[This is a Game Of Thrones post, so naturally, it necessitates a spoiler warning. It’s for season six, which finished airing months ago, but if you’re not caught up and are averse to major plot points, we suggest you stop reading, and go here instead.]
HBO’s Game of Thrones deals in byzantine plotting, sweeping on-location vistas, robust mythologies, and gory spectacles—gory, plentiful, cringe-inducing spectacles. From King Joffrey firing arrows into bound prostitutes at close range, to incestuous rape scenes, there hasn’t been much that GoT producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have shied away from. But according to Variety, the effects house responsible for many of last season’s special effects had to dial down the cathartic comeuppance of one of the show’s biggest villains.
The moment when Ramsay Bolton—rapist, patricide, and penile flayer—has his face torn off by his own starving attack dogs was a classic, grisly GoT moment. But Mat Krentz, visual effects supervisor at Image Engine, explains that Bolton’s transformation into Westeros’ most hideous Snausage was originally much more graphic.
“They shot the scene with multiple takes,” said Krentz. “They did a pass of the dog on green screen, then Ramsay on green screen, and then we also had a background plate, which we put together.” According to Krentz, a Bolton jawbone was animated to more vividly convey the separation of face from skull. Despite how wonderfully Evil Dead the original effects sound, it was determined that Bolton’s face-chomping was too graphic, and a 2D composite was used instead.
In addition to depicting the consumption of Ramsay Bolton, Imagine helped enhance 72 of season six’s deaths. That tally includes 22 by sword, 14 by throat slitting, one by pike, and, of course, one by ravenous dogs. (Apparently they didn’t animate that guy getting bell-crushed, which is still pretty awesome.)
Image’s reign of destruction can be viewed below: