Television shows, even those with the soul of an epic poem, generally do not get the kinds of production budgets that feature films do. So, while their showrunners might strive for a sweeping narrative arc, their budgets mandate that a good chunk of that sweep must be kept just off the side of the frame or behind a particularly dense fog bank. Game Of Thrones’ David Benioff and D. B. Weiss have had the good fortune of receiving larger-than-average budgets for a television show, giving them the opportunity pull out some pretty big stops for past episodes like last year’s “Hardhome.” Even so, it looks like next week’s “Battle Of The Bastards,” the penultimate episode of season six, is going to be massive even by this show’s standards.
We don’t know exactly how much “Battle Of The Bastards” cost, but we do know that the full 10-episode season cost about $10 million per episode on average, according to Entertainment Weekly. And since a good chunk of the season so far—particularly last week’s episode—has consisted of people talking in hushed tones or Tyrion awkwardly trying to make wallflowers tell jokes, we can assume that can assume that the upcoming installment—written by Benioff and Weiss, and directed by Miguel Sapochnik over the course of 25 shooting days (more than twice that of a regular episode)—is skewing that average. Particularly since it looks like it’s going to be devoted solely to the long-awaited battle between the armies of eponymous bastards Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton.
EW managed to get a pretty jaw-dropping account of what this episode’s money was spent on, and it does give the impression that spectacle is going to be splattered all over the screen this Sunday night.
- 600 crew members
- four separate camera crews
- 500 extras (presumably hired through Westeros Recruitment)
- 25 stuntpeople
- 70 horses
Remember how in Monty Python And The Holy Grail, the characters all trotted around the countryside banging coconuts together? The reason they did that is because horses are really expensive and difficult to work with. So to get 70 of them for one episode speaks to a big investment. Especially since they reportedly had to covered the muddy Northern Irish ground with 160 tons of gravel so that the horses would have something to walk on.