Long in the making, the set reports by Ran from Westeros.org (don’t miss the MGoT interview with him, either) are finally being published. HBO powers took their time in approving his text and photos, and now in what appears to be the major promotional open season he has been given the get go. The first part you can find here, and the second one is here. Ran promises five in total, so keep an eye out for three more each day through Friday.
In the first installment, Ran begins recounting his experience from late October last year when he visited the Paint Hall studio location (where the production is centered) and the Magheramorne quarry set alongside George R.R. Martin. In short, the major sets he first saw were Bran’s bedchamber, a chamber at Castle Black, Winterfell’s feast hall (a replica of the real life hall at Castle Doune in Scotland, where the pilot scenes were shot), and the High Hall at the Eyrie. Some choice quotes:
It was marvelous to one moment be inside this massive, modern sound stage, and the next be transported into the heart of Winterfell. The work of the set decorators was very thorough, and what impressed me most was not just the quality of the things that were found or specially made to fill the room, but how much effort had been put to making it look truly lived-in.
When we left the High Hall, we passed a number of props lining the long hallway. Among them? Two statues from the tombs of the dead lords and kings of Winterfell. Very cool! What they can do with plaster and resin and the like is simply stunning.
The second part covers a tour of the prop room, the sky cells beneath the Eyrie castle, and a visit to the animal tent with direwolves and ravens. More quotes:
Now, as you know, the heraldry of the setting is near and dear to my heart, and I only wish those banners hadn’t been wrapped up so I could look at them. However, I did notice that they all had labels indicating who they belonged to. They comprised many names straight out of the novels: Karstark, Umber, Hornwood,Cerwyn, Glover … and Bolton, I couldn’t help but notice.
One detail [the animal handler] Esther noted? She had a bruised rib … because she had been practicing the Grey Wind “hits” on a certain “great” character, and she had been bowled over. Despite this injury, she seemed to really love her work. This was the general sense of the whole thing: all the crew I met seemed genuinely excited to be involved in a production like this.
Hear Me Roar: It’s a rich portrayal of his marvelous experience Ran is painting in the reports, and one cannot but imagine how it would feel like to be there in his stead. As Winter has noted, it’s great to get confirmation of certain details and scenes that are in the show. One day, hopefully, a knight from the castle of Wyknett will tread in Ran’s footsteps, ever so lightly, lest he disturbs the magic of ASoIaF coming to life. When HBO is shooting Season Two? Why not.
UPDATE: The reports are now complete, follow links to part 3 (armour, throne room set), part 4 (art dep’t), and part 5 (Castle Black set). A useful index to the entire series of reports from Ran’s Northern Ireland visit is here.