Ah, Game of Thrones. It's all just tits and dragons, at least according to Ian McShane, who appeared as Brother Ray last season. As absurd as it sounds in reference to a show that draws in over 10 million viewers weekly, is full of complex subplots and intriguing, intertwined and eclectic characters, McShane's argument is at least 50 per cent flawed (or 100 per cent, for the conservative amongst you).
Sadly, Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion — Daenerys Targaryen's three "children" — are lacking in the show, despite being one of the biggest draws for many. It's not that they don't appear, they just appear a lot less than would be ideal, and often, in episodes where they do feature, only one of them is shown on camera. Well, according to assistant director Charlie Endean, the reason is twofold: Money and practicality.
The Reason Dragons Are Used Sparingly
In an interview with The Verge, Endean explained that as well as being "expensive," the dragons are also "very hard to work with" due to the less-than-glamourous way the dragons are turned from fantasy to CGI-enhanced reality, often with actors doing a lot of work with green screen. He then painted a dull and definitely non-glitz picture of one of Season 7's most poignant scenes:
"The sequence where Jon meets Drogon, we were filming on a cliff-edge in Northern Ireland, with very high winds, and Kit had this safety rope attached to him, and a harness, because it was so windy. He had this heavy cape on, and had the wind picked up any more, he would have just turned into a human kite.
"So you have him standing on a cliff-edge with a flapping cape, and a guy dressed in wet-weather gear, because it’s freezing, holding up a green ball on the end of a green stick. And that’s the dragon."
The struggle is real, but make no mistake, if it was purely effort alone that restricted the use of dragons, the creative team at HBO would find a way around it. However, as well as becoming one of the most popular shows of all time, it's also becoming one of the most costly to make; the production cost is an eye-watering $10 million per episode this season, compared to around $6 million per episode for earlier seasons.
For the special effects required to bring the dragons to life on screen, a team of around 22 to 30 people are required, working on all things digital for 20 to 22 weeks. Consequently, this needs to be worked into the narrative when deciding how the dragons are deployed and shown on screen. It's challenging enough for a feature film, but fitting this into production of a yearly television show is even more difficult.
Now in the twilight of its run, #GameofThrones has forever changed television, pushing the boundaries of what's possible on the small screen. With Season 7 whizzing by in no time at all, hopefully the final run in will involve more of Drogon, Rhaegal and Viserion. If it doesn't? Well, McShane was wrong. There is much more to the show than tits and dragons.
Does Game of Thrones need more scenes involving Daenerys' three dragons?
(Source: The Verge)