To the delight of many Game of Thrones fans, the Sunday night void on HBO where new episodes of the fantasy series would normally air was filled with not a new episode, but a documentary titled Game of Thrones: The Last Watch from British filmmaker Jeanie Finlay. The docu, which aired Sunday night, chronicled David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’s final season of GoT which was arguably one of the most ambitious — and divisive — to date. Despite getting mixed reactions from the masses, it’s no question that the final season was one of the most epic ever seen on TV.
The Last Watch gets down and dirty and into the blood and mud to show what went into making the eighth and final season of the series based on the George R.R. Martin books. It addressed the challenges in saying goodbye to the fantasy world of Westeros but it pulled back the curtain to give us a peek at more intimate moments that made the end of this journey personal for the creators, crew and cast while shooting in Northern Ireland.
One of the most memorable moments from the docu was seeing Kit Harington getting emotional during his last scene where Grey Worm (Jacob Anderson) is killing prisoners after King’s Landing has been burnt to a crisp. We’ve also seen him get emotional during the table read as he finds out that he is the one that kills his Auntie/Lover Daenerys (Emilia Clarke), which is a testament to how much the actors have invested into these characters that have cemented themselves to TV history. On a lighter note, we get to watch the wiggy journey of Dany as we see the decisions made to hide Clarke’s dark hair with that braided platinum mane. We even get to see her rehearse a scene with a towel on her head in place of the wig — something that will make you giggle.
The docu not only gives us a behind the scenes look at the actors, but the unsung heroes who make the details of the show come to life. From costumes to the weapons to the set design to the storyboards to stunt work to fight choreography, the world created by the Game of Thrones team is nothing short of remarkable. Lots of drama, unexpected problems, and speed bumps (like extreme weather and lack of toilets on set) during production are brought to the forefront to give GoT fans an idea of what kind of issues the team faced in bringing us this final season. Suddenly a stray coffee cup doesn’t seem to be that big of a problem.
“The way Game of Thrones is developed is that every episode has much in it as any feature film but we have to do it quicker and with less money,” said producer Christopher Newman in the docu.
We get to see the fake bodies, discussions about the speed of direwolves and body parts that were scattered about King’s Landing (I mean, did you really think they were real bodies?) and the prosthetics created by Sarah and Barrie Gower. Speaking of, we get to see Vladimír Furdík’s transformation into the Night King and the numerous takes required to get the perfect scene in which he was slain by Arya (Maisie Williams).
In addition to seeing Harington’s emotional response to Jon Snow killing Dany, we get to see plenty of emotion throughout as the cast and crew say their final goodbyes.