We knew Game of Thrones had a big budget, but we didn’t know it was this big! The penultimate episode of Season 2, “Blackwater,” featured the memorable battle of Stannis’ invasion of King’s Landing, complete with exploding wildfire. It turns out that battle wasn’t cheap, costing HBO $8 million to produce, about $2 million more than the average GoT episode.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had to go to HBO executives themselves to ask for the extra money, stressing the importance of the battle to the show’s overall arc. “First of all, we almost had no battle at all,” Benioff tells Entertainment Weekly. “We went pleading to HBO for more money. We made our case why we needed the battle and they obliged. That allowed us to do a battle. It did not allow us to do the battle from A Clash of Kings. It would be difficult for a $200 million feature to do justice to the battle from the book.”

Part of what made the Battle of Blackwater so expensive is that it takes place on water, a rarity for an epic fantasy battle. “There was a good deal of pressure to turn Blackwater into a land battle,” Benioff says. “And we understood the technical reasons why that would help our cause: land battles are much easier to shoot than naval battles.” Weiss adds, “But we’ve seen so many pitched battles in epic fantasies, and relatively few naval battles... the split between army power and navy power is central to George’s story... Going with the exclusively land battle route would ultimately have meant rewriting the whole season.”

We’re glad HBO ponied up the extra cash for the navy, because the Battle of Blackwater was amazing.

Are you surprised by how much "Blackwater" cost? Let us know in the comments below!