Game of Thrones: How Hbo Used the Actors to Prevent Leaks on the End of the Series

The documentary The Last Watch partially lifts the veil on the alternative endings and strategies used by the production to muddy the waters and distort possible leaks.

This article contains revelations about the last season of Game of Thrones If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to spoil the pleasure of discovery, go no further.

Episodes that leak out on the net before being broadcast on television (episodes 1, 2 and 4), visuals from episode 3 published too early, a video claiming to reveal the plot of the first episode weeks before the start of last season… The least we can say is that HBO and its partners have had some difficulty maintaining absolute secrecy about the production.

Decisive elements of the story were thus revealed before their time, such as the death of Rhaegal, the execution of Missandei and the passion of a night between Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth. What was fortunately avoided, however, was the escape from the last episode, entitled The Iron Throne. It was able to be broadcast normally, on 19 May in the United States and the following day in France.


Tyrion, one of the main characters of Game of Thrones // Source: HBO

What is less well known, however, is that this latest episode received special attention from the American television channel. In addition to the official ending, which all fans of the series now know, the showrunners and directors have agreed to film other endings as well, in order to blur the tracks in case of a leak. That’s what Casey Bloys the president of HBO’s programs, said in 2017.

I know that for Game of Thrones, several versions of the ending will be shot so that no one really knows what’s going on. You have to do this for a long series. Because when you shoot something, people know it. So they’re going to run several versions so that there’s no real answer before the end,” he said during a radio appearance.

Little is known about these alternative purposes: after all, they were only there to create uncertainty about the credibility of a leak. But on the occasion of the broadcast of a documentary – The Last Watch (available in France on OCS) – going back over the Herculean work that was the shooting of season 8 (with weeks of night shooting, hundreds of extras, messy locations…) clues were distilled.

The Last Watch

The abandoned kid, before her (fake) scene. // Source: The Last Watch

Making it look like Arya died

One of those fake endings was embroidering Arya Stark’s death. In the documentary, we learn that the production notably brought in British actress Faye Marsay, who plays the abandoned kid (or orphan) in Game of Thrones, to make it look like she killed the character played by Maisie Williams. The filming was then taking place in Spain for the trial of Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow

But at that point in the story, the abandoned kid is not supposed to be alive. She was supposedly killed in single combat by Arya Stark in a darkened room. At least that’s the assumption: it’s never clear what victory Arya Stark has over her enemy. As a result, there is a theory that the orphan killed Arya before impersonating her.

The orphan girl has the same transformative abilities as Arya Stark (remember what happened to a certain Walder Frey and his sons!), namely to take on the face and voice of a victim. Was the fake scene shot for episode 6 supposed to make us believe that Arya was in fact incarnated for two seasons by a priestess of the god Multiface?

Jaqen H

Jaqen H’ghar. // Source: Jaqen H’ghar

Valar morghulis

The other possibility is that the orphan actually survived her fight with Arya and came to Westeros to finish off the Stark girl. After all, the two women have a heavy litigation. This lead is reinforced by the fact that another character linked to the Order of the Faceless has also been invited for the occasion in Spain : Jaqen H’Ghar played by Tom Wlaschiha.

It is this character who trained Arya Stark in the art of physical transformation, to become a Faceless One. Character of the Abode of the black and white the temple dedicated to the god Multiface, he crossed the path of the young heroine several times. And might have reasons to come to Westeros as well, either to accompany the orphan in her mission or to prevent her from doing so. Who knows?

Like Faye Marsay, Tom Wlaschiha had a dressing and make-up session to suggest that the two devotees of the god Multiface had their moment of glory in the final episode of season 8. In the end, neither appeared in the episode.

The Last Watch

Jaqen and the kid. // Source: The Last Watch

Kit Harrington and the Night King in Decoys

The documentary doesn’t give much more clues about the other scenes that were invented. In voice-over, we learn that Vladimir Furdik, who plays the King of the Night, has also been invited to tour Spain. This is not insignificant: the region is one of the filming locations for the south of Westeros, especially King’s Landing, where the power of the Seven Crowns resides.

Bringing the King of the Night to Spain was also intended to create confusion by making it appear that the enemy of mankind has finally triumphed over mankind and is about to take the capital. But the documentary doesn’t show whether Vladimir Furdik was made up and dressed for a real scene, or whether he was just commissioned to wander around town and confuse the fans.

It is in any case this strategy that the production chose for Kit Harrington, who plays Jon SnowI’m here to muddy the waters,” he is heard to say, as he drives around in his car and on the street, including with Vladimir Furdik. You never see Kit Harrington as Jon Snow in this sequence. He also indicates that he was not there to shoot. He was only there as a diversion. A decoy, really.

The Last Watch

Jon Snow. // Source: The Last Watch




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