The Beautiful Deaths of “Dragonstone” and “Stormborn”


The deaths of Game of Thrones are memorable, conversation-starters and, frequently, game-changers. For seven seasons, artist Robert Ball has captured these moments with his particular style and design. Below are his thoughts and pieces for “Dragonstone” and “Stormborn.”


“After watching the episode, I just had a simple, visual thought — a river of blood,” shares Ball. “I wanted to show that Arya's poisoning of the Frey family could have far-reaching consequences; The Twins, the towers from which Walder Frey controlled the river, have massive strategic value in Westeros.”

Ball explains his color choices, “were about getting from the browns of Walder's house, through blood red wine, to the frosty blue at the foot of the image. A late thought was to have some of the goblets spilled over on the ice, to break up the space and show that the river is icing over. They also should distract from the reflection of Arya as a white wolf — the hope is that you see that last.”

When asked if there were any ideas he had scrapped, Ball reveals his other thoughts: “a discarded goblet tipped over on a map of Westeros, with a river of blood/wine flowing towards King’s Landing. I also tried a version of what I imagined the scene would look like in the future with the corpses of House Frey frozen in eternal Winter.”

See the final poster and some of Ball’s drafts in the slideshow below:



“The first thought that popped into my head was to use animals,” says Ball. “It's a technique I've used before, notably with Stannis and his family, the Mountain and the Viper, and with a piece that accompanied the introduction of the Sand Snakes. So, I thought, wouldn't it be cool to literally show a fight between a giant kraken and a couple of snakes?” 

The challenges this concept posed were mainly about scale, Ball explains: “How can I have a composition that has a giant sea monster fighting normal-sized snakes? If they are being lifted in the air, away from you, it's just about forgivable. And if I show Euron bursting through the deck of Yara's ship, I could show the carnage being wrought on the fleet.”

“I've been working in 'fire' tones,” Ball comments, “going from white, through yellow to reds and blues to give the picture some energy. It's a very hectic, startling scene which I wanted to reflect in the final image.”

Check out the final poster and rough drafts in the slideshow below: