Zombie polar bears, fire, dragons, undead armies… the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season seven had it all.
Now, HBO has lifted the lid on how the epic blowout was realized. Filmed between Belfast, Northern Ireland and the ethereal planes of Iceland, the video shows how the production team managed to transform seemingly humdrum sets into something magical (or hellish, at least when the wights arrive). “When you stand up on the top [of the set] and look down, it looks as if we’re building an airport or something,” said production designer Deborah Riley. “The scale is enormous.”
Most fascinating of all is how the bear scene was captured, with the footage providing a candid look into the green screen process. Rather than use an actual wild beast (because we’re so certain that would end well), actor Rory McCann (The Hound, to you and I) can be seen battling against a flaming piece of metal which he describes as a “ping-pong ball thing.”
Watch above, and then check out the trailer for this Sunday’s finale below.