Three years later, the final season of HBO’s Game Of Thrones continues to be a controversial and destructive thing; rarely has a series burned away its own goodwill in such a short span of time, leaving critics, creators, and fans alike to sift through the ashes of whatever’s left. Now—as HBO continues to bet that Westeros enthusiasm remains high, generally, with the forthcoming release of Game Of Thrones prequel House Of The Dragon this August—a far more practical effect of the alleged failures of that production has come to light: A $5 million lawsuit being brought forward by stunt performer Casey Michaels, alleging she was injured due to negligence during the filming of the Battle Of Winterfell sequence from the season’s third episode.
Specifically, Michaels—who’s the daughter of veteran Hollywood stunt performers, and who performed as a Wight in the episode of question—was playing one of several ice zombies who walk off a roof mid-battle, demonstrating the mindless and indifferent nature of the threats attacking the castle’s defenders. Per Variety, said stunt came with instructions that the performers were to fall “as if unaware of the drop, in keeping with the zombie-like nature of the Wights,” landing on cardboard mats designed to cushion the impact. Michaels alleges that the mats became dislodged and crushed through the course of the shot, so that by the time she landed, as one of the last Wights off the roof, she suffered a serious foot injury that has disrupted her life for the last 4 years.
Among other things, Michaels states in her claim that she’s had to have multiple surgeries and extensive physiotherapy on her foot; she’s also worked significantly less since the injury. Total damages in the case could reportedly run to $5 million, according to court documents, which were filed last year.
For its part, Fire & Blood Productions—the HBO-owned subsidiary being cited as the defendant here—has shot back that any injury Michaels suffered on the show’s set was presumably her own fault. The company claims that its safety materials were “durable and was not compressed when a stunt performer stepped off onto the mattress and rolled away,” and alleges that Michaels—who, like all the performers in the scene, was heavily padded—disregarded instructions from the stunt coordinator and instead fell “‘like a pencil,’ in a rigid or vertical manner.”