Bat­tle be­gins

TELE­VI­SION’S EPIC FAN­TASY DRAMA GAME OF THRONES RE­TURNS FOR A NEW AC­TION-PACKED SEA­SON

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - TV Guide - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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