Game of Thrones season four has been nothing short of amazing thus far. And according to the show’s producers, you ain’t seen nothing yet!
[Warning: Spoilers Ahead]
This Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones unleashes the show’s first ever big arena fight between Prince Oberyn of Dorne (a.k.a. The Red Viper) and Ser Gregor Clegane (a.k.a The Mountain That Rides), a vile, disgusting behemoth responsible for the rape and death of Oberyn’s sister and her children.
In the previous episode of Game of Thrones, Prince Oberyn volunteered to fight on Tyrion’s behalf after the fan-favorite imp was unjustly condemned for the murder of King Joffrey. And now, after having to wait an entire extra week between the Memorial Day holiday, we finally get to witness the carnage.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with the show’s producers, Dan Weiss and David Benioff, just after they completed shooting the scenes months earlier. The showrunners had this to say for their work:
“It’s one of the best — if not the best — combat scenes we’ve done so far,” Weiss said. “It’s not just people hacking at each other with spears and swords. It’s the culmination of 20 years of anger and hatred and thirst for vengeance coming to a head in this amazing set piece that [stunt coordinator Paul Herbert and swordmaster C.C. Smiff] have put together. The fight delivers beyond our expectations.”
“It’s one of those fights that from the very beginning of the process of planning the show before season one we knew would be a high point if done properly. And it’s a real challenge because The Mountain is The Mountain — you need to find an enormous human being who can also deliver what you need on physical front.”
In fact, the role of The Mountain was recast early in the shooting process for this season of Game of Thrones due to the demands involved with shooting the arena fight. 420-pound Icelandic strongman competitor Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson is now the man behind The Mountain:
“Hafþór for The Mountain is a truly unusual specimen — I believe he’s the third-strongest man in the world and a former basketball player, so he knows how to move,” Weiss gushed. “To see somebody who is 6′ 9″ and moving the way he does in person is a surreal sight to behold.”
But as Entertainment Weekly also pointed out in a related article, the outcome of the fight might not be something fans want to see considering how Game of Thrones usually treats it’s heroes:
“Rarely on [Game of Thrones] do we get such a important face-off that’s also a black-and-white battle. So naturally we’re all on waving big foam fingers for Team Oberyn, right? Yet the track record for good guys in Westeros isn’t so hot … BUT Tyrion’s fate will be decided by the outcome of this fight, and the show wouldn’t kill him off … would it? Then again, Thrones killed the last person we thought was the star of the show, Ned Stark.”
So buckle up and get ready for the first big arena fight scene in Game of Thrones‘ history. And check out the preview of tonight’s Game of Thrones episode below: