Diana Rigg returns, Game of Thrones filming in the Mournes, and Titanic studios expand

We have a mixed bag of news for readers today! Let’s get right to it.

Based on the observations of this local, it appears that Game of Thrones is now filming season five around the Mournes. The show has filmed in the Mournes several times over the past few years, most notably when Daenerys enters Vaes Dothrak in season 1, and last year’s scene when Arya and the Hound encounter a Riverlands farmer and his young daughter.

In other Game of Thrones news:

  • Titanic Quarter has been granted approval for their plans to extend their Belfast studios. TQ is home to Paint Hall, where Game of Thrones films much of every season. The £14m studio expansion was proposed last year, and will almost double the existing space. The BBC reports that Game of Thrones is causing the demand for additional space in the city. They also note that the expansion will have some environmentally-friendly technology including roof-mounted solar panels.
  • In discussing Diana Rigg‘s stage work in No Turn Unstoned at Edinburgh Festival Fringe,  the actress talks Game of Thrones, and there’s indication that we’ll see Olenna Tyrell in the fifth season. The Festival writer notes when sharing the dame’s love of gaming on breaks, “Once the Fringe is behind her, she’ll be heading to Dubrovnik for more filming, as well as passing on some crucial down-time skills to her younger co-stars.” Rigg caps off the interview by saying, “I’m really grateful for Game of Thrones. It’s something wonderful to happen to an actress of my age and Dubrovnik is astonishingly beautiful. No Turn Unstoned runs through August 23rd.
  • George R.R. Martin appeared on BBC Radio’s Front Row yesterday, discussing his inspirations for A Song of Ice and Fire. The complete interview is now available online for listening.

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Sue the Fury
Susan Miller, Editor in Chief of WatchersOnTheWall.com


  1. Interesting If Diana Rigg is indeed returning. I can’t see in what capacity. Didn’t she explicitly say she was returning to Highgarden in the show? Unless they show Highgarden (doubtful) what would be her reason for returning to the capital? I hope it’s not a case of shoehorning the character in just to use a brilliant actress. Of course, the report may just be wrong.

  2. Although having said that, I guess it would make sense for her to attend Tywin’s funeral maybe…? Did she in the books?

  3. I think Lady Olenna might replace characters from the tyrell’s in King’s Landing to add more people to the plot without introducing new characters.

  4. King’s Landing gets severely emptied out of main characters at this point. It makes sense to have Olenna there to bounce Cersei and Margaery off of. I would imagine in storyline terms, she’d be there for

    either Tywin’s funeral or Tommen’s wedding to Margaery. I think in the books, she doesn’t leave until after the wedding either.
  5. Ross,

    She did. Actually, she doesn’t come back to Highgarden at all until after another incoming wedding. I imagine in the show she’ll be there

    for the funeral (a bit too soon, maybe), certainly the wedding, and maybe instead of going back to Highgarden again (as she does in the books, although there it’s for the first time), she stays to deal with Margeary’s troubles, instead of just Mace being there.
  6. As an aside, I always thought it was weird just how full of players King’s Landing is near the end of ASoS and then how almost everyone is gone at the start of the next book.

    Think of all the people on the show who were at the Purple Wedding:


    After Cersei sends Jaime and Bronn on their Dorne mission early in S5, we’re left with:


    I think bringing back Olenna makes a ton of sense.

  7. Ross,

    Lady Olenna says the exact same thing in a feast for crows “it’s time for me to go home”. However she doesn’t go back until after Tywin’s funeral. If you recall she makes some excellent snarky remarks about

    how much Tywin’s body stinks which seriously pisses off Cersei
  8. Well, the Grand Tyrell Conspiracy might be shaping up…

    According to which, Olenna remained in King’s Landing right? And that Margaery would visit her when she went ‘hawking’.
  9. Not sure it’s crucial to have her in it but we shall see.

    She may be given the role of getting the younger Margery out of the accusations sent her way

    and trying to get Tommen into the fold. I think this is the death knell for Kevan Lannister as I think Pycelle and Olenna between them can fulfil the roles he did in the books.

  10. Turncloak,

    Thanks, yes it is coming back to me now.

    My only worry with her staying much beyond that, is that it would

    tip the balance of power too much to the Tyrells in KL. The warring between Cersei and Margery is so brilliant in the books partly because of how exposed and vulnerable Margery is. Having Olenna there would lessen that for sure. If she can kill a king, she can manage Cersei just fine
  11. Ross:
    Although having said that, I guess it would make sense for her to attend Tywin’s funeral maybe…?Did she in the books?

    IIRC didn’t she mention a “Scent” aka “Stench” in the books?

  12. King Tommen,

    Your comment inspired me to write a little analysis on the current situation. You can read it on my Tumblr (“lukanieto”), but why would anyone? I’ll post it here:

    Reading comments at Watchers on the Wall, I realized a problem which Game of Thrones will have to deal with next season: there’s barely any characters left in King’s Landing. The show will have to shake things up, particularly for the Small Council scenes. By the end of season 4, most characters who were in King’s Landing have gone away from the city or died there. Let’s take the Purple Wedding as the exemplar point of Season 4, since it’s the season’s big King’s Landing event —everyone’s there.

    These are the named characters present in or around the ceremony, in no particular order: Margaery, Tyrion, Sansa, Dontos, Tywin, Joffrey, Cersei, Tommen, Qyburn, Jaime, Brienne, Varys, Olenna, Loras, Oberyn, Ellaria, Pycelle, Mace, Bronn, Meryn, Podrick and Shae. Of those 22 characters, only 9 will be alive in the city for most of season 5, because Tyrion, Varys and Sansa escaped; Dontos died, as did Joffrey and Tywin; Jaime and Bronn are still there, but they will soon go to Dorne in their new invented storyline; Brienne went away with Podrick; Olenna wasn’t there at the end of the season, but she still counts because we know the actress is coming back; Oberyn died; Ellaria will go back to Dorne; and finally, Shae died. Now the capital is populated by Margaery, Cersei, Tommen, Qyburn, Olenna, Loras, Pyecelle, Mace and Meryn.

    Of these 9 people, only 2 are starring characters: Cersei and Margaery. Other roles are still prominent (Olenna and Pycelle; and in the future probably Qyburn and Mace as well), but they are not exactly main characters. Then again, they are casting Septa Unella, the High Sparrow and Lollys Stokeworth, so that’s 12 named characters in the city. Still, the show will have to do some impressive narrative magic tricks.

    Also, who will actually be in the Small Council scenes? The Council is ever-changing, but it has always replenished itself. Not anymore: Tywin and Oberyn are dead and Tyrion’s gone, so right now Cersei remains Queen Regent, Pycelle is Grand Maester and Mace Tyrell is Master of Ships. That’s three people. Now, we know Qyburn will become Master of Whisperers and, immediately or eventually, Mace will probably become Hand. Why might it happen immediately? Kevan’s not been in the show since season 2 and he was not much more than a featured extra. Since we can’t really expect people to remember him, could he really become Lord Regent, taking over the Council after Cersei’s imprisonment? What about all those featureless characters we have not even heard about in the show as of yet? Harys, Orton, Gyles, Aurane, Randyll Tarly, Paxter Redwyne? Does anyone actually expect to see them in the show?

    As I see it, during most of season 5 the Council will consist of Cersei, Pycelle, Qyburn, maybe Mace, and just possibly a new minor character for the show (Harys?). Then, if Kevan comes in, the Councill will feature him, Mace, Pycelle and Harys/whoever; if he doesn’t, the Tyrell rise will be clearer —Mace will take charge, and maybe they do something even crazier and Ollena will be an adviser. I wouldn’t be against this.

    Either way, it doesn’t matter much in the end: by the end of season 5, Pycelle and Kevan (if he is there) will be killed, so the Council will become literally devoid of any main characters. And that seems to be kind of the point, in the books: after Tywin’s death, the King’s Landing plot focuses more on the internal struggles between Cersei with her little Council and Margaery with her family. And of course, we’ve got the High Sparrow to look forward to. Nobody expects the Westerosi Inquisition!

  13. I was always wondering why she had to leave KL in season 4 in the first place (and she didn’t just say she would leave the town, she didn’t appear in any scene after that conversation with Margaery), without even granting her a proper farewell scene. Especially because the QOT doesn’t leave KL in the books until

    Tommen’s and Margaery’s wedding

    and Dianna Rigg’s character had far more lines than her book counterpart. Whatever, I’m very glad we have her back, Dianna Rigg is a brilliant actress and KL is a far more boring place without her shrewd comments.

  14. How great would it be if Tommen named her Hand of the King? Not gonna happen, but would be cool.

  15. Does anyone think they might introduce Osney Kettleblack or Taena Merryweather so that King’s Landing has more characters in Season 5?

  16. she would have had much less to do through the end of Season 4, so sending her back was fine.

    Any theories about this being a death knell for Kevan are pretty premature, honestly. The two fulfill very different roles. Olenna is not an ally of Cersei. Kevan, to some extent, is – or rather, he’s a Lannister, even if he’s in opposition to what Cersei wants. If there’s no Kevan (and why introduce him in the first place, then? D&D have generally been good with the long game on that stuff), it’ll be because of the active decision not to have him, not because of Olenna.
  17. alcasinoroyale:
    Does anyone think they might introduce Osney Kettleblack or Taena Merryweather so that King’s Landing has more characters in Season 5?

    Hopefully Taena at the very least; Cersei needs someone to talk to since you can’t simply follow her inner monologue.

    Perhaps Meryn Trant takes the role of the Kettleblacks?

  18. Is that wagon something to appear on camera? If so, what could it be for? Maybe…

    Brienne encountering the High Sparrow? The backdrop looks Riverlands-ish to me, but who knows.
  19. I wonder if

    no confirmation of Kevan returning to King’s Landing in S5 means that show Kevan won’t be killed with Pycelle? Maybe he’ll be kept alive until the end of the series where there might be important events at Casterly Rock, and show Kevan has been running it because Cersei stays in KL. Now with Olenna returning, I’m now thinking she might be the one killed with Pycelle instead. That would be something audiences won’t expect.

    Thanks for posting that BBC Radio interview. Really enjoyed it. The historical angle of ASOIF is what really sets Martin’s work apart from others in the fantasy genre.

  20. Kevan Lannister has already appeared in the first two seasons of the show… No reason to think they won’t bring him back for season 5, especially since he plays such a large role in books 4&5…

  21. Book Margaery had more family around her if I recall correctly – some cousins. As show Margaery does not have these, Lady Olenna will (as at least one person has pointed out above) provide somebody to be a confidante and more (but I haven’t got my head round the spoiler system yet so won’t say anything else on that). Are “The Mournes” the mountains of Mourne referred to in the song from Victorian days http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mountains_of_Mourne ?

    H. Stark:
    We need more big casting news
    Great to have Olenna back!

    You’re right of course, but apart from the people announced at the Comic-Con, HBO are not being very forthcoming unfortunately. Of course one might hope that changes in the near future.

  22. Only just found this interview Westeros.org had with Bryan Cogman in may. Some interesting words on Kevan Lannister:

    “Cogman: We knew, for show purposes that it would give us a lot of mileage of Jaime acted as the counselor of sorts to Tyrion as opposed to Uncle Kevan, who the viewers have much less investment in at this point. ”

    So what are we to make of this…?

  23. Dutch maester,

    All I get out of it is that the Jaime/Tyrion connection during the trial was good for the show over Kevan/Tyrion, and has little to do with the future of the Kevan Lannister character in the future.

    The role of repairing the damage caused by Cersei may be pushed onto another character if D&D feel they have a solution that works better, but I don’t see them cutting Kevan simply to cut the character. It certainly has nothing to do with his omission at the trial.
  24. I don’t remember Lady O ever leaving kings landing. I do recall her wanting to leave but I could have swoar I saw her outside during the trial by combat

  25. Dutch maester:
    Only just found this interview Westeros.org had with Bryan Cogman in may. Some interesting words on Kevan Lannister:

    “Cogman: We knew, for show purposes that it would give us a lot of mileage of Jaime acted as the counselor of sorts to Tyrion as opposed to Uncle Kevan, who the viewers have much less investment in at this point. ”

    So what are we to make of this…?

    Well, viewers are much less invested in him because we have seen so little of him. I am honestly a little confused about how some of this moves forward.

    Of course, he can still come back. But, if he does, there may be little appreciation for his role as confidante and trusted adviser to Tywin and an able leader in his own right. If we are supposed to be shocked and saddened when Varys kills him, we need to get to know him better first. I’m still skeptical about his return. If he doesn’t come back, I don’t see Olenna filling his role.


    I think that we need one or both of them.

    I wonder how Cersei’s indiscretions will be portrayed. So far, we have only seen her with Lancel and that was last mentioned early in S2. They can probably still make her complicit in Robert’s death. What about killing the High Septon?
  26. The actor who played Kevan was in four episodes in the first two seasons and I can’t recall them mentioning him. I doubt he made much of an impression on anyone who hasn’t read the books. I don’t know if people will remember him if he does come back. It would be kind of odd to stick him into the plot as an important character that the audience has to care about if he seems like he’s coming out of nowhere to most people who just watch the show. That said, has anyone been checking on the actor or is there any news about him that would indicate he’s coming back?

  27. Dame of Mercia,

    Yep, they’re the very same! They’re up in County Down and are the highest mountains in Northern Ireland (still not very high at all on a global scale).

  28. mariamb,

    The shock isn’t death of Kevan Lannister, but who kills Kevan Lannister and why. It’s the first overt act by Varys we witness. You don’t need much at all to set up the fact Kevan is better than Cersei. They could push this on Pycelle, but would make more sense if they never introduced Kevan at all.
  29. fuelpagan,

    Yes, of course, they could push it on Pycelle. Not sure it would have the same impact, however. I don’t particularly like Pycelle and I would never quite trust him despite his vast knowledge. I wasn’t too upset when he was killed. In the books, Kevan is an admirable man and one who will not suffer thru Cersei’s nonsense and paranoia. My reaction was, “Ahh, the nice, normal Lannister.” Unless they bring back Kevan early in the season and set him up properly, there may not be a need for him. And I agree that real shock is Varys’ actions.
  30. If they wanted to bring Kevan back, they would have reminded the audience of his existence by letting him show up at Tyrion’s wedding in S03 or at least Joffrey’s wedding in S04. We haven’t seen him since season 2 in 2012, and he had only one small scene with Tywin in one episode. So, I guess he’s likely cut (and Lancel as well, it has’nt even been established in show canon that they’re father and son).

  31. One thing is for sure. Given the antipathy Cersei has shown for Pycelle, there’s no way they can use him as an outright Kevan replacement. It’s clear he doesn’t have any kind of power at all.
  32. that Other site has news about some filming in near The Split that looks very Braavos, Iron Islandy, where they are planning control burning of trash. Any thoughts?

  33. Cian:
    Dame of Mercia,

    Yep, they’re the very same! They’re up in County Down and are the highest mountains in Northern Ireland (still not very high at all on a global scale).

    Thanks for that, Cian. No there’s nothing like Everest, or the Jungfrau in Northern Island or mainland Britain. The Mournes look very attractive though.

  34. Justin,

    Don’t get me wrong,I like Kevan and would be happy if he was in it. But when they could be potentially swinging the axe on key characters like Arianne, Euron, Vicatrion and the Griffs then it would make no sense to keep/expand Kevan when his role is relatively insignificant. Pycelle,Trant and Qyburn can act as Cersei advisors and people loyal to the Lannisters. If I was streamlining then he’d be someone who I would happily be able to remove without it affecting the plot significantly.
    To be honest I’d prefer if they put Genna Lannister in as she was one of my favourite minor characters in the books but I sense she’s gone.
    I think Lancel will return and

    take the place of the Kettlebacks when the Cersei incident kicks off. The fact he becomes a religious nut fits the storyline perfectly

    . Another example of efficient streamlining with minimal effect on the overarcing plot.

  35. Greatjon of Slumber:

    Agreed. I don’t think Pycelle would make sense replacing him. He has value, and him telling off Cersei when she won’t do what he asks, then later coming back to correct her wrongs would not make sense at all with Pycelle.

    Olenna taking on part of his role wouldn’t work either as a big part of Cersei’s paranoia in the first place is not letting the Tyrells get too strong (a sentiment Kevan shares), so they certainly wouldn’t have her in a position that a Lannister really needs to step in for.

    My guess would be about 50/50 right now. I certainly do hope he comes back.

  36. Chris: The actor who played Kevan was in four episodes in the first two seasons and I can’t recall them mentioning him. I doubt he made much of an impression on anyone who hasn’t read the books. I don’t know if people will remember him if he does come back.

    I don’t think that will be a problem. At this point viewers are already accustomed to new characters every season. If they don’t recognize him from previous seasons they will just think he is a new character and go with it. It would be easy to quickly mention him as Tywin’s brother, the Twins’ Uncle and/or Lancel’s father, probably at Tywin’s funeral.

  37. Wonder if the cart pictured is going to be used to transport injured Hound back to the home of the farmer and his daughter.

  38. Greenjones:

    I wondered that too…could be.

    I think the showrunners would probably be reluctant to get rid of a character as popular as the Hound. Plus making the farmer so very pious makes me think he is going to stand in for a different character who likely won’t be cast.

  39. Ms. D. Ranged in AZ:
    Dame of Mercia,

    I’m so confused….I thought Mine is the Furry is Rygar….or were you being sarcastic?

    Not at all. I’m sure I have seen a Rygar post by Rygar as Rygar somewhere (unless someone else has adopted the name than the original person). If Mine is the Furry is Rygar I had not latched on to it. I was being 100% down the line sincere making that post.

  40. Dame of Mercia,

    I changed my handle when Sue announced that it was a team decision for them to replace their WiC names with new ones.

    I am Rygar still at fleabottom.net. That was a shameless plug, I know, but we are and always have been staunch supporters of the bottom. Especially big bottoms.

  41. Luka Nieto,

    Mace and Meryn will be in Braavos to meet with Tycho Nestoris, most likely at the beginning of the season. Kevan Lannister will come to Kings Landing to serve as Hand of the King, and rumors are Lancel will return as well with the High Sparrow, having joined the faith militant’s knight order. The Sand snakes are rumored to come to King’s Landing as well, so there won’t be a shortage of Kings Landing players. Plus, who knows how they will change things up from the books. But yeah, the purple wedding was and will be the high mark in the number of principal characters all being in the same place, at least for Kings Landing

  42. A King that was Promised,

    She announced to Margaery right before Tyrion’s trial started that she was leaving because “nothing more tedious than a trial”. And no, the actress was not present during the trial, but there was an older lady with similar costume and head gear. Rewatch ep 6 and you’ll know

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