Game of Thrones filmed its final season in close-kept secrecy last year, with few rumors escaping the remote set. Some of the few details that have slipped out tell of a grueling workload for the cast and crew. According to Entertainment Weekly, no part of it was more exhausting than the epic final battle, when actors shot action sequences at night for 11 weeks.
Warning! Possible Game of Thrones Season 8 spoilers lie ahead!
"It was the most unpleasant experience I've had on Thrones," said Ian Glen, the actor who plays Ser Jorah Mormont on the series. "A real test, really miserable. You get to sleep at seven in the morning and when you wake in the midday you're still so spent you can't really do anything, and then you're back. You have no life outside it. You have an absolute f—ked bunch of actors."
However, Glen conceded that the difficulty of the shoot may have heightened the performances, as the on-set misery will translate to the harrowing battle scenes nicely.
"Without getting too method [acting] about it, on screen it bleeds through to the reality of the Thrones world," he said.
Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark on the show, reportedly began training for the big fight a year in advance of the shoot. The character is one of the series' most deadly killers, yet she has never featured in an all-out war setting like this one before.
"But nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is," she said. "It's night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn't stop. You can't get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there's so much to do that nobody else can do... there are moments you're just broken as a human and just want to cry."
The final battle was directed by Miguel Sapochnik, the same director behind Season 6's epic "Battle of the Bastards." However, some feel that this new showdown with the Night King and his Army of the Dead puts that bout to shame.
"It's brutal," said Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister. "It makes the Battle of the Bastards look like a theme park."
From the sound of it, Tyrion plays a part in the battle, along with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), and Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie). In addition to teasing the big fight, this gives fans some idea of at how long their favorite characters will survive the onset of winter.
However, there are also plenty of twists in store. Series director David Nutter answered fan questions in a Reddit AMA recently, comparing the new plot developments to Season 3's infamous "Red Wedding."
"As far as Season  compared to the Red Wedding I just have to tell you — hang onto your seat cause it's going to be special," he said.
Game of Thrones returns on Sunday, April 14 at 9 p.m. ET on HBO.