Behind the Scenes of the First Five Episodes

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By Cat Taylor

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Previously, on Game of Thrones…..

As things kick off in Belfast for the start of work on series 3, we’re also getting a chance to see all of the hard work of last season on our screens. For a lot of the crew, the first time they see the show is when you do, but as you watch it brings back memories of all the things that happened along the way. Here’s just a few:

When Theon Greyjoy arrives home, the harbour shots were filmed at Ballintoy Harbour. When he first gets off the boat you can see a house in the background – it’s actually a fishing shed. When they were filming the close up of the dialogue scenes the director, DOP, half the crew and I were crammed inside next to broken lobster traps and musty furniture so we were never in shot. Later, someone who shall remain nameless (because I like my job) used the opportunity of Alfie being filmed to email Kit Harrington love letters from Alfie’s phone.

You know how Craster’s Keep looks dark and miserable and just a bit desperate? It really was. It rained heavily for days and the ground was so churned up by the crew and cast that your feet sank deep into the mud, all the way past your ankles. It was a cramped set too, so you often had to stand in the muddy bits just to be out of the way. We filmed there for several days, by the end we all had he silkiest ankles in all the land. Little secret: one of those baskets outside had a bag of chocolate bars in it.

Some of you who follow the news will know that we had some bad luck – one of our locations was shut down by a hurricane hitting the north coast. That was the day we first shot Catelyn’s arrival at Renly’s camp, when we meet two of our new, amazing female characters in Brienne and Margery Tyrell. Margery’s outfit didn’t have sleeves to start with – winds strong enough to blow away a marque, and poor Natalie in nothing but her skin. That’s poise.

When we later reshot the entrance it was a much calmer day, Brienne of Tarth still managed some epic ass kicking. First the stunt guys had to fight over and over – there were particular marks to hit and it’s hard to get it right when you are wearing a helmet and are being thrown through the air. All credit to extras – they kept right on cheering for the same fight, from different angles, for hours.

Who read this post about a death? If you guessed Lommy, you get 15 points. I have to say, after all that the blood did look good, but Yoren’s death looked even better. Those of you with keen eyes will also have spotted that a couple of Helen Sloan’s fabulous shots were indeed from the battlefield after Robb’s victory in Ep. 4 and that’s where the “overheard” quotes were from - and yes, we found the director in the end.

The first real shots of North of the Wall after the brothers leave Craster’s were actually the last day of filming. You’d never know, but in the background a massive snowball fight was underway between shots and it was the day after the blizzard when we had to be taken down the convoy. If you’ve seen the excellent behind the scenes video for Iceland, you’ll see how amazing an experience that was for all of us and remains the most fantastic way to end series 2.  

Until next time folks, when I’ll be filling you in on what’s been happening in the last few months while we’ve been away.