As always, the sound design in each episode of the Game of Thrones series creates such a vibrant and alive world that it’s almost more of what’s going on off screen that just shows us how intense of an environment our heroes live in. When in the North, when a cloth tent is one’s greatest asset again the howling cold and snow outside with nothing but rock all around, you can feel very alone and hopeless in such a desolate place. Or you can even feel alone in an army of men while they look on, stunned, while watching someone being burned at the stake.
This is where the amazing work, done by the sound team of over 80 strong, really shows. It’s not as though there really is a wall of ice that’s taller than most skyscrapers out there so when creating the backgrounds for each of the different angles we get to view, the post production members in charge of the soundscape choose what sort of emotion we will want to feel with what we’re watching. We may hear a crying baby that’s never shown to help create the illusion of vulnerability when we see refugees. Or the calming yet threatening growl of the giant. It’s not as though there are giants out there we can go and grab audio samples from, but when combining organic sounds such as a tiger or bear growl (something that is actually large and threatening), the viewers would instinctively feel fear when hearing that sound. Even when the organic sounds meant to produce fear are layered underneath other samples to create the full illusion, the viewers can naturally still feel the proper response.
SOME OF MY FAVORITE SCENES FOR SOUND DESIGN AREN’T EVEN ACTION SCENES
The ones where you get to hear all the bones crushing and the blood spurting. Most of my favorite scenes are the ones that bring these massive worlds to life; the city, the crowds, the taverns. The sound design for when Arya is selling her oysters, clams, and cockles in the bustling fish market you can hear not only what we see on screen but you can hear the ships offscreen and people bartering and having their own conversations in a dialect one can barely hear or understand. A high budget production such as Game of Thrones would most likely hire a group of actors to provide a proper walla that would serve useful when multiple tracks are layered on top of each other by a sound editor who brings the world the set designers and VFX artists created. In some extreme situations even like in the filming of The Lord of The Rings, Peter Jackson and his whole team had to deal with traffic from the nearby airport when shooting dialogue scenes outside. They would sometimes have to wait for hours till the noise died down enough for the sound designers to cut down what they can in Post and fill in the background with clean samples that were recorded elsewhere.