'Game of Thrones': Watch How Hardhome Became a Battle for the Ages

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment

From Blackwater to the Battle of Castle Black, Game of Thrones has staged some impressive action sequences during the course of five seasons. But nothing could have prepared us for the perfect storm of ice, blood, and fury that was the Hardhome brawl from this past year, which pitted Jon Snow and his small band of tenuous Wildling allies against the might of the White Walkers. That battle was so immersive, so seamlessly choreographed and constructed that you’d be forgiven for thinking that you were watching Kit Harington fight actual zombies.

Related: ‘Game of Thrones’: The Eyes Have it in New Jon Snow Theory

But, of course, there’s no such thing as White Walkers. (We hope not, anyway.) To transform Hardhome into a battle for the ages, HBO turned to the Spanish visual effects company, El Ranchito, which labored over the 20-minute sequence, replacing green-screens with snowy mountains and transforming a mere mortal into a giant. As a well-deserved victory lap, El Ranchito has released a five-minute reel showcasing all the visual tricks of the trade they brought to the raw footage, pulling some of the best moments and deconstructing every element that was added into the frame. Based on this eye-opening reel, bringing Hardhome to life was a military operation that far outclassed Stannis Baratheon’s sorry army.