Game of Thrones

HBO's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' TV Show

News

October 2009

Costuming Remarks

Rimshot, an extra in North Ireland, had this to say about what he saw during his costuming fitting for his role as a “Stark Servant”:

“You will see what I saw soon enough but I will say this. I have worked on loads of films and worn loads of costumes and those I saw yesterday were some of the highest quality I have ever seen (wait till you see the armour!) I can’t wait to get my servant’s costume back on and to step into the world of GOT.”

Sounds like Michele Clapton has pulled out all the stops.

UPDATE: Corvus Corax Speaks

Over at the A Song of Ice and Fire fourm, a member of Corvus Corax posts a message to fans. Norri (on the right in this image) states that the three days the band was in Scotland for the filming were terrific. A nice thing to post, and it shows that participants in the filming recognize the buzz that the show is getting.

And speaking of the pilot shoot, not too much to update, except for an unconfirmed report over at Winter is Coming that the prologue scene was filmed today at Tollymore Forest Park near Belfast. Some excellent pictures of the park can be found at

North Ireland Photos.

In response to our question, Norri adds that the two songs they played during filming were “Skudrinka” (found on Viator ) and “Ballade de Mercy” (found on Seikilos).

Last Doune Report

A last little report from Doune, thanks to a fan who managed to glimpse some footage on the monitors while wandering the castle. Ace_Jones’s initial report was to say that he couldn’t imagine the production in better hands after what he had seen.

GRRM On Doune And Belfast Signing

Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin reports that filming at Doune has indeed wrapped up—today and tomorrow will just be the crew putting things back how they were, and transferring on to Belfast. He also notes, “so far, so good,” which is a good thing to hear. From there, he discusses his further plans—he’ll be in Belfast several days from now for the shooting there—and then comments on the Belfast signing at Eason’s set for the 3rd. He and Parris believe they’ve convinced several of the cast to attend the event, in part by promising that his fans are “essentially harmless. Hah.”

Game of Thrones Director of Photography

We’ve come across an article at the Irish Film and Television Network revealing the director of photography: Sean Bobbitt (hat-tip to Maubery at Winter is Coming for pointing it out). U.K. based, he’s not quite as international as some of the other crew we’ve come across so far, but among his most recent credits are his Emmy-nominated work in the BBC’s most recent Sense and Sensibility adaptation and a British Independent Film Award for cinematography for The Hunger.

Award-winning FX Supervisor on Game of Thrones

Noticing a tweet on our timeline from Julia Frey, VFX producer for Game of Thrones, in which she noted she was dining with Robert Stromberg. He’s an award-winning special effects supervisor and now the production designer behind such major films as James Cameron’s Avatar and Tim Burton’s Alice in WonderlandWiC_Blog immediately guessed that he was the Robert noted as the special effects supervisor for HBO’s production of the George R.R. Martin fantasy series, and Julia has since confirmed this.

Can’t but imagine that this is something of a coup for a pilot production, having someone of Stromberg’s stature involved. Among his FX supervision credits are Scorsese’s The Aviator, Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow, and The Golden Compass.

Game of Thrones Tuesday Reports

Much quieter today as far as reporting goes, alas, but we can start things off with an excellent follow-up from yesterday’s report by Jackie, which can be found here at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum. Make sure to check pages both before and after, because Jackie and Crakehall expand on a lot of the points under the assault of questions from eager fans.

Some exciting things we’ve learned is that Lena Headey as Cersei was spotted, wearing a very elaborate gown and an orante headdress, and we’ve had more descriptions of various other principals (for example, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau—playing Jaime Lannister, the Kingslayer—is said to be very impressive, tall and broad-shouldered and with the requisite blonde hair). Jackie provides links to images that she feels represent some of the costumes she saw, including a famous portrait by Vermeer. The wolf pups have been described in more detail by Jackie over at Winter is Coming and its day three report—they’re about knee high, not newborn pups, but not terribly intimidating. Finally, the commentator grimhelm at WiC is there today, and it seems somewhat quieter but no less interesting. He confirms that Corvus Corax is the German medieval band that performed during filming. Those who’ve had the opportunity to interact with the crew—including producers Dan Weiss and director Tom McCarthy—have been enthused by their good humor at the fan attention.

As we’ve heard, today is the last significant day of filming at Doune. We also have heard from Jamie Campbell Bower, who was on his way to Belfast this morning, suggesting that soon the whole operation will be shifting to the Paint Hall studio in Northern Ireland. Information about filming after that point is likely to become much rarer once filming is focused on a closed studio and, later, away in Morocco.

Detailed Set Report

Jackie (aka JacMac30) posts a lengthy report of everything they witnessed, here. Lots and lots of details regarding the appearances of several actors, costumes, etc. Fantastic information. She notes staff were quite eagle-eyed about photos, apparently there has been some annoyance at the photos that have leaked to date (although all of those have been of the exterior of the castle).

Word from Doune

Crakehall, a member of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, provides a gripping series of bits of news, one of the first reports we’ve had from Doune today. You can start finding his posts here. Among the tidbits: over a 100 extras in costume, a well-known medieval music troupe from Germany performing at the feast scene, a number of the actors on set, GRRM has filmed his cameo, and the costuming is amazing.

Crakehall also shares a photograph here, with George R.R. Martin and his partner Parris outside of the castle.

Game of Thrones Today

A brief update on what news we have to share. Via our westerosorg twitter account, you’ll find posts from last night in which we stumbled across reports from MissKatiana2, a stand-in for “two of the actresses” who was at Doune on Saturday. Stand-ins are used to block scenes for the cameras and arranging lighting for when the actual scenes are filmed; in fact, her report makes it sound like Saturday was primarily about rehearsals and set-up. She describes a scene she helped block, where she stood in for an actress coming out of the castle cellar with a handmaiden carrying her train behind her. She also mentions Sean Bean’s stand-in having given her a lift. Finally, she says she’ll be needed through Tuesday.

George R.R. Martin recounts having met a number of the actors at the hotel where much of the production is staying, and in particular notes that he feels some guilt at the horrors to be visited on the young actresses playing Arya and Sansa after having met them. Shooting resumes today, and from all accounts it seems like pretty much all the principals will be there, including Sean Bean.

Another Doune Report

Posting a report of what he saw yesterday, a poster at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum shared the following:

“Okay, so I popped in to Doune in mid-afternoon yesterday (24th). As has been said before, the staff were really courteous.

Dinklage was in the courtyard when I arrived, at that point we were being asked not to loiter so I went upstairs, turned a corner… and found myself in the great hall in Winterfell!
It was all set up for the feast, with tapestries on the wall and enough seating for about 50. It looked really cool - though as has been mentioned before in this thread, a lot smaller than I’d imagined. Went back down (after phoning my mates from Winterfell!) just before they were rehearsing a scene with Ghost - a very cute(!) white wolf puppy. I, along with the rest of the public were ushered away while they did the rehearsal, so can’t tell you anything about that.

Rehearsal must have ended then, because Dinklage left the set, chatting to (I think) Ron Donnachie (Rodrick Cassel). I think the glum looking (it was really cold and wet this weekend!) youth following behind in a hoody was Kit Harington (Jon Snow).”

UPDATE: Report from Inside Doune Castle

Game of Thrones is rolling along, and now one of our intrepid fans got an inside-look into the castle during filming. Needle, a long-time fan and acquaintance of GRRM’s, reported on her sneak peek, spotting Peter Dinklage and learning that Ghost (Jon Snow’s direwolf) had been on set yesterday. She says filming covers the courtyard, walls, great hall, and a kitchen sequence.

Turns out that this was not a sneak peek, however—she just arrived early enough that filming was not going on, and they were able to enter the castle, as Historic Scotland does not close any of its sites for filming. Instead, parts of the castle will be restricted as necessary. To follow up on her report, she added that she saw no one in costume, but Peter Dinklage’s hair was “blonde and longish, scruffy looking”. Echoing an earlier reporter (more on him later), the staff were very friendly at Doune Castle. Needle’s also a gifted artist, and found it amusing that she had “painted Winterfell before knew it was Winterfell”.

Loras provided some exciting reports, having gotten a better look at the outside of the castle than most, starting with discussions of what various screens, scaffolds, and “black boxes” on the castle walls might mean. He also shares the two pictures he was able to take before his camera gave out.

Another fan in the same thread, Gabriele, put up a virtual tour of Doune to give a better sense of the castle.

Finally, we’ve had an unverified report that Lena Headey may have been at Doune Castle as well—an “absolutely beautiful” woman with hair dyed blonde who was entering the castle, which the reporter thought was her but could not cofirm. So treat it as a rumor.

Sean Bean and Doune Castle

Via a tweet, we learn that crew are telling people dropping by Doune Castle that Sean Bean is not present for shooting over the weekend.  Bean (and possibly the rest of the primary and secondary actors?) will not be there until next week.

More From Momoa

Game of Thrones actor Jason Momoa has made another convention appearance, this time at Armageddon in New Zealand. A member of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, Le Saboteur, was there and shared a report, with video possibly to follow in a few days.

Some salient details include the fact that Momoa believes the haka he performed got him the job, and that it was a deeply personal one as he had performed it at the funeral of a cousin. He’s read A Game of Thrones and loved it, is intimidated by the fighting and riding scenes he’ll have to do… and seems quite confident that the series will be picked up.

Filming Begins

This is the first, official day of filming on HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones. As we’ve learned, filming will start at Doune Castle in Scotland, where photos and reports suggest that scenes will focus on the courtyard and possibly on the Great Hall for the feast scene at Winterfell. To add to this, creator and author George R.R. Martin posted that he was now in Edinburgh, suggesting he will be present for the first day of filming. Filming will continue at least through Monday.

At a guess, the cameo for GRRM that David Benioff and Dan Weiss were considering could very well take place during scenes filmed at Doune Castle.

Doune Castle Follow-up

From a fan who’s family had a photo of Doune Castle as crew were preparing it, it also seems that there are further details: his family saw a dead pig and dead deer props, as well as furniture, being moved into the castle. This very strongly suggests to us that not only will the castle be used for its courtyard, but that the castle’s Great Hall is going to be used for the Winterfell feast scene.

BBC on Doune Castle Filming

The BBC has a brief report concerning filming at Doune Castle, near Stirling in Scotland, over this weekend. Apparently, the production will be making use of the castle’s courtyard, as we’ve speculated previously.

Exec Producers Contemplate GRRM Cameo

David Benioff and D.B Weiss, executive producers of HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones, have once again dropped by the A Song of Ice and Fire forum to leave a message to the fans. They thank everyone for their casting suggestions, and mention a lot of great roles that they hope they’ll be asked to cast for in the future if the show gets greenlit (Renly, Varys, Ser Ilyn Payne, Littlefinger are the ones cited).

They leave off with, “And now to figure out George’s Stan Lee moment…,” which confirms what we’ve heard from a source close to the production: George R.R. Martin will have a cameo in the pilot. This will not be his first television appearance, as he twice had a cameo role in the TV show Beauty and the Beast, which he was a writer and producer on.

The Daily Beast Notices the Buzz

Nicole LaPorte of The Daily Beast has an article on the buzz over Game of Thrones, saying it has the potential to be the next “nerd obsession”. It includes brief remarks from GRRM, who was interviewed for the piece.

More on Fight Teams

According to a contact at the Clanranald Trust (who took time out of their busy schedule, as they’re on-location filming The Eagle of the Ninth), they confirm our earlier report of their “Combat International” fight team being involved in the production of HBO’s pilot of Game of Thrones. However, they note that their team is not going to be involved in any fight scenes, and will instead be more like extras, filling some of the roles of guards. They do hope that their services will be used again if the show goes to series,  however.

Poniewozik on Game of Thrones

James Poniewozik of Time.com weighs in on the buzz around HBO’s production of Game of Thrones, and like James Hibbard thinks that that HBO’s greenlighting the pilot suggests a certain level of confidence that it will go to series. He notes that he has no insider-knowledge to go on, simply an educated observation given his experience with the industry and knowledge of HBO’s past productions.

Clue Explanations from GRRM

Though he’s late for the party, GRRM explains some of the clues he left for eager fans concerning casting of some of the final roles. All the actors were guessed in short order, and HBO has already confirmed all of them.

More Confirmations

Jay Tomio at BSC Review confirms a number of speculated castings with HBO: “Joseph Mawle is Benjen Stark, Ron Donachie is Ser Rodrik Cassel, Donald Sumpter is Maester Luwin, and Ian McNeice is Ilyrio Mopatis”. All of these have been previously guessed based on GRRM’s clues, but it’s the first time that HBO has confirmed them. As the HBO source notes, these are relatively minor roles when compared to the leads, but it’s certainly good to have them made official.

Interview with Esmé Bianco

Paul Gude, a fixture over at Winter is Coming, has helped Esmé Bianco (cast as Ros, a prostitute) create a facebook page, and has now shared an interview with her. She discusses her career as a model, singer, and actress, and of course discusses her role in the pilot for Game of Thrones. She mentions that pretty much the entire cast performed a read-through recently, and that the cast was buzzing about the experience after finising the read-through.

Regarding Extras

Following our report on the casting of Myrcella, we should mention that such roles seem to be considered extras, or featured extras, and that there is a potential for them to be recast if the show is greenlit. At this past weekend’s Valleycon in Fargo, fans had a chance to interact with George R.R. Martin. A report from a member of the A Song of Ice and Fire forum reveals what GRRM had to say about non-speaking roles:

He says the same is the case for a number of minor Winterfell characters that are seen but have no lines, and it would simply not be possible to reshoot all the scenes, so there would definitely be differences in cast between the first and second episodes.  So the Tommen in the pilot will not be the Tommen in the series. They might go back and reshoot the Tommen scene, or they might not. But the same thing applies to a lot of the Winterfell minor characters that we see but don’t hear. And with so many, it will not be possible to reshoot all of the scenes. Sharp eyes might catch this. Most people won’t.

Myrcella Cast

While all major speaking roles have now been cast, a number of non-speaking extras or “featured extras” (as GRRM termed them) still seem a bit nebulous. It appears one of these has been filled today, however. According to a tweet from BreakParrGolf, his daughter Aimee has been cast in the role of Myrcella. Following his website link, it seems that the young lady that slaps him around a bit in his promotional golfing video is his daughter. The 2 minute mark gives the clearest picture of her.

Hibbard on Game of Thrones

James Hibbard of The Hollywood Reporter posts a cast list for Game of Thrones, based on what has been confirmed or has been all-but-confirmed. In the course of it, he notes that the high level of buzz is unusual, and also suggests that this sort of sprawling, costly production doesn’t go to pilot production unless the network is “pretty confident” that it will go to series.

A Glimpse at Filming Preparations

Thanks to Alister Black, we have some photos from Scotland’s Doune Castle, where we’ve recently learned that some scenes for Game of Thrones will be shot. Among the pictures is this one, which Alister explains shows members of the crew preparing for filming.

By the looks of it, the focus of their work is within the confines of the castle, possibly making use of the courtyard as a stand-in for one of Winterfell’s yards. This would fit the report of Louie Pastore, who indicates he will be a Lannister guard as part of the fight team that the Clanranald Trust is providing for the shoot. It may be that Lannister guards and others will be seen sparring in the background of some scene which is supposed to take place at the castle of Winterfell. It should be remembered, however, that extensive sets are being built in Belfast’s Paint Hall studio, and that primary filming will take place there.

Shooting for HBO’s pilot for the proposed adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire bestselling fantasy series commences on the 24th. A recent tweet from Esmé Bianco shows that rehearsals are now well under way in the run up.

Momoa Casting Confirmed by HBO

Intrepid TV critic Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune has confirmed with HBO that Jason Momoa has been cast as Khal Drogo. Momoa, best known for his role as Ronan Dex in Stargate: Atlantis, was a favorite choice among fans of the series when they discussed who should be cast. The character of Drogo is a barbaric warlord who marries the beautiful Daenerys Targaryen, an exiled princess who is one of the central characters of the A Song of Ice and Fire.

Shooting on HBO’s pilot begins October 24th, with shooting locations in Scotland, Ireland, and Morocco.

Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo

Via Twitter, we learn that the Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa has been cast in the part of Khal Drogo. He announced that he had just learned he had landed the role at the Armageddon Pop Culture Expo in Australia. He indicates that at the audition, he performed a haka war-dance as part of his audition, he said, and then apparently showed off his backside to the audience in preparation for further nudity in the pilot, which would mark both his first nude scene and his first sex scene as an actor. He also apparently mentioned disliking horses, and not really looking forward to the riding scene the pilot requires (much less the rest of the riding scenes that will be required if the show goes forward).

It seems possible that the spread of the news has led to his official website running into occasional capacity issues. Some photos from a panel Momoa took part in at this summer’s past Dragon*Con can be found at ]his official site forum.

As George R.R. Martin stated earlier, Drogo was the last significant role to be cast in HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones.

Follow Game of Thrones’ VFX Producer

From Your Industry Insider, we’ve learned that Julia Frey is involved in the production of HBO’s pilot for Game of Thrones. Listed as a VFX producer, she has taken part in location scouting and has chronicled the result of location scouting in Morocco and Scotland at her blog (1, 2, 3 [Pages have since been removed and are no longer available at the site.])

She’s currently in Belfast. One of the most interesting details is that it seems Doune Castle in Scotland has been selected as one shooting location. See our earlier post concerning the “Combat International” fight team that is being brought in to a Scottish castle for the filming.

Game of Thrones Fight Teams

Thanks to Louie Pastore, an expert in medieval and Scottish martial arts, we’ve learned that he’ll be involved as part of a fight team for scenes being filmed at a Scottish castle for HBO’s pilot episode of Game of Thrones. This is being done through the auspices of the Clanranald Trust, an organization dedicated to preserving and reenacting Scottish historic culture. The trust has formed “Combat International” to provide fight-teams to productions. Members have been involved in noteworthy films such as Gladiator, King Arthur, and Ridley Scott’s upcoming Robin Hood, and are now adding Game of Thrones to the list.

Clue Updates

We’ve mentioned GRRM’s latest clues for casting of HBO’s Game of Thrones pilot briefly, but we’d be remiss not to share the exact text and some of the speculations that have followed.

Bran Stark Confirmed

Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune confirms the casting of Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark. A child actor associated with the Kent Youth Theatre, Bran is one of the last outstanding roles remaining to be cast. Ryan adds that filming begins the 24th with Scotland and Morocco as additional locations, and the fact that the role of Khal Drogo is not yet cast.

George R.R. Martin adds a confirmation of Drogo not being cast in his remarks, and teases that the “gray man” (Maester Luwin) once had groupies, suggesting the actor may once have been a musician.

Buzzing Around Belfast

It seems a number of the actors who are confirmed or suspected to be cast—Jennifer Ehle, Esmé Bianco whose role as “Ros” (formerly “Red Headed Whore”) GRRM has confirmed in e-mail, and Jamie Campbell Bower who many believe is playing Waymar Royce—are travelling to Belfast in connection to the production. In fact, Campbell Bower has already returned from Belfast, indicating he had a “good readthrough” in a tweet. This suggests that much of the activity has to do with preliminary read-throughs of the pilot script by the various members of the cast, and possibly other production-related activities such as costume fittings.

Another Actor Confirmed

Following GRRM’s most recent clues, fans scoured the Internet to try and figure them out. Now one of them has been found for certain, as the actress Esmé Bianco—burlesque and cabaret performance, singing, and modelling are among her other activities—has the news up on her official website.

For those wondering what guesses are for the other two parts, Jamie Campbell Bower, who is involved in the most recent Twilight and Harry Potter adaptions, seems surest as Ser Waymar Royce. The third role, the one GRRM said no one would guess, seems to have been cracked by Paul Gude and the rest of the sleuths over at Winter is Coming seems to have cracked it: Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, who is a member of the Kent Youth Theater where the news ticker is presently congratulating him for a “role in a new series”. A photo can be found at the WiC site, and more can be seen at the Kent Youth Theater page such as this one (scroll down a bit).

Details on Featured Extras

In comments to his latest post, GRRM provides some details concerning the remaining speaking roles left to be cast, the writing out of a minor part, and a list of non-speaking roles or features extras that are set to appear in the pilot:

More Clues

On the heels of his most recent post, GRRM now provides more hints for three actors who have not been previously announced in roles. These are particularly befuddling, to say the least.

Last Prologue Character Cast

A quick update from GRRM on Game of Thrones, revealing that the third and final member of the trio of characters featured in the prologue has been cast. He provides no clues, however. He indicates that in three weeks or so he’ll be leaving for Ireland to see some of the shooting, and he will also travel to Morocco to watch some of the Daenerys shooting before returning to the U.S.

Notes from the Web

Some smaller pieces of news concerning HBO’s pilot adaption of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire”. First up, the 7’+ actor Conan Stevens provides an update (scroll towards the bottom) to an audition he first posted about in September. Providing more details, it seems almost certain that he auditioned for the role of Drogo, primarily with an eye towards having the casting directors see him so that they’ll remember him if the series goes forward and they need to find an actor for Gregor Clegane. He indicates that someone else has been chosen for the role he auditioned for.

Via Twitter, we came across tweets from Marisa Clayton, indicating that she will be working on post-production for Game of Thrones starting in February. An employee of post-production specialists Modern VideoFilm, she is listed as a digital intermediate producer in most of her entries at IMDB. Modern VideoFilm is a well-established, leading post-production company with extensive credits in both film and television, offering a range of post-production services. They also provide visual effects services, so it’s possible that they’ll handle digital effects for the pilot.

Game of Thrones Costume Designer

Adam Whitehead of the Wertzone points out that a costume designer for the pilot seems to be set: Michele Clapton (IMDB). She’s coming off a recent BAFTA victory in costume design for her work in “The Devil’s Whore”, and has also won acclaim for costuming a recent Sense and Sensibility television production and a Casanova TV series.

Another Game of Thrones Cast Member

George R.R. Martin provides some clues to another of the trio of actors cast for HBO’s Game of Thrones pilot, and it’s quite quickly solved thanks to the actor having the news on his own website already. Bronson Webb is a young actor with roles in a number of U.K. productions, and who has been involved in larger films such as a small role in Kingdom of Heaven. Given the title of the post, he’s playing the ranger Will, who viewers will be introduced to at the start of the pilot episode.

The Headless Brother

George R.R. Martin provides clues for another actor cast in a role for HBO’s Game of Thrones pilot that will begin filming this month. Given his previous item of news concerning “poor doomed souls” and the title of this post, the role that has been cast must be Gared, a veteran ranger of the Night’s Watch.