Animals Abound in a GOT Marketplace

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 42: Here on GoT, we believe the details make the world. Could we have an exotic market without pounds of turmeric, paprika, and other colorful spices? Yes. But then we'd just have goats, snakes, and a lemur.

Besides, nothing relaxes the crew like a selfie with the lemur. A relaxation they sorely need after a day spent wondering about the orange snake wrapped around its handler's neck, and why it keeps staring at them...

Acting Aboard an Armada

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 29: "If you fall in the water, the life jacket will automatically inflate. If it doesn't, pull the cord on your chest. If it still doesn't inflate, sink quietly so you don't ruin the take."

Such is the sage wisdom offered to us by our marine squad as we shoot a water sequence this week.

It seemed so easy on the page: a solitary boat on the water. But as we all know, pesky reality too often intrudes on fantasy. One boat became an armada: a boat with our heroes aboard, lashed to a primary camera boat; a second camera boat trying to keep up; a third boat for sound and VFX; a fastboat for props; a fastboat for marine rescue, just in case.

As for the water, who knew that landlocked lakes could unleash 4-foot swells? A couple of times we had to cut camera thanks to waves, lest the "Hero Boat" become hero-less.

But our cast bravely persevered. While the rest of us hung onto our seats (or cameras, or boom mics), they nailed their lines and acted like it was a balmy day on calm seas. A brilliant performance that most viewers will never realize.

Perhaps the cast were emboldened because, in our show, drowning would be a cleaner death than most...

Weapon Problems

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 19: Worries unique to GoT: today we film a scene heavily featuring Brienne's sword, Oathkeeper. Our armorer on set (yes, we have those) is worried about the bronze in the sword oxidizing before we finish shooting it. The pros and cons of a portable grindstone are discussed.

Later, Sophie Turner finds an arrow in a trash bin from where locations threw it away. She decides to carry it around with her all afternoon. Coincidentally, the writers change all lines in the scene to, "whatever she wants, please, we have families." Dark Sansa indeed...


Brienne Gets Back on the Horse

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 17: Deep in a forest estate, beneath the cast tent, Gwendoline Christie is reading a book on the Flappers of the 1920s. An AD [assistant director] approaches. It's time. Gwen jumps on her horse and cuts a man down in the mud. Then back to her book. The pen is mightier than the sword, but the bookmark is mightier than both.

Passing Time at Castle Black

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 11: Friday night. 1 a.m. Castle Black. A light, chilling drizzle and the woody smoke of burning braziers. Liam Cunningham and Stephen Dillane pass the time in the green room by playing "name that song" on Bluetooth speakers. Now we all know what is the sound of one Hand clapping.

Know Your Zhs and Qs: 5 Dothraki Speaking Tips From New York Comic-Con

Lured by the idea they'd "learn to speak like a khal," eager GoT fans crowded the New York Comic-Con panel Dothraki 101 With Language Creator David Peterson. Peterson is the linguist responsible for several of GoT's fictional languages – including High Valyrian and Dothraki, the language of the nomadic horse tribes of Essos. Peterson recently released Living Language Dothraki, a conversational language course designed to turn any new speaker into a fierce warrior… conversationally, at least. 

Peterson's Comic-Con panel functioned as a 45-minute language lesson; he walked through some basic tips, vocabulary and behind-the-scenes details. Below you'll find five rules to speak by, in Vaes Dothrak and beyond. 

1. Conquer the 'q' 

"'Q' is the hardest sound in Dothraki," Peterson explained: it's not pronounced like "q" or "k" in English. Peterson characterized the Dothraki "q" to be spoken like "a 'k' but further back in the throat." He advised putting the back of your tongue right against the uvula (the part that hangs down from the roof of your mouth). The crowd tried the sound together, resulting in a cacophony not unlike a flock of ravens caw-cawing. Peterson estimated that about 60 percent of the group had it right. "You can swallow your tongue … that is possible" Peterson cautioned, "so don't do that."

2. Nail the vowels 

A good way to prove your mastery of a second language? Get the vowels right. In Dothraki, vowels are always pronounced separately. As an example, Peterson presented the word "soaiso," pronounced: so-a-i-so and meaning "drunk." As another example, Peterson offered a five-syllable traditional Dothraki greeting, "m'attchomaroon." The literal translation is "with respect," which Peterson noted is "how you greet somebody if you don’t want to get killed."

3. Don't get intimidated 

Some Dothraki letter combinations will throw off the actors, particularly if they are pronounced differently than in English. "Zh" is one such example; luckily, Peterson has a trick for Dothraki novices – "s" is to "z" as "sh" is to "zh." The result is a sound similar to garage or genre or measure. "Kh" is another tricky combo. "We kind of get freaked out about this," Peterson said, "but this sound does exist in English." He cited an expression of exasperation, "hugh." One audience member documented the experience: 

4. Gather the necessary supplies

Peterson recalled the study habits of his pupil Jason Momoa, the actor who played Khal Drogo. After receiving multiple .mp3 files from Peterson of a speech he had to learn, Momoa "freaked out … got a six-pack of beer, ordered a pizza, and took it back to his hotel room," revealed Peterson. "All night he just listened to the speech over and over again." The result? "Man," Peterson marveled, "did he nail it."

5. Know the classics

Given their distinct culture, the Dothraki have several go-to expressions. Here are the ones to perfect:

Me nem nesa
The most famous expression. It means, "It is known."

Yer shekh ma shieraki anni.
Spoken to a male, this means, "You are my sun and my stars."

Yer jalan atthirari anni.
Spoken to a female, this expression means, "You are the moon of my life." 

This expression means "cheers," "goodbye," "be awesome" – and finally, "be strong" 


Observations From the Set

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Photo Credit: Helen Sloan

Day 3: The glamorous life of an actress: Today is Maisie's first day on set. Yesterday, she was in L.A. Today, she's on a ship sailing the Narrow Sea. Which may look suspiciously like a studio parking lot outside Belfast.

Day 8: Today we learned that cutting off a man's head is not a felony as long as you put it back on after.
Day 9: In a different century, Kit Harington could've been an actual warrior. He's a natural with a sword. And a fur cloak.