Filming Speculation Tyrion Lannister

Quick hits: castle set, scheduling conflicts and signs

Here’s a few news-worthy items on this Thursday morning:

  • A report from the Larne Times states that HBO has plans to build “a massive castle” on the site of the Magheramorne quarry (pictured below) in Northern Ireland. If I had to guess, I would say this is likely to be the Eyrie Red Keep. The article also mentions the open casting for extras that is scheduled for Saturday. If you live in Northern Ireland, be sure not to miss it as it could be your chance to appear in Game of Thrones!
  • Speaking of extras, I’ve received a report of a call for extras for the Hollywood film Knights of Badassdom with Peter Dinklage that gives us a better idea of the filming dates for the film.  Here are the details:

    PROJECT: Knights of Badassdom (synopsis below). Not yet rated (likely R)
    PRODUCER: NxNW Productions
    VENUE: Feature Film
    CHARACTERS: Extras/Background. LARPers
    We are searching for real LARPers … those who participate(d) in LARPing and have developed a character with costume. We will also be booking ‘newbie’-LARPers … those who may or may not have costumes … these could be anyone, they do not have to have LARPing experience; but all must fit the following specifications:

    Male or Female. Must be 18 or older and need to play between the ages of 19 – 40. They should appear to be the sort of people that would be gamers/role players. This is a very physical film. These people will possibly be “fighting” using foam swords/foam shields, other weapons. So, their looks and agility should reflect that.

    Real LARPers: July 21 – August 4
    Newbies n others: July 9 – July 14

    The second round of shooting indicates that filming will continue into August. This could mean that Dinklage may be a little late to the set of Thrones, depending on how long he is needed for Knights. If need be they could film scenes without Tyrion first until Dinklage arrives. Although if they are reshooting the pilot straight-away the one big scene that he will need to be present for is the feast in Winterfell. We will have to wait and see if this becomes an issue.

  • Lastly, production in Belfast continues to ramp up with “GOT” signs now littering the Belfast streets, directing crew members from the Paint Hall to some unknown location (possibly the quarry set?). Rimshot has provided a photo of one of the signs. Now we just need someone to follow the signs and find out where they lead!
  • Oops, forgot to mention this one (thanks for the reminder, HmR!). Russian ASOIAF fan site has an interview with Dothraki creator David J. Peterson and Sai Emrys of the Language Creation Society. The interview touches on subjects such as Dothraki’s similarity to Russian, the chance we might see other created languages for Game of Thrones and Peterson’s impression of the books and the Dothraki people.

[Thanks to The_Rabbit and Rimshot for the quarry set and sign report, respectively.]


  • Well it has to be the Eyrie or or the Red Keep, but yeah the Eyrie makes the most sense as it probably needs the most outside shots.

    So excited to see actual signs up in Ireland!

    • The Eyrie is mostly indoors as far as the actors are concerned. They will use either a model or CGI for the exteriors. The only Eyrie exteriors we'll see with actors are the courtyard, which is probably pretty small, and the underside where Tyrion gets into the cage to be hoisted up.

      There might also be a shot of the Sky Cells from the exterior, but that will be an effects shot, mostly.

  • If they could build three huge hills on the site, that would be the spitting image of King's Landing, with the Blackwater running along the top of the image before entering into Blackwater Bay (Larne Lough) :-)

    You could also have the castle right up against the waterfront and then, with various camera trickery, you could also have Harrenhal (not needed until Season 2 though).

  • Could be Castle Black with the quarry wall CGIed to be the Wall too. The actual castle isn't much, but there is a pretty big complex that makes up the Nightswatch's HQ.

  • I would think that any shots of the Red Keep up on the cliff would be far easier and less expensibe to pull off with CGI.

  • *Slight Spoilers* I bet the Eyrie will be handled with a model. They'll most likely build the throne room set and a courtyard set (for the Bronn trial by battle). But a quarry sounds more likely to be a stand in for the Wall or like some have suggested Kings Landings cilffs. I would think it's Castle Black though.

    • Oh and skycells the will be an Eyrie set as well. I can't wait for those. I hope the director of that episode really captures the vertigo inducing aspect of the skycells.

  • I just hope HBO produces a lot of behind the scenes material for the DVD / Blu-Ray set, comparable to the LOTR dvd set extras!

  • Eh? You seriously think they are going to build a Massive Castle for a location that is in at most 2 episodes (probably 1)? That makes no sense.

    Nah it'll be Winterfell or something in King's Landing. Or maybe Castle Black.

  • Well, I have no idea which castle is going to be there, but if I had to pick one, I'd say Red Keep. KL is a very central place to the story.

    Those GOT signs are rather cute

  • They're obviously not going to build a castle set for each castle in the books. The smart approach would be to build some kind of modular set where they can move walls around, maybe spin them around for different colours to reflect the different construction materials in different parts of the continent and so on. They could then use the same set for Winterfell, the Eyrie, Riverrun, Castle Black, Harrenhal, the Red Keep and so on. Throw in digitally-adjusted backgrounds and change the sigils on the walls, and this can work quite well.

    An analogy is that in the LotR movies they built Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith on the same location and moved things around and changed the wall colours when it became time to film the MT stuff (and Helm's Deep looks seemless in the movie but in reality it was filmed in three separate locations digitally composited together), although they had more freedom then as the HD stuff was completed and wouldn't be needed again, so they could permanantly change layouts around.

  • You guys are right. The Red Keep is a much more likely candidate for this castle set. The Eyrie is not going to be in it enough to justify the huge costs. I just saw the steep incline and my first thought was of the climb to the Eyrie.

    Castle Black is probably a second option.

  • I am inclined to believe they might be using the quarry area to construct Bigatures, ala LOTR, afterall WETA used a quarry as the site for some of their famous Bigatures, which are without a doubt the most comprehensive models ever built, with the exception of the 2/3 scale Titanic. That quarry is bigger than the one WETA used, so I can see them constructing a series of full scale sets and bigatures of K.L. near the water, Castle Black against the cliff, and perhaps the Eyrie, along with others for future seasons.
    The entry gate and courtyard for Minas Tirith along with the top palace was built in the quarry, a full scale portion of Helms Deep was built in the same quarry, along with a scaled bigature of it as was other sets and bigatures.
    WETA afterall found that constructing a 1/50 scale model had a far more realistic look than a 1/1000 scale model, and of course they were right, the bigatures were so highly detailed because of their size that lighting, shadows worked perfectly making them appear full scale with camera work, and when cgi figures were incorporated into the bigatures in post production, there was a sense of realism that cgi could not match.
    Gives me goosebumps that they are actually going this route, this is becoming bigger than I ever imagined.

    • oh, I like this idea very much. you're probably right. That has to be the way to do it.

      and if they're using LOTR techniques for GOT, I can't help but feel this will be the greatest, biggest TV show EVER!!!!

      • dont jinx it! :P

        seriously though- i share the sentiment completely. i didn't think they would actually build a friggin' castle o_0 !

        *freezes himself in the mountains (with some help) and hopes to wake up on Premiere day*

  • They also need the Twins and Riverrun… and then in CoK they'll need Dragonstone, Pyke, Harrenhall…
    (only counting the great castles they need to show from outside)
    man, this show will be HUGE!!! I'm guessing lots of it will be CGI, but still…

    So IMO, the castle the will build in the quarry will be used for multiple locations, mainly the Red Keep, but I bet the cliffs will also serve for the Eyrie climb.

  • Why in the world would they spend a bunch of money to construct a castle for the Eyrie? Which is barely in the books, except for a couple of chapters. Plus, the Eyrie is in the Mountains not a stepped cliff. I put money on King's Landing, that is where the most action takes place of all the castles, plus you got the water to think about. This spot works perfectly for what I envision for King's Landing.

  • I wonder if they'd build both the Red Keep and Castle Black? That way they could CGI the quarry wall for BOTH the cliff and The Wall?

  • Whether it is for the Red Keep, Castle Black, the Eyrie or all of the above, it is pretty clear that HBO is willing to invest some serious money into this production.

  • **** SPOILER-ISH*****

    I agree with the multipurpose sets to some extent but I also think the main set will be predominantly KL. Like the idea of the bigatures. The area could also be used in later seasons for the cities Dany visits. I wonder if they'll make use of the water at a later date, ships, Tyrions chain etc.

    It's fun to speculate ;)

  • Here is a link to a youtube video of Gandalf's ride up Minith Tirith, advance to the 1 min mark as that is where the scene begins. When Gandalf enters the city, that is a set constructed in the quarry, when he turns a corner and the camera pans skyward, that is the bigature, along with the buildings at ground level in the distance. All the wide shots are the bigature with Gandalf and people cgi inserted, the ground shots are sets, but only the first 10-15 feet or so of the buildings, everything above and in the distant is the bigature. When he climbs to the palace, the courtyard grass and the door to the palace is a set, the areas around and the palace structure is the bigature.

  • Here is a link to the bigature of Helms Deep you can see the quarry in the background and appreciate the massive size of this bigature, which was 1/20 scale.

  • Looks like some major set =)

    OT but I've been wondering this ever since I first read the books: Where does the nickname 'Ned' (as in Eddard of course) come from? I mean most nicknames I know seem to resemble the real name/person at least up until some point. Or is Ned his second name or something? (If there is such a thing in Westeros…) Any thoughts???

        • Same reason they have the last name Johnson, Pecker, Bush, or Wunderlich? It's taken a good century for it to be ok for kids to get named John after John Crapper invented the western toilet.

          You heard it on the internet, so it must be true.

        • THat's funny. In spanish we have a similar case with Rafael being shortened to Falo, which means… you know what. And even worse, It's common to use the form "Falín" ( literally, "little dick") referring to little children or the son of a Rafael.

          But then again, one of the most common women names is Dolores, that means "Pains", referring to childbirth pains, so….

          And, in name transformations, Francisco can be Fran, Paco, Paquito, Curro, Francis, Cisco…

    • Ned would be a nickname for Eddard, much as Dick is a nickname for Richard. I get your meaning, it doesn't exactly "match up," but I don't think that there is any further significance it.

    • Bill for William, there's lots of examples of this, I've heard of "Ned" for Edward before… they just kind of sound the same.

    • Not all nicknames are like that. Sasha is a Russian nickname for Alexander. Peggy for Margaret in English or Jim for James.

      • When Peggy on Mad Men was looking for a roommate and signed her advert with Margaret I was wondering why she would use a fake name. Imagine my surprise at finding out later… I'm still not entirely convinced that this name/nickname combo actually exists.

        • It's incredibly common. Or at least it used to be. In my grandparent's generation, it was THE name/nickname combo that everybody had to have. In fact, my grandmother was universally known as 'Peggy' even though her real name WASN'T Margaret – the nickname was too fashionable to pass up! But at the time all Margarets would be Peggys (with a few Maggys, I guess).

          Another example: "Ned" for "Edward". There's one down the road from me, for a start.

          [Unfortunate connotations, really: 'Ned' is like having the main character be called 'Nigel', 'Reg', or 'Steve']

    • Edd/ward turning into Ned actually has some explanation (my linguistic geekiness coming thru): it's a result of false division. "an Ed (short for Edward)" got reanalysed as "a Ned". That's also why you have 'nuncle', 'apron' (originally 'napron'), and 'adder' (originally 'nadder'). An interesting language change.

    • I just think that – much like my theory about "cliché" or not rainbow knights etc for Renly, this could be jovial wink to readers.
      In either case I think he chose Ned because it's similar to Ed, for Eddard, but different. I mean he couldn't have real IRL nicks on poeple, taht'd just be weird..

  • I'm sure the schedule situation isn't a problem. Dinklage wouldn't have signed on to the other project if it was going to interfere. I'm guessing he has a brief part they are able to shoot in a couple of days and that won't get in the way of Thrones.

    • If the GoT shoot begins with a reshooting of the Morocco material, that gives them another week before they need Dinklage, taking them into early August. After that it becomes more difficult, as they'll need him to reshoot the feast and the party's arrival at Winterfell. If they decide to reshoot everything with the kids because Kit's hair looks different and the kids look older, they'll need him to also redo the scene between Tyrion and Jon Snow, although they'd still be able to keep the scene with Ros.

      I can't remember the breakdown, but in Episode 2 they also have the trip from Winterfell to the Wall (and their arrival there?) where Tyrion has some scenes as well.

      • Depending on how the scenes were shot, it's possible they can even shoot around Tyrion for those scenes he's in with the other new cast members and won't need him to reshoot the pilot at all. We can't really say without having seen any of the footage, but such things are sometimes done.

    No idea if they will build one, two or several castles there, but the bottom of the quarry wall would be Great for scenes arounf Castle Black. Also, there is a strip of the quarry wall that would be perfect for scenes atop the Wall (I can see Jon ad Tyrion up there already in my mind's eye).
    I'm not really sure what scenes in GoT would need a big non GCI Red Keep in GoT (Hmm maybe the scenes where characters climb up and down the secret handholds?). Thinking of the John Adams behind-the-scenes documentary we've seen, and establishing shots with the Red Keep in the background could easily be handled that way. If we get a second season the Battle of Blackwater might require more of a castle set though.
    Most of the Red Keep scenes I would think would be done similar to the John Adams stuff where the eye level would by set and the view above that would be computer created?

    • The sets aren't important for the establishing shots, but they will need plenty of castle walls and crenelated catwalks, courtyards, bases of towers and such for the Red Keep, Winterfell, the Twins and Castle Black. I assume all vistas and establishing shots of these places will be CGI, or maybe bigatures.

  • apoligies if someone else already too care of this, but coordinates for Google Earth are 54*48'39.06" N 5*45'52.65"W. Or you can just type in Magheramorne. Pretty amazing stuff!

  • Reed keep or more likely castle black. I think for the Eyrie they would use a model, and for the "getting there" scenes, prob the highlands up in scotland.

  • On another topic, recently I've purchased a very cool Kodak Zi8 camcorder and a Fat Gecko car mount. I've been playing around with 'In Car videos' and it seems to work pretty well.

    I thought it was about time that I took you guys on a tour of our beautiful city of Belfast so I'm going to have a go at recording some vids and then putting them on YouTube. I'm new to all this so please be gentle with me! I think for my first one I'll have a drive from my work, down through the Titanic Quarter and past a certain hall!

    – please note that I will not film anything that could potentially cause problems for the production. I'm simply driving past places of interest and it will be extremely unlikely that anything of note from a production POV will be seen. This is just for fun and to show off NI a bit.

  • Hmmmm….

    I had put up another post but it seems the ID gremlins have eaten it! It just said that I know Magheramorne well as the wife and I had our wedding reception in Magheramorne House Hotel (not there anymore). Also, this quarry has been used for filming before. It was used for an Iraqi market scene which was blown up in 'Messiah'. The quarry is 15 mins from me on the Larne coast road (I live in a wee village beside Carrickfergus which has it's own kick-ass Castle!).

    First vid up soon, then I might follow a certain sign!

  • Of course they are looking for LARPers on the west coast and not the east coast *pouts*
    They should probably specify that they are looking for "boffer LARPers" or else they're going to get their hands full of White Wolf players XD

    Anyway, all this news is so exciting! I can't believe we have to wait a good year to see it. I'm chomping at the bit.

  • I just had a thought while I was half-asleep in bed (yeah its pretty sick that my first thoughts in the morning are related to a show that isn't even in production yet).
    While I agree that the Harper Lee clue is probably about Little Finger, it could also refer to the casting of the actor to play Marillion. The clue could work extra-well if the actor hired to play him was named Lee (first, middle or last name).

    • That's a very inspired thought, imo. How cool it would be if the clue referred to them both!

      I feel that the greatest evidence against Harper Lee ~ Littlefinger is exactly its obviousness. If I were GRRM I would want to lead the crazy fans astray, especially given how quickly the last clues were solved.

      • I agree with the obviousness of the clue, but if it was for LF George was just referring to the role not the actor so maybe it was just a quick softball to keep us attentive.

        • Dunno, I somehow got the impression that GRRM won't be giving us any clues about this actor, that he just hinted us the announcement is coming (soon).

  • Hmm it also occurs to me that the Lee in the clue could refer to the name of the guy cast as LF as well. I believe we have mentioned Jaime (no not David, I'm hoping against hope that he will be Varys) Bamber (Lee Adama) for the role in the past no?
    So you guys tell me… Why do I even bother to post these hair-brained thoughts before my first cup of joe in the morning ;P

  • Hey Rimmy, any chance you can hook up the camera and follow the signs? I can't see the harm in that.

  • Disappointing news: John Simm is doing a month-long run of HAMLET in September-October, which would almost certainly completely rule him out as Littlefinger:

    Charles Dance is also currently filming a new project, but that's expected to wrap up within the month, well short of the start of GoT filming overall let alone when he'd be needed if he were to be cast as Tywin:

    • Based on TRUE BLOOD and TREME, maybe not. They were both renewed after only the first one or two episodes were aired, based on initial ratings and critical acclaim. In addition, HBO wait a long time before releasing DVDs. DVD and Blu-Ray sales of Season 1 will likely help determine if it gets renewed for a third season, but ratings, subscriptions and buzz will be more important to get the show renewed for a second year.

    • When does HBO usually release the DVD's of their series? Wont they have already made a decision regarding a second season before the first season is released on dvd?

      • Same here.

        Hey!! HBO!! Release soon the DVD to us folks who cannot subscribe to the channel!!! Yes, I want to give you money!

  • Totally off topic here guys, but I was looking at the IMDB site for AGOT and saw that Brian Thompson is casted. Any one know what roll he will be playing?

    • iMDB isn't a reliable site to check for casting news. I believe it's like Wikipedia where anyone who has proper privileges can edit it. There's been a few false listings on the GOT page alone before.

    • Some people wanted him to play either The Hound or Gregor. Any fan can add a name to the list there, and sometimes fans jump the gun or put an actor they like in there because they think it will help them get the part for some reason. It happened early in the first round of casting when someone put the actress Holly Marie Combs in as Catelyn, but she was never even in contention for the part. Unfortunately there is something wrong with the database for the GoT entry so we can't go back in there and remove these incorrect names, now. I have tried. So, we're stuck with Brian Thompson's name on the list, unless the database gets fixed. We can add names, but can't remove them or fix errors anymore.

      • Wikipedia is 1000% more reliable than IMDB when it comes to casting. Anything not 100% confirmed immediately gets either removed or marked with a clear "Citation Needed" note. It always baffles me when people act as if Wikipedia is some trove of misinformation.

        IMDB is good only for movies or TV series that have actually been released.

        I don't know how long it was between the official announcements of Michelle Fairley and Emilia Clarke and the time they were actually listed by the IMDB, but it was a while in both cases. Roy Dotrice and Kristian Nairn probably won't have their names listed for a while yet, either.

        And let's not even go into the debacle as to which Sophie Turner was the proper one…

  • Well, let see. Simm's out of the running. Hollander's probably out because of his new TV show. Gillen might still be doable but Callis is also out because his new role on EUREKA (but Simm and Hollander are way bigger names than those two). Any suggestions of who would be a bigger name talent than those?

    • I don't know if he's a bigger name, but Hans Matheson has ALWAYS been my Littlefinger. I liked the idea of Hollander, because he fit the part exactly and was also short, but I didn't like his age. But they aged Catelyn up after that, so a 41-year-old Littlefinger no longer seemed a problem.

      Anyway, here's Matheson at his Littlefinger-y-est.

      • Good suggestion of casting Hans Matheson, recognize his face from Mists of Avalon and Holmes, he is too young though for Petyr Baelish, but he would make a great Bronn.

    • My sneaky pick is one Dominic Monaghan, formerly of Lord of the Rings, Lost, X-Men: Origins and Flashforward. His last gig's been cancelled, he's short, he proved in Flashforward he can play more than just loveable underdog and he has a habit of finding the big geek projects. I'd love to see what he could bring to the role.

      • Interesting. I can imagine him saying, "I did tell you not to trust me," right now, in fact. But too young, I think. At 33 he'd be a great match for Littlefinger in the books, but at 12 years younger than Michelle Fairley, probably way too young for the TV version.

        • Same here. I thought about him as soon as FlashForward was cancelled, but he just seems too young. I still think Eddie Izzard would be an interesting dark horse candidate. I thought he did nice work in Revengers Tragedy. There are a bunch of folks from the US I could think of as possibly working, but I think we're all pretty much of the opinion that they'll stick with UK actors at this point, yes?

          It's also going to be interesting to see how big a deal the actor's height is. I've been looking at mostly shorter famous actors from the UK, but most of them all have projects.

          The other question I have, is whether a higher profile actor will mean that Littlefinger will get greater prominence early-on in the show than he did in the books, becoming sort of the Swearengen to Ned's Bullock.

      • Can he speak in Received Pronunciation? I can't imagine Littlefinger speaking with his pseudo-cockney accent. He may have come from very little, but Littlefinger likes to carry himself with the air of an Aristocrat.

  • I was trying to find the transcript from GRRM's, David' and Dan's appearance on Second Life back in May 2007. I am curious to know what they had to say on the HBO series subject… The link to the Westeros Forum provided in the comments from the NotaBlog related post doesn't work…

  • I notice the walls are on the south end of the quarry… How big of an issue is this lighting wise? or is it actually preferable that way?

  • Guys, about the signs. I had a we look at them yesterday and there are three directing traffic from the paint hall onto the M3 in the direction of Larne. This is also the way I drive home so I looked out for more sign but there aren’t any as far as Carrickfergus. It seems that these signs are just to get traffic out of Belfast and onto the right road. I suspect that when arriving in Magheramorne the signs will resume directing traffic to the quarry (you can’t miss the quarry. It’s just off the main road and is massive!). So there’s no point in following the signs. I did my first wee car vid yesterday so I’ll get that up soon.

    • Well, that signs serve to the builders of the set, perhaps.
      I think it is not to early for start of "the building the castle", because they need the castle Black in the early stage of the principal photography (episode 2 or 3).

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