The Long Night vs. Battle of the Bastards Budget: Which Cost ‘Game of Thrones’ More?

Game of Thrones

HBO Game of Thrones

The biggest battle since the Battle of the Bastards happened on Game of Thrones Season 8, and this one promises to be even more epic. The Battle of Winterfell took place in the episode called The Long Night. It was a historic battle that resulted in some Emmy nominations. Allies faced the army of White Walkers and wights in what was the longest consecutive battle sequence on TV or film. But just what was the budget for this epic battle compared to the Battle of the Bastards? HBO doesn’t typically release exact budgets per episode, but they give hints that can give us a good idea.  Here’s what we know.


Battle of the Bastards Was More Than $10 Million

HBO

Battle of the Bastards took 25 days to film versus 55 nights for the Battle of Winterfell. For the Battle of the Bastards, 500 extras were used along with four camera crews.

The exact budget for one episode is hard to determine, since Game of Thrones is typically shot scene by scene, but not necessarily episode-by-episode. But it’s easy to say that in Season 6, the Battle of the Bastards was one of the most expensive episodes in Game of Thrones history, Heavy shared the day the episode aired. Each of the episodes in Season 6 cost more than $10 million, and special effects increased the price. Although an exact amount wasn’t released, it was known to be greater than $10 million.

Here are some of the numbers for “The Battle of the Bastards,” reported by EW, which can give you a better idea of the total cost. A total of 600 crew members, including cameramen and prop masters, were used, plus 500 extras for Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton’s armies. The armies were trained separately to make them more competitive when filming. The episode also used 70 horses, 160 tons of gravel, 25 stuntmen, and four camera crews. The battle scene alone took 25 days to shoot. Typically, an hour-long TV drama just takes eight to 12 days to shoot.


The Battle of Winterfell (The Long Night) Cost More than $15 Million

Game of Thrones

HBOGame of Thrones

For Season 8, HBO’s budget for the entire season was $90 million, which comes out to about $15 million per episode. This number doesn’t even include the cost of special effects or reshoots, Daily Beast shared. Considering the days and time that went into this battle, it’s easy to assume that the cost was well over $15 million and thus much higher than the Battle of the Bastards.

This may be one of the longest battle sequences on film, with the next closest being the 40-minute battle at Helm’s Deep on The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

Compared to the 25 days it took to film the Battle of the Bastards, The Long Night’s battle took 11 weeks of night shoots to film. Yes, that’s nearly three months in below-freezing temperatures.

Iain Glen, who plays Jorah, told EW “it was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had” on the show. He said they’d go to sleep at 7 a.m. and wake up in the middle of the day.

New sets for Winterfell were built just for this episode, and EW teased that “beloved heroes” will lay dead after the episode airs.

In case you’re confused, this was not the first Battle of Winterfell in the show’s universe. A different Battle of Winterfell took place during the War of the Five Kings, when Stannis Baratheon attempted to take Winterfell from Roose Bolton, the Game of Thrones Wiki shared. But in this case, the battle was brief and ended with a victory for House Bolton.

Some of the characters in the battle included Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Tyrion Lannister, Arya Stark, Sansa Stark, Samwell Tarly, Jorah, the Hound, Grey Worm, Davos, Jaime, Bran, Gendry, and Brienne of Tarth, among many others. It was a big faceoff between the Army of the Dead and the army of the living. The Long Night was also Arya’s first actual battle on the show, although she had certainly been in enough fights to make up for it.

Miguel Sapochnik, who directed the Battle of the Bastards, also directed The Long Night.

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