In Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons have blossomed from mythic beginnings to becoming true game-changers over the course of the show’s seven seasons, but fans might be shocked to learn the poultry-themed origin story of their designs.
In an interview with Gamespot, Thilo Kuther, who is the CEO of special effects company Pixomondo, revealed that the studio first started working for the HBO fantasy drama back in Season Two when Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion were just tiny creatures, but as the beasts grew bigger and bigger over time, the crew sought out chickens as a real-life anatomical base.
Kuther recalled, “When they got bigger in Season Three and Four, there was a lot of, ‘So if a dragon is this big, how can it lift itself up?’ What is it? Is it a bat? Or is it a bird? Is it an eagle? And the amount of energy that went into these discussions is beyond belief. That’s why they went to [grocery store chain] Trader Joe’s and bought a chicken, and took it apart, and said, ‘So, how does that work?'”
Kuther also added that in addition to the hands-on dissection experiments, his team researched YouTube footage of bats and chickens in flight as inspiration for the creatures’ movements and mannerisms. The studio’s hard work seems to have paid off, as the flying emissaries of Khaleesi’s quest for Westerosi dominance are widely-considered one of the most realistic dragon designs of any television series or movie to date.
Game of Thrones’ final season has yet to be given a release date, but the penultimate season is now available in its entirety on HBO Go and HBO Now. Based on George R.R. Martin’s bestselling fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, the hit drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.
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