The end is nigh for Season 6 of Game of Thrones, but fans shouldn’t despair just yet. Assuming that the show follows the pattern from the first five seasons, the ninth and tenth episodes should be huge. We now know that Episode 9 will feature the long-awaited Battle of the Bastards between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton. The stakes would be incredibly high even if all we got to see of the battle was a scuffle before a fade to black. Luckily, sneak peeks have revealed that we’ll be getting much more than a scuffle. In fact, 500 extras were on the scene to take sides in the Battle of the Bastards.
The 500 – no, that’s not a typo – extras for the Battle of the Bastards will play a variety of types of fighters for Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, according to EW. Jon and Ramsay are both bringing Northmen into battle, so there will be no shortage of swordsmen and spearmen. Both sides should feature some archers, but it may well be that Jon’s horde of wildlings fighting with Northmen will be the variable that will transform that Battle of the Bastards into something entirely new for Game of Thrones.
Interestingly, the extras for each of the two armies were kept separate in their training for the big episode to create tension for a little extra kick of rivalry. Considering that filming took 25 days, each side definitely had time to bond. Special effects will certainly turn the 500 extras into thousands of soldiers and wildlings, but 500 in the flesh on screen will be remarkable. A lot of them are probably going to die, and it’s going to be epic.
The extras aren’t going to be the only soldiers in the action as plot fodder. Twenty-five stuntmen and women were also brought in for the big battle, so we should get some pretty epic up-close combat. Seventy horses were involved as well, and 600 crew members were around with 4 camera crews. The Battle of the Blackwater and the Red Wedding already feel small in comparison to the Battle of the Bastards.
The Game of Thrones showrunners were already hyping this clash before the sixth season even premiered. David Benioff revealed that the number of extras, stuntmen, horses, and days of shooting officially meant that the Battle of the Bastards was the biggest undertaking of the show to date. Dan Weiss went on to say that the choreography of the fight required so much detail work that they remembered exactly why they’ve limited big battle scenes to one per season.
Of course, the cost probably stops them from planning ten episodes worth of battles, as well. Season 6 cost upward of $10 million per episode. That number seemed somewhat obscene when first reported, but the stats for the upcoming fight for The North make it much easier to understand just where all that money went.
To catch the Battle of the Bastards between Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton, tune into HBO on June 19 at 9 p.m. for the penultimate episode of Season 6. Check out our breakdown of what we know so far about Season 7 of Game of Thrones for a peek ahead, and don’t forget to take a look at our summer TV premiere schedule.