What was the best part of last week's Game of Thrones? The volley after volley of fire arrows? The incredible mid-battle 360 degree shot? The dropping of the scythe? The answer is obvious: Giants riding mammoths.
For me, the representation of these walking siege machines was perfect - they looked simply brilliant. However, with the episode now aired, we're beginning to learn more and more about how the major battle scene was put together, including the use of giants.
It turns out that [Game of Thrones](movie:817617) did utilize actual giants... of a sort. British actor Neil Fingleton, the tallest man in the UK, was cast in the role of one of the giants, while his giant companion, Ian Whyte, is certainly no shorty. Both stars have also appeared in the American college basketball circuit before making a move to showbusiness.
Fingleton, who measures in at 7ft 7.56in, has originally recruited to play for the University of North Carolina, however he transferred to Holy Cross after back surgery in 2000. He also grabbed a place in McDonald's All-American college basketball team - which is ironic considering he's non-American. While Whyte, who clocks in at 7ft 1in, played basketball at Iona College in New York and Clarion University in Pennsylvania. He also gained 80 caps for playing with England's international basketball team.
However, after leaving basketball. both found their unique height was in demand for certain film roles. Fingleton has appeared in films such as in X-Men: First Class and 47 Ronin, while Whyte played the lead Predator in Aliens vs Predator, an Engineer in Prometheus and Gregor Clegane in the second season of Game of Thrones.
In a recent interview with Vulture, director Neil Marshall explained how they achieved the look of the giants:
The only thing that’s not real is the mammoth itself, which is 100 percent CGI. The giants are both played by actors. One guy is like 7’5” and the other is maybe eight foot — he’s, like, the tallest man in Europe. They came in to the green-screen studio, we filmed them, and what we do is double them in size, basically. They’re 100 percent real, just bigger than normal.
I really loved the art direction and costume design that went into creating the giants. They could have gone too far into fantasy, but instead the Game of Thrones team delivered them as something tangible, practical and actually rather sympathetic. You see, it's worth remembering that just like the rest of the Free Folk, the giants are fighting the Night's Watch in order to try and escape the White Walkers further north. If these 14 foot tall behemoths are also scared of those creepy-icey little white dudes, they must be pretty terrifying indeed.
What was your favorite part of the Battle of The Wall?
What did you enjoy most in "Watchers on the Wall?"