Despite being set in a world full of mythic dragons, demons, and brooding magic users, Netflix’s The Witcher often feels relatively grounded, given how chaos isn’t exactly something that just anyone can wield. Even in moments where heroes like Anya Chalotra’s Yennefer are performing wildly mystical feats, the reality of what’s going on behind the camera is often surprisingly practical.
In a new shot-by-shot breakdown of the scene where Yennefer desperately tries to save the queen and her driver from a lethal assassin’s attack, Chalotra explains that for all of the action and portal conjuring that’s happening on-screen, the actors’ performances would all be for naught were it not for the crew’s clever use of old-fashioned elbow grease.
When you’re watching the wooden carriage rumble its way through a snow-covered forest, the vehicle isn’t actually moving forward all that much; people are merely rocking it from side to side. The swords plunging into the carriage are actually CGI, but in order to make sure that the actors were properly responding to where the swords would be, there’s someone off screen shouting the necessary directions to give the performers their proper marks. It all sounds rather silly, but the end result is absolutely stunning.
The Witcher is now streaming on Netflix.