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Game of Thrones Director Says Arya Originally Had Longer Fight Path to the Night King

August 13, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Game of Thrones Finale Arya

One of the biggest moments of Game of Thrones’ final season saw Arya go one-on-one with the Night King, but it was almost took her longer to get there. Miguel Sapochnik, who directed the episode “The Long Night” that saw Arya kill the supernatural villain, spoke with THR and discussed his work on the episode. During the discussion, he noted that there was originally a plan for Arya to have a long fight scene to get to the Night King, but that it would have felt redundant with the amount of fighting she’d already done.

“I questioned everything and we worked long and hard to find the right balance of credibility versus wish fulfillment,” Sapochnik said. “Then we shot it and reshot it and found that what was really important was rhythm. At one point there was an elaborate plan to have her fight her way into the Weirwood forest, but as we progressed we realized she’d already done that earlier in the episode, so it felt like a repeat. In the end we felt it didn’t matter how she got there — what mattered was setting up that moment when the Night King catches her mid-leap and we think she’s done for, then she pulls her knife switch and takes him out. I loved Maisie’s performance post the takedown as well, sharing a moment with her brother, Bran. That weary smile. ‘Not today.'”

The episode was controversial, a bit less so for Arya’s moment (though there was some of that) than for the darkness in the episode making the earlier parts in particular difficult to see. Maisie Williams also said that she didn’t expect to be the one to kill the Night King, noting that when she found out, “It was so unbelievably exciting. But I immediately thought that everybody would hate it; that Arya doesn’t deserve it. The hardest thing is in any series is when you build up a villain that’s so impossible to defeat and then you defeat them. It has to be intelligently done because otherwise people are like, ‘Well, [the villain] couldn’t have been that bad when some 100-pound girl comes in and stabs him.’ You gotta make it cool. And then I told my boyfriend and he was like, ‘Mmm, should be Jon though really, shouldn’t it?’”

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Arya, Game of Thrones, Jeremy Thomas