'Game of Thrones' Team Previews Season 6 Finale: "People Die"

Director Miguel Sapochnik, Liam Cunningham and more weigh in on Sunday's season-ender.
Courtesy of HBO

"People die."

Two simple words, strung together to form the truest aspect of human existence — and also the mantra of Game of Thrones. But the words carry especially tense meaning coming from director Miguel Sapochnik, the man behind the camera on last week's "Battle of the Bastards" and the coming season finale, "The Winds of Winter." When asked how to describe the final episode of the HBO drama's intense sixth season, he responded with nothing more than that simple fatal phrase.

He's not alone in offering tight-lipped insight into what fans can expect when Thrones closes out its sixth season, the first time the series has gone almost completely off-book. (The sixth book in George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire, the novel series on which Thrones is based, remains unpublished, leaving season six to tell its own version of events free from the printed page; incidentally, the finale shares its title with the upcoming book.) When THR asked the show's various stars to describe the finale in just a handful of words, their voices went quiet, the hushed tones speaking volumes.

For instance:

Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy): "Thrilling, epic and overwhelming."

Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane): "Breathtaking, amazing, brilliant."

Dean-Charles Chapman (Tommen Baratheon): "Worth waiting for."

Tom Wlaschiha (Jaqen H'Ghar): "The end is near."

Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth): Redacted, redacted and redacted.

"I know the words I'd like to give you," Cunningham explained, "but they'll spoil the episode, and that's the last thing I'm going to do."

Instead, Cunningham expanded on what to expect, saying the finale would be different from past seasons in a rather major way: "For a couple of seasons, we've built up to episode nine. We have this huge episode nine, and then going into episode 10, we see where we are for the season, and we start setting up the next season. It's going to be a little bit different this time. You can certainly say there are going to be some surprises in the next episode."

Looking back at Thrones seasons past, the penultimate episode often serves as the height of the mountain: Ned Stark's beheading in season one's "Baelor," the battle in King's Landing in season two's "Blackwater," the Red Wedding in season three's "The Rains of Castamere," the Night's Watch taking on the wildlings in season four's "Watchers on the Wall," and Daenerys flying on a dragon in season five's "The Dance of Dragons." (Really, season five's big twist was the penultimate episode tradition occurring one episode earlier, in the riveting "Hardhome.") The subsequent finales often deal with the fallout from these massive installments, albeit with plenty of game-changing twists of their own.

Season six looks poised to follow suit at least on the first part, with "Battle of the Bastards" standing out as the biggest episode of the series to date. But according to Cunningham, the finale is no slouch.

"It's not a recap," he reiterated. "There are very big events that are going to happen."

Finally, Cunningham found the four spoiler-free words he was looking for: "Do. Not. Miss. It." Words that any Thrones-worshipping house can live by.

Watch the video below for our season finale predictions:

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