Monday, May 16, 2011

Games of Thrones Broadsword Choreography (Spoiler Alert)

First of all I absolutely love this series. I have read all the books - twice. I am a huge Sean Bean fan. The ambush by the bandits ROCKED. The the Jory kill was BRILLIANT! But I had a huge problem with the Jamie  Lannister /Ned Stark fight last night. Sheesh! It was such a let down and I know what probably happened, but I still had higher expectations.

The fight at the end of last night's episode between Jamie and Ned does not occur in the book. But of course, writers and producers look at that moment and think, "Excellent opportunity for a hero fight! Let's illustrate the feud between the two houses through this awesome fight between the head guys!" GREAT IDEA!!! I loved it when I realized what was happening...then they fought.

They were seriously too close for broadsword fighting. Yes, many people half sword the broadsword (grab halfway down the blade) in close quarter broadsword fighting (which wreaks havoc on your hands). But they didn't do that here. It looked as if the camera operator just said, "Can't they be closer together?" and so they got closer. And that takes the drama out of the entire encounter. If you can't swing the broadsword, you cannot get any power behind the stroke. If there is no power in your swing, the believability goes out the window. At one point they turned the fight 180 degrees using their backs as the pivot - because their backs were touching. Why didn't one of them grab the other and throw him down or something?  There were so many possibilities!  Perhaps the choreography had proper spacing - but the actors listened to the camera operator and 'got closer.'

Another thing that will happen on set is you will spend a ton of time putting together the choreography with the stunt doubles, but you never have time to rehearse with the leads. Many times you are teaching the leads their choreography as the scene is being shot. And the doubles cannot do the fight because it will take too much time and the camera has to be on top of the fight.

Enough! I have a tremendous amount of respect for Buster Reeves and the work he is doing in this series. It is a massive undertaking. But when everything else looks solid, a bad fight scene is going to look even worse by comparison.

Battle on!

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