WotW Awards Season 5: Best Visual Effects Scene – Preliminary Round

season5 awards

We’ve gotten a little off-track in our Watchers On The Wall Award preliminary voting, after a hectic week, so let’s get right back into it!

Today we’re going to examine the best use of visual effects in Game of Thrones season 5. Without a doubt, the show has some of the best work in this arena on television, with multiple Emmy wins in the category to back up its reputation. Game of Thrones didn’t rest on its laurels this year, continuing to produce incredible moments with skilled use of visual and special effects throughout the season.

Some moments were big and show-stopping, with dragons and battles, while others were quieter, with subtle use of effects creating the authentic world of Game of Thrones in a way you aren’t supposed to notice.

But it’s up to you to determine what makes the best scene. The task falls to you, readers, to vote for your top 5 choices for the award for Best Visual Effects Scene in Season 5!

The Standard Rules: This is the preliminary round! Narrow this selection down to thetop 5 contenders. In order to find your top 5 picks for Best Visual Effects Scene we’re asking that each of you select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you cannot choose more than 5.

At the end of 72 hours (Tuesday 9/8/15 at 4:00PM EDT), whichever five scenes have the most votes will continue on to the final round. (Note: in the finals, you will only have one vote to cast in each category!)

The results will be revealed when it’s time to vote for the final winner of Best Visual Effects Scene, in a few weeks. Debate the possibilities and vote for your favorite choices

*Reminder: you may choose up to five nominees in this poll!*

52 responses

Jump to (and Always Support) the Bottom

    1. I went with things that inspired awe or chills when I saw them:
      Drogon’s flyover
      Arya in the Hall of Faces for the first time
      Mist rolling in
      The fight (naturally)
      Come at me, Snow

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    2. Went with Daenerys feeding master Eaton to the dragons, Drogon in Vaes Dothrak, The Harpy being taken down, Wun Wun @Hardhome and the Bridge of Volantis.

      Also, Hodor!

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    3. What’s interesting to me is there’s not (I don’t think) a lot of effects involved with Jon and the Night’s King, the part most people are paying attention to in that scene. But I think there’s plenty of work involving the water and the various backdrops, the mist/fog and the size of the crowd, and some of the eyes. The sound work is amazing in the scene, really adds to the feeling.

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    4. Everything about the ruins of Valyria was as perfect as the acting, including Drogon and the Stone Men as well as the ruins themselves. SO:

      -Drogon flying over Valyria
      -Night’s King raising the dead
      -Arya and the changing faces
      -Longclaw + Walker = Ice cubes

      Sue the Fury:
      What’s interesting to me is there’s not (I don’t think) a lot of effects involved with Jon and the Night’s King, the part most people are paying attention to in that scene. But I think there’s plenty of work involving the water and the various backdrops, the mist/fog and the size of the crowd, and some of the eyes. The sound work is amazing in the scene, really adds to the feeling.

      Probably my favourite part of the sound in this scene was the complete lack of it at the end. So much better to leave it to visuals. Silence is terrifying (as it was just before the gates in Hardhome as well).

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    5. The only thing I didn’t like about the WW fight was the walking through the flames part. Aren’t they supposed to be weakened by fire?

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    6. The Unsullied tear down the Harpy statue in Meereen. Though sadly spoiled in the trailers, it was still an amazing sight. A great opener for the Meereen storyline, and a great way to tell us the budget had gone up considerably this season.

      Drogon nests on the Dothraki sea. Simply very realistic animal-like behavior from a wounded Drogon. I felt for the guy.

      The Bolton army surrounds Stannis’s doomed march. The most expansive and impressive bird’s-eye view of a battle scene we’ve ever seen. Amazing. It also manages to tell the whole battle within the visual effect —You can see the Boltons surrounding Stannis’s army with a pincer movement; and, while Stannis and his most loyal companions remain to fight, the rear-guard escapes towards the woods. Then they’re all surrounded and the survivors are driven into the woods. A whole little story told within a few CGI shots.

      A horde of Dothraki appear around Daenerys. I didn’t expect them to go all-out on this one. Just as it happened in the books, I expected a scouting party. We’re a long way from Season 1, when Khal Drogo’s khalesar couldn’t be portrayed properly, and it was done with a single line of horses stretching into the distance. Now, finally, we got to truly see a khalesar. And it was jaw-dropping.

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    7. Drogon attacks and Dany rides at Daznak’s Pit
      Drogon appears to Daenerys on the pyramid in Meereen
      Instead of welcoming their mother, Daenerys’s dragons snap at her and throw fire.
      The Long Bridge of Volantis
      Wun Wun bludgeon wights with a log as he escapes to the sea

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    8. The dragons have been even better than before, this year.
      Drogon in the last episode and anything Rhaegal and Viseryon was pure gold and they got my vote!
      …along with the White Walker walking (!) through the flames and Wun Wun wrecking the house. Hardhome was visually a masterpiece from minute 1, honestly.

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    9. Arya in the Hall of Faces, The Long Bridge of Volantis, the Bolton army, Wun Wun and his log and the raising of the dead are the best ones for me.

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    10. I went with as much Hardhome situations that I could. I remember watching vids on the special effects needed in LOTR.Hobbit and have come to appreciate that the more subjects that you are needing to CGI, the harder it is. While Drogon and the other two are magnificent when they are fully shown; the view of a 20 minute battle scene (a very long period of time in the world of visual media entertainment), with multiple interactions between CGI characters, and then humans with CGI characters, along with other elements like the backdrop, fires, water, weather, sword fighting effects etc, it just creates a whole world of visual effect chaos, lol. That entire episode was like a movie in itself!

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    11. Darkstar:
      Someone needs to write an Arya & WunWun road trip story.

      ^THIS.

      So my choices were:
      – Daenerys feeds a great master to her dragons (Maybe my favorite Dany scene)
      – Arya in the Hall of Faces for the first time (Just so cool!)
      – Drogon nests on the Dothraki sea (Gave me a laugh and kinda reminded me of my dog when he’s sleepy)
      – The mist rolling down the hills at Hardhome, signaling the onset of the attack (That whole scene was really chilling)
      – Wun Wun bludgeon wights with a log as he escapes to the sea (Wun Wun is awesome, hope he has more lines in s06!)

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    12. Sue the Fury,

      Actually the Night’s King face was CG to give it an icey look. It looks so good you don’t even think it is CGI.
      Also, I think this is the perfect article to post this CGI breakdown, you can see how the Night’s King face was done (prosthetic+CG) and other little thing, like the fact that Areo’s longaxe blade was CGI!
      Video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgFuQZSHO6Q

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    13. Didn’t want to overload with Hardhome so I only picked two from that episode:

      1. The great lemming jump of AL 300
      2. Wun Wun and the exploding hut
      3. Drogon stuff from 5×09, which was just breathtaking
      4. …
      5. …

      Okay, I seem to have forgotten my last two choices. I don’t have a clue what I picked.

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    14. Nobody talks about it because it wasn’t an action sequence, but the scene that visually knocked my socks off was the establishing shot of the Long Bridge. It looked magnificent and convincingly real.

      I hated the way the scene with the khalasar surrounding Dany was choreographed so perfectly. It was like one of those overhead dance shots in a Busby Berkeley movie. Do the Dothraki really ride their horses round and round in a perfect spiral every time they encounter a stray traveler? It looked ridiculous.

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    15. He suppressed the fire as he came in…you can see it go down with the waves of cold he threw off… Does the cold bring the walkers… Or the walkers the cold… I saw this scene answer that question.
      The Tattered Prince,

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    16. In no particular order:

      1. The Long Bridge of Volantis

      2. Arya in the Hall of Faces for the first time

      3. The ruins of Valyria

      4. Longclaw shattering the White Walker

      5. Drogon resting and licking his wounds on the Dothraki Sea

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    17. Sue the Fury,

      The thing about Jon and the Night’s King, however, was just that it was so powerful. Was it the most complicated CGI? No. Was it a moment created by CGI that sent chills up my spine and made me love this show? Yes.

      That arm-raising moment CREATED that character for me. It gave the White Walkers personality. It showed that they’re not just monsters. They have egos and desires and some kind of icy blood under their skin. So that’s why I chose that moment as one of my five.

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    18. My vote may have been slightly Hardhome(Wun Wun)-heavy…

      Firannion: It looked ridiculous.

      Yeah, I agree with you on that. Also thought it was funny that one second not a single rider is visible, and the next the hills are crawling with them as far as the eye can see. They really are good in mass choreography, those Dothraki! 🙂

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    19. Voted for Daeny flying out of the fighting pits aboard Drogon Airlines, the mist anouncing the attack at Hardhome, Jon’s fight with the WW, Wun Wun making his way to the sea and the wights throwing themselves out of the cliff.

      At some point contemplated voting for the rosting of the masters in Meereen, but quite frankly I am a diehard Hardhome fan…

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    20. I always vote then read and forget what I voted.

      1. Wun Wun exploding out of the hut was my actual nomination in the first round.
      2. Wun Wun with the log.
      3. Jon shatters WW
      4. Daenerys feeds dragon
      5. Drogon licks his wounds

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    21. In addition to Wun Wun, I really liked the hall of faces Arya stuff, flawless execution making that room feel expansive and also creepy AF!
      Also the solemn dragon flying over Tyrion and Jorah through Valyria sent chills!

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    22. Firannion:

      I hated the way the scene with the khalasar surrounding Dany was choreographed so perfectly. It was like one of those overhead dance shots in a Busby Berkeley movie. Do the Dothraki really ride their horses round and round in a perfect spiral every time they encounter a stray traveler? It looked ridiculous.

      YES. I also kept expecting a dragon head to poke up over the edge of the cliff – “I AM TRYING TO NAP!!!!”

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    23. Darkstar: Someone needs to write an Arya & WunWun road trip story.

      I think I’d like a Wun Wun and Dolorous Edd buddy movie even more. It would be kind of like ‘Of Mice and Men,’ only much funnier.

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    24. Firannion:

      I hated the way the scene with the khalasar surrounding Dany was choreographed so perfectly. It was like one of those overhead dance shots in a Busby Berkeley movie. Do the Dothraki really ride their horses round and round in a perfect spiral every time they encounter a stray traveler? It looked ridiculous.

      YES. I also kept expecting a dragon head to poke up over the edge of the cliff – “I AM TRYING TO NAP!!!!”

      Tar Kidho:

      Yeah, I agree with you on that. Also thought it was funny that one second not a single rider is visible, and the next the hills are crawling with them as far as the eye can see. They really are good in mass choreography, those Dothraki!

      They’re a bit like gophers, they spontaneously pop up from holes in the ground.

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    25. All of them are great. We are so spoiled. In the end I went with mostly Drogon but I did have to give one slot to Wun Wun for sure.

      1) Tyrion and Jorah spy a dragon as they sail through ruins of Valyria

      2) Drogon attacks and Dany rides at Daznak’s Pit

      3) Drogon appears to Daenerys on the pyramid in Meereen

      4) A White Walker walks through flames, fights Jon and is shattered by Longclaw

      5) Wun Wun bludgeon wights with a log as he escapes to the sea

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    26. The couple second pause of silence and darkness between the dude being pushed out and the dragon face being lit up by fire before roasting the leader of the great family made this the best scene ever to me there was a lot of great ones hard to pick 5

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    27. Tough choice, again. I went with:

      1. The appearance of the WW in the burning hut and his fight with Jon. When I first saw him walking through that fire, I just sat there with my mouth wide open. Shit just got real. The fight afterwards was just sugar on top.

      2. Another Hardhome sequence, the NK raising the dead. Explanation unnecessary.

      3. Arya in the Hall of Faces. Beautifully shot and it really added a lot to the mysterious atmosphere in the HoBaW. A bit creepy, but very fascinating.

      4. Tyrion and Jorah in Old Valyria. The dragon flyover was certainly nice, but what really made the scene were the ruins of ancient Valyria.

      5. Drogon in Dazhnak’s pit. Drogon looked fantastic all season, so I had to include him and that scene was certainly astonishing. Only real problem was the timing, as I could hardly focus on the scene after you know what.

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    28. Another fun category!

      Drogon tearing apart a Master Everything about the dragons was mind-blowing last season, especially considering this is probably the toughest one to make realistic, and the one viewers most want to seem real.

      Daznak’s Pit Same as above. Loved it. Ace.

      Arya in the Hall of Faces Maybe a sentimental favourite, but what a scene! Down to the way the faces “wrinkled” as she pulls them off one by one.

      Wun Wun Wun Wun! Enough said.

      Jon fights the Night’s King Yes, walking through fire threw me off, as some others have mentioned, but it wasn’t dragon fire and I can suspend my disbelief. The few seconds of Jon fighting and then realizing Longclaw doesn’t break are enough to sweep this category, imo.

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    29. you snow nothing:
      Another fun category!

      Drogon tearing apart a Master Everything about the dragons was mind-blowing last season, especially considering this is probably the toughest one to make realistic, and the one viewers most want to seem real.

      Daznak’s Pit Same as above. Loved it. Ace.

      Arya in the Hall of Faces Maybe a sentimental favourite, but what a scene! Down to the way the faces “wrinkled” as she pulls them off one by one.

      Wun Wun Wun Wun! Enough said.

      Jon fights the Night’s King Yes, walking through fire threw me off, as some others have mentioned, but it wasn’t dragon fire and I can suspend my disbelief. The few seconds of Jon fighting and then realizing Longclaw doesn’t break are enough to sweep this category, imo.

      Not Drogon. My bad.

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    30. The Valyria scene is one of my favorite scenes ever on this show. The sense of wonder was absolutely amazing, I’ve never seen that on TV. And then Drogon appears and it’s the icing on the cake.

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    31. Man, though Season Five had been over for a couple of months now…I still can’t get over how good it was, but “Hardhome” in particular…

      Thus I voted according…LOL..

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    32. As I went down the list going “ooo I loved that one, oh yeah that one, too.” I could have checked the whole list but ended up with Tyrion and Jorah spy Drogon over Valyria – as I have written before, that whole part, from the time they first sail in, to the poetry and the sighting and the Stone men, was fascinating. Couldn’t take my eyes off it, and replayed it many times.

      Drogon and Daznak’s Pit. We’ve seen people ride off on dragons in other movies. They did it in Harry Potter. But somehow, the drama of the moment plus the awesome music and Dany’s white dress was far more memorable.

      Hardhome – anything Hardhome, especially the Jon shattering the Walker. I voted for it in other categories, but I don’t care. I voted for it again. Months later, I still can’t help cheering every time Jon swings Longclaw. I hope they have Hardhome on Imax. I would so love to see it on big screen in a theater with other fans and listen to the cheers. Then we all sit in silence, as Jon sails away from a newly raised army of wights.

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    33. I voted for

      The fight w/ Jon with longclaw shattering the White Walker
      Wights breaking through the gate/wall
      The mist moment covering Hardhome
      Wights falling over the cliff
      Valyria shot of Drogon flying.

      Valyria was amazing because the scene was about how there was nothing left of that region. The moment Tyrion finishes the poem about the Doom, Drogon flys over saying “Nope. There is something left from Valyria, me. You thought it was all gone.” It is awesome to see how that is all coming back. The White Walkers and the Dragons. Old magic and creatures everybody thought was gone forever.

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    34. ash:
      4/5 were of Hardhome.The other was Tyrion’s sighting of the dragon.

      i think the part that made me vote for that scene was tyrion’s reaction. peter dinklage is sucha good actor and he perfectly summed up the way that a man would be when he sees a creature he’s dreamed about for his entire life.
      it was almost the same face that i made at the end of season 1 when daeny stood up from the ash and the dragons crawled around her.

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    35. Hardhome was great, but my favorite for really pulling you into the world has to be Drogon’s flyover. Awesome visual/physical connection. Volantis bridge was second on my list for the same reason: seamless integration of physical and virtual.

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    36. Nothing gave me goosebumps more than the Night’s King giving Jon a look and raising new wights. The other four votes were only cast because I could. This might be the first category I have a clear decision on for finals (if it makes it).

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    37. Shoot, almost forgot about voting!

      Here’s my votes:
      – Wights break through the gates
      – A Whitewalker breaks into pieces
      – Daenerys feeds Rhaegal and Viserion with Master Eaton
      – Drogon attacks in Daznak’s Pit
      – Drogon nests in Vaes Dothrak

      Honorable mention:
      – Everything Valyria.
      – The first dragondungeon-scene.
      – Everything Ian Whyte does with Wunwun has been flawless.

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    38. While I love the Night’s King moment, that one feels more like a great dramatic moment than one I’d attribute to the greatness of visual effects. Still, I’d go with a lot out of Hardhome for the top 5.

      –White Walkers over the cliff (awesome. This might win.)

      –The mist surrounds Hardhome (crazy)

      –Wun Wun smashing his way to the water (just getting the scale of that vs. regular-sized poeple, plus the water, is really a feat)

      –Tyrion and Jorah see Drogon (photography and VFX)

      –Dany feels a Master to her dragons (this really was seamless looking; I truly did believe a man was being torn in half by two dragons).

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