Directing for a Drama Series: “The Watchers on the Wall,” Neil Marshall
Writing for a Drama Series: “The Children,” David Benioff, D.B. Weiss
After pulling off the Battle of the Blackwater with just seven days to prep, Neil Marshall has become the go-to director for “Game of Thrones’” most epic battles. But Season 4’s attack on Castle Black was different. “You have this army of a hundred-thousand men, including giants and mammoths, and they’re attacking a 700-foot ice wall … those are challenges,” Marshall says, laughing.
While CGI beasts and 150 extras that were multiplied in post-production taxed the director’s imagination, it was the episode’s most intimate scene that proved most difficult. “I knew that I had to do a really emotional moment between Jon Snow and Ygritte, but obviously, it’s taking place within a battle,” says Marshall. “It was one of the very rare moments in ‘Game of Thrones’ where we use slow motion. It holds them in their own world and their own little moment. If you didn’t do it in slow motion, you’d need to hear the battle going on around them.” The decision was initially met with some resistance from creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. “I go in knowing that it’s their baby,” says Marshall. “They have such a strong idea of what they want, so they were a little dubious, but they saw the shot and understood how it worked. And they absolutely love it now.”
— Carita Rizzo