‘Game of Thrones’ Director Cops to ‘Beyond The Wall’ Timeline ‘Straining Plausibility’
The penultimate Game of Thrones Season 7 hour wrought plenty of twists “Beyond The Wall,” but even the enraptured had to raise eyebrows at the speed of Daenerys’ rescue. Now, director Alan Taylor admits to fudging some “plausible impossibilities” with raven speed and daylight up north.
You’re warned of full “Beyond The Wall” spoilers from here on out, but by now you’ve likely heard some account of the expedited rescue. Gendry raced back to the wall, sent a raven thousands of miles to Dragonsone, and brought Daenerys all the way north in the time it took an arctic lake to re-freeze. Staging it all within one episode offered Game of Thrones’ most stretched timeline to date, even as a truncated seven-hour season leaves little time for deliberation.
If nothing else, returning director Taylor acknowledged to Variety that the sequence pushed plausibility to the limit, albeit in an “it’s TV and I didn’t write the script” sort of way:
We were aware that timing was getting a little hazy. We’ve got Gendry running back, ravens flying a certain distance, dragons having to fly back a certain distance … In terms of the emotional experience, [Jon and company] sort of spent one dark night on the island in terms of storytelling moments. We tried to hedge it a little bit with the eternal twilight up there north of The Wall. I think there was some effort to fudge the timeline a little bit by not declaring exactly how long we were there. I think that worked for some people, for other people it didn’t. They seemed to be very concerned about how fast a raven can fly but there’s a thing called plausible impossibilities, which is what you try to achieve, rather than impossible plausibilities. So I think we were straining plausibility a little bit, but I hope the story’s momentum carries over some of that stuff.
The idea of “eternal twilight” north of The Wall is an interesting one, as featurettes for the hour acknowledge Iceland only affords production five hours of daylight in which to shoot. It’s also never made clear exactly how much time each leg of the expedition took, though collective speculation suggests Gendry’s run and a speedy raven’s flight would take at minimum two to three days, with Daenerys flying north in roughly half that. As Taylor told The New York Times, however, the scrutiny is disheartening:
I’ve only looked at one review online, and it was very much concerned with the speed of the ravens. I thought, that’s funny — you don’t seem troubled by the lizard as big as a 747, but you’re really concerned about the speed of a raven. It is true there are time issues, and I’m not exactly sure how many kilometers there are between Eastwatch and Dragonstone. But it was a bit dreary to hear somebody who said, ‘I cannot enjoy this episode because, you know, that speed of that raven … ’ There’s was a lot of wonderful stuff going on here and if it really gets that much in your way, that’s not good to hear.
Admittedly, we could flip through early seasons and find plenty of implausibilities by Game of Thrones’ internal logic. “Beyond The Wall” is perhaps emblematic of a larger concern with Season 7 (and by extension 8)’s rushed narrative, but does Taylor have a point about suspending disbelief?