David Nutter, the director behind iconic Game of Thrones moments like the Red Wedding, Jon Snow’s death, and Cersei’s walk of shame, just finished answering fans’ questions about season eight in a Reddit AMA also promoting Love Has No Labels. On Tuesday morning, HBO announced new episodes will start to air in April, and Nutter will be directing half of them, including the season premiere.
Precious little information about the plot of season eight has been revealed, thanks to unprecedented spoiler-proofing tactics like drone guns and fake scenes implemented by HBO and executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Nutter is clearly doing his best to avoid giving anything serious away, but he conveys the timbre of the new episodes concisely in an answer to a question asking him to describe them in three words. He chose “Spectacular, Inspiring, Satisfying.”
This answer itself isn’t spectacular, inspiring, or satisfying, but there are certainly a few hints about season eight hidden throughout the AMA, along with lots of fun facts about the making of Game of Thrones. Here’s what we’ve learned so far.
The Season Premiere Will “Reset the Table”
When asked a broad question about the tone and scope of the season, Nutter responded, "I’ve never directed an opening episode of GOT before until season 8 but I think it’s really important to make a splash. You have to reset the table, put everyone back in their place, you have to take them to their next position. But you have to entertain, that’s what’s most important.” He added in another comment, “Hang onto your seat cause it’s going to be special.”
Season Eight Will Be Huge
We already know that director Miguel Sapochnik shot perhaps the most time-intensive battle sequence of in cinema history for this season, but Nutter says his episodes are massive as well. “There was not a second chance to get all of these sequences right, and a lot of sequences had many actors in them and some wonderfully intimate scenes as well,” Nutter wrote. “So really it was about taking these characters from point A to B to C to D to E in the various episodes that I did, and making sure that it all balances out properly. We had a lot of rehearsal time and that was really the thing that saved me more than anything else.”
Nutter Doesn’t Read the Books
The Game of Thrones fanbase is starkly divided by who has and hasn’t read the books, which often leads to fan theories like Cleganebowl operating on wildly different bodies of information. It turns out one of the most prolific directors in the series comes from the latter group. “To me, the script is the beginning, middle, and end. I don't read the books because I don't want to have a different opinion or different approach from something that actually is written,” he wrote.
“I hadn’t read the books cause I wanted to let the scripts guide me into where I was going,” he added in response to a question about the Red Wedding. “I had no idea the pressure I was under except the pressure I always put myself under in order to make it great. The more I get into the project, of course, the more pressure I realize there really was.”
Season 8’s Security Was the Tightest It’s Ever Been
We already knew about some of the extreme measures HBO has taken to prevent plot points from leaking, but Nutter fleshes out the details. “It was limited viewing on many things. Not a lot of paper on the set, like none. No scripts were printed, we only used iPads and things of that nature. It was much more serious than in the past,” he wrote.
Human error is the biggest vulnerability in any system, but he handles that with a psychological trick. “You definitely learn to keep your secrets. You’re so involved in it while you’re doing it that when you finish doing it you kinda just want to turn it off and I’m in the turn it off mode now so I have no reason or want to tell anyone anything.”
The Ending Took Fans into Consideration
Nutter didn’t direct the final episode—show runners David Benioff and Dan Weiss took that honor for themselves—but he’s “completely satisfied” with the ending. “I think that David and Dan did a tremendous job, and they took into consideration what the fans want, as well as what is right as far as storytelling is concerned. I guarantee there's going to be lots of surprises and shocking moments, but it’s really very compelling stuff.”
There Might Be Time Travel
Last season we saw that Bran has the dangerous and unwieldy ability to influence the past, which in one case resulted in Hodor’s madness. When asked if Bran will be tearing up the spacetime continuum once more, Nutter is coy. “Well, I’ll be the first to tell you that I have no time travel in my episodes. That’s the only clue I’m going to give you,” he wrote. That is very much not a no, and so specific! It’s impossible not to entertain the possibility of more time travel stuff next season.
He Didn’t Lie When He Told President Obama That Jon Snow Was “Deader Than Dead”
“I did not lie to the president about Jon Snow's death,” he wrote. He met Obama at a dinner party in 2015, during which someone introduced them and set up a photo op. “The president grabbed my shoulder with his left hand and shook my hand, and looked at me and said, ‘You didn't kill Jon Snow did you?’ And I said he was deader than dead.
“And what was important to me was that I didn't want to read beyond season five. I was basically directing season five and that was it. I didn't want to know what was happening next as a fan of the show. So I did not lie to the president, but of course when they came out with him surviving the next year, I was worried I was going to get audited or something of that nature, get off to Guantanamo, but I did survive which was a good thing. And we had a laugh about it, I had a chance to meet with him after that, and we had a lot of fun about that situation. One thing he told me was he said, ‘David, you kill all my favorite characters.’ So hopefully that's not over with.”
Nutter Personally Makes Dragon Noises On Set
The process behind Game of Thrones’ computer-generated dragons is incredible, but on set they’re basically a crude puppet operated by a human. Nutter said that during the huge battle in Meereen’s fighting pit in season five, he took that responsibility onto himself. “If you watch the behind the scenes of the Daznak Pit you get to see me screaming dragon noises and everyone was dancing and acting to a green ball as far as the dragon was concerned,” he wrote. “That was a lot of fun to do that and definitely running around doing all kinds of gyrations and so forth, and being a dragon here and a dragon there and things like that. That was a lot of fun to be involved with.”
There Will Be At Least One Direwolf in Season 8
“I have to say that you will see a direwolf in season 8. That's all I can say,” Nutter wrote.
The Two-Year Wait Was Mostly Because of VFX
“Things take time my friends they take a lot of time to create and GoT is the last place you’re going to find half baked work so it’s all about making sure they fill the frame with as much capacity as possible and making it as real and right as possible,” he wrote. “Small price to pay for the amazing quality that comes out of that show.”
He Really Can’t Spoil Anything
“I just can’t get in trouble guys—I can’t say anything or I’ll get killed. Really for real. I’ll tell you one thing ………….. I can’t even tell you that, sorry, I’m hanging on to too much.”
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