Game Of Thrones' Hardest Special Effect Was Animating Daenerys's Legs
It’s probably an internet maxim by now that if you’ve been on here long enough, you’ve surely seen the behind-the-scenes images of actress Emilia Clarke — who plays Daenerys Targaryen in Game of Thrones — interacting with her dragons, pre-CGI.
It turns out, however, that petting a … pillow-thing tied to a broomstick and pretending it’s your beloved child-killing dragon is way easier than trying to ride this Machine Dragon:
Now, that might seem easy to some of us (who’ve clearly never done any such stunts ourselves) but as the show’s VFX supervisor Derek Spears explained, it totally isn’t. See, Machine Dragon doesn’t have muscles that move. This meant that, when they started adding the CG dragon with its muscles bulking and bulging, Clarke’s legs started looking way weird — what with them not moving in sync with the muscle movements.
Said Spears: “So we had the dragon flying and the muscles moving — but Dany’s legs didn’t react to any of it. So we had to replace her legs. We ended up replacing her legs on so many of the shots just to get it to follow the trap muscles on the back of the dragon. It was a nightmare … Some of the shots, we replaced her legs completely; others we mapped them on to a new piece of geometry and moved them around. Literally we had to deform the lower half of her body to make it fit.”
He went on to say that it’s bananas to think that of all the flying and the fire breathing and the incredible visual effects they created with the dragons, the most difficult part was to get Clarke’s knees to not slide awkwardly while she sat atop Machine Dragon. Who knew flying dragons would be this hard?
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Top Image: HBO