Into the fIre
Back in the Belfast HQ, even with much of the plotting under wraps (and with SFX hidebound by NDAs that threaten to gift our firstborn to the White Walkers), it’s hard to disagree. In the costume department, they’re working on Dothraki winter wear – because, one of the team explains, the hitherto scantily clad, desert-dwelling horsemen are “now in Westeros”. Next door, in leatherwork and metalwork, Lannister army uniforms are being buffed and polished.
Armourer Tommy Dunn and his team of six are equally busy. “We’re in a world of shields at the moment, for a sequence we have in Spain,” he reveals before threatening to cut out our tongue with a gleaming slice of Valerian steel.
Meanwhile, in the sculptors’ hut, three craftspeople are getting busy with hot wires and regular kitchen knives. They’re shaping a pile of 40 polystyrene blocks, stacked to the dimensions of a double-decker bus, into a giant… well, that would be telling.
One thing we can say with some assurance: in GOT season seven, the women are now running the show. Cersei, Sansa, Dany, Arya, Yara Greyjoy, Olenna Tyrell, Ellaria of Dorne and, of course, fearsome adolescent Lyanna Mormont – forget the beardy men, as it enters its second-last lap, these are the show’s real warriors. The line-up’s unofficial queen wholeheartedly concurs with this.
Development of female characters is complex and also powerful
“When I first read the books and [heard] they were turning them into a TV show,” begins Gwendoline Christie (who plays Brienne of Tarth), “I wondered if they would cut down the point-of-view female characters. And I was really pleased that those female characters were honoured and continue to be at the forefront of the show. And we see a development of the female characters that I think is three-dimensional, is complex, is conflicted – and is also powerful.”
Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. That’s the case behind the cameras as well as in front of them. With Game
Of Thrones the jewel in HBO’s crown, not to mention the feverish fan anticipation the world over, has success made the jobs of the writers, producers and directors more difficult? Do Cogman and his team wake up at night in a fever dream, troubled by a message from the Three-Eyed Raven: “We’ve only got 13 more episodes – don’t mess this up for us…”?
“No, I don’t think so, truthfully,” the Cogman insists. “It gives us a lot of freedom. We’re very fortunate that we have a network and a production crew and team that can pretty much make any crazy idea we have come to fruition. You can’t say that about most shows. So that’s been a wonderful luxury to have as writers. You can write a scene about a zombie army cascading over a cliff and they’ll do that for you! Or you can write a scene where Jon Snow is in the middle of horses running back and forth, and they’ll do that for you, too! So that’s amazing.”
Let the season – and all-out war – commence…
Game Of Thrones season seven begins on Sky Atlantic on 17 July.
Blonde ambition: will the Lannister twins’ many debts be paid this year?
Daenerys: a queen whose platinum hair matches her nerves of steel perfectly.
A flashback to the beginnings of the White Walkers...
“Don your fur coats, boys. It’s the battle of our lives.”