by Josh Wigler
When war comes to Westeros, there’s one man you always want on your side: director Neil Marshall.
Marshall last graced “Game of Thrones” as director of “Blackwater,” season two’s epic penultimate episode that saw Stannis Baratheon’s forces attempting a siege on House Lannister and King’s Landing. It’s the biggest “Thrones” episode yet in terms of scale and scope — but it appears Marshall is coming back to the Seven Kingdoms for an event that could very well top the Battle of the Blackwater.
Empire reports that Marshall is returning to “Thrones” to direct the season four finale. While Marshall was hired to helm “Blackwater” on very late notice, the director is already hard at work on preparing for the finale, shooting later this year.
Fans of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels can take a good guess at why Marshall is the man to direct the “Thrones” season four finale: because we’re on a collision course with the Battle of Castle Black.
In the books, Mance Rayder and his army of wildlings reach the great Wall of Westeros and wage all-out war on the meager remains of the Night’s Watch. It’s an epic struggle that could very well put “Blackwater” to shame, if executed properly. And considering who showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss hired to helm the battle, it looks like “Thrones” fans are in for a hell of a show.
Placing the battle as the season four finale seems like a somewhat dubious choice, however. There’s much business to be done toward the end of “Storm of Swords,” the novel that serves as the main basis for both seasons three and four. Having the Battle of Castle Black at the very, very end of season four undercuts some of the drama surrounding other characters in the story — Tyrion especially. If I were a betting man, I’d bet the report is only partially right: my money is on Marshall returning to that episode-nine sweet-spot, with the finale taking on the “morning after” tone of seasons past.