Dispatches From The Seven Kingdoms: Swarming Horde

ON THE SET
by Bryan Cogman

It's amazing how I can be cold and wet one day and find myself in a vast, Africa-like expanse the next, with a clear blue sky and warm weather to boot.  We're at a location called Sandy Brae (on the opposite end of Northern Ireland) filming the entrance into Vaes Dothrak, the city of the horselords.  It's another scene from my episode and an iconic sequence from the book, featuring the lovely Emilia Clarke, Iain Glen (as trusted knight Jorah Mormont), Harry Lloyd (as Daenerys's brother, the exiled prince Viserys), and Jason Momoa (as Khal Drogo, commander of a savage tribe of horse riders called the Dothraki.)

This location is unlike any in Northern Ireland; the terrain really does feel like another continent.  We have two massive pedestals set up, upon which our CG wizards will render the mighty rearing bronze stallions that make up the Horse Gate - the main entrance of Vaes Dothrak.  It's a difficult shot to pull off: Horseback "walk-and-talks" are trickier than you might think.  But we're two takes down, and the big entrance shot is looking great - even without the color-correcting, music, CGI, etc., it's breathtaking.

Not so breathtaking?  The midges - tiny little flies that swarm and bite and swarm and bite again. Bug spray seems to make it worse - they seem to like it.  "Wee bastards," as I've heard a few locals call them. They're launching a mass offensive against my poor face right now.