Hardhome Effects

Last weekend’s episode of Game of Thrones, packed with Wildlings, White Walkers, and wights, was among the show’s most jaw-droppingly impressive, and that’s saying a lot for a show that has already floored viewers with events like The Battle of Blackwater and the Red Wedding.

The last half of the episode was an effects-heavy affair shot on a giant, sturdy set with hundreds of extras. Now a behind the scenes video breaks down the creation of the Hardhome effects, and fans who loved the episode will want to watch this more than once.

Note: Given that this goes into detail about the creation of a sequence that occupies much of the running time of the episode, there are spoilers ahead for the show, in both the video and the text that follows.

Good comments there about how reigning in the scope of the episode and showing less rather than more resulted in a more thrilling and frightening sequence. I expect I’m not the only one who’d like to see a lot more of the creation of these effects, but the breakdown of stages for the various wights was pretty great.

Nice to see a bit of talk from Birgitte Hjort Sorensen, too, who played the show’s most compelling new Wildling… and who we’ll soon see as the show’s most compelling new wight. Nice to highlight the background actors, too, as their efforts can make or break a setup like this one, and their job is difficult and often disregarded.

And for the metal fans, this episode also featured cameos from members of Mastodon, who were among the Wildling horde. Nothing about them in this video, but drummer Brann Dailor did tell the Wall Street Journal:

You just kind of sit and wait for your part, and they put us up front and basically had Bill [Kelliher] and Brent [Hinds] lay down in the mud. I got stabbed in the stomach and my throat slit. They just kept doing that over and over again. I decided after six or seven times that it wouldn’t be a bad way to go… All those people that were out there, they said they’d been there for about a month, going out there in 14, 15-hour days. Those White Walker guys out there, being in makeup for six, seven hours is just pretty amazing.

Game of Thrones has two more episodes to air this season, which will hit over the next couple Sundays at 9pm EST on HBO.

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