Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Have you seen Game of Thrones without the CGI effects?

game of thrones without cgi.PNG

TV series Game of Thrones is loved for many things, but its impressive fantasy setting is obviously key to viewers being able to immerse themselves in the story as much as the books – where would we be without the sweeping battle landscapes and the fire-breathing dragons brought to life on our televisions?

Well, on set with a load of green screens, spray-can snow and blokes gluing stuff down, obviously.

Following fevered excitement over the series seven trailer, HBO has released a new behind-the-scenes clip providing a glimpse of the ridiculous amount of work that goes into creating such an epic programme – but be warned, seeing Daenerys without her dragons might unsettle you somewhat.

Watch the video below.

To be fair, Emilia Clarke still looks pretty fierce fire or no – she is earning her wage by hanging on to a massive bucking machine and pretending it’s a dragon.

The new clip prompted some websites to use pictures showing the incongruous sight of Clarke petting a long green stick on set. The images are actually stills from a 2013 video from visual effects company Pixomondo detailing how props were used in order to help Clarke get a physical sense of the invisible dragon she was supposed to be close to.

Said props included a decidedly lo-fi tennis ball on a stick, but it did the job so nobody’s complaining.

game of thrones cgi tennis ball dragon

The lesser-known tennis Wimbledon Dragon

These stand-ins were nicknamed ‘stuffies’, and in a 2012 interview, Clarke revealed some of the difficulties in filming with green screens.

She told huffingtonpost.com: “[The director said] ‘Can we cut – so, Emilia, remember that the dragons actually have weight, so you need to [remember] that’. And you’re like, ‘S***, okay, yeah, sorry, I know what I’m doing. How heavy is a dragon? How heavy is a dragon?!’

“I’m on set, looking at my shoulder intently and everyone around me is cracking up, and I’m like ‘No, no, no, no, I need to see it, I need to see him.’ And people are sort of looking at it like, ‘Oh, such an actor.’”


Read more: There’s a Game of Thrones blooper reel and it’s amazing


Clarke added: “They have these amazing life-scale models that we used for camera rehearsals for the sake of the CGI people, and I got very attached to them. They genuinely helped me and I kind of got very maternal towards these – fundamentally dolls, I suppose. But it was nice to have something physical that I could really picture in my mind.

“The dragons are what got me through season one and they’re such a huge part of Dany, so it wasn’t difficult, because I already have a relationship with them. But when you’re getting into the physicality of holding them and of moving them, that’s when it gets tricky, because you don’t want it to look not real. You don’t want, for one moment, for the audience to go, ‘Wait a second, where is she looking? That doesn’t make sense.’”


Read more: Why the women of Game of Thrones hold all the cards


Various green screen secrets have been spilled before; in 2014, special effects company Mackvision released before and afters of various landscapes, revealing the computer wizardry that goes into making an everyday scene GoT-worthy.

Question is, do you really want to know how your favourite TV shows are made?

Game of Thrones returns to Sky Atlantic July 17.

Images: HBO / Pixomodo

Related

jon snow.jpg

Game of Thrones fans, the trailer for season 7 is finally here...

alexis bledel.jpg

The secret messages hidden inside every song on The Handmaid’s Tale

rexfeatures_5632289bf.jpg

Watch Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams team up for Carpool Karaoke

More

The most annoying Tube habits, as ranked by irritated Londoners

“Could you move down, please?”

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

These are the main reasons relationships end, according to a new study

...and the reasons couples stay together

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

The new Great British Bake Off might be OK after all

The first episode has not bombed, we repeat: it has not bombed

by Amy Swales
22 Aug 2017

Woman claims she was fired for leaking during a heavy period at work

“Every woman dreads getting period symptoms when they're not expecting them, but I never thought I could be fired for it.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Women football fans forced to show bras while being searched at match

Add this to your list of ‘things that are definitely not OK’

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

This prosecco advent calendar will have you waving goodbye to summer

We're suddenly very excited about Christmas

by Megan Murray
22 Aug 2017

Heartfelt letter on coping with an anxious partner goes viral

“Anxiety isn't a one size fits all, it isn't consistent and it isn't always easy to tell”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
22 Aug 2017

Why India banning instant divorce is a major victory for women

India’s Supreme Court has ruled against triple talaq, which allowed Muslim men to instantly divorce their wives.

by Moya Crockett
22 Aug 2017

The mental health storyline you never noticed on Game of Thrones

An incredibly powerful character arc you might have missed

by Kayleigh Dray
22 Aug 2017

“Why I opted out of reconstruction after my double mastectomy”

Breast cancer survivor Jeanne Paul says many don’t understand her choice

by Amy Swales
21 Aug 2017