The Most Beautiful Shots of 'Game of Thrones'

Exploring the most beautiful shots from television's most epic show.

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In this series…


Without question, there are few movies, let alone television shows, that can compete on the level of Game of Thrones. This includes everything from the complexity of story to resources to visuals. For HBO, Thrones is a show worthy of an almost infinite line of production credit. Because it’s also the network’s biggest cash cow. The good news for fans — especially those who followed the story of Westeros from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire book series — is that almost every penny spent on Thrones can be seen, heard, and felt on-screen.

With the final season on the horizon, we’re giving Game of Thrones the One Perfect Shot treatment. Just as we’ve done with film franchises such as Harry Potter, Alien, Star Wars, and many more, we’ve hand-selected the most beautiful, memorable, and resonant Shots from the entire series. As of this update, there are almost 200 shots in the collection (thanks in no small part to season 7, episode 4), all crafted by the hands of the show’s 19 directors, shot through the lenses of the show’s 15 cinematographers, and finished by a massive list of visual effects artists led by VFX supervisor Joe Bauer. The most prolific names on this list include Alan Taylor (Thor: The Dark World), who has directed 7 episodes. The show’s most prolific cinematographer is Anette Haellmigk, who has overseen the shooting of 10 episodes, including the two final episodes of season four (“The Mountain and The Viper” and “The Children”). Haellmigk makes for a wonderful director/DP battery with Alex Graves and Daniel Sackheim, but it is the combo of director Miguel Sapochnik and DP Fabian Wagner who have done some of the most special work the show has seen. They are duly responsible for “Hardhome,” “Battle of the Bastards,” and “The Winds of Winter.”

If I were to rank the performances of DPs on Thrones, Haellmigk and Wagner would be at the top. But as is the case with any television show, it takes a village to raise a visual style. That visual style is often dark and naturally lit. It often comes with the aid of visual effects and complex compositing. But the end result is, more often than not, brilliant.

What we’ve chosen for our list — which is broken down by episode and presented in chronological order — is what we hope is a good mix of what Game of Thrones has to offer. There are stunningly lit shots that have little to no CGI in them. There are others with massive dragons. These shots all begin in the minds of showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss, pass through the filter of each episode’s director, are blocked and executed by the episode’s DP, and are finished by a massive team of visual effects, coloring, compositing, and editing artists. Every beautiful frame is the result of countless hours of hard work. All in service of making Game of Thrones the greatest show of its generation.


Season 1

Episode 1: “Winter is Coming”

Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Directed by Timothy Van Patten

Game Of Thrones Winter Is Coming

Episode 2: “The Kingsroad”

Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Directed by Timothy Van Patten

Game Of Thrones The Kingsroad

Episode 3: “Lord Snow”

Cinematography by Marco Pontecorvo
Directed by Brian Kirk

Game Of Thrones Lord Snow

Episode 4: “Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things”

Cinematography by Marco Pontecorvo
Directed by Brian Kirk

Game Of Thrones Cripples Bastards Broken Things

Episode 5: “The Wolf and the Lion”

Cinematography by Marco Pontecorvo
Directed by Brian Kirk

Game Of Thrones The Wolf And The Lion

Episode 6: “A Golden Crown”

Cinematography by Matthew Jensen
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Game Of Thrones A Golden Crown

Episode 7: “You Win or You Die”

Cinematography by Matthew Jensen
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Game Of Thrones You Win Or You Die

Episode 8: “The Pointy End”

Cinematography by Matthew Jensen
Directed by Daniel Minahan

Game Of Thrones The Pointy End

Episode 9: “Baelor”

Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Directed by Alan Taylor

Game Of Thrones Baelor

Game Of Thrones Baelor

Episode 10: “Fire and Blood”

Cinematography by Alik Sakharov
Directed by Alan Taylor

Game Of Thrones Fire And Blood


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