Battle of the Bastards director Miguel Sapochnik has explained how he created the stunningly good Game of Thrones episode that viewers have hailed as one of the best in the show's history.


Here's what we learnt from his interview with Entertainment Weekly.

The pressure was on after series five's highly-praised Hardhome

"After Hardhome there was a lot of happy campers in the Game of Thrones offices. But there was also a sense that we somehow had to make “BOB” bigger and better."

Battle of the Bastards was based on these real-life battles

"Initially we based BOB on the battle of Agincourt which took place between the French and English in 1415. But as needs changed, as did budgets, it became more like the battle of Cannae between the Romans and Hannibal in 216 BC."

Horses are hard work

"Everything takes about 50 percent longer. Also they need relatively solid ground to run on, and when it rains the field would turn to into a bog and we’d have to lay down tons of gravel to sure up their footing. Horses also get bored and spooked and some perform better than others. They also need an entire separate field to rest in. Oh, and they sh** and piss all the time."

The whole process was incredibly complex

"The sheer logistics of staging a battle scene this size was like a battle in and of itself, minus the life/death thing. For example: The number of days to shoot it, where we shoot it. What happens if it rains? How do you feed 600 people every day?

"Another thing was how to make 500 extras look like 8,000 when you are shooting in a field where there’s just nowhere to hide your shortfall. It becomes a bit like a bonkers math equation. And finally: How do you get these guys riled up enough to run at each other and get covered in mud and stand in the rain and then run at each other again and again for 25 days, 10 hours a day, without them just telling you to piss off?

More like this

Battle of the Bastards in numbers...

"When all was said and done, we had around 500 extras, 160 tons of gravel, 70 horses and riders, 65 stuntmen and women, 7 principle actors, often 4 camera crews, 25 days to shoot it and a call sheet with often up to 600 crew members."

And next week's finale?

"That it feels equally as epic as episode nine … but for completely different reasons."


Game of Thrones' series six finale airs at 9pm on Sky Atlantic on Monday 27th June