TELEVISION’S EPIC FANTASY DRAMA GAME OF THRONES RETURNS FOR A NEW ACTION-PACKED SEASON
GOING into Game Of Thrones, Michelle Fairley couldn’t have imagined the success the international hit fantasy series would become.
Based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice And Fire novels, the program has received universal acclaim by critics and fans alike, become one of the most downloaded television series in history, been nominated for numerous Emmy and Golden Globes, and seen its cast bring home TV’s biggest accolades.
And while it is every actor’s dream for their work to be loved around the world, with that comes responsibility.
‘‘I love going to work, I absolutely love it but it is nerve-racking as well,’’ says the Northern Irish actress who plays Catelyn Stark, the widow of Ned Stark and mother of Robb Stark, king in the North.
‘‘You know you are working on something that is loved. You care about it so much, you want it to continue to be so successful and that puts the pressure on you as an actor.’’
Making their jobs slightly easier though, are the incredible gifts they are given in the form of the epic story, which centres around power struggles and a fight for survival in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, the brilliant scripts, and top-quality production.
‘‘What they do brilliantly, the writers, is they keep ahead of the audiences,’’ Fairley says.
‘‘It is the telling of the story that matters because that is what keeps people hooked.
‘‘And, of course, there is the visual treat you get from watching this production.’’
The producers have, quite literally, gone to the ends of the earth to find the perfect setting for the Seven Kingdoms in which the tale is set.
The production is shot in Croatia, Iceland, Morocco, Malta, and various locations throughout Northern Ireland – Fairely’s place of birth.
Though now based in London, she says the opportunity to film at home is a welcome one.
‘‘It is a wonderful position to be in to go home to work,’’ she says, her Irish accent still evident in her speech.
‘‘I am incredibly fortunate my family still live there and, when I have done my filming, over the weekend I can go and see them.’’
She is also proud that her home country was selected as the location to shoot the popular series, as the filming locations have now become popular tourists spots where Game Of Thrones fans flock to see where all the action happens.
It has also transpired that the locations, and the places they represent on the series, have become as much characters in the series as the cast members.
‘‘I think the worlds themselves are characters because they have their own personalities, they have their own colour,’’ Fairley says. ‘‘There is also something incredibly beautiful and wild and untouched about the coastline of Northern Ireland.
‘‘The rock and the earth and the colours I think are perfect for the world that is created.’’
The producers were gifted a magnificent template from which to draw their worlds in George R. R. Martin’s novels.
Monday, 4.20pm and 8.30pm, Showcase
REGAL ROLE: Michelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark in Game ofThrones.