Belfast Telegraph

Game of Thrones prequel gets green light in boost for Northern Ireland film industry

By John Toner

Northern Ireland’s film industry is set for another massive boost as TV bosses gave the go-ahead for a Game Of Thrones prequel series.

The global smash-hit franchise is currently being filmed in various locations across the province including a castle set opposite the Titanic Slipways in east Belfast.

In its eighth and final season, producers have gone all-out to round off the epic series with six episodes — rumoured to be feature length — in production.

The stars have been out and about in Belfast eating and drinking in their favourite city centre haunts as they take a break from fire-breathing dragons and undead White Walkers.

Game of Thrones fans and the film industry in Northern Ireland can now look forward to more tales from Westeros as the US-based production company behind the current series ordered a pilot episode of a prequel series.

Depending on the quality of the pilot, the network will commission a full series which will not be broadcast until after Game Of Thrones’ final season in 2019.

Penned by GoT author George RR Martin, the series is set 1,000 years before the battles over the Iron Throne in what is called the ‘Age Of Heroes’.

Martin is joined on the writing team by acclaimed English screenwriter Jane Goldman, whose credits include blockbuster Hollywood movies Kick-Ass and Stardust.

If production of the full series goes ahead, the prequel will tell tales of “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”, HBO confirmed in a statement.

“From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the White Walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.”

The proposed prequel series would, however, contain many of the forefathers of existing characters including Bran the Builder and Lann the Clever, who founded the Stark and Lannister houses respectively.

Kit Harington, who plays lead character Jon Snow in the series, is due to marry co-star Rose Leslie on June 23 in a wedding with more than a hint of Game Of Thrones style. In the second most anticipated castle wedding of the year, the two are due to tie the not at Leslie’s family castle in Aberdeenshire.

The ceremony is also to be officiated by Father Chad Boulton, a hooded Benedictine Monk, at Ampleforth Abbey in North Yorkshire.

In October last year Harington played down rumours the pair were going to have a fully Game Of Thrones-themed ceremony.

Speaking on the Jonathan Ross show he said: “No. There is absolutely no chance of me convincing her to do that.”

In the same interview the star, who has been seen in several Belfast bars and restaurants including The Spaniard, Fitzwilliam Hotel and La Taqueria over recent weeks, revealed how he had broken the news of his wedding to the producer on the show, blaming him for the impending nuptials.

He said: “I rang him up and I said: ‘I’m getting married and it’s your fault, actually.’”

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