Filming continues near Saintfield (UPDATE: Presumed-dead character seen in costume, on set!)


Generally speaking, any efforts the Game of Thrones production tried to make this year to keep spoilers about Season 6 from leaking have been failures. Shutterbugs near Ballingtoy Harbor forced HBO to admit that Pilou Asbæk had been cast as Euron Greyjoy, pics from around the village of Corbet in Northern Ireland confirmed that the show will return to the Riverlands, and there’s so much footage out of Girona that we could basically give you a play-by-play of what’s going to happen in King’s Landing and Braavos.

The only place where the production has managed to keep things fairly quiet is Saintfield, Northern Ireland. We know that there’s filming going on there, and there have been plenty of rumors about a big battle scene featuring a bunch of major players, but there’s been little in the way of photographic evidence, outside of some far-off shots of mysterious plumes of smoke.

But now…nothing’s really changed, although there are a couple of shots coming in of cast members in the Saintfield area.


Now, if you’re thinking that this shot is too blurry to really confirm anything, you’re probably not alone, but the reports coming out of this area are too big to ignore. Rumor has it that the production is filming a major battle scene near Saintfield, one that involves Boltons, Umbers, wildlings, and a certain Night’s Watchman named Jon Snow, brought back from the dead by god-only-knows. The above picture is really the first photographic evidence we have that there are even any Game of Thrones cast members near Saintfield, and even though it’s fuzzy, it’s clear enough to make out several men in black uniforms. The men of the Night’s Watch wear black uniforms. Jon Snow is a man of the Night’s Watch. Draw what conclusions you will. Also of interest is just how long the production has been in Saintfield. Rumors that Kit Harington was there first surfaced two weeks ago, and tweets from people in the area confirm that shooting is still going on. One woman noticed the production putting down more fake snow earlier this week…  

…while a man noted that filming was ongoing just two days ago.

And then there’s the tweet showing the men in black, which went up today. Presumably, the production is in Saintfield for the sole purpose of filming a big battle scene*, and it’s very rare for it to spend so much time on one scene. The last time that happened, it was filming the Massacre at Hardhome, which was the high point of Season 5. Will this scene equal it? It’s exciting to think about.

*It’s possible the production is filming more than one scene here, but the location seems awfully specific.

UPDATE: Okay, the long night of speculation is over. The Daily Mail has photos of Kit Harington on set and in costume as Jon Snow.

The Daily Mail

According to The Daily Mail, this set is somewhere in Belfast, although it looks more remote. Anyway, that’s quite a load off everyone’s mind! The question of Harington’s return has been circling the show like a hawk ever since…well, since the second Season 5 ended. Now we know. He’s back. How will he come back? There’s still some months left to figure that out.

Other notes: is the woman under the umbrella Carice van Houten as Melisandre? Also, Harington doesn’t look to be wearing Night’s Watch-style blacks in this photo. Now that he’s died and come back to life, maybe Jon Snow is released from his Night’s Watch vows and free to wear other kinds of clothing?

Finally, per Twitter user Josh C., and also per our eyes, that’s director Miguel “Hardhome” Sapochnik Harington is talking to in the photo. That would mean this scene takes place in episode 9 or 10, which lines up with earlier rumors.

Head over to The Daily Mail for a few more looks at this pic.

Next: The Small Council: What was the worst part of Game of Thrones Season 6?