A Free Folk raid is less intense because an actor like Fingleton gets in and gets out. An action scene like the Battle of Castle Black required two weeks of shooting, six days a week, 14 hours a day. But basketball was months and months of strenuous activity. Fingleton prefers the fantasy life, even if it requires waking up at 3am, applying facial prosthetics for three hours, and then trudging off to work. "It can be incredibly frustrating at times. You go to get some food, and all of a sudden you're eating your beard instead of your sandwich."
Fingleton and his giant cohort filmed most of their scenes in modified versions of existing sets. That could mean shooting in a green-screen volume, where the giants would be essentially cut and pasted into the staged battle and scaled appropriately. Or it could whisk Fingleton to a physical set. Mag the Mighty's power charge through the Castle Black tunnel required the Game of Thrones production to replicate the set at smaller proportions, creating the oversized illusion through forced perspective.
Fingleton's performance doesn't change based on location. "When you're doing costume work, you just try to come to terms with how the director or the producers, they want to see this character," he says. "And they wanted [the giant] to be one of those things where people say, 'Oh shit, this character can move.'"
As anyone following our dead-character bracket knows, Mag the Mighty didn't survive the Battle of Castle Black. And Fingleton certainly remembers his death scene. It wasn't elegant -- one minute Mag is raging, the next he's bleeding out on the floor -- but it took work. "When you're laid out on the floor, getting up wasn't... easy," the actor recalls. The costume's construction requires two extra sets of hands to lift off the ground. Not glamorous.
Fingleton doesn't mind. This is still his dream come true. "When you see the finished product, you just think, 'Yeah, that's what it's all about, really.'"
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Matt Patches is Thrillist’s Entertainment editor. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, Vulture, The Hollywood Reporter, and The Guardian. He stands with the wildlings. Find him on Twitter: @misterpatches.