We all know that winter is coming, and so are the dragons. In season five of Game of Thrones, we are promised that Daenerys‘ dragons have grown along with our appetite for more episodes of the gritty, gruesome, and glorious HBO show. And in a short interview with TV Insider, we now know how the massive dragons come to life.
According producer Steve Kullback and visual effects supervisor Joe Bauer, Daenerys‘ largest dragon, “Drogon,” has doubled in size since the last time we saw it frying up goats. “Drogon is twice the size he was last year. He’s about 40 feet long and 20 percent bigger than the other two dragons,” Bauer tells TV Insider.
Practical effects are too unwieldy for a creature that size, but that doesn’t mean Drogon is all CGI. To get the best fire-breathing effects, the GoT team made the “the world’s one and only fire-breathing crane.” It’s a motion-controlled crane with a 15-foot telescoping arm able to move along a track. Instead of a camera at the end of the arm, there’s a flamethrower. It spews dragon fire up to 50-feet.
Where the practical effects ended, the computer modeling began. Drogon’s scaly texture was based on Komodo dragons, iguanas, horned lizards, and crocodiles. The serpentine movements were actually based off bats and eagles, and Drogon’s takeoffs take a page from pelicans.
That’s the kind of creature you have to imagine at least, because on set, actress Emilia Clarke is talking to, caressing, and ordering around a pair of soccer balls on two 30-foot poles.
But how do fully-grown Game of Thrones dragons stack up against other fantasy reptiles? The Daily Dot made a seriously nerdy chart estimating the size of everything from Smaug to Spiro to find out. A fully-grown Drogon turns out to be one of the biggest dragons in fantasy.
The fifth season of Game of Thrones premieres this Sunday on HBO.
IMAGE: HBO; The Daily Dot