daznak’s Pit, and the preceding episode where the same dragon delivers the Khaleesi to the Dothraki Sea.
Could it be that Nutter was originally hired for both sides of his Thrones skillset? Can we guess showrunners that David Benioff and Dan Weiss decided the director would be perfect to helm an “epic” dragon battle in his first episode, then follow its emotional aftermath in episode five? Or should we have learnt from Stannis that predicting the future of The Seven Kingdoms never ends well?
Whatever answers await, we’ve only got a few weeks before they’re revealed.
Game of Thrones Season 7 is on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am, repeated at 9pm