'Game of Thrones' producers talk Jason Momoa's big fight in Episode 8

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Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones contained an unexpected treat for fans of George R. R. Martin’s novel when menacing Dotharki horse lord Khal Drogo entered into a life-and-death brawl for leadership of his tribe.

The added scene gave actor Jason Momoa, who’s also pumping up another iconic muscle-bound warrior this summer in the Conan the Barbarian reboot, a chance to show why Drogo is so feared. Showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff tell EW this addition to the first season of Thrones was actually Momoa’s idea — but it took awhile for the actor to talk them into it.

“Jason had good ideas about Drogo,” Benioff says. “He had a high batting average of ideas he’d come to us that we liked and ended up using. And one thing he said fairly early on was, ‘I’m supposed to be the baddest man on the planet, I got this long braid because I’ve never lost a fight, and everybody is afraid of me. But nobody sees me fight, and isn’t that kind of lame?'”

The producers argued with the actor — at first.

“We told him, ‘No, it’s good, you’re so badass you don’t have to prove himself. You’re the victor of a thousand battles Jason, go back to your trailer,'” Benioff jokes.

But the more the producers thought about it, the more they realized Momoa was right. “There was something kind of strange with not getting to see this guy do what he does best.”

Adds Weiss: “You have this amazing asset in this actor and it’s a shame not to use it.”

So the producers figured out a way to work in a short fight that was also memorably graphic. “We did it in the Dothraki way, with lots of bloodshed, and it ended up being one of our favorite fights in the season,” Benioff says.

Benioff then wondered about the wisdom of admitting an actor convinced them to change the script. “This is going to come back and bite us on the ass.”

RELATED: ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode 8 recap: Unleash the Direwolves of War!
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Comments (54 total) Add your comment
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  • Chikusian

    I don’t care what the producers think – that scene was just hot.

    • sarah

      It was pretty awesome. He has a fight and gets injured in the book, but I really like that they did it this way. He is fighting on Dany’s behalf, and so the consequences of it fall to her. In the book, it’s more of a misfortune that he gets cut up.

      • Tyson

        If you remember in the book, he actually fights another Khalasar’s Khal, but we don’t see it, we just see the aftermath. This scene was way better…

    • Jane Freud

      Hands up all the girls who secretly want Khal Drogo as a boyfriend/husband instead of the puny man-girl they have now! WoooooooooWEEEEEE!

  • Joe

    That scene was amazing. Good ep. tonight.

  • dee

    that scene was awesome,totally unexpected and Jason’s really great as Khal Drogo..

    • charlotte

      Whenever I see his name, I think of Ka D’Argo from Farscape. Kind of similar character too.

      • Meg

        I never thought of that! And now that you’ve pointed it out … I can’t believe I never thought of that!

      • LadyAOI

        OMG!!! I thought the same exact thing I wonder if George Martin was a fan of Farscape because the names and attitude of both character are similiar…

    • vb

      Great fight, added depth to his character and really hot too.
      I could watch a whole show based on his role and the relationships around him in Game of Thrones.

  • Helpful Hint

    YA, KICK ASS!!!

  • el

    Really great idea, superbly executed (ha ha). I’m excited about Conan now, because the guy looks like a badass, acts like one, and seems smart and charismatic to boot.

    • Agreed

      Saw X-Men First Class on Friday with the Conan preview. My first thought was I hoped they used this guy because he is a beast. I will watch out for this one for sure now, although the preview had more of a Scorpion King kind of feel to it than a classic Conan one, IMO.

      • Cygnus

        That’s because producers feel like all sword and sandals movies need to look and feel like Clash of the Titans, 300, and the Immortals now. By today’s standards, the original Conan was slow and plodding. Nowadays they feel like Conan needs to be all actions and blood, and less contemplation and mood. As much as I like the original Conan, I’m not much looking forward to this new one, and I like Momoa.

  • RyanK

    Great scene. Comparing it to the book, Dany comes to see him and he’s already wounded from the battle taking the village. Yawn. Good for the book, but not for TV. I love what they did here.

    • Flyer

      I agree. I thought it added impact to actually see Drogo get that chest wound, considering everything that happens as a result of it.

      • Get A Q

        I couldn’t agree more. The producers are doing a great job of adding scenes to the original story.

      • kb23

        The wound should have been much larger – I just read that part in the book and the little cut he got on the show is nothing compared to the slice taken out of him in the book – especially with what happens to him a little later in the book…

      • kb23

        @SLB – OK I hadn’t gotten quite that far in the book yet…

      • Kate

        As it is the only thing that moved me in the early books, I think it will be more moving that it is such a minor cut with what happens next. And then really put the focus on the other Dothraki who will probably be the one who can say, yeah look, she encouraged him to make this decision…I mean, we needed another character we could focus on than the short haired guy who is a member of Danys’ entourage.

  • realconan

    badass? He is downright puny and small. Maybe to your average 5’10” and 180 lb guy he looks beastly but I could break his back with my bare hands…

    • Amy

      And then you wake up dude…that was funny for real though. Comic relief after that bad ass scene!!

    • charlotte

      Conan? You mean the comedian Conan O’Brien? I love him!

      • Noah

        Conan O’Brien is a monster! He is 7 feet tall, 150 lbs, and can shoot lightning out of his eyes, and fireballs out of his bum! He could take Drogo for sure!

  • anon

    Anyone think he looks like King Leonidas?

    • IslandGirl

      Sure did. That was what made me look twice, but Jason’s acting kept me comin’ back for more. Can’t wait for Conan!

  • Beauty

    I don’t even watch but he is so hot! Lilakoi Moon is so lucky!

  • more Momoa

    this scene was brilliant! want moreMomoa please

  • Col. Sheppard

    Ronon — what are you doing on daytime TV? Get back to Pegasus!

  • blue007

    Hated that it was changed, the book version of the fight/Dorgo’s wounds was much better than the show version. Very disappointed!

  • potvin

    This is the best show on TV right now.

    • love this show

      couldn’t agree more!! so glad its was already renewed for another season.

      • IslandGirl

        Looking forward to HBOs treatment of “Clash of Kings”.

  • Tracey

    He looks and acts like my boyfriend. Swoooon! Love Drogo!

    • Tracey

      Totally badass!

    • John

      Your boyfriend looks like a savage horse lord? and he acts like a rapist? Might be time to find a new boyfriend.

      • CalifGina

        Yeah, um Tracey I think you should listen to John and send your boyfriend my way…I’ll take a savage horse lord anyday!!!

  • Fudgefase

    Jason has been fantastic in the role but oh, these eyebrows are distracting. Very 1960’s bad genie – ish!

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