The moment in the Game of Thrones episode Battle of the Bastards where the viewer believes Jon Snow may be inadvertently crushed in a throng of his own men is one of the most anxiety-inducing of the entire show, let alone that season.
And it seems that the series’ cast and crew were feeling just as apprehensive about filming the scene, after camera operator Sean Savage revealed that they gave Jon Snow actor Kit Harington a “safe word” in case he was in too much danger.
“I think if you were to ask me what my favourite scene over those eight years was, it’s when Jon Snow is forced to the ground and then trampled,” Savage said in a video released by HBO. “This seemingly immortal hero of ours looks like he’s close to the end. Something that Miguel Sapochnik the [episode] director put into the show, it wasn’t entirely scripted like that. Kit [Harington] went to ground, the stunt guys piled in. We had a safe word where we could call it off at any point.
“We had to see the light close up on Kit’s face, and at that point I just urged Kit to get off the ground and stand up again. I think you can see that it is a true struggle.
“BOB [Battle of the Bastards] was by far the biggest challenge,” he continued, “the scale of it, the organisation and the ambition that Miguel had. The attrition of going into that situation every day solidly for 23 days was a huge challenge.”