The Northern Ireland government has pledged £5 million to build new studios in support of the film industry there. As the Telegraph reports, efforts will focus on expanding the Paint Hall facilities, which HBO’s Game of Thrones has fully occupied but will be relinquishing this week now that filming is about wrapped.
This article is yet another that vaguely implies that the 2nd season is a certainty, with the only question being where it might film. However, many of these articles build on one another. As we’ve said elsewhere, the production will certainly be laying the groundwork for a second season now… but the greenlight will only come after the April premiere at the earliest, once ratings are in.
Back in September, fans stumbled across the blog of photographer Wolf Sunkmanitu, where he stated he had stumbled across a set on Malta for HBO’s Game of Thrones. Now, on the verge of the first season filming wrapping, he’s posted an extensive gallery of his photography from Malta ... including quite a few pictures from the Street of Steel set in Mdina which we caught glimpses of in the “Inside Game of Thrones” preview starting here.
At Sunmanitu’s gallery, the first of the Street of Steel photos—available for purchase as prints, as with the rest of his galler—can be found starting here. The amount of set dressing and the great number of quite mundane props—bellows, anvils metalworking tools, and more—has certainly transformed what’s nomrally a thoroughfare through modern Mdina into a bazaar-like street in King’s Landing. I do believe this room is the same as Tobho Mott’s forge, seen
In the post, Cogman discusses a scene being filmed there, where the Dothraki are looting. Most notably, the scene is “almost entirely” spoken in Dothraki, a language created for the show based on what George R.R. Martin has written. The scene features Drogo admonishing an insubordinate warrior in no uncertain terms. Bryan signs off with the following lengthy example of Dothraki: “Eyél várthasoe she ilekaán ríkhoya arrekaán vékha vósi yeroón vósma tolórro!” We’re guessing the last word is the same as in Vaes Tolorro, where Tolorro means bones.
This is one I’ve been asking for for awhile, and boy, am I happy to see it. HBO’s Making Game of Thrones has posted a brand new Artisans video, this one featuring weaponsmaster Tommy Dunne as he discusses—and shows—a number of weapons made for the series. Among them, one can see Ser Gregor Clegane’s greatsword standing next to Eddard Stark’s Ice, Ser Waymar Royce’s amber-encrusted sword, and more:
Look particularly closely at the weapons behind Dunne at the opening. There’s one balde that looks as if it has ring guards on it, and it’s quite slender and long… is that Arya’s sword, Needle? I am suspicious!
Edited: My speculation is confirmed by a little bird—it is, indeed, Needle.
Although filming in Malta has already wrapped, the latest “Dispatches from the Seven Kingdoms” post by Bryan Cogman is from nearer the start of shooting. He discusses an important showdown in Episode V that features some impressive swordsmanship. The walled medieval town of Mdina serves as the locale for a number of King’s Landing exterior shots, and is one of many locations to be used by the production on Malta and the neighboring island of Gozo.
One notable part is his description of what the various directors were doing at that time. While we already have the precise breakdown of which director is directing which episode, getting a sense of when the blocks were overlapping at various stages is interesting:
I’ll be here for about three weeks for the first block - Episodes III through VIII (Brian Kirk and Dan Minahan directing). Filming on Episodes I & II continues in Belfast (Tim Van Patten at the helm) and Alan Taylor has begun prep on Episodes IX and X. Needless to say, it’s a lot to keep straight.
It’s amusing that he’s re-read A Clash of Kings five times so far (as of that post)—quite a lot of cramming involved in his role as the keeper of the mythos.
A tweet from Jonathan Chang, Digital Media Coordinator as HBO’s Studio West, mentioned some interesting details regarding HBO’s Game of Thrones.
While tweeting back and forth, he offered this interesting detail for those who really want technical details on the production: the production is being shot digitally, using something like nine on-location Arri Alexa cameras. This is a change from the original pilot filming, where we reported that ARRICAM Lite and Arriflex 235 cameras were in use. As Chang noted (and as we’ve previously reported), much of the pilot has been reshot using this new system. Looking around, it seems like the Arri Alexa system went into production in late 2009. The Alexa is described as a system aimed at competing with the RED ONE system, shooting greater than 1080p resolution and aimed squarely at major theatrical and television productions.
By way of comparison, HBO’s Boardwalk Empire—with its first episode directed by executive producer Martin Scorsese—uses 35mm film with Panaflex cameras.
Some various tidbits from around the web:
For those wondering where the rest of my Belfast set visit reports have gotten to, there’s been a bit of a delay. This is, however, a potentially very cool delay, as it involves whether I might in fact be able to share some photos from my visit. But naturally, this takes time to get sorted out, so ... they’ll start up again as soon as things are worked out. Keep an eye out. :)
Set decorator Richard Roberts provides a look into a particular sort of cuisine: prop cuisine, sometimes real food, often not. This new video at Making Game of Thrones is particularly rich in visual details, featuring images from the feasting tent at the tourney grounds outside King’s Landing, the Red Keep, Winterfell, and Castle Black. Having had a chance to visit the Castle Black set two weeks past, I have to say these shots of the mess hall and the courtyard outside capture spot-on the flavor of the locale. Particularly noteworthy for us is the description of King’s Landing as being towards a Mediterranean climate and cuisine, which while not strictly in keeping with the novels is certainly not very far off the mark. We’ll just imagine that couscous dish is a Dornish speciality that someone at court has a liking for (paging Ser Aron Santagar…)
For those interested in a look at food as described in the novels, check out this section of our Concordance, a project of ours that attempts to catalog every factual thematic detail revealed in the published books and stories so far.
George R.R. Martin has a “Not a Blog” post discussing the filming in Malta. It is a bit spoilerish for those who’ve not read the first book! He discusses where he’s watched filming set in King’s Landing involving Maisie Williams’s Arya Stark, as well as a scene featuring Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen “at the edge of the Dothraki sea”.
Not all has gone well. GRRM confirms reports we’ve had that a unexpected, massive rainstorm washed away a Dothraki encampment set. Also, a little tongue-in-cheek, he claims two actors have taken a “dislike” to one another and one was left bloodied after a fight ... which we’re guessing may be a reference to a fight scene mishap rather than any genuine hard feelings (we hope!)
Recently, reports in the Maltese press have been concerned with possible environmental damage caused by the production of HBO’s Game of Thrones at a protected site in Dwerja, which is where the famous Azure Window can be found and where a major Dothraki scene has been filmed (as previously reported). The location has certain fossil beds which were to be carefully protected by the use of tarps on which sand was poured, and that sand was then to be removed by manual equipment (spades and brooms). However, recent heavy rains hardened the sand and led a sub-contractor to bring in heavy equipment to remove it, which was contrary to the permit and could potentially damage the site.
When Fire & Blood Productions learned of this, they immediately called a halt to the use of heavy equipment. They have since issued an apology for the error, taking full responsibility for the sub-contractor’s error, and they intend to rectify matters. They also emphasize their “positive experience of filming in Malta” and their intention to continue to adhere to all the requirements placed on them for the benefit of the cultural and natural heritage of Malta.
Via the Rabbit, there’s a list out there of some of the sites where filming for HBO’s Game of Thrones will have taken place in Malta. We’ve already previously reported on the Azure Window location, which is also known as Dwerja.
Besides this, other sites include the medieval town of Mdina, Fort Ricasoli (which we’re told has a famous gate which has been used for the entrance into the Red Keep, or possibly into Maegor’s Holdfast), Fort Saint Elmo, the San Anton Palace and Gardens, the Verdala Palace, Fort Saint Angelo in Birgu (as an aside, this was also the location of a significant part of Dorothy Dunnet’s third novel in the Lymond series of historical novels, Disorderly Knights; we heartily recommend this series to fans of A Song of Ice and Fire), Fort Manoel, and the medieval walled city of Cittadella on Gozo in the Maltese archipelago,
A wonderful new addition to the Artisian video series from the Making Game of Thrones site, this time featuring Michele Clapton, the costume designer. It’s great timing, as yesterday I was able to see at first hand some of the costuming and armor that is featured in this video. Clapton makes particularly mention of a cape for Jaime, which is interesting because I did spot a very handsome red, fur-lined cloak labelled “Jaime Lannister” on a rack among other “hero” costumes (including several Ned items, Tyrion’s leather jerkin, Catelyn’s gown(s), and more). I hope to be able to write some more soon, but suffice it to say, I was very impressed with what I saw at first hand.
That embroidered direwolf we briefly see near the beginning? It adorns the sleeve of the rain jackets David and Dan (and maybe some others of the production team) were wearing.
Some interesting HBO-related items today. First, word from GRRM and Parris is that HBO is considering sending the documentary team they have on-hand to prepare promotional and DVD extra material for Game of Thrones to the moot in Belfast on Thursday (note: registration to take part has now been closed, as the party has met the limit placed on them for the venue), to record the goings-on for a segment. It’s terrific that the production is embracing the fans even more clearly!
Also, the Making Game of Thrones site has been updated with a quote from Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) regarding his character’s relationship to his sister, Queen Cersei (played by Lena Headey). Noting that he and Headey are good friends, he notes his sadness that they have very few scenes this season, a lament I believe we’ve heard from Headey herself. Hopefully the second season (*knock on wood*) will more than amply address that concern!
We noticed that the item was posted in the name of Steve Marzolf, a journalist who also writes copy for HBO,producing “core site content (episode guides, character bios, etc.)” and also conducting interviews for Behind the Scenes features such as those we’ve been seeing in the Artisan series. It seems like he’s already been at work covering the production.
A tweet led us to take a look at the Game of Thrones IMDB page, to see if there had been any changes in the visual effects lineup ... and it looks like there is. Once the pilot was shot, the search for a long-term arrangement in terms of visual effects started, and it appears that a newer, London-based VFX company by the name of BlueBolt will be in charge of coordinating the visual effects work for the production.
Though new, BlueBolt has some very impressive credits via its founders, with their showreel featuring visual effects scenes from Troy, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Poseidon, The Quantum of Solace, and many more. Their new company is credited with providing special effects for Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and Sherlock Holmes.
The new VFX producer specifically for the production seems to be Paddy Kelly, whose credits include Avatar, The Golden Compass, and several of the Harry Potter films. It looks like Kelly himself may be based at BlueBolt’s Dublin facility. BlueBolt co-founder Angela Barson appears to be the VFX supervisor for at least one episode.
The Making Game of Thrones site has a new post which provides some obscure quotes from recent work on the production. Some of the remarks make us think of Wyvernwood’s Tollymore photos, where a number of different scenes were recently filmed, at least one of which would have involved dead bodies (and possibly fighting leading up to them).