Weta Digital responsible for one of Thrones' most graphic deaths

Newstalk ZB ,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 21 May 2019, 5:11PM
The scene in which the dragon, Rhaegal, died was entirely Weta's handiwork. (Photo / HBO)

Game of Thrones has come to an end, and with it ends the involvement of New Zealand’s biggest special effects company.

The fantasy series, which features dragons, ice zombies, and massive battles, has come to a conclusion after eight seasons and 73 episodes that defied expectations.

The world of Westeros had plenty of real-world settings, but much of the series had to be created on the computer.

Weta Digital was one of the companies responsible for animating it. For the final season, they created over 600 shots of large scale environments, epic battles, dragons and destruction.

Martin Hill is the VFX supervisor who oversaw this project. He told Heather du Plessis-Allan that he had been working on the last season for a year and a half.

One of the big episodes they worked on was the climactic Battle of Winterfell, which saw the White Walkers attack the majority of the characters.

Hill says that they worked on bringing the army of zombies to life.

“We certainly did quite a lot of them. When you see them stacking up against Winterfell, that’s all us.”

They also were responsible for the graphic demise of the dragon, Rhaegal, who was shot with multiple arrows that came with a great splattering of blood.

“People were saying to me, do you think you got too much blood in there, and it was like, this is Game of Thrones, you can really be excessive with it,” Hill says.

Due to the length of time they worked on the show, Hill was privy to a lot of spoilers, and he says that they had to be very poker-faced when it came to spoilers.

“It’s even the small things. In episode four, when Jon leaves Ghost [his pet direwolf] behind at Winterfell and everyone was upset, we worked on a bunch of shots when he was giving him a good pat later on.”

Despite the epic scale, the final season has been met with a mixed response from fans and reviewers alike.

Hill, however, says he has been a fan of the series since the early 2000s, and he very satisfied with how it ended.

“I’m actually quite sad it’s over.”

He won’t have time to grieve for long – Weta Digital is already hard at work on their next project, Hill says.

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