Updated: Oct 27, 2022
A new episode of House of the Dragon dropped this week, and we've dug up the top production design secrets you need to know. Based on George R.R. Martin’s “Fire & Blood” and prequel to Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon is set 200 years before the events of GOT and tells the story of House Targaryen. In this post, we’ll provide our top four production design secrets that showcase the complex set pieces, massive dragons, and deadly props of one of the most ambitious series ever filmed, House of the Dragon.
Secret No. 1:
To design the newly imagined Iron Throne, the art department had to call other rival studios to ask for every sword they had on hand. They needed 2500 total, gathering swords that you might recognize from The Witcher and Warcraft (2016).
Secret No. 2:
King's Landing was constructed completely from the ground up, and the Red Keep was redesigned to interconnect all of the rooms as if it was an actual castle.
Secret No. 3
To film scenes with the dragons, they have a buck-like mechanical animal and use wind to mimic the interactions between the creatures and the actors. In post-production, the beautiful dragons are added.
Secret No. 4
The art department is very protective of the show's props + decor because everything you see, including banners hanging from the wall, dragon eggs, and severed heads, is all custom made.
Why is Production Design So Important?
A production designer is head of the art department. On board from the beginning, they work with the director + producers to help bring the writer’s script, director’s vision + producer’s plans together as a visual whole. The production designer researches or "scouts" locations, eventually securing + preparing it for shooting. They budget the cost of materials, track expenses, and typically oversee the art director, set designers, illustrators + scenic painters to develop a specific visual style for a production. From minute details to overarching themes, a production designer must consider every aspect shown on screen, and whether big budget or small, they must be resourceful and think on their feet. Viewers don't often realize how many people are involved behind the scenes and how much time + energy goes into a major production like House of the Dragon. According to IMDB, over 130 people made up this series' art department, working alongside Production Designer Jim Clay to create the expansive world that is House of the Dragon. It's no secret that House of the Dragon and its exceedingly impressive production design has transported viewers to a whole other realm.