A huge and frankly under-discussed aspect of this peak TV era has been the huge jumps made in visual effects for the small screen. Whereas it used to be all cheap green screens and janky, reused sets, real money and effort are now being put into many blockbuster shows, and there is no better example than the VFX work on Game of Thrones.

Below, check out the reel of the astounding video effects in season six of the HBO juggernaut, which has graphics so advanced that they had to dial them back in place for being too graphic. For a medium once criticized for appearing too low-budget to the point of removing the viewer from the experience, this ain’t too shabby.

The work speaks for itself onscreen, but it should be noted that there are hundreds of thousands of hours that are poured into making these seconds-long illusions a reality. Image Engine, one of the many VFX companies working on the series, was profiled by Variety with a focus on their production corner’s nitty-gritty aspects. Composition lead Edwin Holdsworth’s description of how far the company goes to emulate gory effects was particularly notable.

“Some shots were really specific, like someone getting their head smashed directly against a wall,” he explained. “To get the look right for that, we filmed real meat being smashed. We used the same technique for shots where one character has their hand pulled apart. The best way to match the level of gore needed was to pull some meat apart, and use that in the comp. It all felt more realistic that way!”

Brilliant, and ew.

Photos via Vimeo

Jamie Loftus is a comedian, writer and animator whose baby teeth have been bronzed and loaded into a gun for when the moment is right. She's written for Playboy, VICE, Paste, and the Boston Globe.