If you happened to catch last night’s penultimate Game of Thrones episode, then you know which battle we’re referring to. (And yes, there are spoilers ahead for Season 6!)
The “Battle of the Bastards” was everything it was billed to be: nail-bitingly suspenseful, unflinchingly gory (even by GOT standards, horse and human casualties were high), and breathtakingly filmed—an episode on par with the most memorable battle scenes of modern blockbuster movies.
Though GOT is fantasy, last night’s episode illustrates why, in reality, the pitched cavalry battle was one of the most feared and costly engagements of the medieval world. Of all the gasp-worthy scenes last night, perhaps the most impactful was the image of Jon Snow alone, unhorsed, and within firing range of the Bolton arrows, as a wall of mounted knights gallop towards him at full tilt.
“Part of the reason why that’s such a great shot is it’s all real,” says showrunner David Benioff. “That’s 40 horses charging at full speed at Kit Harrington.”
Just how is a scene like this crafted? From staging horse collisions to cameras designed to track galloping cavalry, here’s a behind the scenes look at the Battle for Winterfell.