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'Game of Thrones' documentary: 5 odd takeaways from ‘The Last Watch’

The bonus documentary episode airs on OSN Series First tonight

Emilia Clarke in a scene from the series finale of 'Game of Thrones'. HBO via AP
Emilia Clarke in a scene from the series finale of 'Game of Thrones'. HBO via AP

Game of Thrones fans pining for their favourite show can look forward to one last treat when The Last Watch, which documents the making of the show’s final series, screens on OSN Series First tonight at 11pm – the doc is already available for streaming to OSN Play subscribers.

At almost two hours long, the documentary actually technically qualifies as the longest episode in season eight, so it's perhaps fitting that after a season which saw plenty of complaining from fans about the quality of the finale, the big sign off should actually be a reminder of quite how much work went into making TV they could complain about.

It certainly looked a gruelling affair, with 11 weeks of night shooting in chilly Northern Ireland during the so-called “Beast from the East,” the coldest spell of weather to hit the British Isles in years, particularly taking its toll on the cast and crew. Here are some of our favourite takeaways from the episode.

There’s no business like snow business: GoT had a head of snow

Game of Thrones has a dedicated head of snow. Del Reid, aka The Snowman, is in charge of ensuring all those blustery Winterfell nights had just the right amount of the powdery white stuff to look convincing, without blowing the budget. Del seems big on budgets – in one scene he reminds an assistant to “only take one piece of paper” and he’s keen to remind us that he doesn’t like to throw money away. The snow itself is made simply from paper and water. It also looks like Del has plenty of opportunity to recycle, after the cast's first sit down read through of the new scripts, the entire lot are shredded for security. Ironically, Reid’s biggest challenge seems to arise when it actually snows for real in Northern Ireland, ruining his meticulously dressed snowscape.

An army marches on its stomach: Toasty secrets from the GoT snack van

There’s an on-site canteen for the hundreds of cast and crew on the show’s Northern Irish set, but between meals Leigh McCrum’s snack van is the place to be. McCrum says she’s tried to steer her customers in the direction of healthy food, but had little success, so it’s more about crisps, fizzy pop and ice lollies.

Seemingly its McCrum’s cheese toasties that are the true energy source driving the armies of Westeros into battle though. She initially bought a loaf of tiger bread and some cheese to make a snack for herself while she was in Tesco’s on her break, we learn, but once the tasty melted delights were spotted it seems everyone on set wanted them, and McCrum expanded her menu to include chicken, bacon, tomato and more.

The main canteen itself looks a strange place too – one where you can find yourself eating your lasagna next to a zombie munching on crisps. In other food related news, extra Andy McClay, who was been playing a Stark soldier for five years, reveals that “club” sandwich is an acronym for Chicken and Lettuce Under Bacon. Not GoT-related at all, but I did not know that.

Toilet Trouble: These extras are dedicated

There seem to be no lengths that these hearty GoT fans won’t go to when it comes to enjoying their moment in the spotlight as extras. In one scene, we learn that 250 extras have been stranded in a field for several hours during the cold snap with no usable toilet facilities – the bleach has frozen in the toilet bowl and there are icicles hanging from the taps. Waiting for the bathroom seems a minor inconvenience next to our old friend McClay, however. Towards the end of the doc, we learnt that the extra's house burnt down the day before he had his very first make-up test for the show, but he still turned up dutifully, ready to serve Jon Snow.

Possible OCD? Director David Nutter is a very meticulous man

David Nutter, who directed episodes including the epic Battle of Winterfell one, meticulously draws out the blocking for every single shot of every single scene. He keeps his diagrams in a locked safe and insists that if the wrong person touches them they will “dissolve and go up in flames, Mission: Impossible style.” Nutter asserts that this is so he has more time on set to “direct actors.” He doesn’t stop there though. Nutter insists on drawing his plans on US letter-sized paper, which the producers have to ship in especially from the States. Standard international A4 doesn’t work we’re told, though it’s never fully explained why, just that we shouldn’t “mess with the system.”

Did this just turn into a satire? The Night King on the perils of showbiz

The Night King in Game of Thrones. HBO / OSN
The Night King in Game of Thrones. HBO / OSN

There’s a hilarious scene, reminiscent of Taika Waititi’s mockumentary What We Do in the Shadows, which features a household of vampires dealing with the very mundane minutiae of modern life. In it, we find the Night King and Bran Stark sitting on set with nothing to do having been called early. Vladimir Furdik, the show’s stunt co-ordinator who also plays the Night King, sitting on a canvas chair in full zombie overlord prosthetics, embarks on a monologue in his thick Czech accent: “This is the film business. You sit and you wait. You wait and you wait.” It’s a real Spinal Tap moment that can’t help but raise a giggle.

Updated: May 27, 2019 07:19 PM

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