Jon Snow arguably has a lot to learn as a military commander, but you can thank Kit Harington for helping to shape one of season six’s most iconic moments.
That’s according to a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter in which Harington reveals he came up with the idea for Jon Snow being enveloped in a “human crush.”
Viewers will remember that during the penultimate episode of season six, “Battle of the Bastards,” there’s a moment when Jon Snow, crushed under the weight and chaos of attackers both dead and alive, must fight his way up through a throng of men so he can finally breathe again:
It’s a haunting moment that captures the horrors of war in a way that most fantasy series usually don’t. When “The Battle of the Bastards” aired, director Miguel Sapochnik and cinematographer Fabian Wagner were rightfully praised for staging one of the show’s most epic battles yet, which was partially based on many battles ripped out of European history books.
But now we can also add Kit Harington on the list of people to thank for bringing this so-called mosh pit to life.
“That piece came about with me and director Miguel Sapochnik having a conversation. Everything had backed up a bit and we were running out of time to shoot what we had intended,” Harington told THR. “Miguel and I talked about what my greatest fears are. And as it happens, one of my greatest fears is a human crush — those horrible stories you hear about stadiums where people literally suffocate to death because they can’t get out of other people panicking.”
“I thought if we could do that in this sequence, that could be really terrifying for the viewer,” he added. He was right.
Harington also noted that the shot has been compared to one from the season three finale, in which Daenerys Targaryen is lifted up by the crowd of Yunkish slaves she has just freed. They all reach their hands towards her as they proclaim her “Mhysa” or “mother.”
Just like when Daenerys was reborn in this moment as Mhysa to her followers, so too was Jon Snow reborn as a man ready to fight for his life.
“Strangely enough, without even thinking about it too much, when he breaks free and climbs his way back up, in a way it’s like a rebirth for him,” Harington explained. “He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t stay down. He fights his way out.”
But despite the similarities, Harington insists any comparison between the two shots was a “happy accident.”
There’s a valuable lesson to be learned here: Instead of running from your fears, it’s better to confront them and turn them into terrifying battle scenes.
Hopefully, he has some other fears up his sleeve that can make for great moments when season seven comes back next summer.
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