Set in a world of endless summers and eternal winters, George RR Martin’s epic Game of Thrones novels have captured the imagination of readers across the globe. Needless to say, GOT fans were overcome with excitement when HBO announced it would be turning the saga into a big budget TV series. Since the pilot premiere on April 17 2011, the show and its cast has gone on to win a number of prestigious industry awards as well as status as HBO’s most watched TV series of all time. Not to mention critical acclaim from none other than President Obama! But what goes on behind the scenes? Read on for a sneak peak of how the wildly popular show is made.
While GOT graphics may appear to be flawless, a team of visual effects gurus work tirelessly to make scenes and sequences appear amazingly realistic. From sweeping overhead castle shots and sprawling armies to graceful dragon flights and gruesome battles, a huge amount of time, effort and cash is channelled into the visual effects department. For a sneak peek into the efforts of visual effects studio “Mackevision”, check out this incredible five minute video or watch it above.
While an episode of GOT may transport you to the fictitious continents of Westeros and Essos, many of the scenes are actually filmed in a Belfast studio. To bring the dramatic scenery to life, location scouts travel the globe in search of suitable backdrops. So far, scenes have been shot on location in Northern Ireland, Malta, Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, Scotland, Spain and the USA.
GOT costume designers take their jobs very seriously. And by seriously, we mean that they craft Wildling armour using real bone moulds and catgut style string. All clothing goes through a two week ageing process in order to achieve maximum authenticity while the use of real hair wigs sets the budget back around $7000 apiece.
Who would’ve thought that the ferocious roar of a dragon could be recreated using a pair of mating tortoises? This is just one of the ways in which the GOT sound crew has had to exercise creativity in order to bring the epic American fantasy drama to life.
One thing GOT isn’t short on is an impressive production budget. In fact according to HBO, the pilot episode alone cost around $10 million to produce. And with the estimated cost per episode sitting at around $6 million, GOT enjoys a budget that is around three times larger than that of an average network series.
While music is one of the subtler production techniques, it is also one of the most important. Ramin Djawadi is head composer and uses his exceptional musical talents to create a score that perfectly complements the on-screen drama. As well as an in-house orchestra, Djawadi has also enlisted the help of a number of well-known indie bands including Sigur Rós, The National and The Hold Steady.
With a fifth and sixth season confirmed by HBO, the fans of Game of Thrones can expect at least two more years of action and excitement!