What Was the Most Expensive ‘Game of Thrones’ Episode of All Time?

Sure, there are a lot of things about Game of Thrones that make no sense at all, but that’s not hurting the show’s popularity. It’s HBO’s biggest hit ever, and millions of viewers tune in to see what happens in the fantasy saga. The network spends millions of dollars to bring silver screen-quality action to your TV, but what was the most expensive Game of Thrones episode to film?

What was the most expensive Game of Thrones episode to shoot?

Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones
Peter Dinklage in Game of Thrones, which has a huge budget for each episode. | HBO

HBO doesn’t disclose how much it spends to make each Game of Thrones episode, but we know it’s in the millions. The network spent $100 million for 10 episodes in the seventh season, which averages out to $10 million for each one.

However, the episode titled “Battle of the Bastards,” the next-to-last in the sixth season, is the most expensive Game of Thrones episode.

Instead of dividing the money equally for each episode that season, the producers pulled funds from the nine other episodes to inflate the budget for “Battle of the Bastards,” according to Refinery29. D.B. Weiss and David Benioff, who helm the show, told Forbes that their vision for the sixth season included a properly-stage epic battle scene.

The other nine episodes from season six likely cost less than $10 million each, while “Battle of the Bastards” probably had a budget of $11 million or more.

It’s an impressive and astounding number for a TV show, but its title as the most expensive Game of Thrones episode won’t last long. Each episode in the eighth season has an average budget of $15 million, according to Winter is Coming. Hopefully, the show’s creators will be able to answer all our burning questions in the final six shows.

Why did “Battle of the Bastards” cost so much?

Most expensive Game of Thrones episodes
Hundreds of extras and crew members make “Battle of the Bastards” the most expensive Game of Thrones episode. l HBO

Aside from paying the actors, who are all some of the highest-paid streaming TV stars, the “Battle of the Bastards” had a ton of additional costs.

Entertainment Weekly examined at what it took to shoot that episode, and it looked something like this:

  • 600 crew members, including costumers, makeup, and cameramen.
  • 500 extras performing as archers, swordsmen, and other members of the Snow and Bolton armies.
  • 160 tons of gravel to spread over a muddy field.
  • 70 horses, who don’t like muddy fields, which is why they needed all that gravel.
  • Four camera crews.

All told, the cast and crew needed 25 days to shoot “Battle of the Bastards,” twice as long as most TV dramas. That’s why it’s the most expensive Game of Thrones episode.

When will we see more Game of Thrones action?

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Presents An Evening With 'Game of Thrones' at TCL Chinese Theatre
The cast, creators, and producers of Game of Thrones. | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

“Winter is coming” is a favorite saying for Game of Thrones fans, but the diehards have to wait until April 2019 to revisit Westeros. That’s when the eighth and final season starts.

What exactly is going to happen in the series finale is under tight wraps, but we know it’s going to be a movie-length saga with a plethora of deaths and other astounding things befitting of a final episode.

After the final episode fades to black, fans surely will want more Game of Thrones action. There’s good news and bad news on that front. The good news is we know HBO is planning some Game of Thrones prequels. That bad news is it could be a year or more after the season eight finale before we actually see them.

Check out The Cheat Sheet on Facebook!