Making War Ugly In The Next Season Of ‘Game Of Thrones’

The origins of my deep and abiding love for Michael Fassbender include Neil Marshall’s bloody showdown between Romans and Picts, Centurion:

So I’m pretty excited to hear that he’s going to direct one of the most important sequences in the next season of Game of Thrones, based on George R.R. Martin’s novel A Clash of Kings, a battle in which one side manages to trap the other. Marshall did a very nice job of communicating the panic of both a plan gone wrong and reacting to a plan gone horribly wrong in a (relatively) confined space, and so I’m excited to see what he’ll do with the larger dynamics of that scene.

And more importantly, it strikes me that Marshall’s a good fit for Martin’s material, which makes war out to be incredibly ugly. Marshall’s one of the few directors who, like Zack Snyder, has an extremely distinct visual style. But unlike Snyder, who tends to make things look burnished and as a result, creates some emotional distance between viewers and events, Marshall’s good at a kind of hyperclarity that brings events closer. This battle in Martin’s novel is literally hell. If Marshall can do on a small screen what he did on the big one, he’ll make that fear and cognitive shutdown even more direct.