By Cat Taylor
One of the greatest things about working on a show like Game of Thrones is that you are surrounded by beautiful things so much of the time. The costumes are gorgeous, the sets are so detailed you can always find a new facet when you look hard enough, and even the armor and weapons are beautifully finished. The cast isn’t too hard to look at either! On some days though, the most beautiful thing is the scenery that we are surrounded by.
By necessity, the locations that we shoot at tend to be remote – it wouldn’t do to pull back from the gates of Harrenhall and see that the courtyard is built in the car park of a Pizza Hut. It’s also hard to weave the authentic medieval sound of a Boeing 777 arriving from Newark into the story line. Our sound and camera teams are exceptional (and we’ll be meeting them later), but that’s a lot to ask of anyone.
Just getting to these far-flung places can be a challenge. Tiny roads and large trucks are not always the best combination, and we can certainly be guilty of causing our own mini traffic jams as the crew makes way down roads used primarily for tractors and sheep. Sometimes there is no signal for phones or email, or the nearest shop is a few miles away. The crew lugs kit down paths the trucks can’t get to, and they run cables from the gennys out to beaches, huts and even cliff tops.
Even so, I’m not sure there are many better ways to see Northern Ireland than filming on this show. We are able to have access to places that you just don’t visit in day-to-day life. We get to see some of the greatest sights in a unique way, and even on the longest drives, you see some spectacular views that make it all worthwhile.
This season alone we have been up and down the northern coast of Antrim and into the corners of the country. Filming only a few miles from the world famous Giant’s Causeway and in tiny coves that are so startlingly beautiful it’s distracting. We have filmed on cliff tops and beaches, taken over the grounds of stately homes, caves and even old quarries. In what used to be empty rolling fields, there are castles and battlefield camps. Woodland clearings become campsites full of wagons and horses. A Godswood is just off a dirt track on the way south from the city. It’s all amazing to see.