‘Game of Thrones’ director said he got ‘chills’ shooting the opening of the season 7 premiere

Walder Frey Game Of Thrones 7
Danny Bradley as Arya Stark as Walder Frey. HBO

Warning: major spoilers for “Game of Thrones” season seven.

The first episode of season seven of “Game of Thrones” premiered on Sunday with a bang. That is, the bang of the Frey bloodline being snuffed out, as all of the men fell to the floor dead after being poisoned by Arya Stark (who was wearing the face of Walder Frey).

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Jeremy Podeswa opened up about what it was like to shoot that pivotal and rather tricky scene.

“As soon as I read it, I thought it was such an awesome scene. Maisie [Williams] is so incredible and David Bradley is so amazing, so I just wanted the scene to be great and live up to its full potential,” Podeswa said. “As we got more into it, you knew the audience would have questions coming right into the scene, knowing Walder Frey is dead. So, what is this? Is it a flashback? Is there something else going on here? It’s about playing that line of audience surprise and curiosity and how they read the scene.”

The audience was definitely meant to be confused at first by the scene, and Podeswa pulled that off well. The way the scene was shot was so reminiscent of the Red Wedding that it almost felt like it could be a flashback from that night, until Arya (as Frey) said things Frey would definitely never say, like “Brave men, all of you. Butchered the woman pregnant with a baby, cut the throat of a mother of five. Slaughtered your guests after inviting them into your home.”

“David’s performance is so fantastic, where there’s a moment you can almost feel Arya inside of him. There’s something about the performance that’s just very calculated,” Podeswa said. “When you’re directing it, you hope that moment happens in an interesting way that gives the audience pleasure. Maisie’s performance at the end and what she says to Walder’s wife . . . I had chills when we shot it and I hoped I would have chills when we cut it, and I did.”

Podeswa has directed four other episodes of “Game of Thrones” including the season 6 premiere, “The Red Woman.” His next episode will be the seventh and final episode of the season.