New sets being built in Belfast as Hurricane Ophelia threatens Game of Thrones studios

L7R Set Belfast Header

Storm Ophelia has left much devastation in its wake in Ireland and Northern Ireland; it’s been a shock, as no major hurricane ever recorded has gone this far east in the Atlantic. Despite this, filming for the eighth season of Game of Thrones may have already begun. They seem to be ready, as new roles are being cast, old sets have been refurbished … and now, as they deal with the effects of the storm, it appears that new sets may be coming.

Watchers on the Wall has heard that fences have been damaged at Titanic Studios, where the production is housed, and apparently set construction has halted for the time being:


Nevertheless, Los Siete Reinos reports on a new set being built next to Titanic Studios, right in the Paint Hall car park! We don’t know what measures, if any, were taken to protect it from the storm, but the following photos may have been taken beforehand:

L7R Set Belfast 1

L7R Set Belfast 2

L7R Set Belfast 3

PAP4U was gracious enough to send us an even better photo, giving us a much closer look at what they’re building, including a staircase going to the top of the wall:

PAP4U Belfast Car Park Set

Cautiously, Los Siete Reinos warns this set may not be for Game of Thrones, suggesting it could be for Westworld instead or another HBO production. However, Westworld is filmed in California studios and on location in Utah, and HBO has used Titanic Studios exclusively for Game of Thrones, so we don’t find any reason to doubt this new set, when finished, will look like an entrance to a large Westerosi building of some sort (there are two parts; one with windows and a gate, and another with a wall and a staircase.)

Reportedly, the structure underwent a controlled fire test. This may explain why it’s being built outdoors — it wouldn’t be the first time an environmental factor forces the construction crew to do so (the last time it was to simulate a storm, ironically.)

Whatever stronghold you guys theorize this is, I hope you’re not particularly attached to it or its inhabitants, because it appears it will go up in flames. That points to Daenerys and her dragons more than the White Walkers, doesn’t it? Let the speculation begin!

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    1. Whatever stronghold you guys theorize this is, I hope you’re not particularly attached to it or its inhabitants, because it appears it will go up in flames. That points to Daenerys and her dragons more than the White Walkers, doesn’t it?

      … or post-production blue flames… 😉

      It doesn’t really look like a typical northern castle/stronghold with all of those large window openings. The top picture looks more like the beginnings of a fancier building in a city or something. *shrug* If I’d just been shown the pictures I wouldn’t have considered it a structure for GoT.

      * To be honest, until this week I didn’t think hurricanes ever reached Ireland. Filming in that kind of weather might have made for some good scenes. Probably too dangerous though.

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    2. I would guess they got away quite well from Hurricane Ophelia yesterday, it was the south and south west of Ireland that received a proper hammering and the entire country was in ‘red alert’ status staying indoors when it genuinely wasn’t that bad further up the country (in many parts anyway).
      Hopefully nothing was too badly damaged on set.

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    3. Clob: … or post-production blue flames…

      Fair point 😛

      Clob: It doesn’t really look like a typical northern castle/stronghold with all of those large window openings. The top picture looks more like the beginnings of a fancier building in a city or something. *shrug* If I’d just been shown the pictures I wouldn’t have considered it a structure for GoT.

      This didn’t look like Pyke either. It’s just a half-built set. Not even that. We’re only seeing naked wood. They can make it look like the rock of a Northern stronghold or whatever they want. That said, the windows do seem a bit too big for a Northern castle. It could be a new set for the Red Keep, which would be rather exciting, as many of us are looking forward to seeing it burn.

      Clob: To be honest, until this week I didn’t think hurricanes ever reached Ireland.

      They didn’t, really. Nothing this big, anyway. Until now.

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    4. I too was wondering how Orphelia would impact on set building, etc for GoT, but seems they got off lightly with only minor damage.

      Ahh – Good to see PAP4U is back lurking around Belfast again 🙂
      He published some good photos when S7 was being made. He seems to get into places (probably illegally) where others don’t or too scared to venture due to the security guards! So I expect we’ll see a few good photos from him when filming starts in earnest 😛

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    5. Hey Luka. I was wondering. Have there been any casting calls for extras for the battles this year? Because it seems like there should be a lot, but you guys haven’t reported on any. So, we don’t even know how many battles they are planning! (And whether they will be filmed in NI or Spain or Iceland…) What were the agencies that did the casting for extras in the previous years?

      e: and non-battle crowd scenes, I suppose. Surely there have to be *some*…?

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    6. Luka Nieto,
      OK. Allow me one supplementary question. How far in advance did the calls go out? I remember, like, five or six months…? Because if I remember correctly, this means that they will be filming only character scenes this year…?

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    7. Yaga,
      Luka Nieto,

      I remember correctly, last year all the casting calls for extras were for Spain. I can’t recall any for the ones involved in Beyond the Wall action sequence (or Winterfell which had some extras on the set as well). Correct me, if I’m wrong, but maybe they already have their regular extras in the NI and don’t need to make public casting calls which may be very time-consuming with so many people willing to take part in the show.

      As for the set, the building has this typical Renaisance feature of arched windows on the ground floor and rectangular ones on the so called Belle Etage. That might imply mimicking the Southern European architecture and therefore something related to the Red Keep. BTW, the proportions of the set is those of a castle, rather than just a house. If I remember it correctly, there showrunners were planning to film something in some Spanish castles. If someone could give a list, maybe it would be worth to look through the photos and search for similarities.

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    8. But hey guys,haven’t you heard that climate change is fake news ? These hurricanes are all hoaxes from the crooked media so they can hide the problems with the muslim terrorists and illegal immigrants ./s

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    9. Joe weaver:
      It Could be for Krypton(SCIFI Channel) it is being shot their also

      Krypton is being shot nearby, but not in the same studios. These photos were taken right in front of the Paint Hall. It’s for GOT.

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    10. The window pattern on the building seems to be fairly unique (small window in upper right corner, one of the arched windows on the bottom row seems to have some cornered edges rather than a normal arch, though it could just be the shade making it look different). I wonder if that can be used to identify the building as something that we’ve already seen in the show, but I’m assuming not.

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    11. Yaga: Because if I remember correctly, this means that they will be filming only character scenes this year…?

      Yeah, probably no battle scenes being filmed before the end of the year, or we’d have heard something. If it was in Spain, anyway.

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    12. Hmmm, doesn’t strike me as GoT pseudo-mediaeval architecture. The window layout and the wood colour remind me of Victorian or Georgian red brick frontages. Could it be for The FRankenstein Chronicles 2, which is filming or about to film in Belfast? I’d like to think Sean Bean would be Seen Bean in both.!

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    13. Mr Derp,

      I donėt think that the windows in the bottom row have cornered edges (or maybe I just misuderstand your point). Anyway, it looks like they may add two decorative columns on the sides (somethng that was typical for the Red Keep sets). But I may be just indulging into wishful thinking. It might be some unseen castle (Storms End?). I just hope that PAP4U will make more photos later, when the site will get its final look. But sure, we have to look for a similar windows pattern in the series, as well as at the new sets (castles).

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    14. Inga,

      I don’t think you misunderstood anything. My point was that the unique design of the windows could help solve the mystery of what the building will be used for…

      and perhaps not, but it’s worth a look for those that want to solve the mystery.

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    15. Stark Raven’ Rad,

      Don’t get misled by the wood color: so far it’s just a plywood basis, and the window layout is typical to the Renaisance (even the late Gothic in some exceptional cases) and a bit irregular placemt of that tiny window and the gateway is also has a bit of a Gothic wibe (Renaisance favoured symetry). In general, all the proportions look pretty much medieval – at least to my eye (and I know a bit about that).

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    16. My guess is that this stands for the Red Keep that Cersei will burn near the end of Season 8.

      Just before she gets killed by Jaime.

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    17. Luka Nieto,

      Someone should tell that stupid hurricane that climate change is a hoax and to head back out to the Atlantic. Anyway I thought I’d try to avoid spoilers for this season but I’ll be danged if WotW doesn’t produce the absolute best GoT content. So I guess now begins my watch of not clicking on certain stories. I know this is pretty tame but before we know it they’ll have all manner of production spoiler. Thank you WotW you are the best at what you do.

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    18. ash,

      Clob,

      Actually, we have been hit by hurricanes in the past here- its just very rare. The last real big one was in 1987 where there was much more damage done compared to Ophelia. Rare, but not entirely unheard of.

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