The Writer’s Guild of America has begun a strike, which means members of the guild will not be writing for any productions they’re working on. There’s a lot of questions about just what this means for many productions, questions that Variety has tried to answer with its FAQ. But fans of House of the Dragon have worried about the show being delayed because of the strike, and as it happens, Variety has an answer for that question as well.
Per Variety, all the scripts for the season have been finished ahead of time, and production will continue. So, good news! However, as some may realize, most scripts are not completely done and in final form when a show is produced. There’s often talk of rewrites and the need to ADR (“Automated Dialogue Replacement”) to insert new dialogue or change existing dialogue. As Variety notes, it’s unclear just how that aspect of things will work for programs already in production. Will they take different footage from different angles to give them more wiggle-room to add entirely new dialog when a character’s mouth can’t be seen? Will they employ some of the new tech out there to simply dynamically change a character’s lips to the words they’re saying? We live in fascinating times, as it were.
To mark the occasion of the official start of production of House of the Dragon, HBO has put out a press release with the announcement, a remark from showrunner and lead writer Ryan Condal, and some other notes, plus a nice behind-the-scenes shot of the Iron Throne:
Production has commenced on the second season of HBO Original drama series House of the Dragon at Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom.
Logline: Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen.
Ryan Condal, Co-Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, quote: “House of the Dragon has returned. We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can’t wait to share what we have in store.”
Hot on the heels of EW‘s exclusive, the Hollywood Reporter has published a two-part extravaganza from Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon chronicler James Hibberd (Part 1, Part 2 digging further into both the origins of House of the Dragon, its story and production, and the future of the show as well as other shows in the Game of Thrones universe.
Prince Daemon trying out his brothers chair.
A new report from Variety shares a piece of information from an anonymous “production insider”: the 10 episode first season of House of the Dragon managed an average per episode budget somewhat under $20 million. This is cited as a great achievement given rising production costs and the greater number of dragons that will need to be CGed in the series. Variety reports:
[T]he production insider says HBO is now so adept at these world-building series through years of not just GoT, but also producing Westworld”and His Dark Materials, that the team can make a high-quality series as efficiently and effectively as possible.
By way of comparison, the final season of Game of Thrones cost somewhere in the vicinity of $15 million an episode.
Random House has revealed their publishing plans for the summer, and fans have noticed that July seems particularly stacked with House of the Dragon tie-ins using Fire and Blood as the focal material.
First, Random House revealed that on July 12th they will publish tie-in editions of Fire and Blood that will feature a cover using photography from House of the Dragon. Second, Random House announced that the 2023 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar, to release on July 19, will be based entirely on Fire and Blood. And, in a departure from the previous calendars, this will feature an array of artists rather than just one. No word yet as to who has contributed.
Fans may notice these July dates, and speculation has run that the dating relates to the as-yet-unannounced premiere of House of the Dragon.
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Things have been quiet on the House of the Dragon front since their filming in Cornwall led to fans getting their first glimpses of some of the lead actors in costume. Now, thanks to Spanish newspaper Hoy, we learn (thanks to our friends at Los Siete Reinos) that House of the Dragon is set to film for three weeks in October in the Extremaduran city of Cáceres and the town of Trujillo. Both of these were used during filming of Game of Thrones, with the town of Trujillo providing the walls of King’s Landing and Cáceres as the location for a procession scene in King’s Landing featuring Euron Greyjoy as well as scenes set in Oldtown.
Per Los Siete Reinos, the three weeks would include pre-production time, so actual filming there will be shorter.
Update June 30th: A second article from Hoy concerning the filming in Cáceres also reveals that the show will be filming in the Portuguese village of Monsanto.
The second season of Ryan J. Condal’s and David H. Mandel’s podcast about movie props, The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of, has launched. This first episode is ostensibly about the 40th anniversary of Raiders of the Lost Ark and the bullwhip famously wielded by Indiana Jones, but in the course of it some hints about House of the Dragons were provided by Condal.
The first piece of information concerned plans for future episodes, with Condal stating that he’ll be getting one of the members of the HotD production to be a guest to discuss what he or she does. He did promise it would be spoiler-free, because otherwise he’d be fired, but we can expect some interesting discussion in the weeks to come.
The second piece of information was that Condal confirmed there would be “bespoke” swords for “heroes”—that is, custom-made swords for leads and significant characters—but that the armorer that has been hired for the show has a vast supply of swords from past productions he has worked on that will be among those used for background performers and the like. In fact, according to Condal, the supply of past weaponry or armor that an armorer or swordsmith can bring to a production is part of the calculation when deciding who to hire.
So, whoever is responsible for the swords on House of the Dragon is someone with a great deal of experience making swords for film and television productions. We would guess that they are also UK based, as it would just be very convenient. Interestingly, Condal mentioned Terry English (Excalibur, Aliens) several times in the course of the podcast, but a look at his credits suggest he may be retired from the gruelling production schedule.
After a deal of footage has made its way to the internet from photographers with long lenses, HBO has now released to media images of some of the costumed lead performers from House of the Dragon. These feature Emma D’Arcy and Matt Smith as Rhaenyra Targaryen and Daemon Targaryen, Steve Touissant as Corlys Velaryon, and Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans as Alicent Hightower and her father Otto Hightower. See the images below, with some comments.
Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen” and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen. Typical Targaryen looks, as expected. Rhaenyra’s costuming fits the description of her preferred colors and textiles such as maroon and velvets. Her long braid is also drawn from Martin’s description.
After a number of flame emojis were tweeted by the official Game of Thrones Twitter account, with the number growing every 15 minutes, the burst of flames culminated in the exciting announcement that production of House of the Dragon has commenced in a tweet with an intriguing picture of a distanced production team (including, if I’m not mistaken, showrunners Miguel Sapochnik and Ryan J. Condal):
Fire will reign— House of the Dragon (@HouseofDragon) April 26, 2021
The @HBO original series #HouseoftheDragon is officially in production. Coming soon to @HBOMax in 2022. pic.twitter.com/tPX8n2IvGW
Although we’re not generally planning to track details of filming of HBO’s House of the Dragon, a recent report from Cornwall Live caught our attention for a couple of reasons. One, we did not know that the famous Mont-Saint-Michel has a Cornish cousin in St. Michael’s Mount (apparently in close vicinity to Penzance harbor, of The Pirates of Penzance fame!) Secondly, and more to the point, one of the photos revealed what appears to be the show’s version of the heraldic arms of House Velaryon… and they don’t fit what George R. R. Martin confirmed to us over 20 years ago.
This mail, from our first year of correspondence with GRRM, refers to the fact that he had been visiting Westeros.org to look at the heraldry we had been producing from the books and then from his own notes. Though my original mail to him is lost, from context I think I must have remarked that we took a guess that he meant an actual seahorse and not the mythical or sea-horse (confusingly, both are also known as hippocampus).
GRRM has finally gotten his wish to break some news regarding House of the Dragon, revealing that British actor Fabien Frankel has been cast in the role of Criston Cole, a knight who will remembered (and reviled) in later days as the Kingmaker. A classically-trained actor who attended RADA and LAMBDA, he is a relative newcomer with his first credits in 2019 (the Emilia Clarke romcom Last Christmas, no less!) Most recently he has appeared in The Serpent, a BBC-Netflix co-production.
Fabien Frankel in Gone Today. Here Tomorrow.
According to a report from Icelandic news site Visir, it looks like Game of Thrones filming will wrap on the 24th or 25th. That’ll be 138 or 139 days—four and a half months—since production started. And much of it at a dead run, with at least two units, and sometimes three, working in four different locations across that time span.
So, the last few days of the production are happening right now. And according to Cat Talor, today’s a “BIG day”. Hrm… !
Updated: We’ve mailed George for a comment, and he confirmed that they are indeed going forward with episode titles, Excellent news! Responding to my question about the episode titles, Bryan Cogman replies that HBO has not officially approved the titles as of yet, so we’ll have to wait on their being revealed, but he believes we’ll be liking them.
Thanks to the gentleman at Television Zombies, we have a new interview with George. Some good stuff there, raging over a number of topics, but something George mentions at the end is of particular interest for those keeping track of developments on HBO’s Game of Thrones. He notes again that he’s written episode 8… and gives its title: “The Pointy End”.
This was the title he originally intended when he sent in the draft, but since then we were informed that the producers were leaning to simply numbering episodes, a fact we’ve seen in various Making Game of Thrones posts. But this interview, from less than a week ago, brings up the title again and we’re guessing (tentatively) that the producers have at last started putting proper titles on the episodes.
When we ran a poll at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, something north of 90% of those polled disliked the idea of simply having numerals for episodes, so this is a great decision if true. We’re looking forward to a full list of episode titles in the future.
Although filming wrapped last week on HBO’s Game of Thrones, details still come out on occasion concerning the production’s doings. Via DocFourFour, we’ve learned that the Belfast Telegraph-owned Sunday Life newspaper includes a report on the production having filmed at Inch Abbey in Downpatrick. Their report indicates that the site was used for a “renegade camp”, featuring a “Medieval fort” with tents around it, and that there was fake blood at the site.
This is the site where filming took place over at least a couple of days, I believe, around the 10th or 11th. Don’t hold me to it, but I think I recall seeing at the production offices during my set visit in October that Inch Abbey was being used as the site of Moat Cailin in the series. Certainly, I saw Moat Cailin listed, but I’m not 100% positive that Inch Abbey was the real world location associated with it; however, some of the photos of the ruins with tussocks of grass around it strike me as doing reasonably well to indicate the marshy, ruined old citadel of the First Men. If it is Moat Cailin, however, I’m not sure how to reconcile that with the fake blood. Unless different angles or areas of Inch Abbey were used to represent a battle site or something like? Hard to say.
Oh, I’ve been waiting for this one. Simon Brindle, the supervisor of the costume armor department, speaks in some detail about the costume armor for HBO’s Game of Thrones. I had the pleasure of meeting Simon when I visited the Paint Hall facilities, and had a chance to discuss some of the sources and inspirations for the various suits of armor. There’s some truly amazing work being turned out from his shop!