Filming News

GRRM: Quarry site of Castle Black set

The Wall ... erm, quarry cliffsAccording to a recent post by George R. R. Martin, the Magheramorne quarry in Northern Ireland will be the location of the Castle Black set.

The LARNE TIMES broke the story a “massive castle” being build in an old quarry near Magheramorne for HBO’s GAME OF THRONES. The quarry is about forty minutes north of Belfast, near the town of Larne.

I can confirm that, more or less. The set being built at Magheramorne will be our Castle Black. Not actually THAT massive a castle — much of Castle Black will be created in post with CGI — but it will come complete with a fully operable winch elevator, David and Dan tell me.

Winter Is Coming: A fully operable winch elevator? That’s pretty cool. Will be interesting to see that in action. George also mentions not to try and visit the site due to safety reasons. Probably sound advice, last thing we need is some over-zealous fans getting crushed by a falling boulder or something.


  • Interesting. They can probably put the winch cage right up against one of those tall, flat quarry walls. Bluescreen the wall, make it look like ice, and voila!~

  • I guess Castle Black made the most sense. Wonder what they'll do for the Red keep – especially the courtyard -, though. Lots of Ned brooding back and forth there.

    Edit: Not to mention the streets of Kings landing – man!

    • I bet they do an all indoors set for King's Landing, like was done for City of Ember, also shot at Paint Hall. The Ember set was something like the biggest ever built, or close to it I believe. They may want more control of the elements for all the KL shooting they will have to do. KL is supposed to be in the balmy, warm South, which is not very N. Ireland-like, while The Wall is up north, so inclement weather is something they could actually take advantage of for scenes at the Wall.

      • But City of Ember was supposed to look like it was indoors/underground. What about the streets of King's Landing? That should definitely be built outside.

        • Most of the important action in KL takes place indoors. The exceptions can be handled via the normal trickery of a small, interchangeable practical location/set and cg for any required wider shots.

          The big challenge will be the scene on the steps of Baelor's Sept, which will require a larger and more comprehensive location, but it should be well within the scope of the show's budget. From what I've seen of it, The Tudors handles this sort of thing pretty well.

  • A fun post to read in its entirety, so do so. We have are answer, neither the Red Keep nor Eyrie then. A number of posters got it right, associating the quarry cliffs with the Wall. It would be exciting to get a behind-the-scenes video of this set as well one day, suspension of disbelief notwithstanding. Comment away with more ideas and speculations.

  • I can't wait to see the final product. The Wall is probably the most mystical and symbolical place in all of Westeros and I for one have always had the impression that it holds the true spirit of the books.

    // btw According to George's most recent blog-update Paul Engelen is joining the team.

    • I admit that I never heard of him, but his credits are fantastics!

      I know it would sounds a little bit weird for a chick who likes football :D, but the first reaction to the Engelens credits were the awesome ear-rings Connie Nielsen wore in Gladiator.
      Hopefully our ladies would wear something simillar.
      I am crazy about the ear-rings! :D

  • I'd never guess that it'll be Castle Black. That's cool (also literally ;) )! I wonder though where/how are they gonna do Red Keep. Now I wish I lived in Ireland (quite popular migration destination for Polish, in fact).

  • Oh well, there goes my bigature theory, but it's cool that they are building a full scale set of Castle Black, even though it's a partial set, more than likely the first couple of stories of the buildings and towers and cgi will complete the remainder.
    That quarry though is easily big enough to accomodate a bunch of sets.

    • I liked your bigature theory, but I think bigatures require someone like Weta. LOTS of time and money went into the bigatures for LOTR.

  • A quarry. What the hell is it with the UK television and quarries?

    …In other news, actor Tom Baker has been confirmed as being cast in the role of Lord Mormont and HBO has commissioned a high res 12 million polygon model of a "Dalek Plunger" to enhance the planned CGI effects for The Others.

      • Probably you are not much of a Doctor Who fan. Quarries were the locations that used to pass as alien planets in the old Doctor Who series. Different planets and always the same quarry made the whole thing a sort of running joke between fans, similar thing to the same canadian forest standing for different planets in the Stargate series.

        • Hey that reminds me of how the same italian forest stood for all the italian and gaul forests in the show Rome. ….You know, while they were riding horses through the woods. Which they did a lot.

          I hope they ride horses through the woods a lot less in GoT.


  • Had a hunch it was going to be castle black. With all the rocks and the general feeling of a barren landscape, it was the logical connection.
    I believe North Ireland has plenty of impressive natural beauty.
    If they decide to use somtething like a quarry it has to be for a kind of harsh haunted place like the far north.

  • Had nothing to do at work, so I decided to read up on Magheramorne. Apparently the site is part of a mayor redevelopment effort as can be read on
    If you review the "masterplan" for the location then you can see part of it to be used for film studios…. Note though that the 120 M high Quarry walls of the most interesting part are planned to be part of a "world cycling centre" for MTB fanatics. looks to me like some conflicts of interest are going on here. throw away those bikes and give us the WALL

  • I have a few shots of Castle Black if you’re interested! The site is potentially dangerous, as stated by one poster, but I was born and grew up in the area so know it well.