“The Spoils of War” : Game of Thrones Behind The Scenes and Recap

08.14.2017 Culture, Industry


Game of Thrones has undeniably become one of the most talked about Television Shows of our time. Whether you follow the series or not, it is almost impossible to avoid the hype on social media or by word of mouth between your friends. In a video released by the Game of Thrones Youtube Channel, the show’s creators walk viewers through the process of producing Season 7’s most remarkable episode yet, The Spoils of War. In this sequence, Daenerys rides dragonback on Drogon, as he breathes fire from 100 feet up in the air onto Jamie Lannister’s forces. Fighting alongside Daenerys is the Dothraki who are seen riding horses and shooting arrows at their opposers.

Watching the behind the scenes footage really puts into perspective just how much time, effort, detail, and even money went into this one episode. According to cnbc.com, to produce just one episode it costs an average of $10 million – meaning, action and FX heavy episode such as this might come with a much heavier price tag. With the cost of production as such, you can imagine how hard the crew works on set to get the perfect outcome. Props need to be placed and dressed very precisely. The set needs to be reshuffled every so often to reflect the action and progression of the attack. Because there are so many different phases, it was important for the prop department to pay attention to burnt and unburnt elements of the scene to make it look as real as possible. Although we as viewers may not notice those elements, it is that detail that makes everything believable.

Riding the Dragon

Because this is one of the largest and most impactful scenes for the show up to date, it required a great deal of camera manipulation to make it look authentic. During the attack, the audience gets to see multiple viewpoints of what is happening in the air and on the ground. For most of the ground scenes, 4 cameras were used, but sometimes up to 7 and 8 were brought in to capture different angles. For aerial shots, a drone was used as well as a camera suspended between 2 construction cranes that could move up to 70 MPH on a cable.

One of the most dynamic feats for this episode was the use of fire and visual effects. For the close up shots of Daenerys riding Drogon, actress Emilia Clarke had to ride a simulator that moved as the dragon would which would later come to life in post production. In an interview with time.com, writer and producer D.B. Weiss recalls seeing the machine Emilia was to ride on for the first time: “We knew it would be a mechanical bull. We didn’t know it would be 40 feet in the air and six degrees of motion with cameras that swirl.” As for the pyrotechnics, everything that would be set on fire or blown up had to be done so at perfect timing so the according camera could get the shot. For shots like these, there are no double takes so everything must go completely as planned the first time around.

As you can imagine, an episode as such takes a long time and a lot of people to reach its final product. With that being said, Game of Thrones fans never seem too dissatisfied and the shows following only continues to grow. You can catch Game of Thrones Sunday Nights on HBO.

Author of the Article: Parlay Studios

Parlay Studios is a 50,000 sf. photography and digital media production campus serving leading creatives and brands from around the world. Our state-of-the-art photography and video production complex is home to a selection of versatile studios and environments.

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