*Spoilers below if you're not up to date.*
The final moments of episode eight of Game of Thrones were undoubtedly Arya Stark's greatest to date, as she finally took down The Waif in what was a spectacular foot chase scene filmed through the streets of Girona in Spain.
It wasn't looking too good for a girl, but as it turned out, that's exactly what we were supposed to think according to the director of the episode, Mark Mylod.
In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter he said;
"In terms of where it ends up, the storytelling point I was most cognizant of was this idea of really trying my best to sell to the audience with every tool at our disposal that this would culminate in the death of Arya. We wanted to sell that misdirect as convincingly as possible.
"Arya is one of my favorite characters, and I wanted everyone watching the episode to think, "Oh shit. Arya's going to die. She's really going to die." I wanted them dreading that, to be on the edge of the couch. That was my raison d'être of why it was shot that way, building that tension and trying to sell that idea. Only looking back on it does one realize that Arya's being very smart. She's actually turned the tables at some point, and she's setting up the Waif."
It's true. When you look back on the scene (as you can here), you see that Arya was leaving a trail of blood to lead The Waif into her hideout where she knew she could take her down with the help of her trustee needle. Turns out that blindness stint came in handy too, as Arya knew she would have the upper hand if they were both in the dark. Ironic really, as it was The Waif beating Arya down all those times that would have made her a better blind fighter. That's what you get, Waif!
Mylod went on to say; "I think smart viewers will have caught on to the idea that not everything was exactly as it seemed. I think it achieved its purpose. I think it felt like Arya was on the losing end until the very last second, where on second viewing, you'll see she turned the tables earlier."
Mylod, who has directed the last two episodes of Game of Thrones, said that he was given a loose brief from showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss; "They wanted the most dazzling foot chase ever seen in cinematic history, so, you know, no pressure," he laughed.
"I went over to Girona, Spain, where we shot the majority of that sequence, pretty early on, before pre-production. I went over twice and basically walked around the old town and looked at what was there, and then put the shape of the sequence together according to what was available. The fulcrum of the sequence is Arya tumbling down the street in the fruit market, with all the oranges on the steps. That's where the piece changes gear. It was a great location, and I knew I wanted to do something with it. Then I built out from there. I wanted to start at the top, and I wanted the movement to be generally downhill, with a sense of moving down darker and darker into the hinterland or underworld of the city. I wanted the streets to become narrower and narrower, and the pressure on the character to become more claustrophobic."
On working on the show, Mark said; "There's a massive sense of privilege to be a part of it. There are five directors this season — we did two episodes each — and there's a camaraderie to that, which is great, as well as a healthy competition. We're competitive by nature. But mostly, I know all five of us felt really happy to be there."
Read the full interview with THR here.