Dragons, horses and special stirrups: how major Game of Thrones battle was created

  • “And now it’s down to Camilla to do her thing” — a vague brief if ever there was one, but for Game of Thrones’ master of horse it seems the sky is the limit.

    A behind the scenes video from the making of the “loot train attack”, shown on last night’s (7 August) episode of the show, reveals how the amazing entrance of the Dothraki hordes standing on their galloping horses was created.

    *Warning: video contains graphic images*

    The HBO show’s horse master Camilla Naprous, of The Devil’s Horsemen stunt team, explained her inspiration for the scene.

    “I think there was a line in the outline that said ‘and now it’s down to Camilla to do her thing,” she said.

    “I was like ‘thanks! Ok, where are we going to go now? Let’s think of some ideas — what can we bring that has never been seen on screen before?’”

    Director Matt Shakman added: “[Camilla] said ‘what about as the Dothraki are coming down, they all just stand up on their horses and start shooting arrows?’

    “I thought ‘that sounds great, but that’s not possible’ and she said ‘it is, we’ve built some special stirrups and we can do it’.”

    Stuntman Charlie Barrett, who plays one of the Dothraki warriors, explained the stirrup is like a “metal shoe” that the riders put one foot into, keeping them secure while they put the other on top of the saddle.

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    Matt added the effect is “extraordinary”.

    “It is like a wave rising from a still ocean — all these guys perfectly co-ordinated, rising up,” he said.

    “It shows us that the Dothraki are horsemasters.”

    Director David Benioff said he hopes viewers realise how much is actually done, rather than just being visual effects.

    “It is real stuntmen standing up on horses with a bow and shooting arrows — it is an amazing thing to see,” he added.

    Viewers will also be glad to hear that the actors, horses — and dragons — involved in Game of Thrones do not suffer their graphic on-screen injuries in real life. This includes the horrific moment a horse lost a leg, which was done using special effects.

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