Filming Speculation

Day 98: Set photos surface from Essaouira

Filming has gotten underway in Essaouira, Morocco. Sets were under construction over the last few days and today seems to be the first day of actual filming. Many photos have popped up on Twitter and elsewhere of what was being filmed today. Have a look:

Thanks to Twitterers @Aditi_Kibe, @Kenza_Debbagh and @colduthie and Redditor StarkkofWinterfell for the pics.

Winter Is Coming: What do you think we are looking at here? Clearly a scene with Dany in one of the cities of Slaver’s Bay. But is this Astapor? And if so, are those guards the Unsullied? They look quite different from the Unsullied of the books and season one. But they do look pretty badass.

100 Comments

  • Cool stuff. What’s with that guy in the cross?

    I wish we could have a better look of what Daenerys is wearing.

  • well they did portray some unsullied on s01e01, in the marriage scene.
    i hope these new guys are either from a sellsword company or from another army of slaves

  • Those are definitely the Unsullied. The actual look for them in the book/season 1 isn’t too intimidating, or bad-ass for that matter.

    I’m glad they changed it, I like the new look!

  • I think those might be the Unsullied.

    It would make sense to cover them up considering they might have to use CGI to create a big army. That way it’s easier to digitally duplicate than if their faces were showing.

  • Aren’t Unsullied supposed to have a horn on their helmet, or am I remembering wrong? (Or seeing wrong, for that matter?)

  • It is supposed to be a spiked helm, and yeah, they definitely look like they put that thin spike on the helmet as a nod to that description from the books. So yeah, I’m leaning towards these being the new Unsullied. I guess since they never actually SAID those barechested guys in season one were Unsullied, the only people who will notice the change are hardcore fans like us.

  • Lin Beifunk,

    Having a large spike on your helmet isn’t exactly practical, and would look a bit goofy I’d think. This new armour, be it for unsullied or some sellsword company, looks badass.

  • Lin Beifunk,

    Actually, their helmets should have a big spike… like the ones shown on Pentos on the first episode.

    And about that first picture: am I seeing too much or behind Dany there are two people: Jorah and an unimportant white-haired old man? :P

  • I hope these are the Unsullied, they look rather badass.

    And yeah, it’s not the same as the books, but you know what? Neither was Talisa/Jeyne or the House of the Undying or the single bare breasted Qartheen women. Lots of things have changed from book to show, so let this be one of them.

    Also, the book description of the Unsullied were basically thin boys, with cone-shaped helmets and virtually no armor. They didn’t have chiseled abs because they had no testosterone for most of their life. It’d be hard to pull off that look on a TV show without looking silly, let alone looking intimidating.

    I wonder if they’ll keep the notion of having to murder puppies/babies to become unsullied? In addition to losing the twig and berries…

  • Andrew,

    Oh, I’m not saying it does or doesn’t either way, I was just wondering if I remembered wrong (it’s been a long time since I’ve read the books). I’m not a diehard book purist or anything. /shrug

    EDIT: Guys, guys, I promise, I don’t mind! lol. Goodness.

  • I’m glad everybody seems to be embracing the changes to the new unsullied (assuming of courses the armored guards pictured above are the new unsullied). It’s nice to see a positive reaction to a difference from the source material!

  • If I remember it right (correct me if wrong) the Unsullied that have been sold to the Free Cities wore what their new master give to wear… And that can be different thing but close to that what those from Slaver Bay wear. I agree with one person from above spikes on helmets like in ep01s01 are very unwieldy. It makes for the foe much easier to harm you in fight especially head with such a spike, but now its only ornamental. And behind Dany is probably ser Jorah and Arstan… Just great…

  • My bet: that’s just the city guard or some mercenary company.
    There is no hint that they are filming the scene where Dany buys the Unsullied.

  • Correct me if I am wrong, but wasn’t there a scene where the slaves were crucified along the paths dany walked. Maybe that’s what this is. Looks like there is more than one.

  • I like the new armor for the Unsullied very much, it looks daunting!
    And I don’t think it’s a problem that the Unsullied from season 1 had a different look. Just because all the Unsullied completed the same training doesn’t mean they have to wear the same armor. – In fact, that would be highly unlikely. They are sold all over the world for different tasks (solder, guard etc.) and all of it can require another set of armor. Not to mention that they are slaves and by that have to wear what ever they masters want them to wear.

  • TreSvatek,

    That was on the road to Meereen.
    My guess is that what’s in the picture is their take on the Plaza of Punishment. Maybe they mixed it with the Plaza of Pride.

  • They’re gonna need to digitally duplicate characters to make the numbers they need.

    Easier to make digital copies of human beings if their human traits: skin, hair, faces are not shown

  • the goat,

    That’s going to be an amazing shot of Dany walking by. Ah! I can’t wait! Locations are beautiful this season.

    Hopefully the writers can deliver on her story this time around. It’s going to be difficult, considering where they put her last season. The only part of last season that I didn’t like incredibly.

  • And yeah, I really dig the Unsullied costume. It gives an impression that something is up with these dudes. The mask is interesting too. It’s almost like since they lost their stuff, they can’t even show their face. I think the helmet could be a little less “shogun” in the back, but all in all, really impressed so far with set and costume design.

  • If those are the unsullied big thumbs up. Definitely badass looking.

    For me this is like Stannis first to the beach first up the wall. Its nice that the book did something antifantasy in making certain characters not be badass, but I’d rather the show version of them be more badass, not less.

  • Tolgeros: I wonder if they’ll keep the notion of having to murder puppies/babies to become unsullied?In addition to losing the twig and berries…

    I should hope they don’t shy away from that.

  • I wonder how old those fortifications are, and who built them? Not to mention whom they were built to defend against? You don’t spend that kind of money on defensive works unless you have to.

  • I think I see Missandei in the first picture and maybe Greyworm? That’s definitely Jorah to the left behind Dany.
    Picture three I believe is the actor playing Kraznys he looks like Tim Driscoll from Deadwood ep 1 season 1.

    Me thinks a great tracking shot this will be. I frakking love Dany’s boots. Badass.

  • Oh and yeah I see the other head next to Jorah. Definitely Arstan Whitebeard.

    Also the Unsullied look badass. So glad they modified their look. They would look ridiculous on film regardless how awesome that particular scene is. This way not every extra has to shave their head.

  • OMG! If those are the Unsullied they look freaking badass! I wouldn’t fuck with them! Wow, they look like a combination of Greek and Norse… Really cool looking, now I can’t wait. Last season Dany and Jon’s storyline really disappointed me but especially all Dany’s boot stomping and acting like her bitchass brother.

    Like I have stated before I am House Stark all the way but Dany is my favorite character. Season 3 looks like Dany’s storyline is going to be the most badass! Can’t wait to see the beautiful mother of dragons kick some ass!

  • They certainly could be the Unsullied, but I hope they’re not!
    To me the Unsullied are not suppsoed to look bad ass or be fearsome. They are supposed to be underestimated by people encountering them for the first time. Their training and discipline makes them bad ass…. not their appearance.

    I would prefer the “don’t judge a book by its cover” Unsullied from the books, but if they make them look fearsome and bad ass it does not affect the overall story much in the end….

  • Danerys is wearing some “phat” boots** in photo #1, but I really want to know the
    identity of the two blokes posing for the camera , in photo # 4.

    ** borrowed from Nicki Minaj.

  • The Unsullied had spikes on their helmet to determine rank among them. Perhaps
    with Greyworm soon aboard , this will stand out. Their uniforms appear plain
    enough, so I’m not too concerned there. Their awesome military discipline and
    respect for their liege will impress anyone whom witness them. I wonder if
    Danerys sets a purchase price by the 1000’s , ultimately taking the entire
    city.
    It would be amazing to see CGI effects to duplicate the numbers.

    I located Arstan and Jorah in photo #1, but I cannot find Missandei as someone
    pointed out.

  • To everyone worried about the look of the unsullied from season one to now.

    In sos when Danny is on the ship leaving qarth, Jorah Mormont states, the Pentos house guard unsullied are not the same as the war breed fighters of astapor.

    so this still remains semi-canon.

  • Joshua Taylor,

    Like you said, its definitely Jorah, you can see the bottom of his scabbard trailing behind him. And there’s definitely a white haired person (likely a man, based solely on height) on Jorah’s left, so possibly Artstan, but certainly not necessarily. And it could be Missandei on the far right, but the actress looks too light skinned to be Nathalie. (I pray to R’hllor that they let her keep her amazing hair, tho I know I’m doomed to disappointment.)

  • Well, the fact that there’s no rather heavy actor following the two following Dany in the first picture seems to be another nail in the coffin for hopes of Strong Belwas :-(

  • Cary Storm,

    I honestly never expected to see his character in the series. As cool as he was in the books he could easily end up coming off as a He-man sidekick especially since we already have Hodor. It’s interesting to learn what D & D will or will not take risks on. Yes they killed Ned Stark and yes they will portray other tragic moments from the novels but there are certain things they deliberately leave out. As a fan of the books who loves the adaptation thus far I would really like to know the process of how they decide what aspect to excise from the source material. Is if done by a vote with producers and writers, is it automatically decided by D &D? As a person well invested in the production aspect of television I forgive many of the alterations but am still curious as to what actually goes down. Was it simply “no peach?” Or was there a process involved?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Winter Is Coming:
    It is supposed to be a spiked helm, and yeah, they definitely look like they put that thin spike on the helmet as a nod to that description from the books. So yeah, I’m leaning towards these being the new Unsullied. I guess since they never actually SAID those barechested guys in season one were Unsullied, the only people who will notice the change are hardcore fans like us.

    Besides, it can also be handwaved as those in Season 1 still being Unsullied but “guard” uniform instead of the “true” warrior Unsullied armor

  • woo hoo – great close up of the gurads (I ll call them gurads by now – until it is confirmed are they Unsullied or not).

  • Maester Tcost,

    I went to the vowel-rich Essaouira a couple years ago for the gnaoua music festival, every inch of the old/harbor part of town is pure fantasy. If I recall correctly, E-town was in its golden days a very international city (Morocco being a nexus between Europe, Africa and the Arab world to the east.) I don’t think the harbor fortifications are that old — 1700s or so. There WAS a lot of piracy — not far away from Corsica and its eponymous Corsicans.) I do recall parts were built by engineers from around the region, including Italians and Northern Europeans. One dude was an Englishman they called Ahmed al Inglizi, or “English Ahmed.”

  • Does any one know how many days of filming there is? I love these set photos. Although the ones with Shae and Sansa at Croatia were better. Can’t wait for next march!!

  • Oh ffs, here’s the Wiki ASOIAF link for the Unsullied:
    http://awoiaf.westeros.org/index.php/Unsullied

    That took like 5 seconds.

    They all wear the spiked helms. They are slaves from anywhere (so body types vary), but only 1 in 3 survives the training. Some of Dany’s are young cuz she “bought” all of them, including the ones in training. They are trained to be soldiers, so if they are used as household guards, they can become “soft.” Honestly, that was not very difficult.

  • Holy hell, these HAVE to be the Unsullied! I find their looks to be just as good as in the books, maybe even better. They look more dangerous that way.

    Now if only I could get a good closer look on Whitebeard as he’s my favorite character and I’m curious on how he’ll look like this time around…

  • WildSeed,

    Also it’s cool the unsullied’s faces are covered because it goes along with the fact they are not individuals, they are simply numbered soldiers that will die upon command of their master. The helms hidding their face strengthen that fact… Well done D&D!

  • Final pic = Cages to hang misbehaving slaves up in I guess.

    Previous Pic = where Dany and Kraznys do their bargaining.

  • See those guys posing for a photocamera. I wonder if the Extra’s know that they play eunuchs. If they do, when they are boasting about playing a tough warrior on GOT I don’t think they mention the eunuch part!

  • They’re probably Unsullied, aye. Could also be that they want to establish the concept of Ghiscari legions early on, though that seems less likely.

  • I was in Essaouira with some friends this weekend. We have seen Daenerys giving some water to the slave in the first photos, with Jorah and Arstan watching.
    We couldn’t see more but we got the chance to be cast to play as extras in Ouarzazate between the 20th october and the 6th november. From what we have been told we will play some nobles in King’s Landing and people getting killed in Astapor.

  • Maester Tcost,

    In 1506, the king of Portugal, D. Manuel I ordered a fortress to be built there, named “Castelo Real de Mogador”, but was abandoned in the second half of 16th century. New fortifications built Mohamed the Third, king of Morocco in second half of 18th century, because he wanted to open Morocco to the ocean. For 12 years, Mohammed III directed a French engineer, Théodore Cornut, and several other European architects and technicians, to build the fortress and city along modern lines. Originally called “Souira”, “The small fortress”, the name then became “Es-Saouira”, “The beautifully designed”. The harbour entrance, with the “Porte de la Marine”, was built by an English renegade by the name of Ahmed el Inglizi (“Ahmed the English”), or Ahmed El Alj (“Ahmed the Renegade”). The two “scalas” with their fortifications (the Harbour scala and the Northern scala) were built by Genoese engineers. Thanks to Mohamed the Third Essoura became the main port and harbour of Morocco…
    This drawing is from beginning of 19th century, when fortifications were only 50 years old…: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f8/Essaouira_in_1809.jpg

  • If they are the unsullied, I love the new design! Badass! I wonder if they’ll still have the higher rank Unsullied though? They had two spikes If I recall, that would look extremely kick ass!

    *New comment system is cutting off comments and the writing box is too narrow. I’m assuming it’s just a launch problem and is hopefully being fixed.

  • If they are the Unsullied then the look wayyyyyyy cooler than how they’re described in the book. When I first read their description in the book my first thought was “Well they sound silly…”
    Men stood in nappies with big spikes on their heads wouldn’t exactly strike viewers as being an amazing military force.

  • darquemode:
    To me the Unsullied are not suppsoed to look bad ass or be fearsome. They are supposed to be underestimated by people encountering them for the first time. Their training and discipline makes them bad ass…. not their appearance.

    agree

  • Finally got around to answering my own question from yesterday,

    “How many?” one old woman had asked, sobbing. “How many must you have to spare us?”
    “One hundred and sixty-three,” she answered.

  • If these are Unsullied, I’m very glad the armor has changed a little as I’m not really into seeing the nipple removing part…. Always creeps me out when I read the book

  • Mormegil:
    Nicocasa,

    So some Kings Landing stuff to be filmed in Morocco, Interesting.

    There was so much CGI stuff in outside scenes and environs, my guess would be
    this was one way to capture shoreline scenes ( w/o the tall cliffs ), for Kings Land
    -ings’s closeups .

  • Nicocasa:
    I was in Essaouira with some friends this weekend. We have seen Daenerys giving some water to the slave in the first photos, with Jorah and Arstan watching.
    We couldn’t see more but we got the chance to be cast to play as extras in Ouarzazate between the 20th october and the 6th november. From what we have been told we will play some nobles in King’s Landing and people getting killed in Astapor.

    This one is very impressed, what a memorable occasion. You should take photos
    ( if allowed ) to share with your loved ones and family of friends. Have a awesome
    time ! You’re re-enacting ASOIAF history :D

  • Mohamed Amine Lakaab,

    Thanks for the photos.
    Looks like they are going to film the scenes of the Plaza of Punishment in the walls (if I remember correctly, that one is just off the city gate that faces the piers, so it makes sense they are filming near the sea).

  • Thanks to all Maroccan folks who helped with the reports and photos!

    I have one question though: when pilot was filming in Atlas studios in Ouarzazate way back in 2009 – we had no reports/pics or any word on the filming.
    Which is perfectly understandable because Atlas studios is “closed” set.

    Do you have any info on possible filming location in Ouarzazate this time around? Would it be Atlas studios and its facilities once again? Or something else?

    Thank you in advance…
    (if some of you can t speak english, you can write answer in french, I ll be glad to translate it..)

  • Nicocasa,

    I’m not sure Missandei is on two last photos? Women in white between doors? And they show children, good, good, very good… Unsullied in early training…

  • I’m not sure Missandei is on two last photos? Women in white between doors? And they show children, good, good, very good… Unsullied in early training…

    Yes, Missandei is the woman in white on the 2 last photos. On the last photo Arstan is just in front of her.

  • There were Unsullied in Season 1? Clearly I wasn’t being observant enough. Which scene/episode was that?

  • Adam,

    Ep1. Guards belonging to Ilyrio.

    Two can be seen in the scene where Drogo comes to inspect Dany and also some are seen during the Wedding.

  • Anyone watch the youtubed interview with Rheon on the twitter feed on the side. LMAO at his description of his character.

  • Nicocasa,

    And ser Jorah on extreme righton the 2nd from end picture, but I’m still not convinced that that almoust bald men on last picture is Arstan, it’s hard to say, even in the bigger size of the picture. I just must believe in your word…

  • Carne,

    An ox? Crew member not knowing what is going on? And if they are wrong and it’s not an ox and its exactly what I think it is…Forget Treme HBO! The levees are going to burst!

  • Nicocasa,

    Hello, thanks for the pictures, i wanted to ask you from what place you took this pics, is it from the “Ile Mare” restau ? if you have access to a place like this can i join you to take some pictures with my dslr ? thanks

  • Sorry but I’m not in Essaouira anymore. Yes I took the photos from the Ile Mare restaurant, we just ask in the restaurant if we could get on the roof to and they let us in without any problem.

  • Mohamed Amine Lakaab,
    Thanks again.
    For what I can see here they are filming some scene with the Unsullied. I wonder if they are going to film the “purchase” at the walls too or in a plaza like in the book. I hope thay do the latter, it would be awesome to watch the whole town people going crazy while the slavers burn.