When the news broke that HBO would return to several Game of Thrones locations in Spain to film the Targaryen-centric prequel House of the Dragon, we also learned that Portugal would be next, and now we have more concrete information about where that will be exactly. Meanwhile, a suspiciously red castle set is being erected in the UK…
Last week we found out House of the Dragon would not only see filming in Cáceres and Trujillo in Spain, as Game of Thrones did for its seventh season, but that this time HBO would expand further west to Portugal. Now we know they will shoot in Monsanto, a village of less than 1000 inhabitants that’s conveniently close to Cáceres. As small as Monsanto is, it’s still noteworthy for its unique look and 12th Century Templar castle:
It’s still unclear whether the production will restrict itself to the most likely candidate, the Castle of Monsanto, or if they will also film in the peculiar village below, which was built in and around the hill’s huge boulders, as you may be able to notice here:
Another question is what role Monsanto will play: will it be King’s Landing, as Cáceres and Trujillo were in the past and likely will again? Of course, it could be almost any other Westerosi site. The rather different-looking St. Michael’s Mount in Cornwall has already been semi-confirmed as the Velaryon’s Driftmark, so that’s probably a stronghold we can cross off for Monsanto — but, otherwise, this rocky Portuguese castle could be used to depict a part of Old Town or the many other places we may visit in this series.
Before any Targaryen sets foot on the Iberian peninsula, however, production continues in the United Kingdom. And we have news on that front! The local Watford newspaper Watford Herts London reports a castle set is being built on their locality at the Warner Bros backlot. There’s no confirmation that this set will used for HotD and not another Warner Bros production, but a look at the red castle gates leaves little room for doubt:
The entrance to the Red Keep was first recreated for the final season of Game of Thrones, at Belfast’s Titanic Studios, as a part of a much larger King’s Landing set designed for the carnage in “The Bells”. If this is indeed the Red Keep, they’ve opted for a noticeably larger gate set this time around. For comparison, this is how it looked like when they built it for season eight, though we only saw it briefly on screen:
More intriguingly, Warner reportedly warned residents that filming, which started nine days ago and will end tomorrow on July 6, will involve SFX such as smoke, controlled fires, and wind machines. I don’t know about you, but that sounds like dragon action in King’s Landing to me. Or a fight of some kind that erupts in a bit of chaos. Anyway, it’s a Dance of Dragons — any good fight should include dragons, wouldn’t you say?
H/t to Los Siete Reinos!