The last season of HBO's Game of Thrones came to a dramatic climax with "The Battle of the Blackwater" — a sprawling, blood-drenched episode in which nearly everyone in Westeros converges on King's Landing. In George R.R. Martin's book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the battle takes up a full six chapters, but for the HBO adaptation, Martin and co-creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff were forced to compress the action into 55 minutes of television — a task that proved especially demanding, as they explained in a recent interview with GQ.

Already pressed for time and short on resources, Martin and his team also had to deal with a last-minute directorial change, as they brought on Neil Marshall just days before shooting began. But over the course of two weeks, Marshall managed to string together one of the most ambitious episodes in modern TV history, though he certainly had to cut some narrative corners to get there. "I am protective of the characters, but at the same time, I recognize the books are the books, and the show is the show, and there are gonna be differences," Martin said. "The scenes David and Dan add are generally great. They're almost scenes that are implied in the book."