Even the 'Game of Thrones' crew geeks out over dragons, when they're literally just green poles

Warning: Spoilers ahead for “Game of Thrones” season six.
“Game of Thrones” fans get hyped whenever Daenerys Targaryen’s now-enormous dragons appear onscreen, but it turns out the crew on set are just as obsessed with them. In an interview with the New York Times’ Jeremy Enger, “Game of Thrones” director Miguel Sapochnik explained what it’s like to film with “dragons.”

“The dragon on set is essentially a 14-foot green pole with a little green ball on the top of it,” Sapochnik explained. “More often than not, it was me swinging it around and shouting cues for people to know the dragon was passing over them; the ball was there for an eye line.”

Sapochnik was at the helm for the season six episode “Battle of the Bastards,” when Daenerys and her three dragons wreaked havoc on a ship. Here’s how the dragons have looked on set in the past on the show.

Here’s how Dany’s dragon Drogon looked in a scene of season three. A green pole with a tennis ball on the end subbed in:

And here he is back in season four:

“Amazingly, somehow when the dragon’s on set — which, again, is literally a pole — people get excited,” Sapochnik said. “Most of the people who work on the show, and even the extras in whatever country you go to, they tend to be massive fans of the show. They all know what the dragon looks like, so it’s not hard to get the excitement level up.”

That a simple tool like a bright green pole with a ball at the end can drum up hype just goes to show how the love for “Game of Thrones” has become widespread. The fantasy series relies on fans’ vivid imaginations to bring characters to life, and the dragon pole prop is the perfect example of this television magic.

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