WARNING: Spoiler alert. If you haven’t watched Game of Thrones’ most recent episode — “The Long Night” — and don’t want to know what happens, stop reading now.
The Battle of Winterfell wasn’t just a long-awaited and bloody showdown in Game of Thrones. With 78 minutes of uninterrupted warfare, it comfortably made history as the longest battle scene to ever be aired, in a movie or on TV.
But smashing this record didn’t come easy for the cast and crew, who poured their blood, sweat and tears into the mammoth 55-night shoot in nightmare conditions, with one unidentified female star reportedly even fainting on one occasion.
In the months after filming, before “The Long Night” episode aired, the stars of the show reflected on just how miserable it was.
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark, told Entertainment Weekly the gruelling schedule left her “broken”.
“Nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do … there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
Or as her on-screen frenemy, Rory McCann (The Hound) said: “Everybody prays they never have to do this again.”
Iain Glenn, who plays Daenarys Targaryen’s number one fan Ser Jorah Mormont, declared it to be the “most unpleasant experience” he’s ever had on the show, and “really miserable”.
“You get to sleep at seven in the morning and when you wake in the midday you’re still so spent you can’t really do anything, and then you’re back,” he said.
“You have no life outside it. You have an absolute f***ed bunch of actors. But without getting too method (acting) about it, on screen it bleeds through to the reality of the Thrones world.”
Jacob Anderson, aka Unsullied soldier Grey Worm, described how, by week three, everyone began to look “slightly haunted”.
In fact, many of them started to suffer from a lack of vitamin D after being forced to be nocturnal for so long.
“So you’re working all night and then you wake up in the afternoon and it’s dark already. You’re not really seeing the sun at all for almost three months. It was really hard,” Daniel Portman, who plays Podrick Payne, told Insider.
“At the time, we all were going crazy. We weren’t getting enough vitamin D, we weren’t eating well enough, we were all weird. Nobody could go to the gym or anything — it was odd.”