some version of the show’s title sequence. The intro, which flies over a map of Westeros and Essos, orients viewers with the fictional world where the show takes place, and does it in a stylish, eye-catching way. As
writer Eric Thurm puts it in a recent article about the evolution of TV title sequences, the
Thurm also got to sit down with Angus Wall, whose company, Elastic, was responsible for designing the titles for
. According to Wall, title sequences are “little experimental films that actually have to function.”
At least that’s how they’re currently conceived. The article marches through the history of title sequences, from when they provided goofy explanations for the show in question, through the ’90s, when they became moodier, up to now, when they lean heavier on elaborate graphics and composites.
It’s an area of TV production fans may not think much about, but the opening sequence sets the tone for a show, so it shouldn’t be ignored. When Wall was conceiving the opening to
, a lot was driven by necessity. After all, the show covers a vast geographical space, and without a guide at the top of the hour, producers ran the risk that viewers would become confused. On the purpose of the title sequence, Wall said “[i]t has a concrete function in the world of the show, in that it serves as a legend the way the map at the beginning of a fantasy book orients you.”
intro may have its roots in a show you wouldn’t expect:
. Wall is a big fan of the title sequence for that show (“It’s functionally elegant, and really visually interesting at the same time. It’s very simple, but everything is working beautifully.”) and it has more in common with the
intro than you might think. After all,
title sequence shows lead character Tony Soprano driving through New Jersey, his own kingdom, in the same way that the
intro takes us through the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.
to read the rest of the article, which includes a further discussion of the ins and outs of title sequences. For fun, I’ll leave you with Wall’s opinion of the
opening sequence. “It’s not good or bad. It’s just iconic.”
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