Game of Thrones VFX artists discuss bookending Daenerys’ story


It never ceases to amaze me how mindblowing the world of visual effects is. Things that are beyond our imagination can be created and made to appear so real onscreen that we struggle to tell the difference, even when we know we’re being lied to. Because dragons aren’t real…right?

Whatever. Modern special effects are incredible, and few places are they more impressive than on Game of Thrones.

Since May, there have been a lot of interviews regarding how visual effects played a role in the final season, especially in the series finale. Technicians have broken down everything from Daenerys speech to her followers to Jon killing Daenerys to Drogon’s burning the Iron Throne, but there’s always room to see and learn more, isn’t there?

CNET interviewed Pixomondo visual effects supervisor Sven Martin about his work on the final episode. Not having much of a solid understanding of the VFX world, I was shocked to learn the number of people required to make certain scene happen. More than 300 artists worked on the show, 40 of whom were dedicated to the dragons.

This scene where Drogon realizes Daenerys is no longer alive is heartbreaking, and it only reads that way because of the work these professionals put into Drogon’s reaction. But the people at Pixomondo were mindful to remember that he was, in the end, an animal:

"It was important to not over-animate the dragon or to humanize him too much. Drogon should always be a lizard, still stay the animal. Our guideline was how we see our own pets — we can read their emotions even though they can’t talk and have a different physiognomy. We had to tread a fine line."

Another aspect of the finale that stood out to me was Daenerys setting her eyes on the Iron Throne. She’d had visions of this moment all the way back in the second season, so it was a long time coming. “So now, several years later, we could do the actual moment happening with lots of recognizable shots,” Martin said. “The ceiling structure has changed a lot, as the throne room got redesigned for the best visual impact on the sequence.”

To get a better understanding of the scenes he was to work on, Martin was invited on set by VFX producer Steve Kullback and VFX supervisor Joe Bauer to see the filming of that final sequence. “That was special,” Martin said. “Having spent so much time upfront with this scene, seeing it all come together on the soundstage was a very rewarding moment. After eight years of raising the dragons and having had all these adventures with them and Dany, we could finally help to finish her journey.”


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Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Game Of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead /

Cleveland Indians Francisco Lindor Game Of Thrones Iron Throne Bobblehead

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Very special, indeed.

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