Call me an ignoramus, but I didn’t catch all the details that qualify as “special effects” in HBO’s Game of Thrones when I watched it this past season.
I think I really believed that they either found a magical location with these really cool castles or had them built. Because, it’s easy to build castles on location, right?
Hey, I didn’t think the Wall was real. I’m not THAT dumb’n. I thought maybe it was claymation or something.
What’s the secret? Green screen was heavily used to create all those awesome castle turrets and spires! The trick is, they make sets of the bottom half of what they want and green screen the tops, so they can add in the towers, pillars and whatnot. The stallion statues outside of Vaes Dothrak? The Horse Gate, my friends, is all CGI. Sorry! You can’t buy it on ebay.
Even though Peter Dinklage is pretty badass, they weren’t really going to just drop him on the edge of a cliff. Obviously, he’d fly away or something if he had to wait too long. There’s lots of filming left for him to do! So instead they greenscreened it to save time lugging all the gear up there. It’s essentially win-win.
And there are some other added touches that required CGI; you don’t just get that much snow south of the Wall, especially not in Ireland in the summer! They pretty much created Winterfell, The Eyrie and King’s Landing out of thin air. Since you probably realize that the Wall is not real, then you won’t be too surprised to see that the elevator is just a prop, like a medieval Tardis. I’d LOVE to see Tyrion pissing off the “Wall” in green screen behind-the-scenes!
Well, have a look at how they did it in this SPOILERific effects real from BlueBolt.
In addition, more effects were filled in by Screen Scene, an Irish visual effects (VFX) company. They handled a lot of the beheadings, stabbings and other gory work. They worked on the Lannister camp – a sea of red tents – as well as Bran’s scaling of Winterfell’s towers. Beautifully done!