Each year, HBO’s Game of Thrones sets the new benchmark for what can be accomplished on television. The sweeping scope and huge episode budgets are outside the reach of most series, but Game of Thrones never squanders its money. This past season was no exceptions. From wights to dragons to an all-too-short cameo by Nymeria the direwolf, HBO isn’t skimping on the visual effects as they head into the climax of George R.R. Martin’s saga.
Now, in keeping with the show’s history of showing off its gorgeous visuals, the effects company El Ranchito put together a reel to show the long, arduous process of turning green screens into armies of the undead battling against giant dragons. The Spain-based studio did the work on “Beyond the Wall” that saw Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) teaming up to fight the Night King’s undead hordes.
The video above begins with the ravens flying over the unending stream of wights and ends with Viserion’s transformation. In between, El Ranchito shows how they turned human actors into decaying corpses, staged explosions caused by dragons, and more. While the video still doesn’t explain where the Night King got those giant chains, it at least explains how Game of Thrones made them look so believable.