Game of Thrones New photos go behind-the-scenes of "Game of Thrones." Can you tell what is real and what is CGI? Photo: HBO

In HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” characters often live and die based on which secrets they choose to reveal, but even the real-life “Game of Thrones” has trouble keeping all its own secrets under wraps. New set photos and videos have appeared on the Internet giving a revealing look behind-the-scenes on how HBO creates the fantasy world.

Leaked photos of Season 4’s production show the creation of the show’s lavish sets. Before and after photos display how “Game of Thrones” utilizes CGI to make the fantasy come alive.



Two of the major special effects houses responsible for the magic of “Game of Thrones,” Mackevision and SpinVFX, recently released highlight reels of the their work on the show. The videos reveal how much the show’s fantasy realism really owes to the high-budget computer graphics. Shots of large armies are almost entirely computer animated, as well as many background landscapes and skies.

One of the more fascinating things to see is how much of the wall, which played a major role in Season 4, was made up of CGI. Shots that show “Wildlings” scaling the giant, icy wall in a blizzard during the season’s climactic battle are revealed to be nothing more than an actor hanging over a green screen. The wall itself, on the other hand, is an amazingly intricate practical set built in a studio.



This is not to take away from HBO’s genuine efforts in “Game of Thrones” to be as real as possible. The show has become famous for its on location shooting. The show films at a variety of locations, spanning multiple continents, at a scale unheard of before in television production. Many of the released photos show the practical sets and real world locations the show uses.





“Game of Thrones” has just wrapped its fifth season and photos of new locations are popping up as the show moves to include a new land, Dorne, into the show’s plot for the new season.  Portstewart-Strand in Ireland is being used for Dorne, the southern home-kingdom of the ill-fated Oberyn Martell from Season 4. Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” is set to premiere in 2015.

What is your favorite “Game of Thrones” set or location? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV.