Battle of the Bastards director Miguel Sapochnik reveals more details into what’s going inside Jon Snow’s (Kit Harington) head when he’s beating the sh*t out of Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) and that weird incident on Game of Thrones set, when Harington ended up actually punching Rheon twice:
“We spent an entire day beating Ramsay. It was a little surreal but mostly fun. I mean you have to make it fun to take the nastiness out of it on set.
Early on, Kit and I discussed what that moment was and how it should be an empty victory for Jon. His character takes a nosedive into darkness this season in some respects. His faith in humanity is fractured and fragile, he’s tired of fighting and living and yet he cannot seem to die and so in a way he’s lost.
From a certain point of view, Battle of the Bastards is all about his journey back to life, at the 11th hour, rediscovering the desire to live.
As we were mulling that over and how we might show this conflict one day, Kit said to me ‘I’m just going to punch him like I’m kneading bread.’ And I thought fantastic; this is going to be both poignant and horrible.
And that’s what we did. Poor Iwan took it on the chin a few times but he did an amazing job. They both did. There’s this weird moment that made the final cut when Iwan stops scrunching up his face to receive the blows and just lets himself relax into it. On camera it looks like we’ve used some sort of digital effect to make his face change but it’s all real. Really disconcerting and kind of disturbing.”