Rockslide at Castle Black set disrupted season 6 filming schedule

nightswatch As if filming a logistically and narratively complex show in multiple countries at the same time wasn’t difficult enough, it turns out the Castle Black set faced a rockslide early on in the filming for season 6

Castle Black scenes are filmed in Magheramorne Quarry in Northern Ireland, which rests at the bottom of a rock face. According to experts, heavy rains disrupted the “seismic profile” of the quarry.

“Once people saw the small pebbles start to come down that turned into slightly larger pebbles, everybody made the group decision to immediately step away from the set,” Dan Weiss told Entertainment Weekly.

The rock slide escalated until “A piece of rock the size of a London townhouse just fell,” Alliser Thorne actor, Owen Teale, said.

No one was injured, but the rockslide did mess up Game of Thrones‘ filming schedule.

“[Executive producer] Bernie [Caulfield] and [producer] Chris [Newman] already have hardest scheduling job in the film and TV industry, and they had this thrown into the works too, which caused them to drastically reschedule the whole season on the fly,” Weiss said. “But they did it, and we got everything we needed in that quarry after it was seismically shored up and netted and proper protection measures were taken. It actually worked out for the best – some of the stuff we were shooting in that location benefited from the additional prep time the rockslide gave us.”

49 responses

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    1. Like the orc in LOTR, I imagine Thorne standing right below the falling boulder until just before it hits, and moving aside calmly at the last second, only slightly annoyed.

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    2. Did WotW just learn this, or have they held off the information? I find it rare that fans caught

      the smoke coming from the set

      but that they didn’t noticed that “A piece of rock the size of a London townhouse just fell”.

      Ser Gerold Dayne,
      I saw what you did there 😉

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    3. WW CONFIRMED! Let’s hope they don’t cross the English Channel.

      On a more serious note, glad nobody was hurt.

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    4. This event makes me realize how stupidly improbable it was for the Watch to construct castles right up close under the Wall and expect them to survive for centuries, even millennia. Large chunks of ice would come crashing down regularly with the change of seasons. The base of the Wall should be piled high with the ice equivalent of scree.

      I live right near a major rock-climbing Mecca, and pretty much every spring, several routes are closed while the rangers clean up rock debris that flaked off the cliff face on account of water getting into cracks, freezing and thawing. Some years large boulders fall. Ice faces change similarly; think of the way that glaciers are always “calving.”

      You know nothing about snow and ice, Southern Californian TV producers!

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    5. I remember reading something about there being a rockslide in Magheramorne Quarry several months ago, but I didn’t realize that boulders the size of townhouses were falling. Yikes.

      IIRC, Maisie Williams gave a BBC Radio interview in October in which she revealed that she’d filmed most of her scenes earlier than usual this year, and then gotten an unexpected extended break. When they asked her why, she said that the filming schedule had been changed because “there was a problem with one of the sets” back in July or August.

      Maybe this was that problem? If they couldn’t film at Magheramorne for a while, it makes sense that Maisie’s filming would be frontloaded, since she doesn’t have any scenes there.

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    6. Firannion:
      This event makes me realize how stupidly improbable it was for the Watch to construct castles right up close under the Wall and expect them to survive for centuries, even millennia.Large chunks of ice would come crashing down regularly with the change of seasons.The base of the Wall should be piled high with the ice equivalent of scree.

      I live right near a major rock-climbing Mecca, and pretty much every spring, several routes are closed while the rangers clean up rock debris that flaked off the cliff face on account of water getting into cracks, freezing and thawing. Some years large boulders fall. Ice faces change similarly; think of the way that glaciers are always “calving.”

      You know nothing about snow and ice, Southern Californian TV producers!

      Apparently a certain George didn’t know that either.

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    7. Holy Hodor the wall is falling (kind of like the sky is falling). Seriously, I would not have wanted to see a rock the size of a London townhouse fall. They were very lucky indeed that no one was hurt. Wow.

      Pretty sure the minutes on the banner at the top of the page are moving more slowly…ha. At least we are now down to less than 30 days!

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    8. alienarea: Apparently a certain George didn’t know that either.

      True. The author grew up in the flattest part of the state of New Jersey, near the Meadowlands. And he doesn’t exactly seem to be the outdoorsy type!

      But the extreme proximity of the fortresses to the base of the Wall is much more apparent onscreen.

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    9. Clearly this was done intentionally to obscure the fact that Kit Harington was on set. The set was somehow accidentally “closed,” and it’s all like, “No, Kit wasn’t there at all, he’s really dead, blah blah blah.”

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    10. Elizabeth:
      Holy Hodor the wall is falling (kind of like the sky is falling).Seriously, I would not have wanted to see a rock the size of a London townhouse fall.They were very lucky indeed that no one was hurt.Wow.

      Pretty sure the minutes on the banner at the top of the page are moving more slowly…ha.At least we are now down to less than 30 days!

      Friday we’ll be into April and only 23 days from the premiere!

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    11. Seven Hells! The size of a London townhouse is scary as shit. Glad no one was crushed.

      alienarea,

      Lol Martin built that wall with some kind of magic (DoS Wordstar totally qualifies) and it is supposedly brought down by the sound of a horn…

      Dollars to doughnuts they sounded the Horn on the set by accident!

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    12. MeeraReed,

      At the time it looked like a walkway between two entryways, so I believe it’s the bridge they used

      for the closeups of the Euron (and presumably Balon) scene that we saw a flash of in the first trailer. The shot of Pilou standing on the walkway with the doorway behind him looked like a match though it was hard to be 100% sure.

      the walkway being built: http://watchersonthewall.com/updated-photos-from-magheramorne-quarry-and-potential-casting-news/

      A week or so later, “Very exciting scene” being filmed at Magheramorne (don’t know which storyline), and Pilou spotted in Belfast at the same time. http://watchersonthewall.com/very-exciting-scene-being-filmed-at-magheramorne-quarry-today/

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    13. Firannion,

      There’s definitely an interview from several years ago, maybe even more than a decade ago, where GRRM was talking about how after seeing a wall in real life around 100 feet high he realized he had made The Wall way, way too tall. But that it was just too late to go back and change anything, since at least the first two books were already out.

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    14. Firannion,

      One of the fun parts of Fantasy & Sci Fi are that anything can be explained. In the case of the Wall, it is stated that the wall was built of ice, earth and bound with spells. So, Martin could easily explain it away by saying that spells keep the WW at bay as well as hold it together.
      But yea, in reality, seasonal warming & cooling and natural geologic processes would totally wear away at weak points and cause rock falls.

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    15. So in the EW article it’s mentioned things got really awkward at the read-through because when Cogman was reading stage directions for season 6 and got to a scene in which a certain character gets killed off, the actor went all ‘nooooooo!!!!!’ and it was then they realised they forgot to tell the cast about this. Any guess who it might be?

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    16. TormundsWoman:
      Seven Hells! The size of a London townhouse is scary as shit. Glad no one was crushed.

      Now I know how Britons describe the size of things. In the USA, our only benchmarks are breadboxes and American football fields.

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    17. Darkgreenblue,
      I’ve lived in South East England all my life (I’m 48) and have never heard London townhouse used as a measurement of size before. He probably means these sort of buildings from the 18th and 19th century. It’s difficult to tell from the pictures but they tended to have much higher ceilings than houses today (around 10-14ft/3-4 m), more floors, and are wider than usual too. So definitely not something you’d want to be under if it was moving.

      We often use double decker buses for this type of size comparison, so this might be two buses wide (face on rather than sideways) and four or five high. For bigger things we go for football pitches and if it’s really enormous the Isle of Wight or Wales 😀

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    18. harlequeen,

      Christ that sounds awful. I imagine it must suck ass to find out that you’re losing your job that way, because at that point, there’s nothing you can do. I forget, sometimes, that this is entertainment to us, but actors’ livelihoods depends on getting regular gigs

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    19. Lulus Mum,

      I’ve never been further south that Birmingham, so I had to google a London townhouse too lmao. You don’t get none of those fancy looking cack in Lancashire.

      But yeah, everything here is the size of a football pitch, a small child, Wales or a bag of sugar.

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    20. harlequeen,
      At a wild guess, maybe one of the new people? Someone’s all excited to be joining the cast then told sorry, just as we get to know you it’s bye bye time. It’s the sort of thing I can imagine being accidentally overlooked when they take on a lot of new actors with speaking parts, which it seems is happening this year. Less likely with someone who’s been there a while I’d guess and quite unlikely for a main cast member, although you never know. Perhaps they got ideas from the landslide and have a house dropped on them? People would certainly remember that death! 😉

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    21. Lyannaes,
      These types of houses were built with serious money (at least one of the floors would have been servants’ quarters). Probably the ‘town’ – as opposed to countryside – houses of people who owned most of the rest of the country. And maybe bits of other people’s countries too as this was during the Empire. Either way, really quite large and heavy and distinctly alarming to describe something that might fall on you! 🙁

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    22. harlequeen:
      So in the EW article it’s mentioned things got really awkward at the read-through because when Cogman was reading stage directions for season 6 and got to a scene in which a certain character gets killed off, the actor went all ‘nooooooo!!!!!’ and it was then they realised they forgot to tell the cast about this. Any guess who it might be?

      Ser Loras?

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    23. I’m so glad that nobody was hurt and also it’s great that they managed to reschedule their plans properly.

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    24. harlequeen:
      So in the EW article it’s mentioned things got really awkward at the read-through because when Cogman was reading stage directions for season 6 and got to a scene in which a certain character gets killed off, the actor went all ‘nooooooo!!!!!’ and it was then they realised they forgot to tell the cast about this. Any guess who it might be?

      My guess is: Loras…who then got that Iron Fist gig lined up real quick lol.

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    25. Nodor,

      Yeah, upon re-watch of the battle at CB I realized that I did not like Sam too well at that point. Cowering on the battlements while a scared Pip doing the work next to him, when he stops to say something Sam tells him to get back to it and he gets shot. And also telling Olly, a scared child, to go out and “fight them” which is why Ygritte gets killed (granted it was her time to go but still.) Then he runs off to become a Maester leaving Jon at a pivotal time and when he really needs his friend’s support. Hey, why is Sam allowed to have his Wildling girlfriend actually live there yet Jon is berated for being with one during his spy mission? I like Sam but he pisses me off sometimes lol.

      Edit: I forgot, getting JS elected as LC…so essentially he inadvertently got him killed as well. Samwell Tarley…lovable but trouble in disguise.

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    26. ygritte,

      You forgot that little speech he gave Olly in episode 8 about making decisions, which prompted Olly to justify killing Jon.

      I swear, Sam is Jon’s biggest anti-fan lol.

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    27. ygritte,

      Flayed Potatoes,

      I was annoyed that Sam just pushed Jon out there to be LC. Sam was aware of Jon’s standing among the NW. Yet Sam did it anyway, because his attachment to Gilly was top priority even over Jon’s well-being. That’s why I have a bad feeling about Sam and Gilly’s visit to his family in S6. I don’t think it will end well.

      I like Sam, always will, but I agree – he’s an example of how good people with good intentions can cause trouble. He’s smart and decent but sometimes careless and unaware of how his actions affect others.

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    28. Flora Linden,

      One of the themes of the books and show is good intentions with horrible outcome. Sometimes it seems that bad intentions don’t cause so much harm.
      I do like Sam, I hope the best for him and Gilly, but hopes don’t guarantee anything.

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    29. Well, shit. That’s what happens when you work with giants as Wun Wun. Everybody knows you should not work with animals, children and giants.

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