Game of Thrones: Why Everyone on the Set Hated that Zombie Polar Bear – Vanity Fair

This post contains spoilers about Season 7, Episode 6 of Game of Thrones. ****

The sheer scale of Game of Thrones this season should blow your mind. There have been stunning landscapes, relentless battle scenes, and all the fiery dragon sequences fans were promised since the series began, thanks to a steadily increasing budget and the benefit of lengthier episodes. The most recent installment of the show was particularly stuffed with shocking twistsincluding that heart-stopping javelin throw, a tense Arya-Sansa face-off, and the seemingly doomed Frozen Lake battle beyond the wall. There was also one element that show-runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have been dying to show fans for several seasonsone that had nothing to do with any of the aforementioned moments.

Three words: zombie polar bear.

In a new behind-the-scenes featurette, the duo confessed that theyve been trying introduce a zombie polar bear who lives among the White Walkers into every season of the show for about four seasons, Weiss said. The undead creature finally reared its head early on in the latest episode, taking down a few men (including top-knot king Thoros of Myr) on Jon Snows reckless northern expedition into Wightville. Up until now, however, the polar bear had never made it to the screen because the shows special effects team truly hated the concept.

We thought theyd be so excited to do a zombie bear, Benioff says. Instead, the team said something to the effect of oh my god, theyre serious about doing this fucking zombie bear.

Weiss remembers producer Bernie Caulfield and the VFX team telling them in the nicest possible way, fuck you.

We cannot afford a zombie polar bear, he recalls them saying. This year made perfect sense that you could have one of these things out there, and we really put our four feet down and said goddamnit, we want a zombie polar bear.

Director Alan Taylor was excited about the zombie bear, he told Entertainment Weekly, though bringing it to life ended up being incredibly daunting. The bear was made with a variety of effects and an actor in a green-screen suit holding up a complicated rod attached to a round cage made to replicate the bears head movements. The typically blunt Rory McCann, who plays the Hound, found it difficult to work with the bear contraptionor as he put it, this ping-pong-ball thing.

Ive had people going, Oh, when Im coming towards you, Im a bearno, youre not, McCann added with a laugh. Your names Toby.

So, even though Game of Thrones delivers dragons, White Walkers, and sundry magical sights, perhaps we shouldnt expect any more zombie creatures from here on out.

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Game of Thrones: Why Everyone on the Set Hated that Zombie Polar Bear – Vanity Fair

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Reviewed and Recommended by Erik Baquero
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