Mother of Chickens? Special Effects in Game of Thrones

From the beginning of the show, Game of Thrones has always been credited for its special effects. The season 1 finale, “Fire and Blood”, was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects. For any show, season one can be a tricky one. You are trying to create a huge impact, with a minimal budget from a studio that doesn’t want to invest too heavily in a show that may be a complete flop. But Game of Thrones clearly had the magic touch. Much like the dedicated and hardworking crew.

Special Effects in Game of Thrones - dani with a dragon

In the earlier seasons, to create the perfect environment, they used 2.5D projections. This technique uses 2D images but animates them to give them a 3D perspective. It can take a limited image and lift it to a greater potential. This technique is often used commonly in video games and title sequences.

However, as the series progressed and the plot became more hard-hitting, the effects needed to pack a punch too. The team moved over to a more commonly used CGI approach, which includes green screens and tracking. Think of any behind the scenes shots of superhero films where you see the Hulk reduced down to a man in a skintight suit with sticky dots stuck all over them. Or creating mythical creatures from a tennis ball on a stick. Computer graphics were first used in the 1950s for the first interactive video games. However, over the decades, artists have honed the craft into the captivating and awe-inspiring graphics we see today. Best not ruin it by telling you that Daenerys’ dragons are actually based on chickens. Mother of Chickens just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Throughout the series, over twelve different production companies were used to create the flames, dragons, cities and snow that we have become familiar with. A big show requires a big team. In this post we are going to look through some of the most iconic Game of Thrones characters and settings, that really don’t exist at all.

Special Effects in Game of Thrones

The Army of the Undead (or The Army of No One)

The Night King and his posse became a real threat to the characters in the current season of Game of Thrones. However, we know what happened by now. But what makes it even more interesting is when you find out that the army was only made up by a few extras, who were kind of ‘copy and pasted’ in CGI to form a massive army. While we are talking about the Night King it is also a good time to mention the makeup artists that work on the show, while a lot of things can be made by a computer, nothing beats incredible prosthetics and face paint.

Special Effects in Game of Thrones - Night King

Kings Landing (Also known as Dubrovnik)

Dubrovnik was used as the home of Kings Landing for many seasons of Game of Thrones, until the later seasons when the heat of Croatia was brought straight to a studio backlot. But, even when they were using the real location, they had to modify the city to give it a medieval grandeur, fit for the Iron Throne.

Game of Thrones - kings landing

Where Are My Dragons?

Daenerys dragons were actually formed from clever robotics, green screen and tracking. Actress Emilia Clarke, confessed that her pained expressions when riding the dragons were not acting!

Game of Thrones - Dani on a dragon

Game of Thrones is a show with many treasures. Of course, the cast are at the forefront of fans minds. They have made fictional and complex characters addictive and have sustained the attention of millions of people for eight years. However, we also need to give special credit to those behind the camera, without them, our favourite characters would not be so powerful at all.

Which of the special effects used in Game of Thrones impressed you the most?

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Text: Emily Jordan

Images: Game of Thrones Wallpapers, The Wandering Blonde, QUIRKYBYTE.COM

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