With its latest battle, Game of Thrones solidifies its seat on TV’s VFX throne

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Ain't no battle like a <em>Game of Thrones</em> battle 'cause a <em>Game of Thrones</em> battle don't... <em>my word</em>.

Enlarge / Ain’t no battle like a Game of Thrones battle ’cause a Game of Thrones battle don’t… my word. (credit: HBO)

Warning: This post contains some mild spoilers for Game of Thrones overall and specific discussions of S7’s Loot Train attack. Though VFX pros working on the show are embargoed from discussing the currently in-progress season, this story would be best enjoyed after watching S8E3.

Maybe this doesn’t get said out loud much because it feels obvious or viewers just subconsciously realize it while watching, but Game of Thrones represents the best visual effects work ever to appear on TV. While not a perfect metric, Emmys indicate what TV industry people admire and want to recognize at a given point in time—experts figuratively looking at other experts and nodding gently in respect, that’ll do acknowledgement. Across the show’s seven seasons thus far, Game of Thrones has won the Emmy for “Outstanding Visual Effects—Series” six times (somehow, it lost in S1 to Boardwalk Empire). Star Trek, across all series since the 1960s, only has eight versions of this award. That series brought the idea of beaming down to the mainstream and kinda-sorta predicted the iPad.

With the much-hyped Battle of Winterfell finally coming to fruition, the smart money now likely sits on Game of Thrones’ VFX team making it seven out of eight Emmy wins. Dragons flew in whiteout conditions, hundreds of Dothraki took off with flaming swords, and characters like Samwell Tarly or Melisandre really saw every tiny undead detail of a White Walker face-to-face. One side in this battle quite literally built a bridge out of flaming bodies.

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