Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes: See How Season 6 Came Together

Kate Hahn
Game of Thrones

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All hail the queen! Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) checks out the view while on set in southeast Spain’s Bardenas Reales. “In this scene from the Season 6 premiere, the Dothraki are shocked to find Daenerys speaks their language,” director Jeremy Podeswa says. “So we had multiple cameras set up to cover all their reactions.”

Game of Thrones

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Peniscola, Spain, stands in for a section of former slave city Meereen, which Tyrion Lannister struggles to rule in Dany’s absence. “He’s in a precarious position,” says exec producer David Benioff, left, with Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), Conleth Hill (Varys) and Peter Dinklage (Tyrion). “He can’t command an army and doesn’t have the love of the people, but he’s trying to bring peace.”

Game of Thrones

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On the grounds of an estate in Northern Ireland, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy) share a laugh despite their characters’ dangerous predicament.

“The set had to convey a mood of desperation and fear,” production designer Deborah Riley says. “We needed a spot that was protective but exposed enough that the audience still feared for Sansa’s safety. The location manager found this fallen tree.” The surrounding snow is made of very fine biodegradable paper.

Game of Thrones

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Julian Glover (Grand Maester Pycelle), Dean-Charles Chapman (King Tommen Baratheon) and Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) each have their own way of letting off steam while on location in Belfast. Headey likes to make little films for her 6-year-old son: “That’s how I communicate. I’ll send him one every day.”

Game of Thrones

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“A childhood in Australia means I’ve seen my fair share of rope bridges on bushwalks through the rain forest,” production designer Riley says. This Iron Islands bridge was first built in a workshop, then reconstructed on a soundstage in front of a 40-feet-by-80-feet green screen that allowed the VFX department to add computer-generated images of the dizzyingly high cliffs and crashing waves below.

Game of Thrones

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Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) gets her makeup touched up while sitting on a white “crash pad” that protected her from injury during fight scenes with the Waif (Faye Marsay) in Girona, the historic town in northern Spain that represented the mean streets of Braavos. “But she still hit me in the head plenty of times!” Williams says.

Game of Thrones

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“It takes two people and a stepladder to dress the Mountain,” executive producer Bernadette Caulfield says of actor Hafthor Julius Björnsson, who stands 6'9" and weighs 397 lbs. “His armor was molded in a lighter metal and broken up into smaller pieces to make it easier to apply and more comfortable for him to wear.”

Game of Thrones

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On a rare sunny day in Belfast, Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) provide shade for exec producers Benioff and Dan Weiss. Christie stands 6'3" and Turner has shot up to 5'10".

“Sophie’s runway tall!” Benioff says. The maturing child actors motivate the two showrunners. “The kids are all growing up,” Benioff says. “None of us want to finish the show when Bran is 30.”

Game of Thrones

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Kit Harington (Jon Snow) is embraced by Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) after Snow’s shocking resurrection earlier this season. Here, the camera filming the scene was not on the two actors but on Carice Van Houten (Melisandre), who was entering the room. The men were serving as an “eye-line match”—giving her something to look at so the gaze of her character would line up with their position when the separate shots were cut together.

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