The last time Neil Marshall got behind the camera for "Game Of Thrones," it was a couple of years ago for season two's "Blackwater," which we called the best episode of the series to date at the time. And while this weekend's "The Watchers And The Wall" (recap here) doesn't quite hit that height, like the penultimate episodes so far, it was memorable and epic, with Marshall once again delivering some terrific thrills. And part of that included a single take shot of the yard at Castle Black as the action unfolds. And remarkably, no CGI was used for that scene.
"It was one take. It was all the work of the ADs — and the stunt guys, for keeping out of the way of the camera," Marshall told Rolling Stone. "The camera was on the end of a crane arm and swinging around at high speed. It doesn't necessarily look it from the camera's point of view, but if the camera had hit someone in the head, it could have killed them — it was moving that fast. That was one of the worries. But nobody got killed by the camera, so that's good."
"We rehearsed it for an hour -- we got it in seven takes. It links all the characters together," Marshall revealed to THR.
Also on Marshall's plate this time around was handling a number of character deaths, including Ygritte who gets a rather traditional end. "The hardest part of that was you have do it in the middle of a battle, and separate them, somehow, from what's going on around them — which I did by keeping it tight on them at first and then revealing that slo-mo pullback," Marshall explained to Rolling Stone. "That was a way of putting them in their own little bubble, which is what's going on in Jon's head. Doomed lovers…almost 'Romeo & Juliet.' I wanted to play that for all the tragic romance I could get. Without the characters, the spectacle is meaningless."
We'll see if anyone else gets knocked off in the finale next week, but until then, here's "Breaker Of The Chains" from the "Game Of Thrones" soundtrack (via Vulture) available digitally today.