February 08, 2012 10:08am PT by Lesley Goldberg
'Game of Thrones': Go Inside Season 1's 'Make or Break Moment' (Exclusive Video)
For Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, bringing to life the epic scene where Daenerys (Emilia Clarke) is tasked with consuming a horse heart as she proves herself and her unborn child to Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa) was a challenge when it came to finding the proper balance.
Unlike George R.R. Martin's best-sellers, the HBO duo didn't have the unlimited page count -- and running time -- to describe the importance of the Dosh Khaleen ritual that the author does in the text.
"It was crucial that people understood that this was a rite of passage for her, but we didn't want to load down Viserys (Harry Lloyd) and Jorah (Iain Glen) with a lot of clunky exposition," Benioff told The Hollywood Reporter. "The biggest challenge was finding the right balance of dialogue and context to make the meaning of the scene clear without spoon-feeding people."
For the scene, in which Clarke wound up eating several pounds of a horse heart made of gummy bears that the actress notes in DVD commentary tasted of bleach, director Dan Minahan told the actress that it was a "make or break moment" for Daenerys, where she'd either be accepted or not by the Dothraki.
"There was no need to tell Emilia anything about how gruesome a task it was to choke down a horse heart," Weiss notes. "Apparently, eating several pounds of gummy bear heart is almost as gruesome as the real thing."
To film the scene, which is described in great deal in a clip (above) exclusive to THR from the Anatomy of an Episode from the Thrones Blu-ray DVDs, propmaster Gordon Fitzgerald worked with the EPs to find the right mix of material, look and consistency. "It really needed to provide some visible resistance when she bites into it," Weiss says. "We settled on the same mature of gelatin gummy bears are made of and it worked wonderfully -- right up until the moment Emilia almost threw up."
It's that moment in "A Golden Crown" -- which Clarke reveals in commentary for the sixth episode -- that stands out the most for Weiss and Benioff as the highlight of the scene.
The Game of Thrones boxed DVD and Blu-ray sets will be available March 6, with the Anatomy of an Episode -- a scene, picture by picture behind the scenes look at the sixth episode -- by included only on the latter.
Game of Thrones Season 2 premieres Sunday, April 1 on HBO.