Game of Thrones has long been hailed as one of the most visually impressive shows on television to date, with many settings and characters being enhanced through visual effects and CGI. The show’s production team has collected numerous awards for special effects, including three Emmy’s for Outstanding Special and Visual Effects and numerous Visual Effects Society awards and nominations.
While this is often highlighted as one of the show’s strengths, it can be difficult to visualize just how much work and coordination goes into a single scene that is sometimes over in a matter of minutes. Now, some of that technological wizardry will be explained in a new behind-the-scenes featurette.
To tease the August 31st release of Game of Thrones Season 5 on iTunes, HBO has shared (via Twitter) an exclusive look at The Great Pit Fight of Daznak. A crucial scene in the ninth episode, ‘A Dance With Dragons,’ which ends with the battle between the Sons of the Harpy, the royal guards of Meereen, and one large, CGI dragon, took 10 days to film in its entirety.
In the video you can hear actors and producers alike extol director David Nutter (Shameless), who also helmed episode 10 ‘Mother’s Mercy.’ Nutter outlines all of the different details in motion during the production of a battle scene, and highlights the importance of having the actors know what is happening when, as they are reacting to stimuli that’s not really there.
Ever since the Battle of Blackwater in Season 2, Game of Thrones has continued to create increasingly ambitious action sequences, with each consecutive season packed with notable battles. Season 5 delivered arguably some the most impressive ones yet, in terms of size and scope. Between the scene detailed here, the White Walker battle in ‘Hardhome,’ and Ser Barristan and Grey Worm’s stand against the Harpys in ‘Sons of the Harpy,‘ the season delivered some increasingly intense sequences. Hopefully, each episode will get the same behind-the-scenes treatment as The Great Pit Fight of Daznak.
Of course, a huge part of making these scenes so effective is the tremendous acting talent of all the actors involved, especially Emilia Clarke, who regularly shares emotionally loaded moments with dragons that are actually just tennis balls on sticks. It is interesting to see the work and preparation that goes into making these scenes, not to mention the amount of time and extras needed.
We still have awhile until Season 6 premieres, which gives us plenty of time to speculate on how they could possibly top the Season 5 battles.
Game of Thrones season 6 is expected to premiere on HBO in spring 2016.