For a recent Nerdist’s Bloodworks episode, Anthrax’s Scott Ian goes behind the scenes with HBO’s Game of Thrones‘ prosthetic makeup designer Barrie Gower to explore what it takes to achieve a GoT-style White Walker transformation. It turns out it can take upwards of five hours to get the frightening White Walkers to look just right.
In the clip, Gower shows Ian an actual White Walker costume used on the set. “The attention to detail is incredible, they religiously use authentic materials,” Gower said.
For Season Five, Episode 8, “Hardhome,” Gower said they studied how The Walking Dead handled their zombies, known as Wights on GoT, so they could approach GoT‘s zombies in an original manner. Gower revealed that there were hundreds of extras for the scene, which was filmed in Belfast.
The pair examined the prosthetics from the militant Night King’s costume, which had numerous intricate pieces to it. As the leader of the White Walkers, The Night King needed a “quite regal look to him” per what the producers envisioned, which led to the artists designing ice-like horns coming from his skull.
Watch above as Ian becomes the first American transformed into a White Walker. The artists painstakingly trim the prosthetics around Ian’s beard, eyes and mouth and also add texture and depth. “It’s just so malleable,” Ian commented about how the prosthetic moved with his facial expressions.
Game of Thrones‘ ninth episode from Season 6 airs on Sunday. Anthrax tours this fall with Slayer and Death Angel.