Behind The Scenes Of The Biggest Game Of Thrones Stunts

You'd imagine being involved in the stunts for Game of Thrones would come with a fair bit of pressure. Sure, you've got CGI for all those pesky dragons and White Walkers (thank goodness), but there's still a lot of the action that can't be generated by the power of technology - including setting people on fire with actual flames.

For this, you need someone like stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam, who says the responsibilities of his job are twofold - creating a 'really dynamic frame of action', but also 'going home at the end of the day and no one's paid any kind of price for it'.

Speaking in a behind-the-scenes featurette, Irlam shared more about what goes into creating the high-octane action we've come to expect from the hit fantasy series.

"When you read the scenes, there's a journey in there," Irlam explained.

"I've got to try and find a way to achieve what's on the page, and then make it interesting.

"You choreograph all this real action, and then I'm thinking, 'Okay, how safe can I make it?'"

Stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam. Credit: HBO
Stunt coordinator Rowley Irlam. Credit: HBO

While the dragons aren't real (sorry to break it to you), it turns out their flames are - yes, even when they're applied to actual humans.

"We burn more people than anybody else, basically!" Irlam said.

"There is a bit of mental preparation that goes into these things, but it's really controlled, it's a real process, we do lots of rehearsals."

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Along with crew members covering the stunt performers at all times, Irlam said they only burn them for a maximum of 15 seconds, which ensures there won't be any significant heat transfer.

Performers wear three layers of special underwear soaked in a fire-proof gel - which has also been put into a fridge to bring the temperature down to almost freezing - then they put on a thin rain suit over the top, followed by a fire suit, a boiler suit and, finally, the actual costume.

Stunt performer Calvin Warrington-Heasman said: "We really methodically practice what we would call our 'fire dance' - which is where you are then set on fire, the route you take in the scene to where you then lie down to be extinguished by the safety guys."

Irlam said the show 'just keeps getting bigger', which obviously means he's had his work cut out for him with the eighth and final season.

"We did 73 full fire burns during loot train," he said.

"We did 20 in one shot - that was a record for TV."

Irlam added: "It is a little stressful, but with all stunt work, it's about harnessing that stress and channelling that energy.

"Fear is really good. Fear will keep you safe, but you just need to channel that fear and use that energy to achieve what you want to achieve."

Well, if this is anything to go by for the final season, it looks like we've got an action-packed ride ahead. OHMYGODICAN'TWAIT.

The final series of Game of Thrones will air on 15 April at 2am and 9pm on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV.

Featured Image Credit: HBO

Jess Hardiman

Jess Hardiman is a journalist who graduated from Manchester University with a BA in Film Studies, English Language and Literature, and has previously worked for Time Out and The Skinny among others.

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