The back half of filming for Game of Thrones Season 8 is underway while the snows are still on the ground in Northern Ireland and Iceland. Spoilers have been few and far between this year in comparison to earlier seasons, as the show attempts to keep the finale under wraps. But some details have slid out, and cast members who find themselves in interviews are admitting to small things, which serve as clues for the bigger picture. The latest Game Of Thrones clue about Arya has fans anticipating that next season could be her biggest yet.
While the show is off the air for a year ahead of the final season, those who star in it have started working on their career next steps once Season 8 is over. Kit Harington (Jon Snow) is produced his own series for BBC last December. Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen) is heading to be Han Solo's girlfriend in a Galaxy Far, Far Away in the world of Star Wars this coming May. Sophie Turner is headlining the next X-Men trilogy, Dark Phoenix in November.
Meanwhile, Maisie Williams decided to work with one of the most famous animators in the UK, the man behind Wallace and Gromit, Nick Park, doing voice work in his latest stop-motion claymation comedy, Early Man.
In the course of her interview with People promoting the new film, she was asked about her schedule right now, and if she was filming Game of Thrones on top of doing the press tour.
Yesterday I took a stunt class for the new season of [Game of Thrones]. It’s sword work and combat fighting. The [trainers] have all these big pads on, so you’re allowed to just go crazy.
This is a huge clue for what Arya might be up to this season. Over the course of the show's existence, Arya has slowly learned how to fight, taught by everyone from Syrio in the first season to the Faceless Men in Season 6. Last year, we saw all that training coming together when she and Gwendoline Christie's Brienne of Tarth were pitted against each other.
Now, it looks like it might be time for Arya to put all that fighting to good use against the Army of the Dead and the Night King.
How can we be so sure, though? Because in another interview not long before the one with People, Williams admitted she was on a long series of night shoots as part of the final season.
I am currently on my way to a night shoot, which is week 4 of 12 weeks of night shoots. It’s just huge. The task is huge. But, there’s no better way to leave the show, to be honest.
"The task is huge." What bigger task is there than winning this war? Also, these are all night shoots, which means that the scenes they're shooting are in the dark. And everyone keeps talking about how the Long Night is coming...
And, 12 weeks would mean they're filming a very long battle sequence. Game of Thrones isn't the type of show to dillydally. Those who watch for filming in Ireland can tell you that the signs that warn filming is happening nearby go up and straightaway come down the second they are finished. Sometimes, they move so fast the rumor doesn't even make the internet until after they've left. Call it the “wham-bam-thank you ma’am” school of television filming.
When Game of Thrones goes to one location and sits there for months at a time, it's because they're filming something huge. Hardhome, a battle sequence that took the back 20 minutes of an episode, took five weeks of filming. The Battle of the Bastards, which was a full half an episode, took seven. How big of a sequence would require three months? It can only be the final battle. Let's just hope Arya survives.
Game of Thrones returns to HBO in 2019.