Day 60: Filming continues at Castle Ward
By Winter Is Coming on in Filming, Speculation.

We are now nearly a third of the way through this planned 30-week shoot for Game of Thrones. It sounds like they are continuing to film at Castle Ward. Last week it was reported that they would be filming at Castle Ward for a bit more, then would be heading to Tollymore and Greyabbey. According to some of the crew, there are close to 50 locations being used for this first season.

Yesterday, we received this report from kryptkfysh who visited the set at Castle Ward.

I was really looking forward to seeing what sort of sets they’d put together for filming the TV adaptation of A Game of Thrones. There were a lot of people in costume, the stables were decked out in wolfshead livery and there were horses galore (which Badger wanted to eat).

Alas, they were actively filming in the hall, so we couldn’t go in. We did get a very good look at a large, albino alsation that I assume will be playing the part of Ghost.

Most interesting in that report is the revelation that they are apparently using German Shepherds as the direwolves. Or at the very least, a white German Shepherd as Ghost. The_Rabbit turned up a picture of a white Alsatian on Twitter. I have to say, I hope they are using CGI to change the look somewhat because that just looks like a white dog to me. Not a direwolf.

Meanwhile, the urgent casting calls for Dothraki extras in both Northern Ireland and Malta indicate that the filming of the Dany scenes will began in earnest very soon. It is unclear whether production will halt in Northern Ireland once they began filming in Malta. If I had to guess, I would suspect they might continue to do second-unit type filming, establishing shots and the like, that don’t require the principal cast.

UPDATE: We almost forgot to add this last item. Archery master Stephen Ralphs, who worked on such high-profile projects as Troy, Kingdom of Heaven, King Arthur, Robin Hood with Russell Crowe, and (*ehm*) Eragon in the past, has given an interview for MovieWeb.com. In it, he reveals his involment with Game of Thrones, which may continue in the future. Here’s the relevant quote:

I’m hopefully going to be working on a thing called Game of Thrones, a TV series I’ve made the bows for it and I’m talking to the armorer now about how we’re going to do those particular scenes. Hopefully that will come to fruition in the next couple of weeks.


103 Comments

  1. dizzy_34
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    They used some GCI in True Blood for the wolves eyes. Don’t know if they’ll be doing that but yeah I would hate to see the Direwolves just look like dogs. Maybe they’re just in “puppy” stage.

  2. TheReader
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    GSD (German Shepherd Dogs) have really been altered over the years, they tend not to look like their “wolf-like” fore bearers. If they use GSD stock that is less “show dog” and more “work dog” we may like the way Ghost looks. Less sloped hind quarters, larger and more athletic frame, smaller ears and more wolf-like face.

    The original GSDs or alsations were described as very wolf-like in appearance.

  3. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, costumes and armors don’t worry me that much. They have to understand that the most badass things in Westeros are the direwolves. Please no german shepherds and or huskies…

  4. Winter Is Coming
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Now I’m hearing that the above report is incorrect and the person must have misidentified the particular breed of dog.

    They are supposedly using huskies as the direwolves. I hope this is the case because something like this Siberian Husky would make an awesome Ghost.

  5. dizzy_34
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    If you google white alsatian there are also shots of them with less of a “groomed” look than the picture rabbit pulled up. I suppose some of them could pass as a wolf. But I assume they would use dogs because they’re easier to train to “act”. They used real wolves on TB and it seemed like all they did was run around and snarl. So maybe they’re taking a different approach with the direwolves.

  6. Tysnow
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Why don’t they just contact a wolve-hybrid breeder for domesticated wolves. Click on the puppy page link, they are soooooo cute, I want one.

  7. Samantha Hirst
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Tysnow: Why don’t they just contact a wolve-hybrid breeder for domesticated wolves. Click on the puppy page link, they are soooooo cute, I want one.    

    They are indeed very cute. For that particular breeder, getting them into NI would take a ridiculously long time (6 months I believe) with quarantine and all that jazz. Not to mention that domesticated is very different from dogs/animals trained to work for films and stuff. It’s not just a case of finding a cute dog and throwing him on set and hoping he does as he’s told, especially with kids involved.

    All that said. Siberian husky, I am totally seeing it, GSD, please god, no. Lovely dog, just not a direwolf.

  8. Tysnow
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Samantha Hirst,

    I was thinking about the adult direwolves in two or three seasons, it is to late for the their puppie stage. Though I wonder if they will use a made up Irish Wolfhound, they do look eerily akin to the Winterfell Wolf Carving from the behind the scenes clip.

  9. Steve Adams
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    It sounds like we’re going to get live-action wolves/dogs for now, but do we have any idea on what we’re going to see, say, in season 2 or 3? By then, the direwolves are supposed to get pretty big. Who knows what we’re going to see by season 5 or 6…

  10. Joakim
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    A white Alsation that looks wolfy:
    http://i199.photobucket.com/albums/aa255/Elven_Wolfess/Dogs/King_by_tidesend.jpg

    But I suppose all the wolves in the series should be the same race, and “normal” colored Alsations wouldn’t work very well for Ghost’s brothers and sisters. Rough, skinny huskies should look great.

  11. Samantha Hirst
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Tysnow,

    Very true, but if season 2 (if it went ahead), starts filming next June/July, quarantine procedures would have to start NOW. That way, it gives enough time to get them into NI, through quarantine and with a trainer/get used to the set and everything. I just get see HBO/production/whatever seeing it as a viable option. Though all that said, if they find a breeder in the EU, then it is a whole new ballgame as quarantine laws for animals travelling within the EU are not as stringent. In fact, join the PETS scheme (I think it’s called PETS) and you can bypass quarantine altogether. But from the US, not doable methinks.

  12. Stella Maris
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    In the books, the direwolf is described as: “In proportion to their bodies, their legs are longer and their heads are larger than normal wolves. Their muzzles are also longer and more pronounced.”

    I’m no expert on dogs, but I know a little bit.

    If they go the GSD route, I imagine they would go for a long coat like this. If they’re using Huskies, that’s great, but my problem with Siberian huskies is that they are stocky dogs and most have shorter snouts than what I imagine a direwolf would have.

    If they are using huskies, I HOPE they are using Alaskan huskies…which are not a breed per se, but tend to have longer & narrower snouts, are taller & leaner, and have much longer legs than Siberians – just generally a more “direwolf” appearance as far as the book description goes. If they found a good Alaskan husky that hasn’t been used as a sledrunner (not as lean), I would be really happy.

    My two cents! :)

  13. dizzy_34
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    I prefer this look myself or as close as they can get.

    http://faculty.evansville.edu/ck6/bstud/direwolf.html

  14. Joakim
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    The pictures of the Alaskan huskies Stella links to look great!

    Just for fun, check out this huge Alaskan Malamute (not fake). Imagine it having a longer snout and direwolf teeth!

  15. Samantha Hirst
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Joakim,

    Now that is a BIG dog. lol

  16. DigDoug
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Tysnow,

    The thing is, wolves aren’t big. Direwolves are often described as Irish Wolf Hound sized 32-34″ at the shoulder. Most wolves, except gray wolves, are smaller 24-28″ at the shoulder. German shepherds are roughly wolf sized at 24-26″ in height. I think what we are looking for is something 36-40″ tall (has to be taller than Rickon) and heavy too. I don’t think a natural animal fits that. However, if I were filming this I would think you would use a dog as a prop for now and replace in the shot later.

  17. Erik
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Tysnow,

    Wolf hybrids are a really, really bad idea in a lot of ways. First, it is illegal to breed or have a wolf hybrid in a lot of places in the US, and probably in a lot of other countries. Secondly (and more importantly) wolf hybrids are some of the most unpredictable animals around. They have all of the affinity for people that domestic dogs do, including a lack of fear of people, coupled with all of the instinctive hunting and territorial traits of true wolves. Couple those together and you get an animal that is much more likely to attack and severely injure a person.

    Not to mention that you’re taking an animal that has an deep instinctive need to run, create a territory, hunt, socialize with pack members, and do a host of other things, and you’re confining them to a kennel or a fenced-in yard. That creates a dog that is constantly uncomfortable and possibly will develop neuroses. Not great things to have in a potentially dangerous animal. I would much rather be an actor working with an actual wolf than a wolf-dog hybrid.

  18. c0venant
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Since the show was greenlit the direwolves and the dragons have been the only big “if” in my view.
    Furry animals are almost always bad as CGI. The twilight warevwolves were launghable and even the True Blood warewolves were kinda weak. By only using CGI on their eyes they didnt terrify the least.
    Now both Twilight and TB havent got anything to do with AGoT but I believe they somewhat wrestled with the same problem.
    I really have no good solution and I guess they will just have to do it as good as possible but I am afraid we will all be disapointed if we later on compare them with the direwolves in our minds.

    The dragons are probarly easier to do entirely as CGI. Lets just hope that they throw money on this part so we dont end up with something inferior as if taken from Merlin.

  19. Hear Me Roar
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Probably one of the biggest production challenges, these direwolves. We’ll see what they end up looking like, I hope we’ll be surprised and amazed :) I’m also expecting at least some minor controversies when we get to see some photos, and before seeing the final product. Ah well. Fingers crossed!
    P.S. If they go with German Sheppards (=Alsatians), then it definitely must be the long coated variety!

  20. Tysnow
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Erik,

    Interesting to know, perhaps that’s why they are going the domesticatd route. Would hate for Maisie, Sophie or Isaac to get injured. To Joakim, that is one BIG dog, just the presence of that on set would scare away the crew, let alone the kids.

  21. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    If I remember correctly direwolves grow as large as ponies in the books, and they grow up pretty fast in aGoT. It would seem quite ludicrous if a husky is fighting alongside Rob in the whispering woods, better not have the wolf in the fighting scene at all then.

    Winter Is Coming,

    seem logit it must be a white husky, after all we saw the grey ones in the behind the scenes footage.

  22. c0venant
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    On a side note as a question:
    Aint it possible to use this logo, perhaps somewhat modified as a header or would this be breaking some copyright law?
    http://img201.imageshack.us/img201/7519/namnlso.jpg
    If not I could get my photoshop-wiz girlfriend to put together something nice. She is already making me a couple of avatars and a banner.

  23. Nicole
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    How bout this, could we get some shots of the huskies/wolves, HBO?? You know that’s really the piece we have been waiting for. . . c’mon, you know you want to!

  24. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    By the way, remember the dead direwolf picture? They got themselves into trouble if they can’t make the wolves that big in later episodes. It’s a big challenge to say the least.

  25. HouseUmber
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I am not to worried about size. Remember the cinematographer and the CGI people of Lord of the Rings made someone as big as John Rhys Davis look like a dwarf.

  26. Joakim
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Slightly off topic, I just came across a new breed called Tamaskan which have been bred to look like wolves. Its ancestors are Northern Inuit, Siberian Husky, Alaskan Malamute, German Shepherd and Finnish racing huskies. Sounds like good direwolves!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tamaskan

  27. Steve Adams
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    If they happen to go with full-CGI direwolves in later seasons, HBO’s going to need to do a hell of a job in making the transition from real wolves/dogs to CGI. It’s crucial to make the transition as seamless as possible.

    Are there any examples of animals being filmed against a blue screen, and scaled in post-processing to make them look bigger? I wonder how realistic that could look, especially with interaction between humans and direwolves on-screen..

  28. Alisha
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    Honestly, if the choice was a CGI direwolf true to the book description (large as a pony, ect) or a smaller, real animal, I’d happily accept the change. There is just too much risk of the CGI looking terrible, and a lot can be done to make a real dog look larger. Plus, I’d really love to see the kids interact with an actual dog.

  29. ManBearSquid
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I think I’ve found the wolf they’re looking for. Just give it some red contacts.

    Seriously though, I feel like this is something (much like costuming and eyebrows) that we should spend less time worrying about. HBO is going to do what HBO is going to do. Based on their past work they will do it well enough, whatever it is.

  30. TheReader
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Tysnow: Why don’t they just contact a wolve-hybrid breeder for domesticated wolves. Click on the puppy page link, they are soooooo cute, I want one.    

    Wolf-Hybrids can be illegal in some areas. There may be specific animal laws in Ireland preventing them from bringing in wolf-hybrids to the area. I work in animal law and have been involved in a few productions overseeing the care of the animals on set and to ensure they conform to all local, state and federal welfare laws.

  31. pualo
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    They will need a really good archery master to teach them how to shoot 700 feet straight up.

  32. Wolfheart
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    I think the dogs will work, we don’t know what HBO has up their sleeve they’ll probably do something to make them more wolf like. We’ll know when we see it though. I do hope they stick to the book description as they get older. I hate the twilight series but when my fiance showed me the CGI wolves in New Moon and Eclipse I said “If HBO goes this route later in the series, IF we get to seasons 2 and three, as the direwolves get bigger I wouldn’t be disappointed”.

    Some people would argue they looked terrible. But they to me they looked great and near life like and very much like large grey wolves. Here are some examples:

    http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/newmoon02_Timberwolf.jpg

    http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/eclipse01_wolf-pack.jpg
    http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/eclipse02_wolves-vamps.jpg

    You can’t honestly tell me by looking at the work of CGI in those shots, that they look terrible. Mabye not Exceptional. But I’d be happy and not disappointed.

    As for the dragons. I hope they go the route of maquette puppets with CGI. I wonder how well Emilia’s acting can be for the scene where little baby dragons are climbing on her after the funeral pyre. Since the dragons need to touch and interact with Dany in that scene it may be interesting to see at the end of season one.

  33. paulgude
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Regarding CGI:

    I don’t have a preview button for some reason, so I’m hoping the spoiler tags are working. Just in case:

    SPOILERS!

    The ending of the first book is a make-or-break point for a lot of people. When I read it, the images GRRM described made it work. I’ve heard other people throwing their books across the room, but for me he totally earned that moment. That moment is going to be crucial for season one as well. The good news is that the technology continues to improve, and I think D&D realize the importance of this moment as well as the rest of us. I can’t wait to see what the end up doing.

  34. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    Wolfheart,

    Agreed, direwolves need to look ferocious and those CGI wolves do. But I’m afraid they don’t have the money to pull this kind of CGI off.

  35. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    paulgude,

    Preview button has indeed vanished.

  36. Wolfheart
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: Wolfheart,
    Agreed, direwolves need to look ferocious and those CGI wolves do. But I’m afraid they don’t have the money to pull this kind of CGI off.    

    We don’t know that for sure yet, but HBO does have the money. We haven’t seen any trailers with extensive CGI beyond the animated logo scene and the numerous ravens dispersing. We know HBO has the ability. The quality is know in some of their prior shows. Is it good enough to make CGI direwolves and the critical dragons.

    I’m sure I’m not the only one really wondering how they will pull of the dragons too, specially if costs are an issue.

    I’m of the mentality that you have to spend money to make money. If they don’t spend enough money making it look good…who knows what will happen. If a company doesn’t spend the money to require enough help, there is less produced and less money made. *shrug*

  37. Signe
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    I have a white GSD. She is way to small for a direwolf, but she is very “wolfy” people come up to me all the time and ask if she is a wolf. When you see her move she does not trot like other dogs, her movements are much more feral looking. We had some people in the neighborhood stop me once and ask if she had gotten out. I asked why and they said that they saw something that was not a dog in the neighborhood. I knew it was a coyote becuase we have them around, but that is how untamed Winter Looks when she moves. There are giant white sheppards out there too and they are BIG, still need CGI but it can work

  38. Lord Ned's Head
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    The Direwolves in the books definately get as big as ponies. Using dogs in the first season would be okay by me, but later on SPOILER (sorry i can’t find the spiler text button) especially in scene like where Nymeria leads the wolf pack and Summer fights the wolf pack a dog, even that awesome looking malmute wouldn’t work.
    BTW, from what I remember, the TB wolves used more CGI than just different colored eyes. They painted on the CGi to the existing wolf footage with alot of subtelity. If they could do somethiing liek that with a malamute or husky or whatever, and then combine that with some LOTR perspective tricks, a dog could work.

  39. Nymeria
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    In the previous thread, WiC mentioned Garret Dillahunt as an actor who showed interest in Game of Thrones.

    He would work for me as Edmure.

    http://images.buddytv.com/articles/Deadwood/images/garret-dillahunt-1.jpg

    What do you guys think?

  40. Chris
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    As mentioned above, we do have the image of the dead dire wolf, so we know the look that HBO will be trying to achieve.

    I’m sure they talked and planned this quite a bit before making any concrete design decisions, so I would assume they at least have a game plan for how to make the adult dire wolves look like that dead dire wolf.

    (I still think that that dire wolf image is probably the thing they are most pissed about leaking so far…)

  41. Tysnow
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Wolfheart,

    Spoiler block please next time.

  42. Chris
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Nymeria,

    I like him as well but I saw a preview for a new show coming out in which he looks like one of the leads for. This, plus the fact that I see him playing small roles in lots of different movies these days, maybe he is off the table now?

  43. Nymeria
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Wolfheart: I hate the twilight series but when my fiance showed me the CGI wolves in New Moon and Eclipse I said “If HBO goes this route later in the series, IF we get to seasons 2 and three, as the direwolves get bigger I wouldn’t be disappointed”.Some people would argue they looked terrible. But they to me they looked great and near life like and very much like large grey wolves. Here are some examples:http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/newmoon02_Timberwolf.jpghttp://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/eclipse01_wolf-pack.jpg
    http://www.awn.com/files/imagepicker/35/eclipse02_wolves-vamps.jpgYou can’t honestly tell me by looking at the work of CGI in those shots, that they look terrible. Mabye not Exceptional. But I’d be happy and not disappointed.

    Thank you. I was beginning to think that I am either very gullable or have a very fertile imagination compared to all of you or something because I have no problem with that kind of CGI. In fact, I found the Eclipse wolves looked pretty good except for the first one we see in the clearing for some reason.
    Sometimes I think people here are so ready to nitpick every detail that if they were presented with a real wolf in real life they would argue that it looked fake!
    With someone like Robert Stromberg involved, I am confident that HBO is doing everything it can and putting all the money it takes to produce the best CGI effects to hit TV yet.
    Of course, in 20 years technology will have evolved and looking back, we will find these effects to be primitive or lacking. But what matters to me is that someone is doing everything that’s possible to bring my beloved story to life now, while I live to see it, and in the best possible way, with the cinematographic quality HBO is known for.

  44. Chris
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Chris,

    Just want to add after looking at the image, that dead dire wolf looks freaking bad ass. Since that is the only thing we have to go off, I am going to assume that they are going to look bad ass in the show too :)

  45. Nymeria
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    WiC

    yeah, there’s no spoiler, link or preview buttons. they’re all gone for some reason…

  46. Murf
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

    Wow, those Tamaskan dogs are beautiful, I wonder how long the waiting list is for a puppy in the UK…

    In other respects, I hope they go for real dogs in the puppy/adolescent stages, but CGI later on. Husky/Malamutes would work well for this.

    I also don’t agree at all with the breeding of wolf-hybrids. They may look beautiful but the wolf DNA remains, and it’s completely unfair on the animal if it has to be put down for an attack which its nature spurs it on to do. Wolves are wild animals and should remain so, fantasy aside of course ;)

  47. izakmo
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Nifty article on the difficulty of shooting with real wolves and hybrids:

    http://truebloodnet.com/true-blood-real-wolves/

    I don’t have any preference between CGI and live animals, so long as they are made to look huge and bad-ass when the show airs.

  48. durandal
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Nymeria: In the previous thread, WiC mentioned Garret Dillahunt as an actor who showed interest in Game of Thrones.He would work for me as Edmure.http://images.buddytv.com/articles/Deadwood/images/garret-dillahunt-1.jpgWhat do you guys think?    

    Works for me!

  49. Steve B
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    It’s odd, but I just could care less if the wolves match the size and descriptions found in the books. As long as they’re ferocious, they’ll be believable in fight scenes. If they’re smart they’ll do all their super lassie stuff. I just don’t see how the acting of the humans can’t fix any concerns about the wolves not being powerful or special or fearsome enough.

    Why spend$ on cgi wolves when it could be better spent elsewhere? I just don’t understand the fascination and cobwebs with the wolves looking “right”.

  50. Steve B
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    Cobwebs? Auto correct is awesome! Lol! That should be concerns.

  51. Winter Is Coming
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Nymeria: WiCyeah, there’s no spoiler, link or preview buttons. they’re all gone for some reason…    

    Yeah, the plugin author had sent out an updated version which contained a bug so I had to remove it briefly. It should be back now and better than ever. :)

  52. Wolfheart
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    what if HBO used animatronic puppets much like we’ve seen from Weta Workshop to create the older direwolves? Cheaper than animation.

    http://www.wetanz.com/creatures/

  53. Lex
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    My guess is that they’ll use a combination of different effects. This would include some real wolves for certain shots, wolf-like dogs for others, some CGI when they need it, and also some huge animatronics. By blending these four approaches, they could do some pretty amazing stuff. That is, if they have the time and money.

  54. Who Is Jacopo Belbo?
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    i don’t know all of the logistics of how it works but what is stopping them from using real animals (whichever look the most direwolflike regardless of size) and then using composite techniques or layers or whatever to simply alter their proportions. in all but a very few instances of direct interaction between actors and direwolves this seems like it would be pretty simple. and even in actor/wolves interaction scenes can’t stand-ins be used for the actors to interact with at the proper heights etc? meaning if john has to pet ghost or something the actor would interact with a stand in at the proper height/size and then the animal would be filmed interacting with a real person so all of the movements are realistic and then the two are just composited together using whatever size scaling factor you need to represent the direwolves at the proper size?

    maybe i am not understanding how this works or something but it seems like there isn’t much reason to even risk fakey looking CG wolves. even if you couldn’t upsize them the “supernatural” size of the direwolves in the books is not as important as keeping a consistently “realistic” feel for the show. at least imho

  55. blackear
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    I always thought that a wolf like in 300 would make an awesome direwolf, if made larger.

  56. Herta
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    This is kind of off topic, however, I watched the premiere of the Tudors last night and after watching Tamzin Merchant’s performance was relieved that she is no longer Daenerys. Nothing against Ms. Merchant, but I found the saccherine girlishness almost unbearable. Although the character of Katherine Howard has always been described as young and vulnerable, she nevertheless had a streak of recklessness and wilfulness which was completely absent from Ms. Merchant’s performance. Emily looks as both youthful, innocent but with a backbone.
    Thank heavens for the change.

  57. The Rabbit
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  58. Who Is Jacopo Belbo?
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

    blackear: I always thought that a wolf like in 300 would make an awesome direwolf, if made larger.    

    THIS wolf?

  59. spacechampion
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    I think it would be hilarious and awesome if they use motion capture on dogs and replaced them with CGI direwolves, just keeping their movements. The thought of a dog in a mo-cap bodysuit cracks me up.

  60. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    spacechampion,

    That thought did came to mind, but I thought it was too ridiculous to post. How awesome would that be though, eat your heart out James Cameron!

  61. Knurk
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    And we have a new post from Byan Cogman!

  62. blackear
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

    THIS wolf?

    Yes, apparently not all CGI like I thought.

    http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:300_animatronic_wolf_puppet_Closeup.jpg

    The finished product in the film looked pretty good to me. I think if they look too much like real wolves, only bigger, they will end up looking like something from Twilight. The CGI in in Twilight might be spot on but I think an exceptionally large wolf is just too strange looking to be believable. Sort of like the Hulk in the 2003 movie. A lot of people complained that he didn’t look real, but he’s a big green guy, what are you gonna do!

  63. spacechampion
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    It certainly would open up a whole new area of performance capture — imagine all sorts of running, flying, crawling etc creatures mo-capped and replaced by CGI aliens. Maybe Andy Serkis’ new company will work on something like that.

  64. Wolfheart
    Posted September 23, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    blackear:
    Yes, apparently not all CGI like I thought.http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:300_animatronic_wolf_puppet_Closeup.jpgThe finished product in the film looked pretty good to me. I think if they look too much like real wolves, only bigger, they will end up looking like something from Twilight. The CGI in in Twilight might be spot on but I think an exceptionally large wolf is just too strange looking to be believable. Sort of like the Hulk in the 2003 movie. A lot of people complained that he didn’t look real, but he’s a big green guy, what are you gonna do!    

    You forget that George describes direwolves ” are proportionally larger headed and longer legged compared to regular wolves, and their snout and jaws are leaner and more pronounced (I: 339)”

    So even if they go close to the route of Tippet did for the Twilight movies. It wouldn’t be hard to follow that description and change the look and be NON twilighty.

  65. Sleeky
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming: Now I’m hearing that the above report is incorrect and the person must have misidentified the particular breed of dog.
    They are supposedly using huskies as the direwolves. I hope this is the case because something like this Siberian Husky would make an awesome Ghost.    

    I know I’m alittle late for this thread, bit if that picture is a hopeful representation of Ghost, would this then be one of his brothers?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNJ-ks-z4Aw

  66. Lex
    Posted September 24, 2010 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    Sleeky:
    I know I’m alittle late for this thread, bit if that picture is a hopeful representation of Ghost, would this then be one of his brothers?http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DNJ-ks-z4Aw    

    LOL, wow. If it was all black, that would be a perfect Shaggydog.

  67. triva
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 11:35 am | Permalink
  68. OldGran
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    triva,

    WoW!! What beautiful animals, thanks for the link

  69. Steve B
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, those pics are very expressive. I just don’t understand the _need_ people seem to feel for the direwolves to be oversized.

    I mean, isn’t a normal sized wolf (or wolfish dog) ripping out someone’s throat terrifying enough? Isn’t a noble with a normal sized wolf walking beside him in a non-battlefield sequence threatening enough? Why do the direwolves have to be oversized and exactly fitting to the description in the books for them to accomplish these dramatic things? Isn’t the point for people to be fearful of and impressed by them? For the relationship between the Starks and their wolves to be special and instinctual? If so, what’s not fearful and impressive and smart about a normal sized wolf-dog?

  70. Steve B
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    Those pics do justice, IMO, to the idea of wolves/wolfish dogs being perfectly legitimate alternatives to the direwolves matching the exact description in the books.

  71. Lex
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    I think they should be big…. but not as hugely oversized as in the books. That’s the kind of thing that works better on paper (and in our mind’s eye) than on the screen, IMO.

  72. OldGran
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Im not too worried about the wolves, HBO has a lot of information about real wolves to work with. what I am a little concerned about are the dragons. Here we have a whole new species, a raptor/reptile like creature who lays eggs, but breastfeeds. The eggs are no problem, I saw them as beautiful jewels, like Faberge eggs about the size of a nerf football. How they portray the babies is going to be interesting to say the least.

  73. OldGran
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    woops! I tried to put in a spoiler, but it didnt work. sorry

  74. Coltaine777
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    I’m worried about the wolves…but then again I’m worried about the Others, the Wall, the Eyrie, Uncat, the Lannister armour and the Dragons…oh wait and the Throne…but then I say to myself ‘ trust in D/D’…then I calm down …for a few hours anyways…

  75. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    The wolves should be considerably bigger than the average wolf. Greywind is supposed to wreak havoc into enemy lines and you don’t get that from a regular wolfie. I don’t care how they do it, but they must inspire terror and that comes with size

  76. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Steve B: Yeah, those pics are very expressive.I just don’t understand the _need_ people seem to feel for the direwolves to be oversized.I mean, isn’t a normal sized wolf (or wolfish dog) ripping out someone’s throat terrifying enough?Isn’t a noble with a normal sized wolf walking beside him in a non-battlefield sequence threatening enough?Why do the direwolves have to be oversized and exactly fitting to the description in the books for them to accomplish these dramatic things?Isn’t the point for people to be fearful of and impressed by them?For the relationship between the Starks and their wolves to be special and instinctual?If so, what’s not fearful and impressive and smart about a normal sized wolf-dog?    

    A regular sized wolf wouldn’t scare a squire armed with a pointed stick. Come on. I’m not saying everything should look 100% like the books, but if there is an idea you get from the description of the wolves is mothafuking-monster-huge-killingmachines

  77. Melanie McClung
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t read the comments, but if I had to guess, I’d say they are using a white Siberian Husky instead of a German Shepherd. I always get asked if my white husky is a white GS. She looks a lot more like a wolf than a GS does.

  78. Knurk
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 8:17 pm | Permalink

    Man, a lot of spoilers here guys, watch yourself. uncat, dragons

    My opinion on the wolves, they should be big to reak havoc, and HBO knows it because of the size of the mother-direwolf they created in the pilot. If I see a husky running at me I want to pet it and put it in front of my sled, those direwolves should make me shit my pants.

  79. Knurk
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Man, a lot of spoilers here guys, watch yourself. uncat, dragons

    My opinion on the wolves, they should be big to wreak havoc, and HBO knows it because of the size of the mother-direwolf they created in the pilot. If I see a husky running at me I want to pet it and put it in front of my sled, those direwolves should make me shit my pants.

  80. Rahbur
    Posted September 25, 2010 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    There is certainly alot of varying opinions in regard to the direwolves’ look. I can’t bame anyone for wanting them to look exactly as they are depicted in the books. GRRM wrote them as large, fear-inspiring creatures. But I have to agree with Lex on this::

    Lex: I think they should be big…. but not as hugely oversized as in the books. That’s the kind of thing that works better on paper (and in our mind’s eye) than on the screen, IMO.    

    I think the point of linking the direwolves to the Stark family is more than just pairing an incredibly large and fierce wolf with a child. There’s significant symbolism involved with the pairing, so, to me, the actual size of the wolves isn’t important. Furthermore, I would be concerned that CGI direwoves might turn a lot of viewers away if it’s not “done right” (opinions vary so greatly on what is “good” CGI). Real wolves/dogs can look as intimidating and fierce as the direwolves need to be without them being gigantic.

    I also like how someone mentioned the interaction between the young Starks and their wolves … it would look so much more authentic and possibly more endearing to see the young actors interacting with an actual animal, playing, running, etc. We’re meant to feel sympathy for Sansa when Lady is killed and viewers are likely to be more attached to a living, cute and fuzzy “wolf” pup, and therefore have more of an emotional response when that same pup, now older, is killed unjustly.

    Again, my opinions here. No offense meant to those who want to stick to the actual book description. To each their own, and we shall see, etc etc :)

  81. Steve B
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    I just think there’s more to direwolves than just inspiring fear. Their purpose in the story is so much more important than that. And every other element of being a direwolf would be better served by an actual animal than by a giant cgi wolf.

  82. Chris
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    I would LOVE to see the dire wolves as they were described in the show, but I really have a feeling it will be hard to pull off convincingly. I imagine it has been quite a challenge for the production team to figure out how to handle them, but it seems they are going the route of making them big and bad ass… so we’ll just have to see how it turns out.

    I will say, I have a feeling HBO is going to be very invested in making sure the fantasy elements don’t look cheesy – dragons, dire wolves, The Others, etc. They are trying to put their stamp on fantasy and cheesy doesn’t really fit into what HBO does. Whatever they end up doing, I have a feeling they will make it work, but I am still bracing myself for a little cringing, just in case :)

  83. obsidian
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:49 am | Permalink

    Nymeria,

    Garrett Dillahunt is an excellent actor, and you know, he was prone to drop in to the discussion boards on deadwood :)

  84. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Steve B: I just think there’s more to direwolves than just inspiring fear.Their purpose in the story is so much more important than that. And every other element of being a direwolf would be better served by an actual animal than by a giant cgi wolf.    

    Yeah, ok, use real animals but… Remember Gimli in LOTR? He was a normal sized actor and they made him look small. Now it’s the other way round.

  85. Steve B
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Now, sure, if they could do some magic and make the wolves appear larger, while still using real wolves/dogs…. that’d probably be cool. Gimli and the hobbits are a great example of that working. But if I had to choose to between mindblowingly fearsomely big cgi battle-wolf versus slavering fearsome yet large sized dog/wolf that could really interact with the characgers…. well, clearly I’d pick the real animal.

    I’d like to have my cake and eat it too. I’m just not sure that’s an option we’re going to get. If that’s the case, I’d go for real versus cgi. There’s just so much a real dog can do that a cgi wolf can’t. What else does a cgi direwolf have going for it besides being amazing huge and fearsome?

  86. Steve B
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    ::twiddling my thumbs:: Obviously, we need more to talk about here. ;P

  87. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Steve B,

    Agreed. Anyway much of the interaction is done when the wolves are young and thus not huge. Sansa’s, no problem. Nymeria, same, you can then CGI her when she’s grown up and lives with other wolves. Greywind, normal dog when in Winterfell, later on you needn’t picture him too much alongside Robb, he’s just mentioned in battles where you can CGI and bad-ass him. The other 3 are more of a problem, specially Ghost, but I hope they will work it out). I hope I made good use of the spoiler button, it’s my first time. If not please delete!

  88. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Oh shit… How does the spoiler thing work?

  89. Rahbur
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Steve B: ::twiddling my thumbs::Obviously, we need more to talk about here.;P    

    Yes, we do :) Looking forward to more updates from the set. Until then …

  90. Knurk
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Pablo Jainaga,

    What about the spoiler button?

  91. Pablo Jainaga
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: Pablo Jainaga,
    What about the spoiler button?    

    How does it work? I pushed it once before the spoiler part and again when I finished… I guess I’m not doing it right…

  92. Threepwood
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    How does it work?

    You have to mark (Is this the wright word? My english is not the best…) the part you want hide and then push the spoiler-button. You can use the “preview”-button to try. ;)

  93. Threepwood
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Ehm… I meant “right”… ^^

  94. Steph
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Steve B,

    Steve, when a starving man is given a pack of crackers, he has two options: 1) scarf everything down immediately and search obsessively for more, or 2) hoard and worry over every last crumb as long as he possibly can.

    Most commenters here have chosen the latter option. We (the community of expectant fans) aren’t given much, so we try to make the most of it.

  95. OldGran
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    OK. If you were King of the 7 Kingdoms what is the first thing you would do?

  96. GaR
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    OldGran,

    Cersei.

  97. onthebackof Hodor
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34,

    the direwolfs are important but I hope they make them unique enough in the show since they are suppose to be very large. When I saw the pictures of the mother on Wic i was pleased although it wasn’t a great shot.

  98. OldGran
    Posted September 26, 2010 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

    GaR,

    Fair enough, then what

  99. silverjaime
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 2:37 am | Permalink

    Melanie McClung: I’d say they are using a white Siberian Husky instead of a German Shepherd.

    I stopped the car yesterday in Belfast to let a pedestrian across the road – she was walking a huge white husky! Maybe it was Ghost??!! It was a beautiful animal, and I wanted to take a pic but the traffic wouldn’t allow it.

  100. Hear Me Roar
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    silverjaime,

    Sounds great :) I’d love to experience that. Maybe that was indeed the animal … a nice memory either way.

  101. OhDanyBoy
    Posted September 27, 2010 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Rahbur: I also like how someone mentioned the interaction between the young Starks and their wolves … it would look so much more authentic and possibly more endearing to see the young actors interacting with an actual animal, playing, running, etc.We’re meant to feel sympathy for Sansa when Lady is killed and viewers are likely to be more attached to a living, cute and fuzzy “wolf” pup, and therefore have more of an emotional response when that same pup, now older, is killed unjustly. Again, my opinions here. No offense meant to those who want to stick to the actual book description. To each their own, and we shall see, etc etc     

    Remember – for the first season, or at least the first half, they are using real wolves. So, when the children are getting attached to the wolves, and when Lady is killed they are fuzzy, interactive wolves. Later in the season, and in later seasons, as the wolves get larger, is when HBO may use CGI, when the wolves are more weapons than companions (Grey Wind, Nymeria leading the wolf-pack).

  102. Lukoi NI
    Posted January 20, 2011 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi all! A large number of the dogs used as Direwolves are in fact a breed of dog called Northern inuit’s.

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jay Tomio, Winter Is Coming. Winter Is Coming said: New post: Day 60: Filming continues at Castle Ward http://bit.ly/bKl5QH #GameofThrones [...]


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