Game of Thrones – White Walkers.
Just a few days before the start of the fifth season of the epic fantasy series Game of Thrones, it´s definitely time to take a look at a nice detail that might seem minor to some, especially next to the complex characters and the skilfully written plots in the fantasy world of George R.R. Martin.
If you are a makeup nerd like me – which you probably are since you are reading this – you might have recognised the love that the makeup and hair department showed even for trivialities in the mass scenes. Just as in the costumes, you will be able to recognise each of the people of Weteros and Essos by their particular look and you will be able to easily distinguish the different ideas of beauty in each race.
What impresses me the most though, is not the look of a specific main character or the quite amazing prosthetic work for the cruel injuries that happen throughout the seasons, but the strange zombie-like creatures called the White Walkers.
The team of Creature Inc Ltd did an amazing job with the design. Even though they are still humanoid beasts and certainly connected to death (as they can turn their victims into undead fighters who ride undead horses), I love that they don´t look too much like zombies.
Through a marvellous sculpting job, a lot of the human anatomic features were changed. Take the ears for example: they are positioned deeper and seem to grow out of the jaw line and the forehead which seems to have a completely new bone structure. With hollow eye sockets and sunken cheeks, their faces remind us of ancient mummies and are covered in light grey, wrinkled skin that almost looks like the bark of a tree giving a sense of the bone structure all the way down to the lipless mouth.
Again there was a lot of effort put into the details: the teeth of this creature is not human at all, but look more like the teeth of a shark or a reptile with saw-like edges. Also the long, claw-like fingernails are split in the middle so each of them have several tips, a feature I have never seen before.
The whole set of prosthetics that Ross Mullan is wearing as a white walker, including the entire upper body, was completely modelled on casts taken from his body and head to ensure a proper fitting. The whole procedure of applying the prosthetics, doing the final touch-ups on the amazing paint job, and blending the pieces into each other to get him ready before the shoot, needs about 4 hours. It is great for me to still see such skilled handicraft in a TV Show which also provides some of the greatest computer generated effects.
There is only one thing that wasn´t done by hand for the White Walkers’ appearance: the ice blue eyes are added by the visual effects team.
Elvira was born in 1985. She has 3 years education as a makeup, hair and special fx artist. Working as freelancer, she is also part of the Shapeshifters FX collective. In her spare time she doubles as a drawer, painter and illustrator in Berlin, Germany.