Con of Thrones 2018 has come and gone in what must have felt like an uneventful week for those in the Watchers on the Wall community who couldn’t attend the convention. For those of us who were there, however, or at least for me, it feels like a lifetime since I last brought you the latest filming news. Yet here we are, back into the swing of things! Con of Thrones content, in particular interviews with the cast, will be coming in the days to come, but meanwhile let’s see what we missed on this last week we were all busy going from panel to panel and meeting so many wonderful people, shall we?
Let’s start with something that’s not technically related to Game of Thrones but still deserves a mention: as reported by Deadline, Warner Animation Group is adapting George R.R. Martin’s children’s book The Ice Dragon for the big screen. Despite the familiar name, the book is not set in the world of A Song of Ice and Fire, though there are similar themes. Martin is producing the film, though his level of involvement is unclear, given how busy he must be with other projects and a certain sixth book.
Onto season eight! There have been a few set visits of note lately. Recently, Emilia Clarke revealed that George Lucas had not only visited the set of Solo, the new Star Wars spin-off in which she co-stars, but also the Game of Thrones set in Belfast. An even more intriguing visitor is Jason Momoa, who our sources sighted in Belfast before the actor himself revealed he was with his pals David Benioff and Dan Weiss, the showrunners.
Of course, the most likely explanation is that Momoa is just visiting his old friends, as he has in the past, but I don’t believe the alternative is out of the question: before the story is over, could Daenerys have another vision of Khal Drogo, as she did in season two?
Our sources also told us that Kit Harington is currently staying in Belfast, as well as American television host Conan O’Brien, who is there to interview the cast.
As for season eight filming news, they have been scarce lately, thankfully for us at Watchers, who weren’t particularly eager to go up to our hotel rooms, do our jobs and miss all the fun. The news were gracious enough to wait until yesterday, just when I returned home from the States: A Red Priestess has new photos of the King’s Landing set!
UPDATE: Irish Thrones got a rather furtive peek into the studios, where, right in front of the Paint Hall, thousands of props laid on the ground. As you may be able to tell, they are all broken pieces of the city’s architecture, which means they will be scattered through the set for the scenes in which King’s Landing has already suffered much damage:
Not only do we have all this evidence of more of the capital being incinerated but also of one of the likely suspects behind it all: a dragon (or part of it, anyway), in the parking lot of Belfast’s Titanic Studios, near the King’s Landing set, though not in it. Take a look:
How could this be? Aren’t dragons VFX magic? Well, mostly. You see, when performers have to interact with these imaginary creatures, a number of methods are used to make it work: on the one hand, if the actor only has to touch the dragon’s head, as Jon did in “Eastwatch”, any vaguely dragon head-shaped object will do; on the other hand, if they have to actually mount on the dragon, its entire spine has to be physically recreated.
For flying scenes, Emilia Clarke uses a dragon-shaped buck which moves in all the appropriate ways as wind is thrown in her face. And yet, this massive contraption cannot be moved, so the mounting and dismounting scenes on the ground require a more simple prop, like the one you see above. One such prop was used for “Beyond the Wall”, when the wight-hunting party had to get on Drogon to survive, but it was much smaller:
Remember how large the dragons were in season seven as you look at the relatively small prop they used. That’s because the only part of Drogon that was built was the part the actors would have to interact with to mount on the creature’s spine. Now look back at the massive prop they built for season eight, with the same purpose (three climbing holds can be discerned), and try to imagine the size of the dragons in season eight!