Game of Thrones’ Dragon Battle

The side-by-side technique has been employed by many a video essay to illustrate visual similarities between different films. It’s been used to link Maya Deren and Roberto Rossellini, to compare the Indiana Jones movies to themselves and, well, even to suggest analogies between Ingmar Bergman and Frankenstein. But there are pitfalls when using this strategy to study popular cinema and television. For one thing, many movies and shows use visuals that are so generic that they can be compared to pretty much any other movie with the same subject matter or setting.


This video essay by The Nerdwriter doesn’t fall into that trap. It tackles Game of Thrones‘ already famous dragon battle scene from season 7 (or as the series’ creators called it, the “Loot Train Attack”). It traces the visual origins of that scene to movies as diverse as Stagecoach, Apocalypse Now, the Harry Potter series and the Russian epic Mongol. The Nerdwriter succeeds in recreating practically the whole GOT scene with footage from those predecessors, thereby showing how a strand of bellicose DNA runs through decennia of battle scenes.