A death scene was almost improvised on “Game of Thrones,” and honestly, how dare you
Going into this week’s episode of Game of Thrones, “Beyond the Wall,” it was an unspoken thing that someone was going to die. This season has surprisingly been light on major deaths, and seeing as it was the penultimate episode, someone wasn’t going to live to see another day in Westeros.
Sadly, we had to bid adieu to two pretty big characters: Viserion and Thoros of Myr, and yes, we’re still crying about one of them (we are still crying about the dragon — sorry, Thoros). But, if you can believe it, there was almost a THIRD death during the episode that would have made everything hurt SO MUCH MORE.
Even worse, the death wasn’t written into the Game of Thrones script, but the director of the episode was like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be cool if…Tormund DIED?”
No, it would not be cool.
In a post-episode interview with Vulture, Alan Taylor revealed that when he first read the script, he realized that the tension needed to be heightened.
"When I saw it, I thought, 'This is nothing in terms of the scale of the battles they’ve done.'" He explained. "I still think 'Battle of the Bastards' is the greatest battle ever portrayed in television history, and I think it will be for a while. So when I read this, I thought, Okay, well, we’re not doing that. It’s not a matter of scale. This is more a matter of intimacy: the fact that we only have seven characters, but the audience cares about each one of them and how they interact is going to be important. We let that be the guide in terms of how we handled the scene."
And that meant someone needed to be on the verge of SUDDEN DEATH.
“When Tormund almost gets killed on the island, that wasn’t in the script,” Taylor continued. “That was something we fabricated because we wanted to use the fact that the audience cares about these characters and is sort of expecting somebody to die.”
As for how he decided on Tormund’s almost-death, it came down to the plausibility of who could die. And the answer is not Jon Snow.
"I did a calculation thing: 'Well, it’s believable Tormund could die here. No one thinks Jon Snow is going to die in the penultimate episode of season seven.' So we didn’t go into that a lot. He had some wonderful action, but we didn’t put him in peril the way we did Tormund on the island. Even when Jon falls into the ice, I think you sort of think he’s coming back again."
Even just thinking about this hurts my heart. Thankfully Tormund did not die, and so help me, he also better not almost-die during the Game of Thrones season finale.