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GAME OF THRONES Shot One Battle for 55 Days

Warning: This post contains potential spoilers for Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season.


Game of Thrones‘ seventh season had its issues, but incredible spectacles were not among them. From the Loot Train Attack, to Euron’s assault at sea, to the Frozen Lake showdown, the show’s biggest sequences were stunning visual achievements. But it looks like the final season will include a battle that will outdo them all, since it required three locations and a whopping two months to film. But beyond how amazing it might be to watch, its setting means it could finally answer one long debated fan theory. And depending on when it takes place in the season it could tell us who will win the Great War between the living and the dead.

Winter is Coming reported longtime assistant director on the show Jonathan Quinlan shared a (now-deleted) photo on his (now-private) Instagram account of a letter that was shared with the show’s cast and crew following the conclusion of “something that’s never been done before.” Titled “This is for the Night Dragons,” it details a television shoot that is unparalleled in television history.

That’s an almost unfathomable undertaking for a television show, and it’s criminal we now have a year to go before we see it. But for those of us obsessed with the show’s histories and lore, where it takes place is just as exciting, because this record-setting battle–that was almost certainly between the White Walkers and the living–was shot at the Winterfell set, a place whose very name could have something to do with this battle.

Winterfell could be a direct, obvious name like Casterly Rock (a rock the Casterlys lived on), or Dragonstone (a stony island full of Targaryens and carved dragons), but fans have long debated if Winterfell has much more meaning, specifically when it comes to the most important battle in the history of Westeros, the Battle for the Dawn.

Little is known about the details surrounding the decisive fight from the first Long Night, when the last hero Azor Ahai led the living in victory over the White Walkers, pushing them back into the deep ice of the North for thousands of years. Some believe the location of that fight was in the spot where Bran the Builder later built the home of House Stark, and its name reflects the defeat of the army of the dead–literally where “winter fell.”

If this 55-day shoot is where history repeats itself, where the dead are defeated by the living led by the Prince That Was Promised (both Jon and Daenerys, the top two candidates will be at Winterfell after all), and it takes place towards the end of the show’s final season, this could be the second–and final–Battle for the Dawn, the ultimate showdown that has been building from the show’s first scene.

Of course no optimistic Game of Thrones‘ theory exists without an equally opposite negative one, which is why there are those who believe Winterfell’s name could be far more ominous. Because even if it stands on the spot where the first Battle for the Dawn took place, the name could also be terrible foreshadowing. Because if the White Walkers emerge victorious in the show’s biggest sequence ever, it would be where “winter fell” on the living, and/or where the Starks and the North (“winter”) fell.

If that’s what happens here, where this sequence airs during the season could be a harbinger of who wins the Great War. Placed earlier in the season would likely mean the living flee south, possibly to King’s Landing where Cersei and her forces are, for their final stand. But if the White Walkers win this near the end of the season, that could be how it ends. A Song of Ice and Fire could end with eternal cold and darkness descending on the world, with winter falling on the Seven Kingdoms.

For something that took 55 days to shoot this battle will probably be one the greatest achievements in television history. Whether its outcome makes anyone happy though is a totally different question, one that might depend on what harbinger of winter falls.

What do you think? Is the name Winterfell far more important than we think, or is it just a name? Invade our comments section below with your thoughts.

Images: HBO

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