Go behind the design of that epic shot where Daenerys spouts dragon wings


Say what you want about the final season of Game of Thrones, but visually speaking, there probably won’t be a show like it for a very long time. The visual effects were beyond impressive, even the ones we struggled to make out during the Battle of Winterfell. We’re pulling for the visual effects team at the Emmys!

One of the most memorable shots came in “The Iron Throne,” when Dany gave an epic victory speech to her followers in the ruins of King’s Landing. As I’m sure you remember, there was a shot where Drogon’s wings seemed to extend from Dany, and for a moment she looked like the Dragon Queen indeed:

Mohsen Mousavi, who worked as a VFX supervisor on the final three episodes of the show, spoke with Forbes about this iconic moment:

"It was such a powerful moment that we had to make sure the environment was 100% consistent with multi-angle sequence of her giving the victory speech that followed. We didn’t do any cheating through the camera for that particular shot, so we needed to make sure everything from the distance to Dany at which the dragon was sitting, the layout of the buildings, and everything behind her were exactly right to get that memorable composition of the dragon’s wings merging with Danny. It involved some back and forth with Image Engine [the VFX vendor that animates the show’s dragons] to get it right, but we’re very happy to hear that fans loved that particular shot so much."

I recall watching this scene and having to pick my jaw up off the floor, it was so beautiful and haunting. I couldn’t have imagined the scene going any other way, now that I look back.


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Mousavi also talked about the references he and his team were working with when bringing the show’s vision of a decimated King’s Landing to life:

"They gave us some references of bombed-out Dresden after the second World War. The idea was to recapture that sense of devastation that Dany and the actors are portraying on screen. We made sure that the tone of the buildings and the palette that we used in the aftermath in the background followed a more monochromatic color scheme. It helped elevate the drama of the sequence. And you can relate to it if you’ve seen any devastating images of damaged cities or bombed cities, especially the iconic black and white documentaries from WWII."

The first thing Mousavi and company worked on was the scene where Drogon melted the Iron Throne. “It was such an important and iconic sequence for HBO to make sure that we got it right,” Mousavi said.

"HBO wanted to make sure that it didn’t look too fantastical, and that we weren’t trying to over-do it or over-dramatize. They wanted to make sure it looked as real as possible, and that when you look at it, you can relate to it and you’re not seeing ‘visual effects.’ But at the same time, it needed to be cool. We got a lot of [reference material] of lava flowing and melting metal to make sure [the VFX looked genuine]."

Best of luck to everyone on the specials effects team come Emmy time!

Next. Game of Thrones VFX supervisor explains how to make a dragon. dark

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