Massive New Castle-Sized Set Built in Belfast for Game of Thrones Season 8!

A new set is being built — But which castle will it depict?

A new set is being built on Belfast — But which castle will it depict?

Just as the Winterfell set underwent a major expansion to include the stronghold’s walls and towers, a mysterious new set appeared next to the Game of Thrones production’s Paint Hall Studios. It was intriguing enough, as it didn’t have any distinguishing features yet that could give us a clear clue as to what the structure would eventually depict, but it didn’t look like a major set for season eight. We were wrong. So, so wrong!

Yet again it was Los Siete Reinos who got a hold of new photos of this set:

Paint Hall New Set 1

Previously, this new construction only included some sort of defensive wall with a staircase leading to the top and a windowed wall with a gate. We didn’t know how these pieces would connect, or even if they would, but now it’s become clear they not only do connect but they are, in fact, but a small part of a much larger complex, which as far as I can tell is only rivalled in size by the Winterfell set in Moneyglass. Take a closer look:

Paint Hall New Set 3

The work isn’t nearly over, and yet the new set has already tripled in size, at least. As it hasn’t been dressed yet, it’s difficult to guess which castle or stronghold it’s supposed to be but, whatever it is, it’s important enough for season eight that the production saw a need to build a whole, cohesive set, a privilege only Winterfell has earned before.

At this point, for the last season, I can only imagine one reason to build such a massive structure: there’s going to be significant action going on here. In fact, the need for a totally new interconnected set may imply a battle sequence. But where in Westeros? Are we going to see more of the actual Red Keep besides gardens, a courtyard and the throne room, at last? The abundance of windows doesn’t suggest a Northern castle, but could it be White Harbor? Or another stronghold taking on unprecedented importance?

Your guess is as good as mine. And please, do share your guesses in the comments!

50 responses

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    1. actually will be the snowy KL Red Keep…those buildings looks like the KL buildings and especially like the red keep…My theory is that NK is going to KL to put a his icy finger on Cerceis bum and to kill/resurrect her as his NQ and to turn her baby into another one WW baby …He will leave the other WW to fight in Winterfell and will be fly with his icy pet in KL…He will destroy the building with Viserion set on fire the Red Keeps roof …as Danny visions shows in us in S2.

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    2. Kings Landing is the obvious option but is there really going to be a big battle for it unless it’s against the White Walkers or against team Targ (on the assumption the dragons are dead).

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    3. Sheezuz… Massive indeed! It is a mystery as to what such a large structure of that type would be needed for. It does still look like something that would be in a southern region. Whatever it is I’m guessing it will be totally destroyed in the war (thinks of the Dosh Khaleen temple they built and burnt).

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    4. Hodor!
      They are building a full size castle. Add SGI on top of that and it will look enormous.
      I can’t imagine it being anything but the Red Keep: the shapes of the arch match perfectly and in general I can’t imagine any other castle deserving such attention. The set implies some huge action sequence, maybe, even 360 shot they did in for the siege of Castle Black back in S4? Anyway, somehing of that type just ten times bigger. And such sequence should be for the penultimate episode – not less.

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    5. It’s not clear in those photos but it looks like there is a gap for a massive pair of gates in the structure.
      It’ll be interesting what happens over the next few weeks.

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    6. Jon Snowed,

      It’s either Whitewalkers vs. Westeros/KL, or Team Cersei vs. Team Jonerys.

      D&D won’t be able to help themselves and will probably want to CGI some war elephants lol

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    7. What if the Night King leaves his army to march under the control of some of his other white walkers while he flies down to King’s Landing as has been stated here already and does indeed torch the Red Keep?

      I dont think anyone would see that coming. Yikes.

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    8. Flayed Potatoes: D&D won’t be able to help themselves and will probably want to CGI some war elephants lol

      They already did it with mammoths, back in season four, with a lower budget. And fur is much more difficult to recreate via VFX than skin, especially the hard, dry skin of an elephant. So yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ll see the Golden Company’s elephants. Why else mention them in season seven?

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    9. Speaking of mammoths – D&D have said they wanted to have the zombie polar bear in the show since season 3.

      My wonder is where would it have been placed in each season?

      I assume that it would have either been at Hardhome or the 3ER cave for seasons 5 and 6. But what about seasons 3 and 4? Where would it have gone?

      This shows how bored I am that I think of things like this

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    10. Jack Sharpe,

      Season 3 is the most obvious, because it’s the one taken directly from the books: at the Fist of the First Men. Season 4… no idea. The arrival at the cave? Maybe they didn’t ask for it that year, regardless of what they said.

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    11. Luka Nieto,

      Fist of the first men makes sense. I had a thought that Season 4 they may have had the WW that carriers Craster’s baby to the WW place riding a bear instead of a horse. Would make for a hell of a visual.

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    12. Jack Sharpe:
      Speaking of mammoths – D&D have said they wanted to have the zombie polar bear in the show since season 3.

      My wonder is where would it have been placed in each season?

      I assume that it would have either been at Hardhome or the 3ER cave for seasons 5 and 6. But what about seasons 3 and 4? Where would it have gone?

      This shows how bored I am that I think of things like this

      Seems I’m bored too……

      Season 3 – I would guess at either the cold open in 301 when Sam is fleeing (a continuation from season two) or with the White Walker Sam and Gilly encounter later in the season. I can’t think off-hand of another instance of the White Walkers in season three, although there could have been an entire scene cut?

      Season 4 – Obvious one for me would be the battle outside the 3ER cave in which Jojen is killed, or the Bran-vision from the first half of the season (I think before they’re caught by the mutineers, but it has been a while since I watched season four).

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    13. It could actually be several castles…move a few pieces around, etc. I don’t know about doing King’s Landing. If the wights are there, most of the kingdom will be taken over and most people dead.

      Of course there could be a battle there without the Night King. Let’s say the NK and buddies are defeated, etc. At that point, it could be a struggle between survivors…Jon and Dany versus Cersei and maybe Euron. Or some combo.

      They’re spending a lot of money on it so it should be important. Of course, they’re spending a fortune in general.

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    14. It could be like Rebelais has pointed out. It could be a structure that they mean to turn into different castles with their amazing set switching skills (like the bridge Ned walks across to the tourney in season 1 and then Jaime and Brienne fighting on it 2 seasons later). That would seem to make sense because the NK destroyed part of the wall so a series of battles each fought at different locations against the walkers and the army of the dead seems plausible as they descend further south. And having a multi-use set saves $$ for awesome special effects.

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    15. I’ll be in Belfast just before Christmas for a few days and I’m staying a ten minute walk away from the Titanic studios. Perhaps I should take my camera….

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    16. It seems pretty clear that its the Red Keep, for several reasons. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t use and expand the old RK set from S2 that’s out at Magheramorne quarry? The location of this new set, bang in the middle of Belfast, is gonna be really hard to hide what’s going on.

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    17. I don’t know why, but i”ve always wanted to see Harrenhall again

      But the castle is clearly not in ruins so…

      I think its the Red Keep.

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    18. It’s designed to take advantage of the tourist traffic that will continue long after GoT has finished its run. Not merely a set, but an entire castle venue. HBO is hoping the receipts from the thousands of visitors will help defray the cost of Season 8 and the making of those five prequel series pilots.

      Just a guess – I really have no clue!

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    19. The photo at the top – is that a repressentation of what it is going to look like? Has it been finished, or is that photo another castle they are trying to copy? Either way, If so thats a lot of work for something happening in the last season. My bet is on RL, in fact really like Artesmia’s idea.

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    20. If it’s not a castle we’ve already seen, Harrenhal (as other commenters have noted) might be the likeliest possibility. I’d also love to see New Castle in White Harbor and its ocean-themed décor, and we know Jonaerys are on their way there. So that would be pretty cool.

      On another note, I’d also love to see Greywater Watch, the marshlands, and Howland Reed. And Meera. I know, I know. Dreaming.

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    21. Harrenhal or Riverrun. Whichever castle it is that Dany and co. will run to after Winterfell falls.

      OR HBO is making good on its threats that it will film fake scenes. The ACTUAL set is hidden somewhere deep in the boonies. /lol

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    22. ash,

      The photo at the top is the Red Keep, as seen in “The Dragon and the Wolf.” I didn’t caption it as such because it’s such a recognizable castle. But the caption I wrote does explain we don’t know what the new set will depict.

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    23. Why couldn’t it be the WWs castle in the Frozen North? What if the Westerosians actually push back the army of the dead back to the North and decide to end the WWs for good?

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    24. Its the last Season. Maybe it will be a future castle? The dream of spring? A Vision of the future when everything is rebuilt?

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    25. Hillman:
      this is the gatte of the god’s of king’s landing ,for the final assault of queen of dragons

      That could well be it (or any of the capital’s seven gates, really), because, despite the Red Keep itself being my main candidate, the set doesn’t seem to align with the architecture of the castle as we know it. If it’s one of the seven gates of the city, along with surrounding buildings, that’d make more sense.

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    26. Apollo:
      It seems pretty clear that its the Red Keep, for several reasons. What I don’t understand is why they didn’t use and expand the old RK set from S2 that’s out at Magheramorne quarry? The location of this new set, bang in the middle of Belfast, is gonna be really hard to hide what’s going on.

      That’s a good question. All I can think of is that they wouldn’t spend the money to build this elaborate set on-site unless it’s going to be used in multiple scenes or episodes, with lots of characters running in and out (on and off the set), coupled with interior scenes filmed in the studio. If so, maybe it wouldn’t be practical or cost-effective to shuttle cast members back and forth to the old set location you talked about.

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    27. Jack Sharpe,

      There’s a scene in A Storm of Swords with a wight bear (not a POLAR bear), I don’t remember whether it was at the Fist of the First Men or shortly after Mormont’s death.

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    28. Wolfish,

      “I’d also love to see New Castle in White Harbor.”
      ———————

      I’d love to see White Castle in New York.
      It’s been too long … 🏰

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    29. Storms End is the only one we haven’t seen properly. It has magic walls, this was mentioned by Melisandre. I really hope we see it in action.

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    30. Nicola:
      Storms End is the only one we haven’t seen properly. It has magic walls, this was mentioned by Melisandre. I really hope we see it in action.

      She mentioned it in the books, not the show.

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