To call the upcoming final season of HBO's Game Of Thrones anticipated is an understatement. Set to air on April 14th, it's likely that the culmination of George R.R. Martin, David Benioff, and Dan Weiss' brainchild will raise the bar for serial television to come. And while the plot to season 7 leaked before the episodes ultimately aired, the powers that be have kept a tight lid on the new season. We haven't even seen a trailer yet. Still, details are beginning to emerge, thanks to an extensive cover story from Entertainment Weekly. Along with a batch of new photographs (featuring the majority of the living characters), the piece also shines a light on what sounds like a truly harrowing affair: the war between the living and the dead.

Set to transpire in episode 3, the Miguel Sapochnik-helmed episode will find the living mounting a defense against the Night King's army, with casualties bound to occur. The cover story details some of the work put into the upcoming battle, which featured eleven weeks of consecutive night shoots, often in freezing temperates. The picture painted is one of joint misery, with many participating actors experiencing the most difficult shoot of their careers. 

"I skip the battle every year, which is bizarre since Arya’s the one who’s been training the most,” says actress Maisie Williams. “This is my first taste of it. And I’ve been thrown in at the deep end.” Sapochnik even made sure to call Williams a year in advance, to hit her with the heads up."Start training now, because this is going to be really hard," she reflects. "But nothing can prepare you for how physically draining it is. It’s night after night, and again and again, and it just doesn’t stop. You can’t get sick, and you have to look out for yourself because there’s so much to do that nobody else can do… there are moments you’re just broken as a human and just want to cry.”

Iain Glen, who portrays the stalwart Jorah Mormont, expressed an equal sentiment. "“It was the most unpleasant experience I’ve had on Thrones,” he reveals. “A real test, really miserable. You get to sleep at seven in the morning and when you wake in the midday you’re still so spent you can’t really do anything, and then you’re back. You have no life outside it. You have an absolute fu*ed bunch of actors. But without getting too method [acting] about it, on screen it bleeds through to the reality of the Thrones world.”

All signs point to a truly spectacular battle, which should find many fan favorites slain in the winter snow. For more insight into the upcoming season, check out the entire cover story here, via EW