Dothraki & old location return to the fore in latest Game of Thrones Season 8 shoot

Lannister versus Dothraki The Spoils of War

Game of Thrones continues filming its last season! An equestrian facility in Saintfield, a frequent location best known for the Battle of the Bastards, has been home to the Dothraki this week, riding in simulated winter conditions. Also: more cave shooting!

The Lessans Livery Yard and Riding Stables in Saintfield recently hosted a Dothraki party (not a wedding, so there were no deaths; I hope it wasn’t “a dull affair”, nevertheless). They weren’t shy about publicizing this season eight shoot on their Instagram, until HBO—or just a better sense of prudence—got to them and the photo was deleted. However, nothing is truly gone as long as someone preemptively saves it, as many of us did here:

Original caption: "What an exciting week we've had transforming the yard into a film set. Try explaining to a Dothraki warrior that, even though the sun is blazing, Winter is here."

Original caption: “What an exciting week we’ve had transforming the yard into a film set. Try explaining to a Dothraki warrior that, even though the sun is blazing, Winter is here.”

Though, at some point, the usual pink GOT sign was there to guide the crew to the stables, according to GOTlike Locations it’s gone now, which likely means filming wrapped not long after it began. Such a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it affair isn’t really surprising: whatever they did here was probably part of the Winterfell battle, which mainly took place at the Moneyglass castle set and finished filming two months ago, but it’s not unusual for discrete elements of such a large sequence to be shot separately. In this case, it was probably a matter of a few missing shots with Dany’s bloodriders.

Apropos of GOTlike Locations, they were able to ascertain that, just as our sources told us days ago, the shoot at the Cushendun caves concluded yesterday. More than that, they managed to take a peak at the cave entrance, which bore a surprising addition:

Game of Thrones didn't simply shoot in the caves; they built a set! Photo: GOTlike Locations

Game of Thrones didn’t simply shoot in the caves; they built a set! Photo: GOTlike Locations

We can’t see the front-facing side of the set (the scaffolding wall covering part of the cave entrance; not the buildings, which were already there), which may have given us a clue as to the location of this cave, but I still maintain it’s probably Dragonstone. However, that’s not a certainty! Where do you all think this cave scene takes place?

35 responses

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    1. Kevin:
      It’s Cushendun not Cushenden.

      Thanks 🙂 I wrote it correctly everywhere from the URL to the tags, but wrong in the actual article, where people will actually read it. That’s just bad luck.

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    2. Is this it now, are we officially done with all filming? I couldn’t tell from the article if filming completely finished this week or if there is potential for more?

      Also no idea with the cave unless it’s an exit/entry in either Winterfell or Kings Landing. Why would they go back to Dragonstone again?

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    3. Nice to see the Dothraki back in action.

      Btw no big deal but where you put preventively I think you meant preemptively?

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    4. Luka Nieto,

      Lol ain’t that always the case! It’s ok. We’re all good and know what you meant.

      That cave may very well be in the North. I am sold on winterfell to be honest. Doesn’t look like a Southern set. And as Jon Snowed asked above: why go back to Dragonstone?

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    5. Hey…I think I spotted Queen Arya’s white pony. A coronation gift from her Dothraki subjects to replace the white pony from S4e10? That would be a thoughtful gift.

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    6. I’m still of the mindset that it’s going to be linked to survivors from Winterfell emerging from a series of tunnels or caverns that link up to the crypts.

      We know that Winterfell will burn. We assume from filming news that most of our Northern favourites escape. Perhaps they’re the ones who burn it even to kill the army of the dead, or a huge chunk of them. With them being surrounded, they’re going to need a way to set a fire and escape. Now just as I wrote this I realised that they could escape and then the dragons could torch the place, but they might be tied up with fighting NK on undead Viserion, so I still believe that the Starks will set fire to it. Either way, they need to escape when they’re surrounded. I picture them escaping through the crypts and there will be just a shot of them emerging from the cave mouth. Not a long shoot – just a stream of characters emerging. I also like the idea of Jon finding something in the depths of the crypt to back up what Bran says about his true parents’ identity (and my pet theory that until he does, he just doesn’t believe it).

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    7. Question, off topic: Did Jon Snow had a vision about Rhaegar and/or Lyanna during the Battle of the Bastards? The moment I’m talking about is at 00:44:47-00:44:53. The moment is very brief and happens just before he rises back to battle and the Knights of the Vale come. I’m not a superfan of ASOIAF/GoT (too much violence for my taste), but I’m a fan of important character moments generally. 🙂

      1.) It seems that Jon is saying a couple times: “No” directly to someone. (It’s hard to be certain, because music is louder than other voice effects.)
      2.) After Jon’s second (hypotetical) “No” there’s something white at the top of the screen, which could be Targaryen hair.
      3.) Again, after Jon’s second “No”, Jon’s eye changes colour from dark to light. Jon closes his eyes, and when he opens them, it seems that he gets his strength back and rises.
      4.) After that, camera shows a person in a black, and also long, dark hair, but viewer doesn’t see his/her face.
      5.) If I’m right, I think that until this moment Jon was like Beric Dondarrion, but after the vision he might have had some kind of supernatural quality.

      I would appreciate if someone would watch that moment in the episode and tell me if I’m right or if I am just imagining things. If this is too much off topic, feel free to delete. 🙂

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    8. Jon Snowed: Is this it now, are we officially done with all filming? I couldn’t tell from the article if filming completely finished this week or if there is potential for more?

      We won’t know until we notice there doesn’t seem to be any filming anymore, or we hear from the crew celebrating the season wrap.

      Undead Elephant: Btw no big deal but where you put preventively I think you meant preemptively?

      I did! Thanks 🙂

      TormundsWoman: Doesn’t look like a Southern set.

      Who knows. When they used this location in season two, for Davos smuggling Melisandre in to kill Renly, it was supposed to be the Stormlands, which is pretty damn south.

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    9. Luka Nieto,

      This is just great! The more we learn about S8, the less we know about S8. 😁

      I hope it stays that way. There’s no shortage of tinfoil this offseason.

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    10. Che,

      I’m thinking it’s something along those lines too. I can’t picture it being Dragonstone- why would the characters return there?they have all the dragon glass they need presumably, and there doesn’t seem to be any time to be taking another merry jaunt off to some other Westeros location.

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    11. Apollo: there doesn’t seem to be any time to be taking another merry jaunt off to some other Westeros location.

      Dragonstone is just next to King’s Landing, so it’s not much of a voyage 😉

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    12. If it’s from Dragonstone then it couldn’t be used as the same cave from season 7 since it had such a distinct look. Could it? Unless of course the shooting for this location is purely inside the cave and will have no exterior shots?

      The cave is right near the water, so if they do end up shooting any exterior shots then I don’t think this would be Winterfell. I feel like they every body of water would be frozen up North.

      I assume we don’t know which actors are shooting here, right? Would help narrow down a location.

      Right now I’m thinking King’s Landing. Then again, there’s the distinct possibility that I’m completely wrong on all accounts 🙂

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    13. Che:
      I’m still of the mindset that it’s going to be linked to survivors from Winterfell emerging from a series of tunnels or caverns that link up to the crypts.

      I love that idea – it would be great to explore Winderfell’s underground! I’ve been curious about what’s there from season one. I felt that there’s more than the lost family members and statues. I haven’t read the books, but, reading the history of things, Winterfell is not just another castle, it’s supposed to be build by Brandon the Builder and giants after the long night – I wonder if there’s something more than just a building and if Brandon knew that WW would return and took that under consideration when building it. And we know that the crypts go deeper into the earth than what we’ve seen.

      In any case I’m looking forward to see what they make of these cave filmings!

      Ten Bears:
      Hasn’t Jon had enough sex?

      No? 😛

      Apollo:
      I’m thinking it’s something along those lines too. I can’t picture it being Dragonstone- why would the characters return there?

      Me too. The only reason I can think of for going back to Dragonstone and its caves would be to take shelter from NK. It’s made from Dragonglass and children/humans seem to have been there in the past so maybe NK can’t go inside or perhaps there’s something there besides dragonglass that is useful somehow. (tinfoil off 😀 )

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    14. SiriuslyStark,

      There might be multiply reasons to revisit Dragonstone: for instance, Cersei and/or Euron may decide to take over the dragonglass mines or similar. However, the interior set of the cave is in the studio and the exterior is in Spain, as many have admitted (though I imagine they can film whatever they need against the greenscreen and then combine it with the shots from last season filming, if necessary).

      However, I lean towards this particular cave being a part of Winterfell sequence: its secret passages have been mentioned but there hasn’t been any payoff so far. Moreoves, although the soilers we’ve got are hard to interpret, some of them may imply that at some point the battle may move out of the walls of Winterfell. In other words, Jon may need these secret passages to hit the AotD from the rear or rather to send a small party to take out the NK or similar. Evacuation is also not excluded but I imagine that involving a lot of extras, and it doesn’t look like extras are involved.
      And if not Winterfell, that may very well be King’s Landing or even Storms End.

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    15. The Book Thief i think that you’re reading too much into that battle. i think it is just the story tellers trying to get across to an uneducated audience just how dreadful such a melee is. like being stuck at the bottom of a rugby union ruck v 1000 x all blacks,

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    16. Davos smuggles Sam in so he can translate the cave drawings?

      I will be doing a frame-by-frame analysis of the dragonglass cave pictographs to see how the drawings relate to all of the great theories from Con of Thrones (mythical astronomy, nature cycle, Grateful Dead lyrics, etc.)!

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    17. Inga:
      SiriuslyStark,

      There might be multiply reasons to revisit Dragonstone: for instance, Cersei and/or Euron may decide to take over the dragonglass mines or similar. However, the interior set of the cave is in the studio and the exterior is in Spain, as many have admitted (though I imagine they can film whatever they need against the greenscreen and then combine it with the shots from last season filming, if necessary).

      However, I lean towards this particular cave being a part of Winterfell sequence: its secret passages have been mentioned but there hasn’t been any payoff so far. Moreoves, although the soilers we’ve got are hard to interpret,some of them may imply that at some point the battle may move out of the walls of Winterfell. In other words, Jon may need these secret passages to hit the AotD from the rear or rather to send a small party to take out the NK or similar. Evacuation is also not excluded but I imagine that involving a lot of extras, and it doesn’t look like extras are involved.
      And if not Winterfell, that may very well be King’s Landing or even Storms End.

      Hi Inga! 🙂

      I think that at least strategically it wouldn’t give back to Cercei – the only reason to take Dragonstone would be to solely pick on Dany’s nerves. But it’s an island: its difficult to keep the chain of supplies and very easy to be re-taken by Dany and suffer losses. The other reason would be to take Dragonstone in order to rule the dragonglass – but again that would have had a value as a leverage if it were done before Cercei’s enemy allies had already mined that. So, the temptetion really doesn’t worth the risk. As for Euron, he has his own Iron Island to go if he wants to escape the NK.
      It would make more sense if Dany – or other allies, found refuge in Dragonstone’s caves – if they are indeed the Dragonstone caves.
      That’s my take on this, of course, I could be completely wrong!

      Yes, I think there’s a possibility that we see the underground of Winterfell – as you point out we never got a pay off for those crypts.

      But really whatever of the possibilities it turns out to be (we must always consider that it might just be nothing of importance) I’m sure it will be good!

      The Book Thief:
      Question, off topic: Did Jon Snow had a vision about Rhaegar and/or Lyanna during the Battle of the Bastards?
      I would appreciate if someone would watch that moment in the episode and tell me if I’m right or if I am just imagining things. If this is too much off topic, feel free to delete. 🙂

      I think there wasn’t anything ‘supernatunal’ about that. But it was one of the most important moments for Jon’s growth and arc. He’d been kind of ‘sleepwalking’ after Mel brought him back. He was ‘broken’ in a sense because he had lost his point of reference in a violent way and with it, his will to live. That’s why he told Mel before that battle that he didn’t want her to bring him back again and he went into the battle almost as if he had a deathwish – he really didn’t care if he died.

      During the battle, as he’s ‘buried’ under those bodies, he has the choice to let go and die if he wants. And while it seems he’s considering that, he finally finds his will to live he fights his way back up, and takes that deep breath, as if he’s now only returned to life. So, at least in my perspective, Mel may had brought his body back, but Jon found the will to live, his ‘soul’ and something to live for, in that battle – he’s resurrected in the battlefield. 🙂

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    18. SiriuslyStark,

      Agreed. Nothing in that scene (for example music) refers directly to supernatural experience. I just started speculating because it’s the moment of desperation and in fantasy during those moments characters typically see visions (like Frodo saw Galadriel in The Return of the King.)

      PS. I’m glad people understand my comment despite horrible grammar. 🙂

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    19. I think this is Kings Landing… Arya knows this cave, while chasing a cat, back in season 1… Maybe it’s a cave right under The Red Keep…

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    20. The Book Thief:
      the unburdened,

      Ok, thanks! I was trying to find out how/why Jon kept on fighting in that scene. Apparently the reason is simply called “plot armour”. 😀

      Welcome (back?) to both of you. “The Book Thief” is one of my favourite books. BTW, Unburdened, your analogy of the melee to a ruck is perfect. Jon is the ball and squeezes free. I thought of a scrum when I first saw it.

      I’m convinced Jon’s re-emergence is vastly more than plot armour since Jon’s story and the Starks’ and the overall GoT story hinges on it. That image of Jon rising from the bodies is one of his two iconic images in the Emmy-winning episode. (The other is him facing down Ramsay’s cavalry.) It’s a resurrection, yes, that also corresponds to “”What is dead may never die but rises again harder and stronger.” It also may foreshadow Jon emerging at the top of the heap in the Game of thrones to become king. (For that matter, him facing down the descending wall comprised of a hoard of enemy soldiers may foreshadow his defeating the Night King and his minions from beyond the Wall.) It loosely parallels his rising from the icy water in “Beyond the Wall”, when the wolf’s eye in Longclaw’s pommel may have opened up when Jon emerged. However, the greatest reason for that scene and its memorable cinematographic zoom-out is its equivalence to Dany’s Mhysa scene. With one key difference: Jon is enveloped by the darkness of the dead…and yet he rose.

      Inga:
      SiriuslyStark,

      It could indeed be the Crypts’ outer entrance, foreshadowed by Maester Luwin’s telling Theon it exists so that ancient Stark kings could escape. I also like the Dragonstone idea. But I think it’s in Kings Landing. We’ve seen Arya and Tyrion emerge from a tunnel under the Red Keep. The Seville filming showed a lot is going on in KL in Episode 5 or 6. Apparently, some actors are still filming. My conjecture is that Arya, alone or with others, uses that cave mouth.

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    21. The Book Thief:

      Agreed. Nothing in that scene (for example music) refers directly to supernatural experience. I just started speculating because it’s the moment of desperation and in fantasy during those moments characters typically see visions (like Frodo saw Galadriel in The Return of the King.)

      PS. I’m glad people understand my comment despite horrible grammar. 🙂

      I hope the ending is like the end of the Lord of the rings! Heroes survived and all was good in the realm! And I say that knowing that many might try throw stones at me 😀
      That said, I understand how you started speculating, but I think they tried to keep Jon more ‘earthy’ and human especially after the already supernatural ressurection thing 🙂

      Don’t worry at all about your grammar – English is not my first language so I make many mistakes too. With a little good will on all sides we can communicate efficiently. 🙂

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    22. SiriuslyStark:

      Don’t worry at all about your grammar – English is not my first language so I make many mistakes too. With a little good will on all sides we can communicate efficiently.

      As I’ve written before, I found long ago that the majority of non-native English speakers on this site write in English far better than the native speakers I encounter daily on Facebook. I think Luka’s written English is far better than that of a number of American PhDs I’ve met!

        Quote  Reply

    23. SiriuslyStark: I hope the ending is like the end of the Lord of the rings! Heroes survived and all was good in the realm! And I say that knowing that many might try throw stones at me
      That said, I understand how you started speculating, but I think they tried to keep Jon more ‘earthy’ and human especially after the already supernatural ressurection thing

      Don’t worry at all about your grammar –English is not my first language so I make many mistakes too. With a little good will on all sides we can communicate efficiently.

      While I don’t believe that the ending isn’t so “happy” than in The Lord of the Rings, I hope too that characters find at least some happiness and/or peace in the end. I don’t have a specific “favorite ending”. Important for me is that it makes sense with all that we have already seen/read, especially because there’s a lot of foreshadowing material both in the books and in the series.

      Haha, I always worry about my grammar when I write in English 😀

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    24. Stark Raven' Rad:
      I’m convinced Jon’s re-emergence is vastly more than plot armour since Jon’s story and the Starks’ and the overall GoT story hinges on it.That image of Jon rising from the bodies is one of his two iconic images in the Emmy-winning episode. (The other is him facing down Ramsay’s cavalry.)It’s a resurrection, yes, that also corresponds to “”What is dead may never die but rises again harder and stronger.”It also may foreshadow Jon emerging at the top of the heap in the Game of thrones to become king….. However, the greatest reason for that scene and its memorable cinematographic zoom-out is its equivalence to Dany’s Mhysa scene.With one key difference: Jon is enveloped by the darkness of the dead…and yet he rose.

      I’m so happy that I wasn’t the only one digging deeper into that episode – the battle and cinematography were excellent indeed, but so was the story-telling and the symbolism used! Your last sentence, is pure gold and sums it up for me in an excellent way. 🙂

      Stark Raven' Rad:
      But I think it’s in Kings Landing. We’ve seen Arya and Tyrion emerge from a tunnel under the Red Keep.The Seville filming showed a lot is going on in KL in Episode 5 or 6.Apparently, some actors are still filming. My conjecture is that Arya, alone or with others, uses that cave mouth.

      I had totally forgotten about that – and now that you’ve mention it, it makes sense that it could also be KL! I think that this case and the Winterfell crypts are the two most likely options – and perhaps the KL one is more realistic…(tinfoil hat on)

      Wolfish:
      As I’ve written before, I found long ago that the majority of non-native English speakers on this site write in English far better than the native speakers I encounter daily on Facebook. I think Luka’s written English is far better than that of a number of American PhDs I’ve met!

      Thank you for that ,Wolfish! 🙂 I hadn’t even realized that Luka wasn’t a native English writer – and I agree his writing is excellent!

      The Book Thief: While I don’t believe that the ending isn’t so “happy” than in The Lord of the Rings, I hope too that characters find at least some happiness and/or peace in the end. I don’t have a specific “favorite ending”. Important for me is that it makes sense with all that we have already seen/read, especially because there’s a lot of foreshadowing material both in the books and in the series

      Yes, definitely not the standard ‘happy’ ending, but as you point out and at least to my view there was this sense of peace and fullfillment for the characters in the end.
      I don’t root for a specific ending either, and I agree that the most important thing will be to make sense of everything that we have seen so far. I just hope that Jon survives! 😀

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