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“Game of Thrones” Sound Designer on Where Drogon’s Purr Comes From
On Game of Thrones, Daenerys Targaryen is the proud Mother of Dragons. But it turns out that at least for one of her dragon babies, the sounds it’s making are definitely not family friendly. Gizmodo reports that if you giggle a little bit every time Daenerys talks to her dragons, you might be reacting to how the dragons sound.
The show’s sound designer, Paula Fairfield, told the WNYC radio show Radiolab that the inspiration behind the dragons’ “voices” came from the animal kingdom. Most often they’re composites from screeching birds, insects, and reptiles. But when it comes to Drogon, the sound inspiration comes from a, well, more amorous source.
“I have sounds I might choose simply by certain personality traits that I might want to push forward,” she said. “She named that dragon after Khal Drogo, her hot late husband, so Drogon is like her lover. He’s whistling at her all the time, he’s whistling at her butt and saying, ‘Ooh baby.’”
So Fairfield took the sound from two giant tortoises mating and adapted that to form Drogon’s “voice.” Yes, whenever you hear the call of Drogon, it’s giant tortoises having sex. “The groan of the male actually became, with some work and adjustments and stuff, became the basis of Drogon’s purr with [Daenerys].” Fairfield said she noticed some viewers giggling when they heard the purr, but not knowing why it was funny.
Giving the dragons’ voices distinctive personalities was a way to bring the mythical creatures down to Earth, and help viewers realize the strong bond between Daenerys and her dragons. “They’re very powerful, they can be very scary, they can be very destructive,” she said. “But what’s kind of magical in Game of Thrones is that the intimate scenes also melt your heart and bring you closer to these characters that should be burning your face off.”
Listen to the segment—and the audio inspirations for Drogon and his siblings—below. The good stuff starts around 20 minutes in.