Beyond The Wall

The Secrets of 'Game of Thrones' Epic Greyjoy Sea Battle, Revealed

Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss love to keep secrets. In interviews, they hold plot details close to the chest; their production is shrouded in secrecy (to fend off hardcore Thrones spies); and even actors are held to spoiler law -- Gemma Whelan, who palys Yara on the series, says she was nearly fired for listing Thrones on her resume back when she first got the job. But now that Game of Thrones Season 7 is underway, Benioff and Weiss are more than happy to share the blood, sweat, tears, and plumes of neck-hair-scorching fire that go into making episodes of their HBO series. Their recent 10-minute-long breakdown of the Greyjoy ship attack in the second episode, "Stormborn," is exactly what fans want from these tight-lipped fantasy writers.

In the video above, Beioff, Weiss, "Stormborn" director Mark Mylod, Whelan, and Pilou Asbæk ("Euron Greyjoy") -- who isn't always growling, believe it or not -- walk Thrones devotees through the complicated process of building a scene like Silence's high-seas raid on the Grey joy fleet. "That was a fucking awesome week," Asbæk declares. Looks that way in the behind-the-scenes footage, too.

A few highlights: designers on the series describe how they went about building Euron's Silence, a ship that Benioff says is "supposed to intimidate and strike fear in the hearts of his enemies," or as Weiss puts it, is a "big 'fuck you' boat built by a big 'fuck you' guy."

The Thrones production team actually built Yara's ship and the portion of Silence that rams it from the side. While we see two behemoth vessels connected by Euron's dragon-head corvus -- which, with a winch and a shit ton of wood, was built practically -- the entire scene was actually staged in a car park in Northern Ireland. Movie magic... brought to the small screen.

Forty stunt guys, six cast members, and the crew crammed into the tiny boat stage, where splashing water and controlled fires made shooting extreme, uncomfortable, and at times, extremely uncomfortable). As one stunt man puts it, "the set become comically crowded with everyone doing this dance." With a mission to create brutal and unchoreographed action, like "the violence of a riot," the scene was as ambitious as anything in Thrones history.

Watch the entire video for more revelations, and prepare for the aftermath when Game of Thrones Season 7's third episode, "The Queen's Justice," goes down this Sunday.

 

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Matt Patches is the Executive Entertainment Editor of Thrillist. He previously wrote for Grantland, Esquire.com, and Vulture. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.