The Most Expensive Game Of Thrones Episodes In History

Photo: Courtesy of HBO.
If there’s anything we know for sure, Game Of Thrones season 7 is sure to be quite the spectacle when it finally premieres on July 16. The newly released #WinterIsHere trailer promises bigger battles, more fire, and larger dragons than ever before. To get all of these jaw-dropping visual displays, you know what the Thrones team needs to do? Spend a whole lot of money.
To appreciate all the pricey work that’s gone into the upcoming season 7, we looked back on Game Of Thrones’ most expensive episodes to date. The previous installments include all the unexpected deaths, expansive battles, and shocking explosions we’ve come to expect from the Westerosi fantasy series. Scroll through the gallery to find out which Thrones episodes cost the most coin. We bet some of the episodes will surprise you.
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And enjoy the sticker shock now, because we’re sure by the time season 7 wraps, all of these episodes are going to look like they cost chump change.
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Season 5, Episode 10: "Mother’s Mercy"

Other episodes of Game Of Thrones may be more dazzlinglt dragon-heavy, but the season 5 finale boasts the most expensive death scene in the entire series. And not a single fire-breathing creature was even involved.

Out of 100 death scenes, Arya Stark's assassination of Kings Guard member and pedophile Meryn Trant ended up being the priciest, creators Dan Weiss and David Benioff confirmed during a SXSW 2017 panel. Although there were no flying dragons, murderous White Walkers, or wildfire-aided explosions, Arya's (Maisie Williams) mode of murder still ended up being pretty expensive. "She couldn’t really poke out his eyes," Benioff explained in March. That means a lot of special effects, prosthetics, and choreography were likely needed to pull the scene off.

But, man, was it worth it.
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Season 6, Episode 9, "Battle Of The Bastards"

It’s widely believed the showdown between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon) ranks as Game Of Thrones’ most expensive episode to date. But, because HBO isn’t in the practice of making production budgets public knowledge, we’re only able to look at the evidence to speculate. And, wow, is there a lot of evidence.

The budget for the entire Thrones season was $100 million for 10 hours, so that essentially boils down to $10 million per episode. But, it’s believed money was pulled from the other nine installments to pump up "Bastards." That makes sense, as the penultimate episode necessitated 600 crew members, 500 extras, 70 horses, and 4 entire cameras, all over 25 days of shooting, Entertainment Weekly reports.

"It’s definitely the biggest [action sequence yet]," writer-producer Bryan Cogman told EW in March 2016. "We’ve always wanted to get to a place — story-wise and budget-wise and time-wise and resource-wise — where we would be able to do a proper battle, with one army on one side, one army on another side."

If this was the first time Benioff and Weiss had the financial resources to go this big, it would stand to reason "Battle Of The Bastards" is the most expensive Thrones hour yet.
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Season 2, Episode 9, "Blackwater"

Before “BOB” was even a blip on Benioff and Weiss’ radar, season 2 penultimate installment "Blackwater" was heralded as the most expensive showing of Thrones.

The HBO fantasy epic’s original great big battle cost $8 million, after the creators begged the network for an extra $2 million for filming. "For budgetary reasons, we came very, very close to having all the action take place off-screen, the way plays have handled battle scenes for a few thousand years," Benioff revealed to EW in April 2014. That means the entire wildfire-filled spectacle was this close to being left out of the series in favor of some basic conversation in the Red Keep. Thank the Seven HBO got a little bit looser with the purse strings.

Interestingly, this means every single episode of season 6, with its $10 million per-installment budget, was likely more expensive than season 2’s largest visual extravaganza.
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Season 5, Episode 8, "Hardhome"

"Hardhome" is unlike any other season’s episode 8, and feels much more like the typically cinematic penultimate installments. The episode finds Jon Snow (Harington) attempting to bring the Wildlings hiding out in the eponymous settlement down below the wall to protect them from the White Walkers. Unfortunately, the White Walkers overtake Hardhome at this exact moment, killing thousands and turning them into wights. It’s creepy to say the least.

As with most vast Thrones episodes, the exact budget for the episode is a bit of a mystery. But the details surrounding "Hardhome" prove just how expensive it was to make, as Harington told Entertainment Weekly in May 2015, "It was three to four weeks of shooting for a sequence that should add up to [more than] 20 minutes. We shot less than a minute a day! It’s so CGI-heavy it’s unlike anything I’ve ever done on Thrones."

If that doesn’t already sound pricey, know Harington shot each of his fight sequences three times — one against a man in a green screen suit, once against a man made up to look dead, and once against nothing but air — just to give the team a variety of options.
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