The final season’s first episode of Game of Thrones marked a warm convergence of pivotal characters at Winterfell while the other side of the now-fallen wall is festering with Whitewalkers progressively marching on and inching closer. Over the soft rhythm of the signature refrain, we see some changes in the digital map too.
The first scene itself opens with the disciplined army of unsullied and others marching in droves with Danny and Jonno leading the battalion on their horses while dragons glide forth overhead. Something that implies a great deal of crowd simulation and set extensions from the VFX vantage point.
The storytelling principle of not telling but showing is impeccably executed through the perspective of a boy as he curiously strolls up to get a wider view of the march. Against the foreground shot of the chroma screen used to track his steps.
Not all confrontations are pleasant as you can already see Sansa’s discontent with the Dragon Queen taking over her throne in Winterfell. As the folks in Winterfell seek justification for Jon Snow bending the knee, we see him explaining his priorities of survival over titles and why he needed to do that.
Danny has no plans of giving up her throne either and she asserts her stance clearly. One can half appreciate the trouble of the man trying to shuttle between the ire of the two ruffled queens that he has to mitigate.
Samwell Tarly’s meeting with the Dragon queen turns sour as she reveals the fate of his family after their refusal to bend the knee
VFX-wise and from the cinematography point of view, the most poignant and heartwarming reunion is of Arya and her brother Jon Snow. The orange tree itself is tremendously intricate and goes well with the scene.
Although a bit redundant, dragon rides are indeed gratifying to watch, serving as a brilliant display of VFX scope. Actors can be seen saddled on a machine to give a sense of the mount and Chroma screen and plate work allows for a seamless depiction of dragon rides.
The dragon’s piercing stares upon looking at her mother sharing a romantic moment with Jon Snow is another spectacle worth admiring.
We hope to cover the following episodes with a deeper VFX analysis and breakdowns. Stay tuned!