Richard Dormer discusses the tumultuous filming process for “Beyond the Wall”

Beric

In one of his first post-Game of Thrones season 7 interviews, Richard Dormer chatted about his grisly body of work and the strenuous process of filming those spectacular sequences from “Beyond the Wall.”

Dormer recently interviewed with The Guardian to promote his new BBC drama, Rellik, in which he plays a cop disfigured from an acid attack. Dormer conceded that he tends to play pretty damaged characters.

“It’s true! Dan [from Fortitude] is destroyed, Terri [from Good Vibrations] had problems, and every time Beric dies he loses a part of himself so he’s constantly mourning the human he used to be …”

Dormer went on to discuss the arduous five month long process of filming “Beyond the Wall.” Dormer noted, with perhaps a little annoyance, how quickly scenes that were physically and emotionally taxing to film go by on screen.

“The fight sequence took five weeks to film and lasts five minutes,” he said. “Just climbing on the dragon took maybe a month – and on screen it’s an eye-blink.”

Dormer didn’t exactly mince words about what filming the “magnificent seven” scenes was like (though, for the record, he did mention that the lovely cast and crew kept the experience from being completely intolerable).

“It’s not nice being soaking wet and very hot and yet very cold at the same time and trudging up and down the most beautiful glaciers in the world – but not even being able to look because you feel so tired.”

All that said, there were some fun moments on set. Though Dormer failed to mention guitar sing alongs, he did say that the cast spent a lot of their down time playing Risk.

“There were a lot of arguments, mainly because Iain Glen is so competitive,” Dormer said. “He would just sit there going ‘Noooo why? Why are you all attacking me?’” According to Dormer, by the way, Kit Harington was easily the best Risk player of the group.

And then, of course, there’s Beric’s wonderful flaming sword, which was slightly tougher to wield in reality than on screen.

“Because Beric only has one eye, I’d be temporarily blind and swinging the flaming sword – which is real, not CGI,” he said. “Every time I hit them they’d go whumpf and guys would charge in with extinguishers.”

Still, Dormer can’t complain: “Let’s face it, I have the coolest weapon on the show. It’s better than a lightsaber.”

22 responses

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    1. I don’t believe Beric is dead.

      He couldn’t have been brought to life six times to die a meaningless death at the wall.
      I wonder what his true purpose is in the show.

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    2. …better than a lightsaber? Slow your roll, Dormer!

      I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to see scenes that took forever to shoot go by in minutes. Wait, yes I can. We call it Thanksgiving.

      I hope he and Tormund are alive and booking it for Winterfell. I figure they sent a ravenjet to Castle Black.

      By the way, I really thought that if the wall would come down, it would be at Castle Black because….Edd. It would just be classic Edd.

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    3. Vincent Stark:
      I don’t believe Beric is dead.

      He couldn’t have been brought to life six times to die a meaningless death at the wall.
      I wonder what his true purpose is in the show.

      To teach Sandor the flaming sword trick, of course.
      🐶🐓🔥☄️🗡

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    4. Gfx,

      At the end of Episode 6, Beric bade farewell to wight babysitter Sandor:

      Beric: “We’ll meet again, Clegane.”
      Sandor: “F*cking hope not.”

      I take that to mean Beric is alive.

      I just hope neither Beric nor Tormund have been wightified (wightened?). I fear it’s inevitable that one or more of our favorite characters are going to be turned into wights next season.

      I even think it’s possible one or more will voluntarily undergo the Uncle Benjen Undead treatment if Brandon & Samwell Pharmaceuticals LLC figures out how the Children of the Forest administered the dragonglass-to-the-chest therapy.

      On a related tinfoil/wishful thinking note: Maybe they’ll bring back Karsi and cure her? If Samwell Tarly, M.D., PhD can cure greyscale with an X-Acto knife and lotion, undoing NK transformations should be a piece of cake.

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    5. Ten Bears,

      Ironically I was just watching that episode too and thought the same thing when Beric told Sandor that. It’ll be interesting to see who gets turned into a wight. I personally wouldn’t mind seeing Cersei go finally but just knowing my luck she’d become the Night Queen.

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    6. Ten Bears:
      Gfx,
      I even think it’s possible one or more will voluntarily undergo the Uncle Benjen Undead treatment if Brandon & Samwell Pharmaceuticals LLC figures out how the Children of the Forest administered the dragonglass-to-the-chest therapy.

      On a related tinfoil/wishful thinking note: Maybe they’ll bring back Karsi and cure her? If Samwell Tarly, M.D., PhD can cure greyscale with an X-Acto knife and lotion, undoing NK transformations should be a piece of cake.

      Or, perhaps Qyburn will be the one to discover something critical about the wights? The remains of that wight were left at KL. And you know how much Qyburn loves to experiment on people, living or dead.

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    7. Two questions how did the whites get viserion out of the lake when they can’t swim and how could dead viserion bring down the wall when the wall has magic built into it makes no fucking sense. This is because George RR Martin never finished his book and Dan and Dave are finishing the story

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    8. Erica: I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to see scenes that took forever to shoot go by in minutes. Wait, yes I can. We call it Thanksgiving.

      That’s excellent! At least the hours of cooking are/can be the fun part…

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    9. Vito Trimlett,

      This is really simple. All the wights that fell through the ice are still there. They don’t die because they’re already dead. They can’t swim so presumably they’re there walking along the bottom of the lake – exactly where dead Viserion also is. Throw down the chains and the wights in the bottom of the lake fix them around the dragon carcass. Then the wights above the ice pull him out.

      The sunken wights can’t climb out of the holes in the ice where it’s deep but if the White Walkers or wights still above ice made a hole near the shore where it’s shallow, the sunken wights could just walk out… So wights could, in theory, invade the Iron Islands, or just walk around the Wall along the sea bottom. Unless they can’t survive in salt water, as some have theorised.

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    10. I don’t understand the obsession with a “Nissa Nissa moment”. The show, as far as I can remember, has not recounted the full Azor Ahai LEGEND, of which Nissa Nissa is part. (In the books, Salladhor Saan tells it to Davos.)

      Both show and books, Mel has recounted the Azor Ahai Reborn PROPHECY. Born amidst salt and smoke, bleeding star, wake dragons from stone yadda yadda, and pull a sword = Lightbringer from fire. Mel even staged a little show for Stannis to pull a sword from one of the burning statues of the Seven (the Mother, IIRC). Not a Nissa Nissa in sight.

      The Azor Ahai Reborn prophecy sounds a lot like the Arthurian legend: pull a sword from stone. Excalibur was already made, Arthur just needed to pull it out. We don’t know who made Excalibur or how. For Lightbringer, we even have the origins story.

      The way I see it, Lightbringer has already been made (with the help pf Nissa Nissa), now somebody just needs to claim it. No need for a second Nissa Nissa moment, it isn’t mentioned in the AAR prophecy.

      Also, I don’t think Lightbringer need to be a literal sword (that was Mel’s interpretation, and we all know how wrong she can be). Lightbringer is obviously a crucial “weapon”, literal or metaphorical, to defeat the NK/Long Night. Could be knowledge, dragons, an alliance of “Lightbringers”, what have you. Even a literal weapon. We’ll have to wait and see.

      (Also, this Long Night won’t be very long. We only have 6 episodes (or 2 books) left! Everything has to be resolved by S8E6/end of book 7. Maybe it won’t end with spring and sunshine and flowers but we need to know this winter won’t be any worse than a normal Westerosi winter. Maybe this Battle for Dawn will even end the wonky seasons so you’ll get all four in a year, like we do in our world. GRRM has said the reason for extended, irregular seasons is “magic”, so maybe some “magic” – or cessation thereof – can put the seasons to rights.)

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    11. Oops. Sorry about posting the Nissa Nissa comment here where it doesn’t belong.

      I’ve now copied it to where it does belong, the previous thread (The Case for Aegon Targaryen). Sorry about the confusion.

        Quote  Reply

    12. Also, back on topic, I hope Beric survived so that Richard Dormer has to go through another gruelling shoot, haha!

      And if Beric survived, so did my dear Tormund. A girl can hope.

        Quote  Reply

    13. AerynSunX: Or, perhaps Qyburn will be the one to discover something critical about the wights? The remains of that wight were left at KL. And you know how much Qyburn loves to experiment on people, living or dead.

      I wish Jaime had commandeered Qyburn and Bronn before he left KL. Team Jon+Dany can sure use a Dragonglass-tipped Scorpion harpoon, and an experienced marksman to fire it at UnViserion.

        Quote  Reply

    14. talvikorppi:
      I don’t understand the obsession with a “Nissa Nissa moment”. The show, as far as I can remember, has not recounted the full Azor Ahai LEGEND, of which Nissa Nissa is part. (In the books, Salladhor Saan tells it to Davos.)

      Both show and books, Mel has recounted the Azor Ahai Reborn PROPHECY. Born amidst salt and smoke, bleeding star, wake dragons from stone yadda yadda, and pull a sword = Lightbringer from fire. Mel even staged a little show for Stannis to pull a sword from one of the burning statues of the Seven (the Mother, IIRC). Not a Nissa Nissa in sight.

      The Azor Ahai Reborn prophecy sounds a lot like the Arthurian legend: pull a sword from stone. Excalibur was already made, Arthur just needed to pull it out. We don’t know who made Excalibur or how. For Lightbringer, we even have the origins story.

      The way I see it, Lightbringer has already been made (with the help pf Nissa Nissa), now somebody just needs to claim it. No need for a second Nissa Nissa moment, it isn’t mentioned in the AAR prophecy.

      Also, I don’t think Lightbringer need to be a literal sword (that was Mel’s interpretation, and we all know how wrong she can be). Lightbringer is obviously a crucial “weapon”, literal or metaphorical, to defeat the NK/Long Night. Could be knowledge, dragons, an alliance of “Lightbringers”, what have you. Even a literal weapon. We’ll have to wait and see.

      (Also, this Long Night won’t be very long. We only have 6 episodes (or 2 books) left! Everything has to be resolved by S8E6/end of book 7. Maybe it won’t end with spring and sunshine and flowers but we need to know this winter won’t be any worse than a normal Westerosi winter. Maybe this Battle for Dawn will even end the wonky seasons so you’ll get all four in a year, like we do in our world. GRRM has said the reason for extended, irregular seasons is “magic”, so maybe some “magic” – or cessation thereof – can put the seasons to rights.)

      THIS. Thank you.

      I think it’s likely that Azor Ahai/Nissa Nissa were purely mythological and symbolic. Some theorize that the legend symbolizes the process to create Valyrian steel; which involves magic, fire and blood. Some (see “Lucifer Means Lightbringer” or LML on YouTube) think it is a myth, like other myths from the World of Ice And Fire and the text of ASOIAF, that describe an astronomical event in symbolic terms.

      I personally think Azor Ahai is like Noah in the Bible. There are numerous world myths about floods and there may have been one or More cataclysmic floods at the core of the myths, recounted in oral history until some scribes wrote about them thousands of years afterwards in a form that involves god(s) and named heroes. True Believers believe that Noah was an actual person who built an arc, saved a pair (or 7) of each species, and whose family repopulated the Earth, regardless of physics, global speciation, genetics, the fossil record etc.

      Likewise, Melisandre believes AA was real and he was reborn in the form of Stannis and pulled (glamored) Lightbringer from the flames.

      Whatever the event at the core of the AA myth may be, there is nothing in the texts that states AA-reborn will have a Nissa-Nissa moment to temper a sword that was allegedly already created.

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    15. Awesome weapon. Awesome episode. Awesome actor. Awesome character.Beric Dondarrion is just the coolest dude around (even if he worships a fire god).

      And while I fully believe Richard Dormer when he talks about how hard filming those scenes were, I hope that he appreciates that for the viewers at home, it was worth it. Those sequences turned out incredible! I’m very grateful that he willingly put in such long, difficult hours to bring them to the screen.

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    16. Vincent Stark:
      I don’t believe Beric is dead.

      He couldn’t have been brought to life six times to die a meaningless death at the wall.
      I wonder what his true purpose is in the show.

      James Hibberd all but confirmed Tormund and Beric are alive but quite probably going to die in the S8 opener.

        Quote  Reply

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