Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season six.
The “Game of Thrones” fandom is known for its artistic approach to celebrating the epic series. From large-scale art installations to miniature paper shields, we never tire of seeing artists’ and designers’ interpretations. One artist in particular has stood out this season for his whimsical GIF series: Eran Mendel.
Mendel is an illustrator, animator, and animation director based in Tel-Aviv, Israel. He’s a big fan of the show, and began creating “Game of Thrones” GIFs after seeing the first episode of season six, “The Red Woman.”
“[I was] originally planning only one GIF (the red woman twist from episode one), but the great feedback and engagement it got throughout the social networks persuaded me to turn it into an ongoing project,” Mendel tells Tech Insider in an email.
Here’s that first GIF (warning, it’s slightly NSFW):
Mendel releases a new GIF each week that corresponds with the most recent episode. You can follow his Facebook page for the weekly update.
“The first step, and often the most challenging one, is to come up with a good idea that will be funny and engaging, but also simple to understand and work as a loop,” Mendel explains.
His GIF for episode two, “Home,” featured Hodor as a young boy.
Each GIF is a perfect loop, making them mesmerising to watch. Plus, Mendel’s minimalist style adds a fun humour that creates a nice contrast to the bleak source material.
“I always try to keep the design simple,” Mendel says. “This allows me more freedom at the animation stage, making it more flexible, and I find that animation of simple characters is more graceful and expressive.”
This one is titled “A Girl Has No Name” in honour of Arya’s episode three storyline:
“[The minimalism] allows me to sometimes exaggerate poses and actions,” Mendel explains. “The more minimalistic the design is, the easier animation will be.”
Episode four was when Daenerys burned all the khals alive, emerging unburnt from the flames. Mendel’s take on the scene emphasised Daenerys’ flippancy about the massacre.
Mendel estimates that the average time he spends on each GIF is somewhere around half a day, though it varies week to week.
This one of Bran and the Night’s King skipping together is one of our favourites:
We asked Mendel if he had any favourites among the group. “I’m happy to say that I’m very pleased with almost all the GIFs, but I’ll choose number six, ‘Uncle Benjen’s one trick pony,’ along with number two when Wylis transforms into Hodor. The work process on both of them was very easy-going and fun.”
Here’s the episode six GIF, titled “Uncle Benjen’s One Trick Pony”:
This is one of Mendel’s most popular GIFs, with close to 7,000 upvotes on the subreddit /r/GameofThrones.
Of course, Mendel had to celebrate the Hound’s return to the series with his episode seven GIF. Mendel titled this one “The Hound’s Wishful Thinking,” and depicted him chopping both wood and a kingsguard helmet — a symbol for his older brother, the Mountain.
This is a subtle nod to the theory known as Cleganebowl — predicting a fight to the death between the Mountain and the Hound.
Mendel’s episode nine GIF brought a sense of whimsy to the brutal way the Mountain killed one of the Sparrows by ripping his head off.
Mendel’s latest GIF centered on the death of everyone’s favourite villain: Ramsay Bolton. Sansa let his starving hounds eat him alive — a deliciously poetic death for her husband. The pup in Mendel’s depiction is far less vicious, thankfully.
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