One of Game of Thrones’ stunt performers is suing for an injury she sustained during the show’s final season. George R.R. Martin published A Game of Thrones in 1996, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the franchise became a pop culture sensation. HBO’s Game of Thrones ran for eight seasons and saw the citizens of Westeros battle for the Iron Throne while fighting against the White Walkers. The series remains popular even after going off the air in 2019, with a prequel series, House of the Dragon, coming out this year and Martin working on the next book in his series titled The Winds of Winter. Even though Game of Thrones continues to be a profitable IP for HBO, the show’s seventh, and eighth season specifically, were slammed by fans and critics. The final season was the shortest in the franchise, consisting of only six episodes, which made storylines feel very rushed. In the first few episodes of Game of Thrones season 8, the conflict focused on the battle against the White Walkers before Jon Snow and Daenerys came into conflict with the Lannisters. Episode 3 “The Long Night” was a monumental episode for the series, seeing the deaths of Melisandre, Jorah Mormont, Theon Greyjoy, and the Night King, who was killed by Arya Stark.
Many stunt performers were involved in the final season of Game of Thrones, but now one person is suing for an injury they sustained on set. According to Variety, Casey Michaels is suing Fire & Blood Productions for $5 million. Michaels played a Wight in “The Long Night” and suffered a “serious fracture dislocation to her left ankle” following a stunt where she walked off a roof. Court documents state that 28 stunt performers were involved in the scene, with groups of 4-5 walking off of the roof at a time. The actors were instructed to walk off the set’s roof “as if unaware of the drop, in keeping with the zombie-like nature of the Wights,” before landing on cardboard boxes and mats below. Michaels claims the rig was not durable with how many people fell and climbed off the cardboard boxes, which resulted in her injury due to her being the last Wight to fall. For four years, Michaels has undergone several foot surgeries (one of which involved inserting a plate and screws) and physiotherapy while also suffering from trauma and depression. The stunt performer claims she still has trouble with basic tasks, but the production company denies her allegations. Fire & Blood Productions claims the rig Michaels landed on was “durable and was not compressed when a stunt performer stepped off onto the mattress and rolled away” and that she didn’t perform the stunt as instructed. They further stated the injury was “caused either by the Claimant’s failure to execute the pleaded stunt properly and/or with the skill and care of a reasonably competent stunt performer or by pure accident.”
Michaels is an experienced stunt performer, working in numerous big-budget franchises like Star Wars and Marvel, so there is certainly weight behind her claim that conditions on Game of Thrones’ set were not safe. However, with four years having passed since Michaels’ injury, it will be tough for a court to figure out what actually happened on the day of the accident. Given the severity of Michaels’ injuries and her lack of compensation for them, the lawsuit doesn’t seem outlandish, but it is hard to tell how the case will pan out until Michaels and Fire & Blood Productions release more statements.
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