From the terrifying wights to the Children of the Forest, from Jon Snow’s bruises from the time he died and was brought back to life to the skin condition that plagues Jorah Mormont – the team that designed the prosthetics for the HBO series Game of Thrones has been a vital contributor to its success. Ahead of the eighth and final season, which will be broadcast in April, HBO released a short video that reveals some of the hard work that went into making every moment believable.
“The process of prosthetics is something I don’t think people are aware with how extensive it,” prosthetic designer Barrie Gower explained in the video. “It’s such a complex department, and the builds that goes into these things is quite time-consuming.”
This process including creating head casts and facial moulds of the actors and make-up that took several hours to apply and weeks to prepare. “An average prosthetic makeup… is about four to six weeks to build,” Gower said in the video. “We have so many patient actors that sit in our chair for like four or six or eight hours at a time. So, by the time we usually step on set to do a rehearsal, we’ve already pretty much done a full day’s work.”
As the zombie-like Army of the Dead began to gain in power over the seasons, the work for Gower’s team increased. For the episode Hardhome in the fifth season, 50 White Walkers had to be created. For the eighth season, the team had at least 70-80 members on set and about 50 at the workshop.
“It’s lovely to see all our hard work and all these things we’ve built actually make it to the screen as well at the end of the day,” Gower said.
The Slovak actor and stuntman Vladimir Furdik plays the Night King, who leads the Army of the Dead on a mission to conquer the North. Furdik has portrayed the Night King since the sixth season, taking over from Richard Brake. In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Furdik revealed that before he became the Night King, he had played several other parts in his capacity as a stunt artist. “I did a lot of horse falls, fire drops, high falls, sword fights,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “I doubled for Arthur Dayne [for the Tower of Joy fight scene]. I’m one of the men jumping from the boat in the fire [during Daenerys’ dragon attack].”
About his character’s motives, Furdik said, “I think he wants revenge. Everybody in this story has two sides — a bad side and a good side. The Night King only has one side, a bad side.”
The final season will have an encounter between Jon Snow (Kit Harington) and the Night King, Furdik promised. “There’s also that moment [in “Hardhome”] when Jon Snow was on the boat and the Night King looked at him and raised his arms — there’s a similar and even stronger moment between Jon and the Night King this time,” Furdik told Entertainment Weekly.
The six episodes that comprise the final season will be aired on April 14 on Star World and Hotstar in India. The previous seasons are being streamed on Hotstar. The first two episodes will be 54 minutes and 58 minutes each, reports said.