After the sword fight with Ned Stark, Jaime Lannister is supposed to hop up on his horse and quickly ride off into King’s Landing, leaving the injured Ned behind. Well, no matter how trained a horse is, there’s still always the possibility that instinct will take over, and its inherent recklessness when it comes to human life will show itself. Co-creator David Benioff recollects the stunt in the book “Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 1 & 2” by Bryan Cogman how the horse nearly injured one of the series’ leads and, more importantly, took the lives of several stunt performers:
“[Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is] quite skilled at jumping on and off a horse. On one take, at the end of the scene, he leaped onto his horse and the horse freaked out, probably because Jaime’s scabbard slapped its side. The horse galloped down the street and nearly stomped on a few dead bodies — actually living stuntmen who almost became dead bodies. Nik had to duck as his horse tried to slam him into the side of the alleyway. I believe that take is in the cut, as it looked appropriately dangerous.”
Though Benioff thinks it is, I’m not so sure that take is used, as the horse stands fairly still before taking off down the alleyway, not even coming close to one of the bodies on the ground. There’s a fairly common practice when it comes to stunts that, if a stunt person is injured during a take, the filmmakers use that take. Perhaps if someone actually was hurt during this scene then it would’ve had a better chance of making the final cut. Had the ride looked more dangerous, I think it would’ve distracted us from connecting with Ned’s pain. Character is more important.