Working on a hit HBO series like Game of Thrones might seem like a glamorous job. But try telling that to the actors, extras and crew who spend countless days in the muck and mire shooting a major action sequence like Season 6’s Battle of the Bastards, which pitted the sadistic Ramsay Bolton against the resurrected Jon Snow. Allow Jon himself — or, more accurately, his alter ego Kit Harington — to sum up the experience in this behind-the-scenes clip from the new Season 6 Blu-ray: “I have had more s–t thrown at me than any other actor on this show.”
Take heart, Kit… at least it’s not real feces. Instead, Harington and the rest of his on-camera army were being pelted by a mixture of dirt and animal feed, sometimes seasoned with a liberal dash of prop blood. And that’s just one small example of the special effects magic that goes into putting viewers on the battlefield, magic that also included fake wounds and fake bodies.
Co-creator David Benioff says that they read actual accounts of medieval and modern wars to further maintain verisimilitude. “You read accounts of battles in the Civil War, where the bodies were piled so thick, it actually became an obstruction on the battlefield.” For some folks, all the recreated carnage got a little too authentic at times. Remarks one crew member: “Even though I know all of these bodies are fake, it was deeply moving.”
And if you want to experience some Game of Thrones “glamour” first hand, HBO has a fan event on the horizon that can make those dreams come true. Game of Thrones Season 6 — Behind the Scenes will feature “interactive audio visual displays alongside exciting tech-based experiences,” including:
· Vaes Dothrak: Watch footage from the exclusive Blu-rayTM/DVD bonus feature “Recreating the Dothraki World,” a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of the city of Vaes Dothrak and its importance to Daenerys’s evolution, and stand in for Daenerys as the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen burns around you in a shareable video utilizing green screen technology.
· North of the Wall: “Bran’s Journey” delves into Bran Stark’s shocking and revelatory journey during Season 6. In this interactive experience, fans will see a recreation of the mystical Weirwood tree, learn about the Children of the Forest, and “hold the door” to save Bran from the White Walker army in a shareable video.
· Winterfell: “The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look,” available exclusively on the Season 6 Blu-ray/DVD set, goes behind the scenes to examine the production challenges of creating this epic event, including explorations of Visual Effects, stunts, and interviews with key cast and crew. In this experiences, modeled after Jon Snow’s command tent, fans can move stone pieces around the battle table and insert themselves into a photo opp of Jon’s position in the incredible aerial mob shot at the height of battle.
· Castle Black: In the Defend the Wall Virtual Reality Experience, modeled after the Castle Black courtyard and created exclusively for the Game of Thrones: Season 6 – Behind the Scenes fan event, fans will wear a VR headset and pick up a virtual crossbow, arrows and shield to hone their battle skills for the wars to come. But beware! You never know what danger lurks around the corner.
· The Workshop: The “18 Hours at the Paint Hall” Blu-rayTM/DVD feature follows all three Game of Thrones shooting units as they converge for the first time at Titanic Studios, better known as the Paint Hall, the series’ Belfast-based production hub. Housed in an aluminum structure modeled after the actual Paint Hall, this workshop will house props and costumes from the show, plus give fans the chance to sit on the Iron Throne and begin their reign as the true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms.
Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season DVD and Blu-ray hits stores on Tuesday, Nov. 15. More info on Game of Thrones Season 6 — Behind the Scenes can be found here.