2019 has seen a lot of endings, including the final season of Game of Thrones. The eighth season of the beloved HBO series ended up being divisive, but that doesn’t mean fans aren’t interested in learning more about the decisions put into those final episodes. Miguel Sapochnik, who directed many of the series’ biggest episodes, including “The Long Night,” which saw the long-awaited Battle of Winterfell, recently spoke with The Hollywood Reporter. During the interview, he explained why they opted not to show Arya Stark’s (Maisie Williams) journey to reach the Night King.
“What was your reaction when you read about Arya's big moment, killing the Night King?,” THR asked.
“I questioned everything and we worked long and hard to find the right balance of credibility versus wish fulfillment,” Sapochnik explained. “Then we shot it and reshot it and found that what was really important was rhythm.”
He added, "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.'"
During the interview, Sapochnik also talked about the grueling shoots on "The Long Night" and how working on the series changed him as a director. In addition to “The Long Night,” he also directed “The Gift” and “Hardhome” in season five, “Battle of the Bastards” and “The Winds of Winter” in season six, and “The Bells” in season eight. You can read the full interview here.
Recently, Williams joined some of her co-stars at San Diego Comic-Con for the final Game of Thrones panel. During the event, she shut down that theory that Jon Snow helped Arya kill the Night King.
All eight seasons of Game of Thrones are currently streaming on HBO.