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HBO’s Game of Thrones won its first-ever Emmy for its title sequence. The opening, created by the company Elastic, bested fellow HBO projects Boardwalk Empire and Too Big to Fail, AMC’s Rubicon, and PBS’s Any Human Heart.
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HBO requested an opening akin to the map that begins books like The Lord of the Rings. “We wanted to do something different from the standard tropes for fantasy maps,” title design creative director Angus Wall told THR. “So we came up with the idea of a world inside a sphere.”
The computer-illusion “camera” swoops from kingdom to kingdom, focusing on the family crest that sits atop each place — the “sigil.” Like the show itself, the title sequence strives for realism within a fantasy setting. “In the shadowed areas beneath the surface of the map, there are cogs in there. If you look carefully, you’ll see they’re all working with the cogs that are exposed above the surface of the map,” said Wall.
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Art director Robert Feng, animator Kirk H. Shintani and designer Hameed Shaukat were also part of the Emmy-winning title design team, in addition to Wall.
Game of Thrones was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards in all. And while it did not take home awards at Saturday’s Creative Arts Emmys in costume, makeup and casting categories, it still has a shot at major awards at next weekend’s Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast. At that ceremony, the program will compete for outstanding drama series, supporting actor for Peter Dinklage, and writing and directing honors.
Writers-producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss said of the show’s nominations, “These nominations are great honors for the various individuals singled out, but the truth is that hundreds of people worked on Game of Thrones, setting up lights at five in the morning, sewing wolf sigils on Sunday evenings, forging Valyrian steel daggers.
The crew and production staff work insane hours and their credits flash by in the blink of an eye at the end of each episode. We thank them for their passion and commitment to the show, we thank the Academy for recognizing their labors.”
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