Siege Engines Deployed on Magheramorne Set for Game of Thrones Season 8 Filming

Daenerys' Unsullied last used siege engines in season four's "Breaker of Chains"

Daenerys’s army of Unsullied last used siege engines in season four’s “Breaker of Chains”

With the Game of Thrones production returning from Easter break, we can now be sure that the new Magheramorne set is still active, as certain siege engines take center stage. We first saw these trebuchets being tested at Titanic Studios, and then they turned up at Magheramorne, but we hadn’t seen them in action … yet. That changes today!

As usual, Davy Orr was on site this evening to show us these shots with the trebuchet:

Photo: Davy Orr

Notice the Unsullied (left), with their distinctive spiky shoulders and helmets. Photo: Davy Orr

As it’s been the case every single time at Magheramorne, this was a night shoot. That doesn’t necessarily mean the scene is set at night (using only artificial light means total control to achieve any ambience, such as a deep winter, whether it is for day or night), but in this case the lighting was low, so it was meant to be night, just as it was during the Moneyglass battle sequence these shots likely belong to. Sadly, the lack of light is also why we can’t tell much from the video, except that the trebuchet’s projectile is lit.

As we speculated from the start, this all-green screen set (except for the snowy ground) is being used for discrete action elements deemed to be unfilmable at a real location. Tonight is a great example: the Unsullied’s trebuchet (presumably it’s theirs) will likely be digitally replicated and included into more involved shots of a battle sequence.

Though, as a siege engine, trebuchets are usually used for sieging, they can also be turned against the enemy knocking at the gates, which is what I would imagine is happening here, if I had to guess. Now, can you think of anyone who is particularly susceptible to fire? Oh, no magically enthralled army of the dead comes to mind? Pity.

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    1. This glut of battle scenes filming has me worried.
      (Probably unnecessarily; I understand these action scenes take a long time to put together.)

      I just don’t want them to condense long-awaited character interactions into S7e6 Benjen-sized mini-packets.

      I do not want to see Jon & Arya’s reunion to resemble Jon & Benjen’s, e.g.:

      Arya: “Jon! How.. ?”
      Jon: “Ride for the pass.”
      Arya: “Come with me!”
      Jon: “There’s no time. Go!”

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    2. Ten Bears,

      Think of it this way…

      Out of the 7/8 (possible) hours of season 8, I’d estimate that approximately two hours or so will probably be dedicated to actual battle scenes. As elaborate as the action set pieces are, they’re never overly long either. So I wouldn’t worry about character interaction. Season 7 was short, and it did botch some interpersonal content, but it was still largely solid.

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    3. Edward,

      Yes. I tell myself that. Also, I feel the best scenes are filmed on closed sets inside the studio anyway, not outdoors where telephoto lenses can pick up the action – well, blurry shapes moving around.

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    4. Well, the video showed little? I was waiting for the trebuchet at least to move down and then swing up, but sweet F all happened 🙂

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    5. I predict that the prince that was promised is, aside from anyone from County Antrim, someone who can pronounce Magheramorne correctly.

      In which case, my money’s on it being Tyrion, because he drinks and knows things.

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    6. Black Raven,

      In real life if you are going to fire something like a trebuchet you don’t want anyone near it.
      Firing sequences will be shot by a special effects crew safely.

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    7. so we see the trebuchet now in action?wow…also about the unsulied there ..can some unsulied /dothraki to survive the battle of winterfell?

      Catspaw Assassin:
      I predict that the prince that was promised is, aside from anyone from County Antrim, someone who can pronounce Magheramorne correctly.

      In which case, my money’s on it being Tyrion, because he drinks and knows things.

      that will be interesting..but who Tyrion has to sacrifice for to reborn as Prince that was Promised and to receive Lightbringer?

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    8. When I read this header I assumed it was an attack on Kings Landing but do we now assume this is a battle/defence in the North. Just strikes me as strange as where there weapons are appearing from.

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    9. Jon Snowed:
      Just strikes me as strange as where there weapons are appearing from.

      The Freys had Trebuchets, Bronn went out of his way to mention that.
      Either the Lannister army could have taken them.
      Or Arya?

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    10. Black Raven,

      The weather was so bad Davy Orr couldn’t film any better footage, apparently. We’re lucky! I wonder if the crew bothers to switch on the wind machines on nights like that. They wouldn’t make much of a difference!

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    11. Are we sure we gonna have 2 epic battles? since january this looks like the same battle in the north. now we still have almost 3 months of filming (IF its right that by the end of june it will end). still plent of time, but i hope the other battle is wayyyy more than just that amazing set of kings landing, cause that is just like One street, so i hope is something in all city and outside the walls of KL. just saying. i hope we get to have more news about the final battle on diferent sets.

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    12. I just want to see and hear Daenerys say “nēmēbetas” (sp?) again to fire siege engines. Her look and delivery of that word was right up there with her words to Kraznys before she had Drogon fry him.

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    13. lolpol:
      Are we sure we gonna have 2 epic battles? since january this looks like the same battle in the north. now we still havealmost 3 months of filming (IF its right that by the end of june it will end). still plent of time, but i hope the other battle is wayyyy more than just that amazing set of kings landing, cause that is just like One street, so i hope is something in all city and outside the walls of KL. just saying. i hope we get to have more news about the final battle on diferent sets.

      I get what you’re saying but it’s impossible to tell that these scenes are all for one or two battles. The green screen will allow any background at all to be inserted.

      Also, the KL set appears to consist of a number of different elements, the city wall and gate, the street portion appears to be in a Y shape (so a few streets), and what seems to be castle gates at the far end and numerous archways and passageways.

      If I’m not mistaken, it also looks as if there’s a small courtyard area next to the city walls that is very similar in architecture to the Red Keep. This set is huge- so there will likely be many scenes filmed here.

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    14. lolpol,

      Tinfoil Prediction (though I wouldn’t be surprised if it happens):

      There will be a battle scene of an army outside a castle wall attacking with siege engines, trebuchets, battering rams, etc… When in the midst of all the commotion, Ol’ Blue Eyes shows up with his posse.

      The attackers either choose to join with the castle’s defenders to fight NK – or get wightened.

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    15. lolpol,

      There won’t be any battles at all. The NK and Bran will play an epic game of chess for all the marbles. If there is somehow a tie, then they will play a round of Yahtzee to determine the winner.

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    16. Ten Bears: This glut of battle scenes filming has me worried.

      As you yourself pointed out, these action scenes take a lot of time to produce, but it’s not only that: they’re also the scenes filmed in the most public locations, so it’s no wonder that these are what we mostly see being shot.

      But don’t worry. We know of two battle sequences, and there probably will be many more action sequences as well, but even when they take up all the episode the show very rarely forgets to focus on its characters. Battle of the Bastards is so underrated as a character piece for Jon, for example. Other action scenes and battles follow more of a “cool for the sake of cool” philosophy, or at least “cool for the sake of plot”, without much focus on character, like the quest beyond the Wall, but those are few and far between. I wouldn’t worry, especially now that the stakes are this high and no character is in a holding pattern waiting for their character arcs to wrap up.

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    17. A question I have is whether or not there’s anyone in The North that has the ability to create a device similar to Qyburn’s Scorpion (for use against undead-Viserion). Unless Bronn decides to take off after Jaime and thinks to haul one with him… Of course none of them know that the NK has animated Viserion unless/until Tormund and Beric get there and/or get them the news. Without a device like Qyburn’s they’ll be dependent on Drogon and Rhaegal completely.

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    18. Artemisia:

      that will be interesting..but who Tyrion has to sacrifice for to reborn as Prince that was Promised and to receive Lightbringer?

      Gendry? 😉

        Quote  Reply

    19. Luka Nieto: these action scenes take a lot of time to produce

      Right. Weren’t they saying that filming for BotB took damn near a month? The onscreen battle from first aerial shot to Jon standing over bloody Ramsay was just 23 minutes.

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    20. Clob,

      Northerners don’t strike me as the engineering type. But with Tyrion there, who is known to be well-versed in History and has designed some contraptions himself (the special saddle for Bran,) maybe that could change, without the need for Jaime or Bronn to haul Qyburn’s scorpions North.

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    21. Clob:
      A question I have is whether or not there’s anyone in The North that has the ability to create a device similar to Qyburn’s Scorpion.

      Sam from his books
      Tyrion
      Any of the Maesters
      Jaime Lannister
      Bran with visions.
      Gendry?

      The Freys had siege weapons so how hard can it be?

        Quote  Reply

    22. Mr Derp:
      lolpol,

      There won’t be any battles at all.The NK and Bran will play an epic game of chess for all the marbles.If there is somehow a tie, then they will play a round of Yahtzee to determine the winner.

      Scrabble.

      Bran: Nine points…
      NK: “Yarp” isn’t a word!!!

        Quote  Reply

    23. Luka Nieto,

      You’re right. Six hours is still a long time: = 3 feature length movies. Assuming characters are no longer in “holding patterns” there will be no need for them to go on plot detours to fill up their wait time.

        Quote  Reply

    24. Everytime I hear or see the word ‘trebuchet’, I think of Doraleous & Associates. Suddenly things seem far less threatening.

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    25. Pigeon,

      Lol, sounds kinda like Dolorous Edd & Associates. I can see the tagline now…

      “No Nights Watch anymore to get you through the Long Night? Never fear, because Dolorous Edd & Associates are here!”

        Quote  Reply

    26. Clob: I saw that right away too. Ten Beats being the number of smack-downs Sandor dishes out?

      lol, I think we need to go more tinfoily than that.

      Perhaps if one creates a song with 10 beats per bar and then plays it to Sandor and Arya’s chicken scene from “Two Swords” it’ll unlock Sandor’s ability to become Azor Ahai?

        Quote  Reply

    27. Mr Derp:
      Pigeon,

      Lol, sounds kinda like Dolorous Edd & Associates.I can see the tagline now…

      “No Nights Watch anymore to get you through the Long Night?Never fear, because Dolorous Edd & Associates are here!”

      Now THAT would be content I’d be all for!!! Doraleous & Associates is a great YouTube series, stereotypical knights, wizards, elves, etc all as a ragtag team trying to help out various situations. Really witty and funny – worth checking out! I don’t watch many animated series, but that (by Hank & Jed, I believe) and the Game of Thrones parody by seanzoz is just so wickedly smartass that I was hooked.

        Quote  Reply

    28. Pigeon: just so wickedly smartass that I was hooked.

      Sounds like my kind of show 🙂 And I love animated shows (for the most part). I regularly watch South Park and I still watch reruns of The Simpsons and Family Guy.
      I’ll check it out.

        Quote  Reply

    29. Ten Bears,

      That’s not bad though. I once accidentally put my e-mail address in the Name line and name on Email line. I didn’t really want my e-mail address right out there so luckily one of the mods got it down quick. 🙂

        Quote  Reply

    30. Slightly OT, but the BAFTA TV Nominations were announced today in the UK. They generally aren’t into non-mainstream TV productions, but there was a GoT nomination in the Must-See Moments category, for the Night King killing Viserion.

      Also, GoT alum Sean Bean got a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Broken, which I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it and is living in a country where they are able to view it (It also stars Mark Stanley – Grenn).

        Quote  Reply

    31. Clob,

      Gendry should know something: Qyburn specifically said that balcksmiths of KL were working to develop the scorpion in 702 and Gerndry was a blacksmith of KL involved in arming the Lannisters. So, looks like 2+2

        Quote  Reply

    32. Inga,

      Brilliant! 2+2 is right!
      We/I should go back and look closely at the background to see if Gendry was working on Scorpion parts or had some on the wall when Davos came to fetch him.

        Quote  Reply

    33. Inga,

      Team Targaryen could really use Dr. Q on their squad.
      Advanced Anti-Aircraft Weaponry ✅
      Synthetic Superwights. ✅
      Little Birds ✅
      Poison Control✅
      Medical Training✅

        Quote  Reply

    34. Alba Stark,

      GoT alum Sean Bean got a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Broken, which I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it…”

      ———————–
      Slightly off-topic too:
      GoT alum Tara Fitzgerald (Selyse Baratheon), in her first film role in 1991, co-starred in “Hear My Song.” It features quite a few accomplished Irish and British actresses and actors, many of whom I’d never heard of but who have had distinguished careers in the U.K. and Ireland, including James Nesbitt (who also co-starred with Maisie Williams in 2014’s “Gold”); Shirley Anne Field; and Adrian Dunbar.

      “Hear My Song” is my #2 favorite movie of all time. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I think you’ll either like it or love it.

        Quote  Reply

    35. Ten Bears:
      Alba Stark,

      GoT alum Sean Bean got a Best Actor nomination for his performance in Broken, which I would recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it…”

      Slightly off-topic too:GoT alum Tara Fitzgerald (Selyse Baratheon), in her first film role in 1991,co-starred in “Hear My Song.” It features quite a few accomplished Irish and British actresses and actors, many of whom I’d never heard of but who have had distinguished careers in the U.K. and Ireland, including James Nesbitt (who also co-starred with Maisie Williams in 2014’s “Gold”); Shirley Anne Field; and Adrian Dunbar.

      “Hear My Song” is my #2 favorite movie of all time. I would recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it. I think you’ll either like it or love it.

      Lovely film, and as I checked the IMDB listing, I discovered that an school friend had a small role. Tara Fitzgerald was also in another favourite of mine, Brassed Off, which featured a great performance by Pete Postlethwaite.

      Spotted the BAFTA nominees. Sean Bean deserved it. He may have a good chance of winning this year. He’s such a fine actor who IMO is wasted in most of the action films he does.

        Quote  Reply

    36. Looper,

      Funny thing is… before last season I remember we were microanalyzing long-range photos of Tyrion greeting Jon coming ashore on a beach – and that scene lasted maybe a few seconds of actual screen time.

      And before S6, even HBO was hyping the Battle of the Bastards (horses! six armies! corpses!), and for me at least the best part of that episode came as a complete surprise: Dany & 3 dragons vs Masters’ armada.

      Moral of the story: Outdoor filming isn’t a reliable barometer of the content or time allotment of the show.

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