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By Cat Taylor
One of the things that I’m always amazed by when I watch the show is how easy it is to forget the amount of work that goes into creating each set. The tent in which Robb learns he’s about to be a father was actually built on ‘A’ Stage, one of two new sound stages at the Paint Hall Studio in Belfast. It was designed by Gemma Jackson and then decorated by Set Dec and the Props departments with fabrics and furniture brought in from as far away as India – each piece was specially chosen to reflect the feel and style of House Stark. The scroll Talisa is writing was actually written in the Valyrian language, translated by our wonderful language creator, David J. Peterson.
In the same way that so many departments are involved in a short scene, many locations are often used to tell a single storyline. By now you will have seen the spectacular Ice Wall climb in Episode 306 and so much of Iceland's stunning scenery in the wildlings' approach to it. But by the time we see Orell and Ygritte in the woods, we are back in Toome, Northern Ireland. The scene was filmed back in September, six weeks before we went north of the Wall.
By Cat Taylor
Poor old Jaime, having to fight with only one hand. Don’t worry – those three men taunting him weren’t extras with vicious natures, but rather part of the stunt team.
As for Varys' special delivery, our man in the box required no stunts. The sorcerer was played by a local actor and the crate he arrives in was specially made – as so many of the props are – to a finish of appropriate roughness. One of a few designs, it was eventually chosen for its sturdiness.
On the other end of the scale is the perfect finish and grandeur of the Sept of Baelor. The Sept is actually a little over half a sept; the appearance of a full circle was created using camera angle tricks and VFX. The massive space where the Sept was built in is shared with something unexpected, that you don’t get to see until Episode 306: the huge ice wall that Jon and Ygritte must climb with the wildlings.
The ice wall was built by our amazing construction team and it took six weeks of testing and sampling to find a construction method and materials that worked. This was then tested by stunts for safety, and once filming of the climb began, we had crews working through the night to repair the damage done during the day's shooting.
In Westeros, the Wall and King's Landing are thousands of miles away from each other, but things are a little different in the real world. In Belfast, you’ll find the Wall sandwiched between the Throne Room and parts of the Red Keep, and more specifically Tywin’s new chamber, where Cersei confronts her father.