Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
photo: Macall B. Polay/courtesy of HBO

Boy, if you love flashy horsemanship and people burning to death, the most recent episode of Game Of Thrones was the show for you. In a continued refusal to slow down the breakneck, character-development-be-damned pacing of the series’ current run, last night ended with an orgy of death and destruction the likes of which are usually reserved for second-to-last episodes of the season and reruns of HBO’s other Machiavellian drama, Curb Your Enthusiasm.

A video from the network’s official Game Of Thrones YouTube channel shows exactly how much work went into creating a battle requiring hundreds of troops, furious sky lizards, and a volume of pyrotechnics roughly equivalent to the entirety of a Mötley Crüe tour. Turns out it was a lot.

The clip is well worth watching not only to see the incredible craftsmanship on display behind the scenes, but for the glimpse it provides of how much concentrated labor goes into making several minutes of this type of television. As is always the case, there’s a give and take between seeing and appreciating the work of so many talented people, all coming together to create the indisputable high art of CGI dragons scorching a battlefield full of fantasy men, and demystifying the scene by peeking behind the curtain.


We see Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) riding not a majestic beast, but a luxury version of mechanical bull. We learn that the Dothraki riders had special stirrups built into their saddles to pull off their acrobatics (still cool). There are armored men on fire, quickly surrounded by waves of fire extinguisher-wielding set workers. It’s fascinating stuff, but also maybe something better saved until after the current season ends. Otherwise, Game Of Thrones viewers may get too carried away thinking about the construction of each scene rather than the important stuff—like when Jon and Dany are finally going to smooch (and whether or not popular fan theories will prove out to make that incredibly gross).

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