WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from Game of Thrones season eight, episode one.
The first instalment of Game of Thrones season eight delivered plenty of surprises in the long-awaited return of the fan-favourite HBO drama.
For one thing Ser Bronn (played by Jerome Flynn) was given a horrific order by twisted queen Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey) to murder both her brothers Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage).
Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) arrived in the North and immediately came up against the Lady of Winterfell Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), before developing a new enemy when she told Samwell Tarly (John Bradley) she’d murdered his father and brother for refusing to bend the knee.
What’s more, Jon Snow (Kit Harington) finally learnt the truth about his true parentage from his old friend Sam, and was left reeling at the decisions laid out in front of him.
But the excitement began in the very first scene when viewers sunk their teeth into a brand new set of credits.
Now creative director Angus Wall at Elastic Productions, who helped design the sequence, has shed light on the changes and how discussions with showrunners Dan Weiss and David Benioff led them to the finished product.
“Our initial pitch [for the credits] had all these little bells and whistles that were just too ambitious for the first pass,” he told BuzzFeed News.
“We wanted a second bite at the apple, as it were, to really do all the stuff that we had initially talked about.”
The initial set of credits were compared to the intricate workings of a mechanical clock, and displayed the turning cogs across the whole Westeros and Essos as the seasons went on.
But with advancements in graphics and animation the teams decided to come up with a credits sequence that zeroed in on the three major locations – Winterfell, The Wall and Kings Landing.
“Every season, we’ve been talking about, ‘We should try to redo stuff,’” season eight art director Kirk Shintani explained. “They said, ‘Let’s blow it out. All the things that you wanted to do, let’s do it.’
“For us, seven years of ideas just started pouring out.”
“In a way, we would have been really sad not to have had a second shot at doing all the stuff that we really wanted to do with the titles,” Angus continued. “It was really kind of cathartic for everybody.
“You can go so much further and deeper with the tool set now than you could back when we did season one.
“The first seven seasons, there’s an impressionistic aspect to the title sequence that I really like in an eight-bit way, in the same way that you would like Minecraft.
“But the new sequence is rendered with so much more accuracy and fractal detail,” the creative director added.
The pair went on to say every episode’s credit sequence will be subtly different from the last this season, and will reflect particular storyline twists as the drama hurtles towards its conclusion.
Shintani revealed their work became like a “bullet point story” of the latest plot turns, but will there be clues over what’s coming next in the remaining episodes?
“It was really cool for us because we got a chance to help the story, instead of just framing it,” Angus then shared.
Game of Thrones season eight continues Sundays on HBO and is simulcast on Sky Atlantic in the UK.