HBO’s two-hour special taking fans behind the scenes has some claiming it’s more heartbreaking and emotionally satisfying than the show itself.
While the actual final episode of "Game of Thrones" continues to stir controversy and mixed reactions, the follow-up documentary "The Last Watch" is facing near universal acclaim on social media.
Airing Sunday night — one week after that epic finale — "The Last Watch" gives new meaning to the popular after-show conceit. This isn’t just after the latest episode, but after the whole season and the series as a whole. And it’s exploration proved just as epic.
We already knew we would get glimpses of the actors’ final scenes, as well as that final read-through that Kit Harington famously did not prepare for beforehand, thus affording us and everyone else his raw and visceral reactions to finding out what happens.
Filmed over the course of the entire final year, the documentary grounded itself by focusing on a few select members of the massive team that brings the show together. There’s director David Nutter, who came back to the show after a health-related hiatus. There’s husband-and-wife team Sarah and Barrie Gower, who run the prosthetics department, and then there’s Andrew McClay.
McClay is a self-proclaimed superfan of the show and a regular extra in the Stark army. He is also perhaps our most grounded entry into this crazy world and production as he could easily stand in for any other fan who’d just be thrilled to gear up and go to war with Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke and everyone else.
The documentary also spends some time with Night King actor Vladimir Furdik, hair supervisor Candice Banks who’s been turning Clarke into Daenerys Targaryen for years now, and even the woman who maintains the food truck that keeps the cast and crew well fed through the long days and cold nights of shooting this season.
And if you think you’ll ever get over seeing wights standing up at her truck to order food and then sitting down to eat you would be mistaken. One of the most fascinating things about the documentary is how it pulled back the curtain to reveal the massive scale of this undertaking.
There are a ton of people-on-screen, but there are even more people behind the scenes in massive warehouses building prosthetics, costumes, putting on makeup, working out fight choreography, stunt people … and those are just the people that deal with the actors.
They even have a snow guy, Del Reid, and if you ever need a guy to make snow for you in quantities large or small, there’s no one better than Del Reid. It’s absolutely crazy that this was even a job, and yet Reid absolutely owns it. He does stellar work, and is extremely passionate about it. If you ever need a snow guy, we can’t think of anyone better.
Perhaps most impressively was the reveal of the King’s Landing set built for this season on the back-lot of their Belfast, Ireland studio. Normally, those scenes are shot in Croatia, but considering they needed to decimate at least a portion of the city, there was no way any actual city would go for it. It took them seven months to build and it is truly a breathtaking achievement.
And that was for one episode.
Below are some of the best reactions on social media:
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