The 'Battle of the Bastards' was one of the most spectacular Game of Thrones episodes ever - but one of the most memorable sequences almost didn't happen at all.
Miguel Sapochnik, the episode's director, told Entertainment Weekly that the scene – in which Jon Snow is almost smothered by a horde of his own men – was a last-minute addition.
Sapochnik revealed that he ran out of time to shoot the episode as scripted and had to ask permission to go "off book" for three days.
"After a few hours and a fair bit of guesswork, we said 28. They said we had 12. Suffice to say, something needed to give."
The episode was eventually granted a 25-day shoot, for the entire battle sequence and Jon's final confrontation with Ramsay Bolton at Winterfell.
"One day in the middle of shooting, there was a moment when I realised we just could not complete the sequence as planned," Sapochnik explained.
Instead, he e-mailed showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss to "suggest an alternative that I thought we could achieve in the remaining time".
"We'd be shooting without a script," he admitted. "They said it sucked not to be able to finish as scripted, but they also understood the crunch we were in and that they trusted me and to have at it.
"I think that this section of the fight – in which Jon is almost buried alive by a stampede of panicking wildings – turned out as one of my favorite little moments in the sequence."
Game of Thrones airs on Sundays at 9/8c on HBO in the US. Sky Atlantic simulcasts new episodes at 2am BST in the UK, with a repeat showing at 9pm.
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