Leave a Comment
Game of Thrones has become known for pulling off some truly incredible battle sequences of unprecedented scale for the small screen, ranging from the Battle of the Blackwater in Season 2 to the Battle of the Bastards in Season 6. It was hard to imagine Season 7 somehow managing to beat the Battle of the Bastards, but the big sequence that featured Dany unleashing her dragon and Dothraki on the Seven Kingdoms for the first time pulled it off. The fighting alone looked amazing, and Drogon only upped the epic ante. Now, the show has released a behind-the-scenes look at all the work that went into bringing the battle to life without CGI, and it's definitely worth the watch. Check it out!
While CGI was obviously used to show Dany swooping in on Drogon to burn the Lannister army and their loot train to ash, a shocking amount of the battle was created with practical effects. Game of Thrones may not have been able to create a live action dragon, but the special effects team sure were able to create the effects of an unleashed dragon. Setting 20 men on fire at one time is just about as terrifying as it is totally awesome, and it was good to see in the video that the folks on scene had everything under control. Kudos to those stunt men who volunteered to be roasted.
The breakdown of the battle also gave some background on one of the most incredible elements of the whole sequence: the Dothraki standing up on their horses. Minds everywhere were blown during the episode when the charging Dothraki stood up on the saddles of their horses, drew their bows, and fired at the Lannister army, taking their enemies down before they were even within striking range with their arahk blades. There was apparently no CGI magic involved to enable the Dothraki screamers to pull off this particular stunt; it was simply a matter of a special saddle and some talented (and very brave) stuntmen.
The glimpses of the roasting soldiers and the shrieking Dothraki archers on a field in Spain were sharply contrasted by Emilia Clarke riding an animatronic dragon in a green screen studio, although she was obviously on the ground for the scene in which Jaime attempts to charge her down (and possibly gets himself killed in the process). A great deal of work went into creating this battle so that it somehow looked both realistic and fantastical, and I'd say the production team succeeded on all fronts. The only downside is that they might have a very hard time topping this particular sequence in Season 8.
We'll have to wait and see. The Great War against the White Walkers is going to provide the opportunity for a very different kind of battle, and we could be in for even more epic showdowns in the rest of the series. You can catch the remaining episodes of Season 7 on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO. For what you can watch after the Season 7 finale, take a look at our fall TV premiere schedule.