Game of Thrones is one of the most expensive television series of all time, and it's certainly HBO's most popular. It's also one of the most ambitious, spanning continents and cultures with the largest cast on TV today, and featuring increasingly massive battles - sometimes with dragons. The most recent season's "Battle of the Bastards" certainly gave Hollywood's best period action set pieces a run for their money. The story's nuanced, character-driven plot is what makes it popular, but its scale certainly helps that story shine.
It's easy to give an auteur all the credit. George R. R. Martin is the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, the source material off of which the Game of Thrones TV series is based. He gets the lion's share of the credit for the series' existence - and blame for the delay of the novels. Fans who watch the TV show's special features even know its showrunners, Dan Weiss and David Benioff. They could probably even name a handful of the show's primary actors, but it's a fair bet that few know it's had 728 total.
Huemor has created an infographic entitled It Takes a Village, which attempts to adequately sum up the total manpower so far taken to bring Game of Thrones from the page to screen - 3,589 souls. The chart is divided up into departments, featuring 88 in the "House of Directors" alone. Actors, Cameras, Sound, Editing, Design, Effects, and the all inclusive Others are also tallied. And their count likely doesn't even include ancillary vendors like the distribution and dailies intermediaries that keep all the footage rolling right along from the set to your screen. Take a look at the infographic:
Considering what a relatively gentle touch most of the special effects have in the series compared to its Hollywood brethren, it's incredible to see that nearly a third of the staff is fully dedicated to the show's special effects department. It's no wonder those establishing money shots and dragon appearances are so scarce. Every second of dragon and direwolf time we get translates to a massive investment in time, money, and talent. Certainly, this was said as much by the 'Battle of the Bastards' director when he revealed why Ghost wasn't in the episode.
It's easy to forget in the course of a season just how many hard working professionals it takes to make Westeros come alive - certainly more than even the credits have time to pay honor to. Hats off to the many for killing themselves to make such an entertaining and lastingly impressive show. What is dead may never die.
Game of Thrones will return in 2017 on HBO.