Fans may not realize it, but they’ve seen Weapons Master Tommy Dunne before, and not just on the behind the scenes specials Game of Thrones releases before the season starts, or in the DVD extras. As The Telegraph points out in their behind-the-scenes interview, he’s been in front of the camera as well. In the opening sequence on Season 4, where Ned Stark’s Ice was melted down and reforged into two swords–one for Jaime Lannister and one for Joffrey Baratheon–Dunne was the blacksmith doing the forging. When asked what the experience was like, he admitted that (especially with the mood lighting and shadows) that it was all “a bit dark.”
The two weapons that came out of that act, Oathkeeper and Widow’s Wail, feature in the Telegraph interview, as Dunne brought both along with him and talked about their design and the process used to make them.
“I look at the crystals and try to find nice ones,” he explains, indicating the stones in Widow’s Wail. “The most opulent. I build around the stone – rather than trying to build [the scabbard and finished sword] as an item and then fit something into it. We work backwards, so we find the diamond, and then create our style from it.”
As for Oathkeeper, Dunne seems a little regretful that it didn’t stay with Jaime, as Coster-Waldau was, in Dunne’s opinion, one of the best actors with the swords:
“He’s not only pretty – he is actually very good – wonderful – with a sword,” he said. “He’s very, very fast. Kit [Harington, who plays Jon Snow] is fantastic as well. He’s increased his pace.”
Not that the actors actually use the real things in filming.
“We have aluminum, a rubber, or a bamboo version of the same item,” he says. “We’d have the handle or the crossguard as a separate item, with an aluminum blade in that, or a bamboo. But they will wear [the steel sword], if it ever needs to be close to camera.”
Asked whether this is primarily to protect the blades, or the actors, he says: “It’s a bit of both. But it is mainly for safety, because we wouldn’t kill people. I like my job. I want to try and keep it.”
The most interesting prop Dunne brought with him to the interview wasn’t the lavish weaponry of King’s Landing or the scimitars of the Dothraki (though he brought and talked about those too), but rather the ice sword used by the White Walkers. Described in the article as “strange, craggy, semi-transparent,” it’s appearance led to a explanation of how these weapons could not be forged in the traditional manner, since they’re supposed to be made of ice. Instead, they are baked out of resin, in order to get that sense of a weapon that is almost opaque. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of it, but that’s probably due to the theoretically spoilery nature of the sword’s appearance this coming season.
Check out the rest of the interview at The Telegraph.