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Emmys: ‘Game of Thrones’ Faced Massive Undertaking With Globetrotting Shoots, More

Expansive crew a challenge for showrunners

After an intense season that required shooting in five countries, with two units running simultaneously, it’s maybe not all that surprising that an Emmy victory for best drama would mean a well-deserved drink (or five) for the showrunners of “Game of Thrones.”

“That would be a night to remember. Or probably not remember,” joke David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, adding that it would be “validation for the hundreds of people who work their asses off in the Northern Irish rain and the Icelandic snow and the deserts of Morocco.”

Assembling the 10 episodes for season three of the HBO epic was nothing short of a circus act — and not just in terms of logistics.

“In terms of storytelling challenges, the trick with ‘Game of Thrones’ has always been juggling a dozen different storylines without letting the various plots and counter-plots impede the momentum,” Benioff and Weiss say via email. “Season three was the most difficult so far because the world of the series has grown so large. We had to integrate a dozen new characters into a show that already has a gargantuan cast.”

But as season four starts production, there is relief in sight, at least on one front. “From this point forward, the ‘GoT’ cast will cease expanding and begin to contract, as the death rate begins to exceed the birth rate,” the showrunners say.

For the creators of the series, the season’s greatest return on investment came as a result of successfully executing “The Red Wedding,” which fans of the books had anxiously been anticipating since the beginning of the show.

“Writing those scenes and later shooting them were nerve-jangling experiences,” admit Weiss and Benioff. “We’d waited six years for the chance to deliver that blood-soaked episode to people’s homes. Thousands of emails and phone calls and meetings, all focused on how to make it work. If, after all that time, we didn’t get it right …

“Luckily, David Nutter directed the living hell out of it. Michelle Fairley, Richard Madden and the rest of the cast acted the living hell out of it. And we ended up with an episode that exceeded our high expectations.”

All due to exceptional teamwork, assure the creators.

“A miraculous team of people work themselves to the bone to make this high fantasy a reality,” they say. “The most obvious ones to mention are Bernie Caulfield and Chris Newman, who are responsible for (among other things) making sure everyone and everything is in the right place at the right time. Every one of our department heads floors us on a weekly basis with their creativity and drive. Making a television show is a team sport, and we get to work with the ’27 Yankees.”

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