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Peek Inside Game of Thrones' Haunting Set Design for "The Hall of Faces"

Arya Stark faced the inner sanctum of The House of Black and White. We spoke to the designer behind the unforgettably eerie set.
May 18, 2015, 2:00pm
Images courtesy Helen Sloan/HBO

[Spoilers ahead]

The saga of Arya Stark has ranked among Game of Thrones' most riveting, and the episode Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken (Season 5: Episode 6) was no exception. Her life until then had been a revolving door of characters, each one more deadly and memorable than the last, each encounter paring down the chip on her shoulder to a razor's edge. It's fitting, then, that hearing her verbally lash the Faceless Men in the House of White and Black should be paired with perhaps the episode's most definitive visage: the ineffaceable Hall of Faces.

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"The Hall of Faces was the most challenging piece to attempt within the House of Black and White," Game of Thrones set designer Deborah Riley admits to The Creators Project. "Time and resources are limited and it was stressful trying to do this great space justice." Tasked with managing the logistics of of designing over a hundred sets—in seven countries, on three different continents—Riley doesn't have a lot of time to focus any single location. But the "eerily beautiful and sculptural" Hall of Faces stands out in her memory. She attributes the success of the scenery's delightfully creepy atmosphere to the hard work of the plaster department, headed by Steve Transfield, whose experience creating off-putting characters comes with a list of credits, including Eastern Promises, The Brothers Grimm, and Benicio del Toro's The Wolf Man.

Conceiving and building the sets is a team effort, though, all the way to the top: "I always work from the scripts and vision of the Dan Weiss and David Benioff, our writers and showrunners," Riley explains. "We have all of the books in the art department, but rarely would find the need to refer to them as David and Dan’s descriptions and attention to detail is so comprehensive. They have a very clear vision of the show and my job is to bring their vision to life."

HBO was kind enough to provide The Creators Project with stills from inside the Hall of Faces. Check out the detailed plaster work in the images below:

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