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Game of Thrones co-star Kit Harington came home to his London flat last July after a night of partying and realized he lost the keys. No problem. He’d just climb into his first-floor window. Then he fell.

“Everyone always says you must have done it on set horse riding or running across glaciers or something cool,” sighs Harington about his shattered ankle. “I was an idiot. The ‘invincibility of youth’ and all that. I couldn’t even blame it on a film set. And I had avoided skiing for ages because I thought I’d break my ankle!”

The timing of his injury could have been worse. Season three, with Harington resuming his role as heroic Nights Watch member Jon Snow, was set to start production a couple weeks after his mishap, though the bulk of Harington’s scenes — particularly those shot in Iceland — weren’t scheduled until the winter. “I looked at scripts this year and there was a lot of action, more than last year,” Harington says. “But we could have been in more trouble had it happen [later in the year].”

To get a sense of the his injury’s importance, it’s helpful to have a sense of the Game of Thrones production machine. It’s larger than any TV show and takes longer to shoot each year than most feature films. There’s 160,000 square feet of sets and 27 series regulars. Season 3 had a trio of production units shooting in five countries (Croatia, Northern Ireland, Morocco, Iceland and a few scenes in the United States). When fans ask why HBO doesn’t order more than 10 episodes per season, producers say it’s the maximum number this whole operation can really handle while maintaining the show’s quality.

So what happens when key piece of that complex production machine gets temporarily benched?

Read the full article at InsideTV@EW.

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