My friend thinks the sword forging scene at the beginning of the 4th season of Game of Thrones was CGI (it certainly was picturesque with the flames dancing along the flow of molten steel). But I would like to believe it was real footage, maybe touched up but mostly real. I couldn't find any information regarding it.

How did they shoot the scene? Were any effects used at all, or was it completely natural?

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    This is really more of a trivia question. Does it really matter if the sword forging process was actually real or done with CGI? What does knowing that contribute to understanding the show or episode as a whole?
    – MattD
    Apr 8, 2014 at 13:09
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    I think it is a very valid question prodding the mechanism involved in the creation of the particular scene. Understanding a film-technique does not count as trivia!
    – Sayan
    Apr 9, 2014 at 14:19
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    I'm astounded at that comment, and at the 3 upvotes it has. If this gets closed I'm taking it to meta. It CLEARLY says in the "About this site" that it's okay to ask "Questions about a Movie/TV show's production." So go ahead, argue that one. And anyway, the vast majority of this site is "trivia," wtf would you call it? Apr 9, 2014 at 14:22
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    I agree that this is a valid production question. The point in excluding trivia is not to have a thousand questions that can easily be looked up elsewhere, like which actor played which character. This may not be the most interesting question, but I think it still exceeds simply trivia.
    – magnattic
    Apr 9, 2014 at 17:29
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    I'm a nihilist. Don't start the "at the end of the day it really doesn't matter" argument with me, or pretty soon we're going to be debating why you bothered making the comment in the first place, or bothered to join SE, or they bothered to make SE, etc...I mean...at the end of the day, what does it really matter? We'll all be blown to stardust in the long run. MEANWHILE, I for one want to know how that scene was made. Apr 9, 2014 at 19:59

2 Answers 2


Most likely, the scene is a mix of real shots and special effects, but all of the cool parts are special effects.

For reference, here is an image of the scene in question (I was unable to upload it to SE due to the file size being too large).

Heating of the sword

The glowing effect is CGI. I say this because the sword has a consistent yellow and orange glow to it.

During this kind of metal-smithing, the metal is usually somewhat unevenly heated. Because of this, you end up with a red color on the edges, and if heated enough, parts of the metal turn white as well.

Also, notice how fast the glow happens. As we pan down on the sword, it slowly turns orange, but then all of a sudden the brightness increases dramatically. This just wouldn't happen in real life.

The fire on the other hand does look real. Fire, as a particle system is notoriously difficult to render realistically. It would be pretty cheap and simple just to light a couple small fires underneath the surface that the sword is laying on.

Pouring the steel

A Foundry Ladle is used as a container to melt the steel, then pour it into the mold. Typically, they are made of metal, ceramic, or concrete materials. In other words, heavy materials that are resistant to heat. But, you can clearly see ladle in this scene is glowing through the sides. To get that kind of glow, the ladle would have to be a light semi-opaque material. Then, the glowing would be accomplished by placing lights inside.

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    Unless someone from the production comes across this question, that's all we're going to get. It does, however, answer the question Were any effects used at all, or was it completely natural? Apr 11, 2014 at 13:44
  • Right, so we may have to wait for some production notes or a video that shows the special effects composites in some way to know if it was all CG, or they actually forged the swords, or if it was a mix of both. And no, it doesn't answer it because you're merely taking a guess as to how things were done.
    – MattD
    Apr 11, 2014 at 13:59
  • I've reduced the scope of my answer to provable facts available in the video. Apr 11, 2014 at 14:47
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    @MattD - Nothing wrong with a bit of speculation, especially when it's backed up with facts. Apr 11, 2014 at 16:56

It was real but it wasn't the right way to make a sword, and it wasn't steel, when steel it's got enough to turn into a liquid, it is a bright white, that is about 1200°f, the stone would cool the steel causing it to create a loo that stopped it from flowing to the top, and it would spill out of the top of the cast, if it was steel they would have hammered it into shape, as the cast would have made one side of the sword completely flat.

What they used was molten aluminum, no CG required, and it is a lot cheaper as they probably had aluminum cans saved up from the refreshments table, the finished sword they use were properly forged off camera with a hammer using the modern pattern welding technique. That is when you take a lot of thin diffrent grades of steel, and forge them together, then dip them in acid to give that Damascus wavy pattern look.

  • how do you know for sure it was real and it was not steel, do you have any sources to back that up? Otherwise it's just speculation.
    – Luciano
    May 16, 2019 at 10:34

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