After Game of Thrones’ biggest battle ever aired in Season 8, Episode 3, some fans were somehow disappointed by the climactic ending in which (spoiler alert) Arya leaps from offscreen to kill the Night King while Jon Snow is hopelessly pinned behind some rocks by a zombie dragon. One popular fan theory even claimed that Jon purposefully distracted the dragon so Arya could sneak past it on her way to make the kill, though this theory was just as quickly shot down for its problematic undertones.
Only a few select people will ever really know why Jon Snow stood up and screamed at that deadly dragon: Kit Haringon (probably), Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss (definitely), and maybe also Tim Kimmel, the HBO show’s supervising sound editor.
In an interview, Kimmel tells Inverse he’s pretty sure Jon didn’t even realize Arya was there. He was just yelling at Viserion to try to “psych himself up.” The Emmy-winning sound editor also talked about his reaction after watching the Game of Thrones series finale, the stress of finishing Season 8, and what it’s like reading negative fan feedback online.
The following interview has been condensed and edited for clarity. Read the first part of our conversation with Tim Kimmel all about Season 8, Episode 5, “The Bells,” here.
So there’s a theory that Jon Snow was really yelling “go” at the ice dragon so that Arya could sneak past it. Do you know what Jon actually said in that scene?
To my knowledge, he’s just yelling. He is doing his best to get to the godswood to protect Bran because he knows the White Walkers and the Night King are headed in that direction, and that’s his duty, to go over there and protect him. Unfortunately, this ice dragon is in his way. So to my knowledge, he is not aware that Arya is heading over there. He is really just trying to protect himself, and he realizes he’s caught in a bind. He’s screaming to try to psych himself up to take this dragon out somehow.
I’ve seen those theories. I’d done some reading on people’s reactions, and I did see that. Personally, I don’t feel that that’s what’s going on. I never asked Benioff or Weiss, the showrunners, if that was the intention, but as far as I know, he’s just yelling, getting ready to fight this thing.
What was it like watching the series finale? How does it compare to the rest of Game of Thrones Season 8?
I saw the finale in its first form last fall, and I find it to be an amazing episode. It doesn’t go where I expected it to, but everyone’s got their own ideas of where it might be going.
I think I had the most trouble with the fact that once I finished watching it, I realized I had no more Game of Thrones to watch. While I worked on the show, I became a huge fan. So when I get my first cuts of each season, I first sit down and watch it as a fan and get that out of the way, and then I’ll start working on it. It was kind of bizarre to finish watching the finale and realize there is no, “Ok what’s next?” It’s just done.
What was the hardest part of working on Game of Thrones Season 8?
Not to get stressed out with the overwhelming amount of work, especially between Episodes 3 and 5. And trying to manage all that work with the amount of time we were given and the crew we had. To get it done on time and to keep everything flowing, because those are visual effects-heavy episodes.
Did Season 8 feel more rushed that previous episodes?
This season, with Episode 3 right smack in the middle, was a busy one. Generally, it’s the penultimate episode of the season that always kills us. So we’re scrambling and scrambling to get that one done, and then we always have that finale episode that we have to find the strength and energy to get through. But anyhow, this one I wouldn’t say was rushed. I would just say there was so much to be done on it.
What’s been your response to the critical fan reactions to Season 8?
It’s been a tough one, to be honest. In previous seasons, I didn’t pay too much attention to it. I kind of was hoping I wouldn’t, but it being the final season, I was curious what kind of reaction would people have with it being the final season and expectations being so high. I’ve definitely seen those mixed reactions. Personally, I found it to be a phenomenal season.
I think people’s expectations have become so high for the show. They have in their mind what they think the show should do, and if it’s not doing it, they get frustrated. I’ve seen complaints of people saying the season feels a little rushed. I don’t agree with that. Pace-wise, I think they’ve done a phenomenal job, and it’s been tough to see some of these fan reactions. I know you can’t please everybody, but it’s been a bit more negative than I was expecting.
Are you involved with any of HBO’s planned Game of Thrones spin-offs?
At this point, no. I’m not sure where that’s gonna end up. I’m still in touch with people at HBO and talk to them about future projects, whether it’s the spin-offs or one of the other shows — I don’t know 100% at this point. So I have kind of a rule: We will wait and see.
The Game of Thrones series finale airs Sunday, May 19 at 9 p.m. Eastern on HBO.