Photo: HBO

Last night’s Game Of Thrones sure had a lot of stuff. There was a huge army of zombie people, a zombie polar bear, and a zombie dragon. Human men killed walking skeletons, and a great big lizard breathed fire all over the place. There was a giant frozen lake. Swords were on fire. There was, in other words, stuff aplenty.

All of it, of course, was the result of hardworking folk—experts at coordinating actors, blowing shit up, and computer artistry—whose efforts are detailed in an official Game Of Thrones YouTube video.

Creating the episode’s far north showdown was, as the clip shows, an incredibly involved process that likely a) cost more money to pull off than the GDP of a small nation and b) required enormous forethought and careful planning.

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The latter is conspicuous for being so evident in the choreography of the show’s lavishly orchestrated action and almost entirely absent from the plotting and dialogue that led the story to this point.

Marvel at the construction of a believable, handmade frozen lake and shake your head at the writing behind the motley assemblage of fan-favorite characters fighting for their lives to capture a single zombie in the first place. Thrill to the technical mastery that turns a huge chunk of bright green Styrofoam into a lifelike CG dragon while rolling your eyes at the time-bending that allowed Dany to fly across a continent so the creature is in the episode at all.

While Game Of Thrones balloons in spectacle, some law of physics demands the series’ previously intricate plotting be sacrificed in compensation. It’s the kind of thing that makes these behind-the-scenes clips, with their incredible workmanship, fascinating, even as the events they illustrate become ever more disappointing.

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The Thrones giveth even as they taketh away.