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Actors Who Were Injured On The Game Of Thrones Set

Game of Thrones is one of the most elaborate, ambitious, and expensive shows in TV history. Bringing George R.R. Martin's sweeping A Song of Ice and Fire saga to HBO has been a successful endeavor, but a daunting one nonetheless. Each episode can cost millions of dollars, what with the multiple production units shooting in different, far-flung corners of the world, special effects to make White Walkers and dragons look real, and a gigantic cast of regular and guest performers who all need to be dressed in Medieval-looking attire.

With so many moving parts required for a show with very high standards to uphold, it's much more likely that something is going to go wrong on the set of Game of Thrones than say, a studio-shot, dialogue-driven show like The Big Bang Theory. Throughout the show's eight seasons, a number of performers have suffered for their art and endured scrapes and injuries. Here are some people who got injured during the production of Game of Thrones.

An injury that might Hound him for awhile

Sandor Clegane is so fearsome that the character earned one of the coolest nicknames in all of Game of Thrones: "The Hound." He proved that toughness through the first seven seasons of the show — he's probably almost-but-not-quite died more than any other character. In the first several seasons of the show, Clegane survived trial by combat, a massacre by the Freys, and being thrown off a cliff by Brienne of Tarth. The actor who portrays Clegane, Rory McCann, got a bit battered, too.

The seventh season episode "Beyond the Wall" finds the Hound and others waging war against the Night King and his forces. Clegane has to carry a wight through much of the trek, forcing McCann to dash here and there (sometimes across ice) while the actor playing the undead creature twisted and tumbled on his shoulders. It all left McCann with such intense pain that he sat for an interview with the Sydney Morning Herald while holding an ice pack to his leg. "I had this guy on my shoulder for days and days," McCann explained. "It didn't work with a dummy so I had to carry a real guy and we had to run and run."

The day Kit Harington almost didn't have a ball on set

Jon Snow is the sensitive, brooding, emo musician of the Game of Thrones universe, pouting his way through battles, the Night Watch, and even romantic encounters, as a lot of really bad stuff has happened to him. Here's a guy who has died, been brought back to life (in the nude) by a priestess, and abandoned by the Starks, who he thought were his family. Playing Jon Snow has been much more pleasant for actor Kit Harington. Game of Thrones brought him international stardom, an Emmy nomination, the hand in marriage of co-star Rose Leslie (Ygritte)... and, quite nearly, permanent mutilation.

Filming a dragon-flying scene for the show's eighth season involved Harington mounting a massive, flailing mechanical apparatus called a buck. His character had to almost fall off, forcing Harington to hold on... and to endure a tight squeeze. "The dragon swings around really violently," Harington explained in the behind-the-scenes documentary Games Revealed (via The Daily Mail), "My right ball got trapped, and I didn't have time to say 'Stop!' And I was being swung around." Fortunately, Harington finished the scene and escaped with all of his parts intact.

No joy for Yara Greyjoy

Since the second season of Game of Thrones, actress Gemma Whelan has occasionally popped up as Yara Greyjoy, who would be rightful heir to the throne of the Iron Islands if not for the murderous and nefarious actions of her uncle, Euron Greyjoy. She's a relentless warrior and commander of a ship called the Black Wind, and most of her scenes involve battles at sea. Whelan was filming a scene near Belfast, Northern Ireland, for the seventh season of Game of Thrones when she apparently and mysteriously sustained some kind of injury requiring hospitalization.  

On September 14, 2016, Whelan posted to her Instagram account a photo of some old-fashioned, hospital-issue underwear. The pic came with a wry caption from Whelan, describing how a ward nurse offered her the undergarments because she arrived at the hospital "a bit suddenly and unprepared." Whelan never confirmed exactly what happened to her on set or how, but she soon rejoined the series.

Not all who fell at the Battle of Winterfell died

Eight seasons of Game of Thrones built up to "The Long Night," the episode featuring the Battle of Winterfell, the apocalyptic confrontation between a massive army of zombie-like White Walkers controlled by the Night King and the assorted, united human contingents of Westeros taking a break from fighting one another. It's one of the biggest, most epic sequences ever filmed for Game of Thrones, which made for an intense, grueling shoot.

In March 2019, Entertainment Weekly reported that one of the series' "regular actresses" (her name wasn't revealed) suddenly collapsed on set while filming a scene that involved "a lot of standing still." A crew member noticed the fall right away and called out for a medic, who promptly tended to the actress (as did showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss). The official line: the actress fainted, went home, and returned to the set the following day.

Extra! Extra! Extras (and crew members) injured!

Part of what makes Game of Thrones so thrilling is the scenery. The series has shot in exotic locations all around the world, and filmed many sequences in the breathtaking, rocky wilds of Northern Ireland, which stood in nicely for the hinterlands of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. While it looks great on screen, the area posed its own unique challenges for the production, particularly the elements. The weather can get awfully brutal just off the sea in the northern United Kingdom. While shooting near the village of Ballintoy in 2011, the crew erected a pole tent where workers and extras could have lunch. Then some extremely quick winds whipped through the area and tore the whole thing down, according to the Belfast Telegraph

"The floor started to come up, then the side rose up, the rook took off, and beams started falling down," a member of the production said. "Everyone was screaming. There was bedlam in the whole place." In the chaos, four men and one woman sustained minor injuries, enough to briefly land them in Causeway Hospital.