Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss spoke about the epic ‘battle of the bastards’ in the ‘Inside the Episode’ segment that follows the episode. Benioff first commented on Rickon’s death:
“I think Sansa’s frustrated here because she knows Ramsay better than any of them do. There’s no way Ramsay is gonna let Rickon survive because he is a threat to Ramsay’s legitimacy as warden of the North. He is a trueborn Stark. There is no possible outcome where this ends well for Rickon.”
Weiss then revealed their inspiration for the battle:
“From the beginning we knew that one thing we’d never had on the show was a true medieval pitched battle where two sides bring all the forces they can into play in some battlefield that’s somehow negotiated or agreed upon and they go at each other until one of them wins and the other one loses. This is a staple of human history, and we started to look through film samples of it. There really wasn’t one that both made you feel what it was like to be there on the ground and gave you a sense of the geography of the battle. We went back to the Roman fight against the Carthaginians in the Battle of Cannae where the Romans got caught in an encirclement by Hannibal and just slaughtered to the man. We used that as our model.”
“The ‘Battle of the Bastards’ becomes incredibly compact. All these men, all these combatants, crammed into this incredibly tight space on the battlefield. You read accounts of the battles in the Civil War where the battles were piled so thick it was actually an obstruction on the battlefield.”
He also revealed that they wanted to show how lucky Jon Snow was to be alive after the battle:
“Just to feel the kind of randomness of it where there’s arrows are falling from everywhere, people are getting killed, people are getting trampled by horses, and so much of it is just luck. Jon Snow is a very skilled combatant, but part of the reason he survives this battle is just he gets lucky.”
Check out more in the video below.