Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Game of Thrones: Behind the scenes of HBO’s stunning blockbuster

Maureen Coleman went behind the scenes to meet the cast of an epic production which transformed the province into a medieval world

Actor Emilia Clarke speaks during the 'Game of Thrones' panel at the HBO portion of the 2011 Winter TCA press tour

Forged from the swords of slain enemies, the Iron Throne is the seat of power in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

Many have attempted to claim the much-coveted throne and it’s this battle among rival houses that is the basis of the storyline in Game of Thrones.

Fortunately, no swordsmen attacked me when I was given the chance to sit upon the throne during a visit to the nation's capital, King's Landing.

Last autumn I was one of a handful of journalists invited on set of the multi-million pound HBO production.

The massive Paint Hall studio in the Titanic Quarter was transformed into a fantasy medieval world, while other key locations in Northern Ireland were used to bring the story to life, including a quarry near Larne and Tollymore Forest.

As an added bonus on the day we got to watch a scene alongside Game of Thrones author George RR Martin.

Martin listened in silence as Mark Addy's King Robert Baratheon bellowed out “King Layer, get in here” to Danish actor and star of Black Hawk Down, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who plays Jamie Lannister.

Martin said he was delighted with the way the production was panning out.

“It's just so exciting being here and watching it come to life,” he said. “Everything is going beautifully and the locations have been fantastic.”

Taking a break from filming, Addy and Coster-Waldau talked us through their characters.

Addy, in fake beard and extra padding, said: “He's a man in the wrong position.

“He's drinking, depressed and has got fat because he's not happy with the role of King. He married Cersei Lannister because her father had power but he wasn't aware of the danger he was placing himself in, not only by having her as queen, but by having her brother as one of the King’s guards.”

Coster-Waldau said he had no idea of the fantasy genre until he was offered the part.

“I was very excited about this world and the characters that inhabit it. They're not elves or weird creatures. These are human beings and they actually

react to the supernatural like we do.”

Also on set was Belfast actor Ian McElhinney, who plays Barristan Selmy, a Knight of the King’s Guard.

“It's so exciting being part of this production,” said McElhinney, dressed head to toe in silver armour.

“Not only is it great for local actors, crew and the technical people but it's such a boost for the economy as a whole.”

- Read Maureen Coleman's review

- Northern Ireland fantasy world that will be viewed by millions

Factfile

A brief guide to the words used in Game of Thrones:

  • Houses — the powerful noble families who contend to rule the Seven Kingdoms — House Stark, House Lannister, House Targaryen and House Baratheon.
  • Iron Throne — the seat of power in the Seven Kingdoms fought over by rival houses.
  • King's Landing — The capital of the Seven Kingdoms and home to the Iron Throne.
  • Winterfell — the home of Lord Eddard Stark.

For more information visit HBO.com

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