Throughout Game of Thrones sixth season, Tel Aviv-based illustrator and animator Eran Mendel created one looping GIF a week – focussing on an iconic moment from each in a way that's bound to raise a smile (though perhaps a sad one for Episode 2).
Now as a rule. we don't cover unofficial fan tributes to Game of Thrones, primarily because there are more of them than men in the Lannister army - and most of them are about as awful as Ramsey Bolton's fate at the end of Battle of the Bastards. However, we couldn't not cover these – as they just so fun – they've proved incredibly popular both with our readers and across social media
Eran's repeating this for the new Season 7 – Here’s his latest for episode 5, Eastwatch, where dragon justice and surprise reappearances take place.
You check out his other Game of Thrones GIFs from Season 6 and 7 on the following pages – and Eran's other work on Dribbble and Facebook. I caught up with him over email to find out more about the project.
NB: Why did you first want to create the GIFs for Season 6?
EM: "GIFs, especially loops, are how I express myself. Melisandre’s transformation [from young to old in the first episode of Season 6] inspired me – so I just went ahead and created the GIF."
Image: Season 6, Episode 1 – The Red Woman
NB: Were you surprised at how popular they were?
EM: "Yes! I know that GOT was very popular, and it inspires a lot of artists. So I thought there was potential for a wide appeal – but I didn’t realise just how wide."
Image: Episode 2 – Hodor (sob - Ed)
NB: How do you choose the scene or moment to feature?
EM: "I like to interpret plot highlights that revolve around the characters. If something surprised me when I watched the episode, or made me laugh, that would be a good starting point."
Image: Episode 3 – A Girl Has No Name
NB: What's your approach to the design of the characters?
EM: "I generally take a minimalist approach. In my experience, minimal design makes the animation more fluid and expressive."
Image: Episode 4 – The Unburnt
NB: Many of these are really funny. What's your approach to adding humour?
EM: "Good question – I’m not sure. Many times there’s some element of surprise to the animation, like mixing up the context."
Image: Episode 5 – Bran Has A New Buddy
NB: Any tips for creating GIFs that really work as loops?
EM: "For a loop to be fun to watch, the visual content should be something that makes sense as a repeating occurrence – otherwise why would it repeat."
Image: Episode 6 – Uncle Benjen's One Trick Pony
Image: Episode 7 – The Hound's Wishful Thinking
Image: Episode 8 – The Sparrows vs The Mountain
Image: Episode 9 – Battle of the Bastards
Image: Episode 10 - The Winds of Winter
At the end of the series, Eran's created this additional GIF based on what Arya gets up to in the final episode – The Winds of Winter – after leaving what's been dubbed 'the world's most annoying cult'.
Between the seasons he created a couple of GIFs in preparation for the new series. Here we see some of the show's iconic characters – the Night's King, Daenerys and Cersei and the undead version of The Mountain – sitting down to watch the show. Eran says that in Season 7, "Now that Daenerys has crossed the Narrow Sea, I’m waiting for the White Walkers to arrive."
For Eran, Season 7 started with this unsanitary GIF of poor Samwell Tarley's initial training at being a maester.
Here's his GIF for Episode 3, which might seem to be a simple romantic moment if you don't know that it refers to one of the episode's darkest moments.
And Episode 4 – The Spoils of War, in which a huge battle shift occurred as the fight for Westeros continues. Daenerys crushed Jamie’s Lannister forces with an army and loads of dragon fire as their made their way from Highgarden to King’s Landing.
See also our stories on How Game of Thrones' Battle of the Bastards was created and Game of Thrones VFX revealed