Although we now know the final episode of Game of Thrones season 7, titled The Dragon and the Wolf, will be the longest yet (79 minutes and 43 seconds, to be exact) in the history of the HBO series, growing our excitement at the prospect of watching the highly anticipated last installment (if that’s even possible), we still haven’t quite recovered from Sunday’s Beyond the Wall‘s spectacular battle scene – and its devastating conclusion (we’re not crying… you’re crying!).
Terribly curious, as ever, about how the GoT crew managed to pull off yet another mind-blowing visual feat, millions of fans were offered a behind-the-scenes look at the now legendary frozen lake sequence just after the episode – which delivered the show’s second-biggest audience ever, by the way – aired.
And let’s say that between an icy weather, hundreds of extras to manage, a zombie polar bear, and having to build an entirely fake, giant frozen lake, technicians and actors Kit Harrington, Rory McCann, Iain Glen, Richard Dormer, and Joe Dempsie had their fair share of challenges to sink their teeth into this time!
Probably one the most amusing facts in the 13-minute video about the making of the shocking episode is that writers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff have really, really, really been wanting to have a zombie polar bear in Game of Thrones for a loooong time. And now that the show’s budget has been upped by a few millions (that should do it), it was finally made possible!
Partly shot in Iceland, which brought a sense of reality no special effects could have equalled, the episode was created in very difficult conditions, meaning that part of the crew often had to have all the equipment ready in the darkness. But not all the scenes could be completed in Icelandic settings, particularly those where many members of the cast have to fall through thick ice and into freezing water. Which is why the frozen lake set was built in the little less frosty environment of Belfast (wild!).
In the end, bringing the whole process to a higher, more difficult level for director Alan Taylor, the filming of Beyond the Wall, leading to that “Oh, shit” moment we’ve all witnessed, was far from a walk in the park.
But we’ll leave it to Rory McCann to brilliantly sum up how hard acting surrounded by green screens can be: “I’ve never really worked with this ping pong ball thing and pretend that’s a bear. And, I’ve had people going ‘Oh, when I’ll come toward you I’m a bear!’ No, you’re not!”
That will be all.