One of the chief complaints from Game of Thrones fans this season has been how muddled the timeline has been, especially concerning traveling times from Point A to Point B, which has been super fast. The most recent example? This Sunday’s episode, titled “Beyond the Wall.”
The episode saw Gendry sprint back to Eastwatch as Jon Snow and co. found themselves surrounded by White Walkers and Wights in the Ice Zombie Apocalypse north of The Wall and send a raven to Daenerys at Dragonstone (which, believe me, is really far away from The Wall), with Dany and her dragons making it back in time to (mostly) save everyone in the span of what could have been a day and a half. Tops.
Alan Taylor, who directed the penultimate episode of Season 7, spoke to Variety in order to address fan complaints and explain how they actually approached the timeline during filming:
“We were aware that timing was getting a little hazy. We’ve got Gendry running back, ravens flying a certain distance, dragons having to fly back a certain distance…In terms of the emotional experience, [Jon and company] sort of spent one dark night on the island in terms of storytelling moments. We tried to hedge it a little bit with the eternal twilight up there north of The Wall. I think there was some effort to fudge the timeline a little bit by not declaring exactly how long we were there. I think that worked for some people, for other people it didn’t. They seemed to be very concerned about how fast a raven can fly but there’s a thing called plausible impossibilities, which is what you try to achieve, rather than impossible plausibilities. So I think we were straining plausibility a little bit, but I hope the story’s momentum carries over some of that stuff. It’s cool that the show is so important to so many people that it’s being scrutinized so thoroughly. If the show was struggling, I’d be worried about those concerns, but the show seems to be doing pretty well so it’s OK to have people with those concerns.”
I can’t really argue against that. The Emmy-winning series is doing pretty well numbers-wise. While the timeline for “Beyond the Wall” was rushed, the epic battle between our heroes and the army of the dead was, well, epic. But still, for a show that almost always gets the little things right, it stands out.
Richard Dormer, who plays Beric Dondarrion, opened up to Variety about the frozen lake battle and his character using a flaming sword which, as it turns out, was really on fire. For real. See: Exhibit A below:
“It was like running a marathon in about 40 kilos of armor and seal skin, with only one eye and a flaming sword that kind of blinded my one good eye. It was hellish, but it was worth it. Hard work. It took us five weeks to film that battle sequence. The sword is not CGI. That’s real flames every single time. It lasts about two minutes, so I could only use it for two minutes and then it would start to go out so we had to start all over again…Also, I had to slow my sword arm down by about 20%. So if I was doing a move, I would just do it quick with the sword. But with the sword on fire, you can’t move that fast otherwise the flame will go out. So you’ve got to move just slightly slower but more effort, you know? Also it weighs three times as much as a normal sword, so it’s just this big club really.”
What do you think of Alan Taylor’s explanation concerning the way they dealt with the timeline of “Beyond the Wall,” and the fact that Richard Dormer has to fight with a real flaming sword on Game of Thrones?