The upcoming final season of Game of Thrones will have one of if not the biggest combat spectacles ever committed to screen, and according to a new report from Entertainment Weekly, it sounds like the process of pulling it together was truly abysmal. The epic battle of Winterfell required 11 weeks of night shoots — as in three months — to complete, and the entire filming process was referred to as “The Long Night.” According to EW, one actress not named but described as a series regular apparently fainted from standing so long. (She was fine and returned to work the next day.) Iain Glen, who plays Ser Jorah, called the process “a real test, really miserable,” and “the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones.” He also described the state of everyone onscreen as “an absolute fucked bunch of actors” who really weren’t able to have any life outside of filming. Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), meanwhile, was reportedly given a year’s worth of heads-up from director Miguel Sapochnik just to prepare her for how hard it would be, and still it left her feeling like “there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”
But Williams and Glen are high-profile players in Thrones world, so if they were having hard days you can imagine what it was like for the more than 700 others, cast and crew included, trying to bring the gargantuan battle together. You have your freezing-cold nights and your terrible weather and your abundance of horse manure to contend with, sure, but EW also details a really weird hazard involving fake smoke. “The production’s cavernous Paint Hall hangar is kept full of smoke created by a machine that heats up paraffin and fish oil. Soon the cast and crew find themselves coughing up fishy candle wax. Protective paper masks multiply in popularity and one crew member has an asthma attack and is taken to the hospital.” In other words, make sure to appreciate this megabattle between the living and the dead when you see it, and consider everyone who had to ingest fish-flavored wax to make it happen.