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VFX supervisor Joe Bauer sheds light on special effects in Game of Thrones



Game of Thrones is a fictional world not only with big castles but mythical creatures like dragons, direwolves, and more which wouldn’t be possible in the show if not for the special effects. Just take the example of the episode ‘The Winds of Winter’, where Cersei Lannister blows up the Sept of Baelor – it wouldn’t be possible to showcase such a massive green fire (Wildfire) if it wasn’t for the special effects team.

Joe Bauer – the VFX supervisor of the team had previously spilled some beans on Ghost returning for the final season. Well, recently he shared some secrets with the Huffington Post. Read on.

Talking about the Battle of Bastards from the sixth season, Bauer revealed they had to do a lot of research on how horses looked upon taking a wound. According to him,

With ‘Battle of the Bastards,’ as you might remember, they’re colliding and flipping over and becoming very injured in that sequence, so we had to search out footage of that sort of thing happening to real horses. It really was awful to watch, but it’s part of the job.”

Talking about the iconic deaths of the antagonists Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton in the series – the former killed by poison and the latter by his own hounds, Bauer said:

“I’ve killed most of the bad guys and even some of the good guys…I killed Ramsay with the dogs and Joffrey with poison and had to do profound research on chemical poisonings, and that sort of thing. So all the bloodshot, bugged-out eyes, all of the explosion of blood veins in the skin, the pus liquid coming out, all of that is based on reality.”

Pretty gross, isn’t it? Next, talking about the Wall breached by the Night King with the ice dragon in the finale of the seventh season, Bauer revealed he had to study the events of 9/11. He said:

Unfortunately, there’s the same old 9/11 footage that’s been researched so many times, but I think that’s pretty much the largest structure anyone’s seen come crashing down, so we had to look at that and see what’s hanging in the air versus all the material that’s crashed and spread onto the ground on both sides.”

“Then we had to figure out how to leave an open space for the army of the dead to walk through, because there would be so much rubble that really it would just be another wall, so we had a lot of it fall into the ocean. It’s just trying to do it in a way that would be physically correct.”

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“[The Night King and Viserion do] a number of strafing passes to weaken [the Wall], then he concentrates on a single area to cause a structural collapse, like the concept for dropping a big building. You weaken the main part of it, and then the rest of it is sort of a chain reaction. So we established that weak part is close to Eastwatch Castle, and then [with Rodeo], we spent months doing sims to try to get the scale, the weight and the size of it and the right amount of fragmentation.”

Talking about the new look of the newest recruit in the Army of the Dead – ‘Undead Viserion, He said:

“It’s sort of like a spider with the limbs coiled in and sort of restricted and not very supple in their movements. Very much like a dry spider, is sort of the way I described it. So when you see Viserion flying or attacking, his shoulders are high and then his neck is low. His limbs are drawn in, as if [in] rigor mortis.”

viserion-blue-wall-7708449Talking about the difficulty in the post-production of Daenerys’ rescue mission “Beyond the Wall”, Bauer revealed:

Dan and David had written there were seven characters on his back, so we had a visual reason why it was so difficult, but it adds to the drama.”

Lastly, Bauer confirmed that a body double wasn’t used for Kit Harington, during the boat scene of Jon and Daenerys. He ended by saying,

“Kit has a very chiseled body, and as far as I know they never used a body double for him.”

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Founder at Wiki of Thrones and a full-time Game of Thrones fan who does other work when he has finished reading and writing about Game of Thrones and also dreams about playing a role in the show.