It was the longest battle scene ever broadcast on TV or film (yes, longer than the Battle of Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings). And we lost some huge names from the GoT universe.
The Battle of Winterfell, which took 55 days to shoot, had a budget to match. But how much did it cost to slay each of the major characters in one historic episode?
Obviously, spoilers ahead.
The Night King is coming. #GameofThrones
— Game of Thrones (@GameOfThrones) April 29, 2019
The cost of killing Game of Thrones characters
HBO granted the Game of Thrones showrunners a $90 million budget for the final season. Broken down into episodes, that’s $15 million each (more than the budget for some Hollywood films).
We can reasonably assume the Battle of Winterfell cost more than some of the other episodes in the series. And the $15 million doesn’t include special effects or reshoots. But for the sake of this calculation, let’s go with the $15 million figure.
Battle of Winterfell is 82 mins long, arguably the longest battle sequences on film.
The #GOT episode had over 750 characters on set and shot over 55 days with a budget of more than $15m.
It is a movie on its own. pic.twitter.com/F3eeVjxPbu
— Latifat Adebayo Ohio (@Phatill) April 29, 2019
Battle of Winterfell: who died?
Next, we need to know who died. We’ll ignore the swathes of Dothraki and Unsullied that perished and focus on the major characters:
- The Night King– The seemingly indestructible Night King was finally killed by assassin Arya Stark.
- Theon Greyjoy– He was odds-on favorite to die in the battle before the episode. He was killed protecting Bran Stark.
- Ser Jorah Mormont– He died doing what he’s been doing since series one, protecting Daenerys Targaryen.
- Melisandre– Melisandre of Asshai removed her amulet of immortality in her dramatic death scene.
- Lady Lyanna Mormont– Died while fighting a giant ice zombie, because, obviously.
- Dolorous Edd– Former Night’s Watch commander Edd Tollett was the first to die in Sunday night’s epic battle.
- Viserion– The dragon died last season, came back as an ice dragon, then died again in the Battle of Winterfell.
- Lord Beric Dondarrion– Beric has died (and been revived) multiple times through the GoT saga. Add last night’s death to the tally.
The reaction is everything 😮🤩😍#GameofThrones pic.twitter.com/TYpdGokJfz
— R Karthikeyan (@Karthi01024950) April 29, 2019
Cost to kill a Game of Thrones character: $1.875 million
With a $15 million budget and eight major on-screen deaths, that’s an average of $1.875 million each.
Related:Ranked, The Richest Game of Thrones Actors as Epic Final Season Begins
Battle of Winterfell: bigger than Lord of the Rings
The battle scene was the longest ever broadcast, beating the epic Lord of the Rings battle at Helm’s Deep (40 minutes). According to Entertainment Weekly, director Miguel Sapochnik undertook extensive research to make the historic shoot:
“When preparing for the shoot, [Miguel] Sapochnik tried to find a longer battle sequence in cinema history and couldn’t. The closest was the nearly 40-minute Helm’s Deep siege in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which he studied to determine when the audience would get ‘battle fatigue’ from too much hacking and slashing. ‘It feels like the only way to really approach it properly is take every sequence and ask yourself: ‘Why would I care to keep watching?’”
Fans are now left waiting for the saga’s epic conclusion with just five episodes left until Game of Thrones comes to a dramatic end.
About The Author
Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. His writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he worked at Block Explorer, the world’s longest-running source of Blockchain data.