Valar morghulis: ‘Game of Thrones’ promises gripping penultimate

Actor Liam Cunningham reveals what one can expect from upcoming ninth episode


News Desk June 18, 2016
The episode will see Jon Snow in confrontation with notorious Ramsay Bolton to win Winterfell. PHOTO: FILE

Game of Thrones, as any fan may already know, has a history of putting out the most gripping penultimate episodes with unexpected turns and nail-biting twists.

However, judging by the recent promotions, it seems as if the upcoming second last episode of the current season will eclipse the rest.

It has long been a GoT tradition to make the ninth episode leave viewers on the edge of their seats, usually gaping at their screens in horror, awe or pure shock. The Battle of the Bastards, which will be aired on Sunday (today), is expected to be no different.

The Hollywood Reporter spoke to actor Liam Cunningham, who has essayed the role of Davos Seaworth since season two of the show, regarding his take on the upcoming penultimate.

“They’ve pushed the bounds of television on this, not just the show,” he shared. Winter may be coming, said the actor, but before anyone thinks about tackling the demons beyond the Wall, they have to first witness the epic clash between “the bastards”.

Game of Thrones season 6 to end with super-sized finale

Directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the episode will see Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, locking horns with the notorious Ramsay Bolton, essayed by Iwan Rheon, to win the rule of his Winterfell. He may be the most despicable character in the show at present, but judging by the numbers, the odds might actually be in Ramsay’s favour.

They are also in Davos’ favour, as they have been during all of season six, since the character made a rebound from the Baratheon defeat to serve as Snow’s trusty lieutenant.

Cunningham spoke about what one can expect from The Battle of the Bastards. “It was absolutely extraordinary,” he revealed. “HBO threw everything, including the kitchen sink, at it. It’s one of the most expensive episodes of television ever made. We spent roughly a month just doing this particular battle.”

Elaborating on the massive budget reserved for this episode in particular, the actor said, “The extras that we had were sensational. We had hundreds of them. We had a large number of horses. Miguel had the luxury of spending a huge amount of time on this. What I’m saying is, having seen Blackwater, but not having seen Battle of the Bastards yet, I’m waiting with bated breath to see what they did with it.”

Cunningham also hinted that he will be surrounded by numerous corpses during the episode. But with a title like that, one can easily expect more blood, gore and death from the show. He even joked that if he is not lucky enough, his body too might join one of the piles, after all, he only barely survived Blackwater. “It’s possibly going to be the most talked-about episode of the entire story, of any season. I can’t tell you the air of expectation I have on this. I have every confidence that it’s going to be as magnificent as what I saw being filmed,” he said.

The Battle of the Bastards will air on Sunday on HBO, as the penultimate episode of the ongoing sixth season of one of the biggest epic fantasy dramas on television.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 19th, 2016.

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