While exterior filming in Belfast seems largely to be wrapping up—though a major event isn’t quite done filming, suggesting that what remains is interior shooting—filming has begun in Essaouira, Morocco where a significant part of Daenerys Targaryen’s story for the third season will be take place. Essaouira will stand in for the region of Essos known as Slaver’s Bay.
And, just like Dubrovnik, the fact that they’re filming in a city means that photographs of sets, props, and actors are starting to crop up. What follows are definitely a bit spoilerish, so be aware of that:
- Image 1, Image 2—These photos (from Twitter users @kenza_debbagh and @AditKibe respectively) show us the walls of Essaouira with some interesting additions: crucifixes. That’s interesting, because
the road to Meereen was lined with mileposts on which slave children had been nailed up and disembowelled by the Great Masters of Meereen as an act of defiance toward Daenerys. But… I don’t quite think these crucifixes represent that moment. They may instead be a take on the Plaza of Punishment, where the slavers torture, mutilate, and kill slaves who are “rebellious”.
- Image 3, from @mourad_gh, shows another look at the walls. Note the cages suitable for placing people in.
- Image 4, again from @Aditi_Kibe, is the most revealing: Daenerys Targaryen in a new, blue gown walks the walls past a bound slave.
But this slave seems to be alive still, and I think what we’re seeing is not a depiction of Meereen, but a depiction of Astapor and its conditions for slaves. We also appear to have a couple of extras to the right, and obscured behind the cameraman appears to be someone walking behind Dany. Is it a slaver, such as Kraznys? Or might it be Ramon Tikaram as Prendahl? Both of these roles have been cast
, though if it’s the latter of those two names, they’re surely changing the role of the slaver companies in the story. The hair of the character does seem a little like Tikaram’s, it must be said. Although… is it two people? Hard to tell, but I think you can see the way they’re sort of blending together. In which case, it’s certainly Jorah and Barristan Selmy
- Image 5 from @ColDuthie is also interesting, because it appears to give us a better look at several extras in different costumes. The men in black leather armor and masks… are these to be Unsullied? Or are they simply the soldiers of whatever Slaver City is being represented here? If it’s the Unsullied, it’s quite a change both from their book description and the first episode, but it is said in the books that the Unsullied wear whatever their employers give them. That said, the costumes do remind me of the Jun horde from The Beastmaster—whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’m not sure yet! We can also see an unmasked but cloaked-seeming figure up on the wall, along with several robed figures that might represent women of Slaver’s bay. And down below, we can see more extras—some of whom look like they’re dressed as slavers.
- Image 6 from @Kenza_Debbagh, showing something of an interior scene. At a guess, this is where
Dany will meet with Kraznys and discuss purchasing the Unsullied.
- Image 7, from StarkOfWinterfell, showing a much closer look at the guards. The crescent nasal plate almost certainly draws inspiration from certain Indo-Iranian and Mughal armors I’ve seen—always nice to spot real-world influences. Still unsure as to who these are… but the way the nasal leads to a curving spike makes it seem likelier that these are re-envisioned Unsullied, with their anonymity emphasized by being basically masked in their armor. Also, it’s less like the Jun horde from The Beastmaster, which is all to the good, regardless of who they are.
Filming in Morocco will take place over a fairly intensive period of time, which may explain weekend filming taking place.
(Thanks to The Rabbit for digging these up on Twitter!)