Filming News Production Rumors

SciFiNow magazine features amazing S2 details!

Thanks to Adam a.k.a. Werthead, we have learnt about a feature report from the latest issue of the UK magazine SciFiNow detailing the Game of Thrones Season Two production after a set visit to the Paint Hall. Loads of exciting info on a certain big battle from episode 9, some interesting trivia, as well as plans and developments regarding the sets for the show, and rumours of future seasons.

Adam summarized it for us below, hidden after a break for spoilers.

Hear Me Roar: Let me just say it sounds amazing. My imagination is running wild from just reading these lines.

All of the major characters have two sets of each costume and piece of armour/weaponry. This is because they sometimes needed to fly actors from Dubrovnik back to Belfast to film at the Paint Hall and then rush them back again, and clearing costumes and weapons through customs is a nightmare.

There is a set of ‘bone armour’ featuring in S2 which will make ‘readers of the books clap their hands in delight’.

Cersei has a set of ornamental and elegant, ‘Valkyrie-like’ armour.

HBO mocked up a section of King’s Landing wall for the Blackwater. The wall is 20 metres away from a stretch of water, allowing skiffs full of soldiers to disembark under heavy arrow, ballistae and boiling oil fire from the walls.

The Blackwater battle will feature a very clever aquatic battering ram. Basically it’s on a boat with rib-like supports sticking out the top. When the boat beaches, the soldiers unpack the battering ram, spin the boat upside down, reconnect the ram and then run it up to the gates with the hull of the boat acting as cover from missile fire. It’s basically a medieval version of the landing craft from D-Day (my take, not the magazine’s).

Season 2 is the ‘season of battles, especially episode nine’. The crew built another ship at the Linen Mill Studio in Bainbridge. This ship is 140 feet long, 35 feet tall and has a 3oo-foot greenscreen surrounding it. The ship has a modular deck, which they can use as the cargo scow that takes Theon home but they they can lift on a whole new top deck to turn it into Stannis’s flagship, including the addition of a 12-foot-tall stag’s head with antlers as a figurehead.

The Eyrie set is still standing in the Paint Hall, despite not featuring at all for Season 2. It’s too intricate to dismantle and store and they will need it for future seasons, so it’s been left up.

A second, ‘purpose-built’ studio is being built next to the Paint Hall to help accomodate the needs of the series going into future seasons. The reporter repeats the rumour that Seasons 3 and 4 will be greenlighted and shot back-to-back to cover A STORM OF SWORDS.

One last bit of trivia: a musician in Kelly’s Cellar, a pub in Belfast, enthusiastically relates to the reporter how Jason Momoa would come in with his guitar and jam with local musicians during the filming of Season 1 :)

WiC UPDATE: This is probably a good place to note that we have received clarification about Vince Gerardis’ “Battle of Blackwater will be 16 minutes” comment, from both Vince and the interviewer himself. Apparently what Vince said was 60 minutes, not 16. This makes sense, as 16 and 60 sound a lot alike, especially to a non-native English speaker.

Here is his exact quote: “The Battle at Blackwater Rush, which is an episode in season two, I think it’s episode nine, it’s the script that George wrote, it’s going to be fantastic, but at the same time, only disappointing, because it’s only sixty minutes long.

88 Comments

  • This sounds amazing. I’m surprised and very impressed at the sheer scale of some of the things the production has created.
    Also, valkyrie type armor for Cersei? I assume she wears the for show during a certain scene, and even though that wasn’t in the book at all I’m excited to see how it looks. Also, the Lord of Bones! Ack, I want pictures!

    *Edited for additional detail*

  • Awesome stuff. Thanks to Adam for the info! I wish the US had magazines that featured this level of reporting on TV/film. The best we have is Entertainment Weekly, which gives us a couple stills and a generic plot synopsis and calls it a day.

  • Dr.Gordon,

    I think it’s a pretty much definite. There have been so many rumours about it from so many corners, and the book is massive, so, I’m pretty damn sure HBO will split the novel up. Or, they could just split Season 3 into two halves, like The Sopranos: Season 6, and Entourage: Season Season 3. I think I’d prefer to be a single season split – they won’t need to have some dramatic climax to end the first half – instead, they can just end it like any normal episode and continue it with the second half. But, then again, they have a tendency to release the second half (when seasons are split) the following year, just like a whole new season. But…I’m rambling… whatever the case, I can’t wait!

  • I guess my recollection of book 2 is foggy, but can someone clue me in to what scene “Cersei’s armor” would feature in? (perhaps in spoiler print)

  • Lars:
    I guess my recollection of book 2 is foggy, but can someone clue me in to what scene “Cersei’s armor” would feature in? (perhaps in spoiler print)

    At a guess, I’d say in the throne room during the battle of the blackwater. It would be purely ceremonial, of course. I expect, anyway.

  • Added some clarification, which we just received, to Vince Gerardis’ “16 minutes” quote to the post:

    Apparently what Vince said was 60 minutes, not 16. This makes sense, as 16 and 60 sound a lot alike, especially to a non-native English speaker.

    Here is his exact quote: “The Battle at Blackwater Rush, which is an episode in season two, I think it’s episode nine, it’s the script that George wrote, it’s going to be fantastic, but at the same time, only disappointing, because it’s only sixty minutes long.“

  • I’d bet good money that the purpose-built studio is for Meereen, possibly with some doubling for Astapor. Presumably they won’t even get to Meereen until S4, if I’m correctly guessing where the season split in Storm of Swords is going to be, but if they’re pulling in these kinds of ratings and this much interest to commit to a double season, then I think they know how big they have to go with Slaver’s Bay to do it justice.

  • I can image that the Cersei, Sansa, Sir Ilyn part in BW change a little bit and there will no great feast. Cersei ‘hides’ in the red keep with some special nobles (And have her ‘sharing secrets about women weapon’ with Sansa). She wears an amour for protection and a mark for being a valuable hostage (instead if raping and killing her), but it’s more ceremonial instead for fighting.

    So the audience feels how dangerous the situation in KL is, if they see the queen herself in an amour.

  • I have to say that this is all welcome news! I’m intrigued by the ship mock up they built. It will be so useful for many scenes. I only wish they had it for Catelyn’s journey to King’s Landing in season 1!

  • What the fuck, an entire episode of all-out battle?! The 16 minute bit did sound a little bit short, but I didn’t expect ALL of that episode to be the battle! That’s going to be epic as all-hell. That’s way more Blackwater than I bargained for. I realize GRRM would ideally want everything to be as epic as in the books, but honestly? I think with an endless budget and endless air time GRRM would go overboard. :p

  • So basically a whole episode will be about Blackwater battle? Amazing! It is, after all a focal point of the whole book…

  • The Eyrie set being kept says a lot. It would be a great shame to leave it up all that time (presumably paying to rent the space for years with no break when not filming) and not use it again. So that tells us a lot about how far ahead things are planned. Surely this means we’ll get at least to Lysa’s death?

  • Somehow 60 minutes seems too much (if we take into account that a normal episode is a few minutes shorter than that).

    Maybe the actual battle footage is only 16 minutes long, (short but still so much longer than the nonexistent footage of the WW or The Battle at the Green Fork) but adding scenes from the throne room, and other locations where no direct fighting takes place, could sum up to an entire episode.

  • It all sounds Yummy ! I’m a bit of a costume freak , and I thought just the change in the quality of wigs , and the fact that Renly’s hair has had time to grow in, etc. would be enough to make me happy , on their own. But some of the stuff we’ve seen to date ( like Brienne’s look , and the 2 guys with the bows in Iceland ) are soooo satisfying…and now you tell me Cersei has show armour ? .. Wheeee!

    Also love the sound of the switcheroo ship and the turtle-ram…be still my heart ( or break out the blood pressure medication ).

  • grrr..
    the first thing came to my mind is Cersei in armour = Princess Leia in ROTJ.
    jeez…go away silly image!

    btw, after reading all above I litteraly can not wait for the show to start!

  • Rabbit

    Cersei’s armour instantly made me think of Queen Elizabeth I , at the approach of the Armada… There , isn’t that better ?

  • I think that just means that the battle will take place over the entire course of the episode. They will still probably have scenes with characters away from Kings Landing. I think having the battle take place over the course of the episode is a good thing, gives it an even larger scope. (think of the battle for helms deep where there are scenes of merry and pippin and Sam and Frodo while the battle is taking place and then they cut back to the battle.)

  • Very exciting articular with lots of juicy details. I think the the comment at the end about the third book ASoS being broken up into two seasons is about as direct a comment on the matter as we’ve heard yet isn’t it? I remember rumors from a couple different sources saying they were thinking about it but I don’t think anyone has out and out said it.

    The news about Cersie’s and Rattleshirt’s armor sounds interesting, I’m really looking forward to that. And to hear that all of episode 9 will be dedicated almost excursively to the
    Black Water sounds a little too good to be true but I’ll hold onto hope.

  • Omg 60 minutes that is fantastic!

    And Cersei in armour, can’t fucking wait, she’s gonna look so badass.

  • Grinbomb: I think the the comment at the end about the third book ASoS being broken up into two seasons is about as direct a comment on the matter as we’ve heard yet isn’t it? I remember rumors from a couple different sources saying they were thinking about it but I don’t think anyone has out and out said it.

    Actually, this quote from David Benioff in a Daily Beast interview is the most direct comment we have received:

    Benioff: A Storm of Swords will not be a single season. Beyond that, we’d rather not speculate, as HBO has not yet confirmed a third season and we’re not in the mood to jinx anything.

    The SciFiNow article echoes the rumor about them greenlighting seasons 3 & 4 and then filming them back-to-back, which is a story we broke a few months ago. I wonder if they have a separate source or are just going off of our initial report?

  • This whole Cersei-in-armour thing made me raise an eyebrow. Even though I can’t keep myself from being somewhat skeptical, her wearing some kind of ceremonial armour doesn’t seem entirely out of character. Afterall, she clearly views herself a warrior-type who should have been born a man, based on her POV. (too lazy to provide any examples at the moment)

    Still… If they go there, stay off the cheese, please.
    ( So in the show she gets to wear the armour she thinks she should, afterall! Luckily, there was never a gown-wearing Robert! Haha!)

  • So it sort of sounds like he only talks about episode 9 in general, rather than the battle itself.

    Stating it (the episode) is awesome, but sadly only 60 minutes – which is pretty obvious, but still sad because it’s so good. So this could mean that we’ll still get scenes from the North and whatnot, so that the Battle and the KL stuff does not cover the entire episode.

  • “Those are brave men . . . let’s go kill them.”

    I think my ovaries just exploded, and I don’t even have any.

  • Cersei wearing armor is so perfect. It’s so her. It will totally be a status symbol for her. The same way a real girl might wear a leather jacket or combat boots or something like that to demonstrate toughness, Cersei would so wear armor. I’m also really interested to see what it looks like – will be fun to compare/contrast with Brienne’s plate!

    And all the other details just sound amazing. 60 MINUTES for the Blackwater? Wow! I thought we’d get a 15-minute battle sequence! George must be through the moon that he was able to write that episode with the full hour on hand!

  • Really glad that episode 9 isn’t the previously reported 16 minutes long. I was lucky enough to be cast as an extra on season 2 and I had to man the skiff ram mentioned in scifinow and had the pleasure of seeing first hand, the amount of work and enthusiasm of all the cast and crew involved. Can’t wait to see episode 9 especially. Myself and the rest of the Stannis army were exhausted by the end of the two week shoot.

  • My guess is that what was meant by the “60 minutes” quote is that, the episode is awesome, too bad it’s only 60 minutes. I doubt the actual battle will be 60 minutes long (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

  • LoF:
    My guess is that what was meant by the “60 minutes” quote is that, the episode is awesome, too bad it’s only 60 minutes. I doubt the actual battle will be 60 minutes long (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

    This is what I thought, but didn’t we hear some time back that all of Episode 9 would be in King’s Landing, or at least that there was no north story in Ep 9, or something along those lines? Gives me hope that the entire episode may indeed be made up of command tents, the Red Keep, and battle scenes. Or at least a lot of it.

  • LoF:
    My guess is that what was meant by the “60 minutes” quote is that, the episode is awesome, too bad it’s only 60 minutes. I doubt the actual battle will be 60 minutes long (not that there’s anything wrong with that)

    Yup, this is what I got as well. This is why I posted the full quote because in context it makes sense and it’s basically illustrating that he has no complaints. If your only complaint is that the Battle of the Blackwater is so awesome that you wish it lasted three episodes, you pretty much have no complaint.

  • KG,

    That image will haunt my dreams!

    No really, Lannisters are more or less synonymous with flashy armours, but everything within reason! I’m fine with showy, yet tasteful.

  • This is the kind of reporting I’ve been waiting for from the magazines.

    Can’t wait to see ships, city walls and battering rams all joining together in an epic episode 9!

  • I’m rolling over dead here, thats how excited I am about this!

    And people, episode 9 is gonna be 60 minutes exclusively from Kings Landing an the Battle of the Blackwater. Consider everything that happens in that frantic battle, and all the potential POV characters present, each one with interesting and important stories. We have Stannis, we have Tyrion, we have Cersei, we have the Onion Knight, we have Sansa and Sandor Clegane (oh how I look forward to the breaking of the Hound and the Sansa/Clegane scene), we have Pod (Pod for the rescue is going to be e.p.i.c.) and Im probably forgetting someone also!

    Its gonna be 60, I tell ya! Woho!!!! :-D

  • Marc,

    Reading the magazine articles is exciting, but reading comments like yours (from people who worked on the show in some way) are what get me most excited! It’s so awesome to see such enthusiasm from you guys!

  • And to further prove my case about 60 minutes of Blackwater, Nonso Anozie (the actor playing Xaro Xhoan Daxos) confirmed as much in an interview earlier:

    “Season 2 is bigger,” Anozie told us. “It goes deeper into the politics of what is going on and there is also a lot of action. There is a whole episode devoted to a war, that’s going to be a big. There is whole episode devoted to a huge… I can’t say anymore!”

    I’m assuming he has read the whole S2 script and knows what he is talking about! Oh joy!

  • Cersei’s armor will be ceremonial, but functional. It makes sense for her to wear it as a last line of defense against a stray arrow, or if she needs to be evacuated and has to pass through a “hot” area. Kind of like the secret service making a protectee wear a vest. Purely a defensive garment. She will probably have a dagger or long knife on her hip as a true last line of defense too. Scriptwise, she will likely get the armor made after her little mis-adventure with the city folk earlier in the season…

  • “The reporter repeats the rumour that Seasons 3 and 4 will be greenlighted and shot back-to-back to cover A STORM OF SWORDS.”

    Yesssssssssssssssss! :) I mean I expected this after Natalie Dormer said she signed on for seasons 3 and 4 but it’s still awesome….. Does that mean that they’ll be filming longer this year in Dubrovnik??

  • Stein Sogge,

    That’s got me wondering all over again whether he was quite serious about the second part, and episode 8 would be 60 full minutes of HOTU.

    Personally, I think that could be all kinds of awesome – if they could pull it off successfully. It would put a huge amount of narrative weight on the first 7 episodes – basically, most of the other plotlines (Arya in Harrenhal, Stannis v. Renly, the fall of Winterfell, etc.) would have to be almost wrapped up by then. But I can imagine them doing that, with just enough left over for a riveting episode 10.

  • At risk of being too optimistic I prophesy that as the fourth season ends and the momentum is rolling along, we will look back at our worrying or fretting over the show’s survival and realize given the awesomeness of the source material that it’s success was completely inevitable.

    That said kudos to HBO for their loyalty to the brand that is ASOIAF!

  • Regardless of the literal amount of screentime spent on the battle itself, it sure sounds like the lack of scope that dogged S1 isn’t going to be an issue in S2, which has me excited. My biggest complaint about S1 is that they sort of blew past a lot of interesting stuff–action scenes, Bran’s dreams, etc.–so they could cram in more exposition. The plot and characters were served well enough (though the Hound and a couple of others kind of got shafted) but this isn’t just about reciting a bunch of exposition. There needs to be action, impact, atmosphere. Cool scenes need time to breathe. It can’t just be “Here’s a White Walker in Commander Mormont’s room! Jon kills it! On to the next plot point!” In that regard, devoting a lot of time to Blackwater is a VERY good sign that the producers are on the right track. Hopefully this means The House of the Undying will be getting its fair share of screentime, and be rendered effectively, as well.

  • Storm of Swords is great but 20 episodes just seems like a little too much. Maybe they’ll move forward content from post-Swords as well. I think 10 episodes for the first book helped it stay fast paced and worked out very well.

  • Wow, so many cool details. Where to start?

    1. Cersei has armor?! I can’t wait to see it. I loved the armor Queen Elizabeth wore in Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

    2. 60 (as opposed to 16) minute battle?! Holy crap! So the whole episode will be devoted to the battle. :)

    3. They built a freaking ship!!

    So exciting.

  • Blueberry2: Storm of Swords is great but 20 episodes just seems like a little too much. Maybe they’ll move forward content from post-Swords as well. I think 10 episodes for the first book helped it stay fast paced and worked out very well.

    Most of the Iron Islands stuff in Feast takes place at the same time as Events in Storm so that should be brought forward, plus it’s possible some stuff from Kings has been put back till Season 3.

  • Cersei.. Cersei.. don’t let anyone steal your crazy thunder girl. Show those boys who’s Sheriff in town. She does do a lot of sideline commanding with regards to Joffrey, anything to commission a new outfit! :)

    WOW, a whole epi for the battle is going to be awesome!! I wonder if they’ll throw in 15 minutes of other character plots??

    Can you imagine the info/images we’ll get if they film two seasons at a time?! We’ll have so much to cover during the season downtime.

    Marc,
    Thank you for letting us know the excitement level was HIGH on set. Everyone’s interviews so far have confirmed just that, and it’s cool of you to give us your insight! Your saying “everyone of Stannis’ crew was exhausted at the end of filming” gave me chills for what’s to come!

    Sooooo happy right now!!

  • Mark also said it was a 2week shoot…that translates to me a lot more than 16m of battle footage :) ….it really does seem like the battle will be shown quite extensively…

  • What I do think is that episode 9 will be devoted to the storyline of Blackwater, and not the battle itself. We will be seeing Sansa and Cercei with Ilyn, Tyrion making sure the wildfire is ready, Davos comming on his ship with his sons, Stannis and Melissandre, Joffrey trying to be a ”commander”, the Blackwater battle, the Hound fleeing King’s Landing, the Tyrells being heros.

    In episode 10, we will probably see Daenerys deciding to get an army instead of going back to Pentos, Jon yielding to the wildlings, Tyrion waking up from his ”comma”, Catelyn making a deal with Jaime to get her girls back with Brienne, etc. And i really am excited to see what will be the final scene.

  • 60 minutes dedicated to BoB! Okay, that will keep those complaining about the battle being too short, then again we’ll probably get complains that the battle is too long now. :P

    I would prefer ASOS to get 16 episodes and do it all on one season. If they adapt the third book in its entirety, it’s going to be their best chance to win an Emmy for best series, imo.

  • I hope it isn’t 60 minutes, not because that wouldn’t be awesome but because you’d have to lose a lot of other things from the book to make room for it.

    Looking at the quote, it also reads to me that Gerardis is beamoaning the fact that Martin’s script is only 60 minutes long, not the battle by itself.

  • Justin James Dixon,
    Thanks, Justin. I’m really looking forward to starting season 3 now. I have remembered one tip given to us by cc smiff, the stunt co-ordinator: “guys, I know you’re all enjoying yourselves, all dressed up with armour and swords, but you’re about to kill or be killed, so stop F**king smiling. The next person I catch smiling, I’ll kill him for real. Now, first positions please”.

  • Marc:
    I have remembered one tip given to us by cc smiff, the stunt co-ordinator: “guys, I know you’re all enjoying yourselves, all dressed up with armour and swords, but you’re about to kill or be killed, so stop F**king smiling. The next person I catch smiling, I’ll kill him for real. Now, first positions please”.

    Haha, brilliant! Thank you Marc, this made my morning :) Hope you can give more details and share more memories like that once the show airs.

  • Armoured Cersei? Fuck yeah!

    Meg:

    Let’s hope they consulted this guy when they designed Cersei’s armor :P
    Fantasy Armor and Lady Bits

    This! Brienne’s armour gives me hope that Cersei’s will be more in line with Queen Elizabeth than Leia. On the other hand Dany’s armour was more in line with stupid fantasy female armour. However, given their track record of the dresses designed for Cersei, beautiful but not revealing which made me happy because they could have so easily gone with the cheap femme fatal with Cersei, I’m hopeful that her armour will also be beautiful and functional.

  • Marc:
    Justin James Dixon,
    Thanks, Justin. I’m really looking forward to starting season 3 now. I have remembered one tip given to us by cc smiff, the stunt co-ordinator: “guys, I know you’re all enjoying yourselves, all dressed up with armour and swords, but you’re about to kill or be killed, so stop F**king smiling. The next person I catch smiling, I’ll kill him for real. Now, first positions please”.

    Hilarious, brings up a great mental image!

  • Dreamlife,

    Armor for Cersei?
    Well I suppose.
    Putting the female leads in armor in “Elizabeth” and “Robin Hood” was just ridiculous. Why not just give them machine guns, a tank, or an F-16 while you’re going with silly anachronism.
    The idea is somewhat more palatable in GOT because, hey, it’s fantasy.
    You also have the repeatedly covered fact that Cersei fancies herself quite the manly warrior. And of course she could easily order an armorer to accomodate her neuroses.
    If we’re going with “Cersei in armor” for Blackwater, then I suppose it’s a pretty good guess that the whole business about Cersei keeping Ser Illyn on standby to off both Sansa and herself if everything went bad is out the window. Not a big loss but it was a good showcase for Cersei’s derangement and Sansa being terrorized.

  • If Storm of Swords is 2 full seasons I hope they end season 3 just after the events of the RW! That will drive people crazy!

  • “guys, I know you’re all enjoying yourselves, all dressed up with armour and swords, but you’re about to kill or be killed, so stop F**king smiling. The next person I catch smiling, I’ll kill him for real. Now, first positions please”.

    NICE.. lol

  • jellydonut (@frakwit,

    I don’t think that the fact that he said that “we only have 60 minutes” means that literally the entire 60 minutes will be devoted to the battle (and the related happenings with other characters). Didn’t Kit Harrington say somewhere that episode 9 was a “big episode” for Jon? And after all, if I remember correctly, few if any of the episodes are actually 60 minutes long, so I don’t think it should be taken too literally. Nevertheless, it certainly sounds like we can expect more than another “cutaway to aftermath” ripoff.

  • Dr.Gordon,

    George RR Martin has some extra time to finish the series if this is true. Could this series span 10+ seasons possibly if they do this for the other books? I’m going to be an old man when they finish, so will the actors!

  • XenkanMonk: This! Brienne’s armour gives me hope that Cersei’s will be more in line with Queen Elizabeth than Leia. On the other hand Dany’s armour was more in line with stupid fantasy female armour.

    Whaaa?? Dany is clearly garbed in the Dothraki style, rather than Westerosi style. It has nothing to do with her sex. There was an entire scene in S1 dedicated to the pros/cons of Dothraki style versus Westerosi style combat gear. In any case, even if she wanted armor more like Jorah’s and less like Qotho’s, it’s not like there’s an armorer in the Red Waste to whip up a set of plate for her…

    Besides this misses the point entirely. Dany is not a fighter, and thus wearing armor is silly and impractical. This fact doesn’t make her any less of a badass queen of everything. I’m tired of folks suggesting that women must wear armor or learn to fight in order to be worthy of respect as leaders.

    I actually hope the Cersei armor thing is a prank/lie. It would change her character substantially – Cersei has always wanted to wear armor or wield a sword – the fact that she is not allowed to do so greatly informs her character. The minute she’s allowed to wear armor like her brother, that aspect of her character now makes no sense.