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An Oral History of “Blackwater”


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#1 Westeros

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 01:29 PM

GQ.com has declared “Blackwater”—the George R.R. Martin-pennied, Neil Marshall-directed penultimate episode of season 2—the “Year’s Best Television Episode”.

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It’s hard to make an argument against that (though Matt Weiner and Vince Gilligan can surely make them), but the honor does come with a very nice “oral history” of the episode, from its conception to completion, as told by executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as well as GRRM and Marshall. Some interesting details along the way, and it’s well worth reading.
However, we can say that one detail in the article seems to be an error—or, at least, was not sourced from the participants. Writer Brian Rafferty writes toward the end that “Martin is halfway” through the sixth novel. We contacted Martin’s office about this detail, to verify it, and have been informed that GRRM made no such statement. It may have been a misunderstanding or a mistaken assumption, but in any case, GRRM has not stated that he is “halfway” done with The Winds of Winter, the sixth novel of the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series.

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#2 Ekho

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 03:44 PM

It said they're planning on having another big (bigger) battle for the end season 4. So are they moving the battle of Meereen forward or seriously fleshing out the battle at the wall?

#3 ebevan91

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:35 PM

It said they're planning on having another big (bigger) battle for the end season 4. So are they moving the battle of Meereen forward or seriously fleshing out the battle at the wall?


Probably the battle at the Wall.

#4 Crown

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 05:54 PM

So Stannis will stay on Dragonstone for two seasons? I'm curious to see what they come up with to make his story more interesting for TV viewers.

Edited by Crown, 30 November 2012 - 05:54 PM.


#5 FSBA

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 06:28 PM

Maybe have the Iron Bank side with Stannis before he sails for the Wall? Then you have Davos arguing they should still sail for the Wall instead of a 2nd assault on Kings Landing? It would help make Stannis' choice seem more noble for TV viewers

#6 lozeldatkm

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Posted 30 November 2012 - 07:38 PM

I figured the siege of Astapor would be a big event towards the end of season 4. Maybe less of a battle and more of a slaughter, but still an awesome scene nonetheless.

#7 ghost23

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 01:41 AM

They're definitely talking about the battle of Castle Black. It's probably going to be a much more challenging shoot than Blackwater because there are so many CG elements that would have to be present at the wall. They even said that a lot of shortcuts were taken with Blackwater to reduce the amount of CG and budget required such as shooting it at night. However, with the battle of Castle Black, if they want to convey the sort of scope present in the books, the wall itself is going to have to be a consistent CG element that is in a lot of the scenes which is probably a huge demand on the budget. Plus there's the giants and the mammoths which I really hope they find some way to include.

#8 protar

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 06:04 AM

I'm definitely thinking it'll be the Battle at the Wall. It actually isn't that big in the books. There's basically a siege stretched over a few hundred pages (which I expect will take up most of Jon's S4 story.), and then a paragraph or two of chaos when Stannis arrives. I was expecting it to be much like that in the show, but it seems like we may be getting a whole episode devoted to Stannis' arrival.

As for Stannis being at Dragonstone for 2 seasons, my idea was to finish all his dragonstone material in S3, then leave him a mystery for S4 until he turns up at the Wall for the end of the season.

#9 oierem

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 09:17 AM

It doesn't necessarily mean that it will be the end of season 4. It's a way of talking, it'll probably happen in the second half of the season. It would be strange to have the big battle in the first half of the season.
Splitting ASOS means that they have to create proper storylines for two seasons. They can't just take the last part of ASOS and treat it as a season, because it's essentially a big climax.

#10 Crown

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 11:41 AM

It doesn't necessarily mean that it will be the end of season 4. It's a way of talking, it'll probably happen in the second half of the season. It would be strange to have the big battle in the first half of the season.
Splitting ASOS means that they have to create proper storylines for two seasons. They can't just take the last part of ASOS and treat it as a season, because it's essentially a big climax.


They're probably going to build up the anticipation like they did in season two for the Blackwater episode. It worked, so why not do it again?

Edited by Crown, 01 December 2012 - 11:41 AM.


#11 protar

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:01 PM

They're probably going to build up the anticipation like they did in season two for the Blackwater episode. It worked, so why not do it again?


I think it will work even better this season, because the wildlings will literally be right there below them, exchanging arrows with the NW. I'm really looking forward to it.

#12 Crown

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Posted 01 December 2012 - 12:04 PM

I think it will work even better this season, because the wildlings will literally be right there below them, exchanging arrows with the NW. I'm really looking forward to it.


I agree, but they need to make the wildling threat work, they can do that by making them look like a strong and large army when Jon is around.