From CGI direwolves to dragons, HBO's Game of Thrones certainly has the budget and the bravado to be one of the most ambitious shows on television. However, as the Wall falls on season 7, just how do those behind-the-scenes teams create the beautiful spectacle that fans have come to adore over the past seven years?
Winter may have finally come to Westeros, but there is no denying that one of the highlights of season 7 was the sixth episode. During 'Beyond the Wall', Jon Snow and his intrepid group journeyed out from Eastwatch by the Sea to capture one of those elusive wights. Completing that epic journey from Hardhome, the Night King and his army of undead made tracks for the Wall to seek a gateway into the realms of men, and Thrones aficionados can see how the VFX team created one of the biggest battles to grace the Seven Kingdoms.
Posted by Spanish FX company El Ranchito, there is a five-minute video showing the layer upon layer that went into creating jawless wights, the Night King's piercing stare, and even the tragic demise of Viserion -- if anyone has ever wondered how to take a live dragon and turn it into a White Walker version, now they can find out.
With previous work on Game of Thrones season 6, A Monster Calls, and The OA, El Ranchito clearly knows what they are doing. Few would think that it was so difficult just to create a relatively minor detail like the ribs of a skeleton. Clearly, a lot of green screen was used; however, the video shows that when extras weren't being plunged into icy pools, they were being clobbered by the Hound with Gendry's hammer. Note that there is also an impressive amount of practical effects melded with more modern techniques. 'Beyond the Wall' may have added a wight or two, but there was a large number of extras drafted in for the battle.
Some people may accuse season 7 of being more a style over substance affair, but seeing the painstaking work that went into the 'Beyond the Wall' fight, it is hard not to be impressed. With season 7 being action heavy, it will interesting to see how the production values attempt to top the shock of this year's two final episodes. With the battle between the living and the dead heating up as much as everything around it is literally cooling down, expect the VFX teams like El Ranchito to be just as busy when Game of Thrones eventually returns.
Game of Thrones season 8 is expected in 2018 or 2019 on HBO.
Source: El Ranchito