New behind the scenes video with Beautiful Death artist Robert M. Ball; final poster revealed

(3) Courtesy of HBO

If you’ve been anxiously awaiting the Beautiful Death illustration for “The Iron Throne,” wait no longer! Robert M. Ball’s last poster for Game of Thrones was unveiled today, and it is stunning. Along with the artwork, we have also been treated to a video of Ball sharing his creative process and an interview about his final contribution to the series.

In the video, Ball reveals the impact the Beautiful Death project has had on him, saying, “It’s been bigger than I expected. To put it mildly, it’s been quite overwhelming.” He goes on to explain how he gets the inspiration for each piece and his method for bringing it to fruition. Check it out below.

Over on the Making Game of Thrones blog, Ball discusses his poster for “The Iron Throne” and describes some of the details included in the piece. “The idea is the Iron Throne is sat on a kingdom of rubble, and that rubble is a mixture of swords, representing all the bloodshed it took to get here, plus a visual journey of Daenerys’ progression through all 8 seasons — if you follow the blood trail it will take you past certain important objects like Sons of Harpy masks, Dothraki camp, Viserys’ ‘crown’, broken chains and so on. The color scheme is very simple, but there’s a lot going on if you scrutinize the image.”

Ball wanted his final piece to not only represent the death of a major character, but also the overarching theme of the show itself. “Ultimately, it’s Dany’s death, but really the image is about how power corrupts all. It’s meant to be an encapsulation of the whole series.” Mission accomplished.

You can find all the Beautiful Death posters here.

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48 Comments

  1. I just saw this on the YouTube channel, hee! I’m not as ‘wow’d by the posters this year. I think the first episode’s was the best. I love his style and previous ones have been amazing, but for some reason it just feels like they’ve changed this year. Ah well, still a great talent!

  2. Pigeon,

    Agreed. I also love his style, but I didn’t love any of S8’s posters. My own faves:

    S1 Ep3, “Dark Wings, Dark Words”
    S1 Ep10, “Come Back To Me, My Sun and Stars”
    S2 Ep6, “A Man Needs a Name”
    S4 Ep9, “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow”
    S5 Ep10, “Go On, Do Your Duty”
    S6 Ep7, “Violence Is a Disease”
    S6 Ep8, “A Girl Is Arya Stark of Winterfell”

  3. Wolfish,

    Hey – me too. I was wondering where the final poster was this afternoon so I looked it up. Love it. She is MY queen now and always!

  4. Speak o’ the devil. I was asking about this in another thread.

    I really hope they release a book of these at some point. I would also love poster prints of some of my favourites.

  5. Nice feature on Ball. I cannot imagine the stress he went through to come up with these intricate and striking posters within a week during the seasons. Looking over all of them I have many favorites but one I’ll mention is Now His Fire Has Gone Out (S5, E7). I love how the image of the dragon is in the fire rising above the Maester’s body. Hoping for a book, too!

  6. Wolfish,

    A choice selection. My own personal faves:

    S1 Ep7, “BBQ Wings, With a Side of Curly Fries”
    S2 Ep7, “Come Back To Me, My Sun and Stars, And Don’t Forget the Alimony Check This Time!”
    S2 Ep6, “A Man Needs a Name, But Does It Have To Be Melvin?”
    S4 Ep9, “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow — Except For Oral, I’ll Grant You That”
    S5 Ep10, “Go On, Clean That Doody, Sam Tarly”
    S6 Ep8, “A Goil Is Arya Stahk of Ozone Pahk, Queens, and I’m Moving to Williamsburg!”

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  7. Wolfish,

    I wasn’t bowled over by his S8 posters, especially the one for S8e5 “Hello My Brother.” You cant even see Sandor in it.

    I thought Ball’s best poster was for S6e9 I think: Sansa in silhouette.

  8. Great work. He’s certainly a talented artist. I wonder if he gets paid by HBO for this or just makes these posters for his own pleasure to post on his website?

  9. Wolfish:
    Pigeon,

    Agreed. I also love his style, but I didn’t love any of S8’s posters. My own faves:

    S1 Ep3, “Dark Wings, Dark Words”
    S1 Ep10, “Come Back To Me, My Sun and Stars”
    S2 Ep6, “A Man Needs a Name”
    S4 Ep9, “You Know Nothing, Jon Snow”
    S5 Ep10, “Go On, Do Your Duty”
    S6 Ep7, “Violence Is a Disease”
    S6 Ep8, “A Girl Is Arya Stark of Winterfell”

    Ah, you have some amazing favourites! I would have to have the vast majority of mine in your list as well!!! 😊

  10. Yes, now and always…;__;

    I wasn’t even aware of these until I saw them as Quidd trading cards. xD My favorite from Season 8 is the “Long Night” one.
    I also liked the “Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” one, even though it didn’t represent any actual deaths, and then Jaime wound up being the only “fireside chat” participant to die…later on…which I guess I should be happy about but am actually kinda not. Detracts somewhat from the episode’s (and poster’s) power…”but at least we die together.” Or not. I suppose what matters most is that they were prepared to, and nearly did…but survived “by being off-screen for a while!” “I guess that makes sense…” xD

  11. Black Raven: Great work. He’s certainly a talented artist. I wonder if he gets paid by HBO for this or just makes these posters for his own pleasure to post on his website?

    I believe it started like that, but once his work came to the attention of HBO they commissioned him to illustrate the whole series. That’s why HBO own the copyright now – so I’m sure there will be a book in due course.

  12. Ten Bears:
    This is the Beautiful Death poster for S8e5, “Hello, Big Brother.” I can’t see Sandor in it – or anyone else – anywhere.

    The brothers are represented as dogs, as per the Clegane sigil. The blue dog (Sandor) is biting the throat of the white dog (Gregor – see his red eye).

  13. Ten Bears: Here’s the Beautiful Death poster for S8e3, captioned “Not Today.” I see the faces of Melisandre and Theon… but not Arya!

    I think that Arya is shown top left, closing the blue eye of the Night King.
    Top right, as you say, is Melisandre with both her young and old faces.
    Viserion is middle left.
    Lower down, fanning out from left to right
    Beric Dondarrion
    Daenerys weeping over Jorah
    Theon, with a wolf superimposed to show that he was a Stark at heart (the towers of Pyke can be seen below him, representing his Greyjoy lineage).
    Qhono
    Edd, with a crow behind him symbolising the Nights Watch.
    The towers of Winterfell are also there, and of course the Valyrian dagger is centre stage.
    There may be things I’ve missed. This one is very complex.

  14. Actually no, I’m wrong, of course that’s not Arya! It’s Lyanna Mormont stabbing the eye of the giant.
    The death of the Night King is represented by the Valyrian dagger.

  15. It’s so hard to pick favourites out of all (73!) of them. For me, these stick out:

    2×06 A Man Needs a Name
    3×06 Chaos Isn’t a Pit Chaos is a Ladder
    3×10 Valar Morghulis
    4×07 I Lied for You I Killed for You
    5×03 That was a Command Not an Offer
    5×08 The Long Night is Coming and the Dead Come with It
    6×08 A Girl is Arya Stark of Winterfell
    6×10 Long May She Reign
    7×07 The Lone Wolf Dies but the Pack Survives
    8×03 Not Today
    8×06 You are my Queen Now and Always

    If I had to narrow it down though, I love 3×10 and 5×03

    This last one is actually really good as well. I love how it both encapsulates the larger theme of the story while also visually representing Dany’s journey and death.

  16. Great series, hope he does it for the spinoff.

    My Faves: 8×5, 7×2, 5×5, 4×3, 3×4, 3×2, 2×2

  17. Ten Bears,

    Arya’s represented by the hand that holds the dagger, methinks. 😉

    They’re all beautiful, so full of layers and meaningful details. In 806 one can also see Jaime’s golden hand and Cersei’s Lannister medallion and necklace.

  18. One thing I do really like about this one is good ol Viserys hangin out on the bottom left. I can hear him muttering away. 🤪

  19. Lord of Coffee,

    Not always. “Long May She Reign” is clearly Cersei, “Your Name Will Be Forgotten” is clearly Sansa, and “Valahd” is clearly Daenerys (to name just three off the top of my head).

  20. I collect them all for my game room as a montage. They were cooler earlier though when it was really focused. The later versions are really big and flashy I feel sometimes trying to squeeze too much in, and the quotes they chose arent really the ones I find as iconic and memorable as others. The individual character ones are definitely my favorite over the packed almost episode synopsis style posters.

    Still, I’m not the guy who starts a collection that big and doesnt finish, it could literally be poop on a square I’m stuck now lol.

  21. Grandmaester Flash,

    That really peeves me!!! Shireen’s death was SO much more meaningful than the Harpies’. Now I need to go look at all the subsequent posters to find the artist’s subtle tribute to her.

    Thank you so much for sharing these links!

  22. Ten Bears:
    Here’s the Beautiful Death poster for S8e3, captioned “Not Today.” I see the faces of Melisandre and Theon… but not Arya!

    It’s her hand that counts here. Her hand holds the very large Dagger (including its ruby), which divides the poster into four vertical quadrants. In the upper left, we see Arya in black profile. She’s facing away and holds the Dagger up in her right (!) hand. Above her is a huge blue eye with a snarling, ravening wolf in the pupil–what the Night King sees in his last moment? In the upper right we see Mel, her hexagonal ruby and a torch (lightbringer?). In the lower left Dany stands holding a sword and maybe crying. Lower right is Theon’s upper face, large. A growling wolf snout is the lower face–his true identity. I think we also see two Dothraki And just above “NOT TODAY” on the left is Winterfell’s towers and on the right maybe the towers in ruins.

    BTW, going back, I just read the terrific explanation by Grandmaester Flash,

    I find Robert Ball’s work to be the visual equivalent of Ramin Djawadi’s work. Beautiful, full of hints and meanings, challenging to decipher, and hauntingly satisfying. My favourites include Winter Came for House Frey; Tell Cersei I want her to know it was Me: We Never stop PLaying: Behold the Fate of those who Choose Darkness; Kill the Masters; Chaos isn’t a Pit–Chaos is a Ladder; Valar Morghulis; A Man Needs a Name; The Cold Winds are Rising; Ser Ilyn Bring me his Head; AND Come Back to me my Sun and Starks. (pun intended!)

  23. Stark Raven’ Rad: In the upper left, we see Arya in black profile.She’s facing away and holds the Dagger up in her right (!) hand. Above her is a huge blue eye…

    That’s Lyanna Mormont vs the wight giant. 🙂

  24. Pigeon,

    You may well be right. I’d forgotten about her. What I saw as wolf jaw may be bear Jaw! So maybe Ten Bears is right–Arya is not in there except as the hand that wields the Dagger that saves mankind.

  25. Stark Raven’ Rad:
    Pigeon,

    You may well be right.I’d forgotten about her.What I saw as wolf jaw may be bear Jaw!So maybe Ten Bears is right–Arya is not in there except as the hand thatwields the Dagger that saves mankind.

    I assumed it’s Lyanna because she actually died in the episode (and the giant had one eye), whereas Arya dealt death but didn’t die herself, so her hand and weapon were the focus down the middle. I really wish Jorah was represented by more than Dany crying over Heartsbane. Oh well!

    And I really love Theon represented as the wolf/Stark in the end!

  26. Oh my oh my, I have so many posts to catch up on. I liked this poster, however, like some have mentioned already, I felt that Robert Ball’s posters this season weren’t up to par with his previous Beautiful Death posters. For me personally, it seemed like he tried to fit too much in one poster whereas I would have loved if he created a poster for each death. I tended to like other posters I came across in fan art accounts more than the Robert Ball ones this season. Having said that, I do appreciate the level of detail he puts in these posters. For instance, I loved the butterflies flying away within Missandei’s hair covering one side of her face. Also, Hodor’s beautiful death poster remains one of my favourites.

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