I’m going to preemptively give you a spoiler warning for all seasons of Game of Thrones, so if you haven’t caught up, I just gave you a major reason to have a midweek binge watching session.
With that out of the way, Variety recently published a report with Game of Thrones’ special effects department, where they detailed the most prominent deaths across season six.
The Image Engine company was the special effect maniac behind these deaths. All in all, they were responsible for 72 deaths across the short ten episode season. While that number of deaths is astonishing enough, the deaths were broken down into gory categories: 22 were deaths by sword, 14 by slit throats, 1 by pike, and 1 by “loyal” dogs.
That last death–the much-needed death of arguably the most hated villain on the series, Ramsay Bolton (played by the otherwise pleasant Iwan Rheon)–was reportedly supposed to be even more gruesome. Viewers will remember as Ramsay sat strapped and useless to a chair, with only his dogs in his cage cell as Sansa Stark looks at him through the bars. After snidely informing Sansa (Sophia Turner’s character) how his dogs would never turn on him, they proceeded to . . . well . . . turn on him. In the manner of ripping his character to shreds.
Image Engine’s visual effects supervisor Mat Krentz described the process of creating Ramsay’s death:
“They shot the scene with multiple takes. They did a pass of the dog on green screen, then Ramsay on green screen, and then we also had a background plate, which we put together.”
Reportedly the artists also created a CG jaw for Ramsay, animating it to strip away the flesh between his skin and gums as the dogs attacked him. They ultimately decided to cut back on the repulsiveness and subbed in a 2D composite instead, making the death a little more bearable to watch but still violent enough to satiate the bloodthirsty fans (in their defense, Ramsay had done supremely horrible things to justify such a desire).
But the special effects artists also took pride in their non-Ramsay-related contributions to the show. They took painstaking efforts to find the right meat to represent brain matter, they tirelessly enhanced Jon Snow’s battle wounds with both makeup and digital means, and they created the beautiful landscapes that you literally cannot find anywhere in the world (the Citadel, the giant astrolabe, and the snow-covered Wall).
This now makes one villain killed by dogs, one by melted gold, one by poisoning, and another by wildfire. What could the next season possibly bring?
The seventh season of Game of Thrones will premiere in mid 2017 on HBO.