The much awaited sev­enth sea­son of Game Of Thrones promises more rag­ing bat­tles, zom­bies, un­der­handed tac­tics, dragons and, nat­u­rally, shock­ing deaths.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Front Page - By MUMTAJ BEGUM en­ter­tain­ment@thes­

THE cold is some­thing that pops up again and again in con­ver­sa­tion with some of the cast mem­bers of the hit TV se­ries Game Of Thrones (GOT). Of course the Lon­don weather some­what con­trib­uted: On the day of this in­ter­view – in mid-May – it was chilly thanks to a non-stop driz­zle out­side.

We were left out in the cold too when ac­tress So­phie Turner (who plays Sansa Stark) ban­ished The Star from her in­ter­view. Around this time, she was at the re­ceiv­ing end from the me­dia for a faux pas she com­mit­ted on so­cial me­dia (she ap­peared to use a racist slur in an In­sta­gram video, but later de­nied it). Jour­nal­ists who did get to talk to her said she was not forth­com­ing with in­for­ma­tion any­way.

Talk about the cold shoul­der! This in­ci­dent makes it of­fi­cial, folks. Win­ter is here, and with it, the great war.

For six sea­sons, the HBO se­ries has been teas­ing of the com­ing storm. In its penul­ti­mate sea­son, the show steps up its game even more by ramp­ing up the plots, the pace and the ac­tion around the char­ac­ters who are still alive. It also fea­tures reunions, and in­ter­ac­tions be­tween char­ac­ters we’ve never seen be­fore.

In one corner, the race to be the ruler of Wes­teros is heat­ing up. While ice queen Cer­sei Lan­nis­ter (Lena Headey) may cur­rently be sit­ting on the Iron Throne, Mother Of Dragons Daen­erys Tar­garyen (Emilia Clarke) is get­ting closer and closer to King’s Land­ing where the throne is.

The first three episodes of the new sea­son is said to heav­ily fo­cus on Daen­erys, who ar­rives with her dragons, sol­diers and ships to Dragon­stone, a coastal is­land fortress pre­vi­ously oc­cu­pied by her an­ces­tors.

In an­other corner of Wes­teros – north to be spe­cific – the ar­rival of win­ter means the supernatural be­ing known as the Night King is fully awo­ken, and is now a real threat to the very ex­is­tence of humans. It’s only a mat­ter of time be­fore he, with his com­man­ders of White Walk­ers, and army of wights (zom­bie-like crea­tures) ar­rive at the Wall, which was built to stop them.

At this point of time, only the new King of the North, Jon Snow (Kit Har­ing­ton), and Bran Stark (Isaac Hemp­stead Wright) are aware of this un­stop­pable dan­ger.

Bran’s life is in im­me­di­ate risk as the Night King is in pur­suit of him. The fact that Bran is in Night King’s ter­ri­tory makes the sit­u­a­tion even worse.

One of the most tense mo­ments from last sea­son was Bran meet­ing the Night King against a snow-filled land­scape.

“(We shot it in) a quarry in North­ern Ire­land. They filled it up with snow and turned it into this other world,” re­called 18-year-old Wright. “When you look at ac­tors on Game Of Thrones and think, ‘God, he looks re­ally cold’ that’s be­cause they are ab­so­lutely freez­ing (laughs).

“But the lo­ca­tions, aside from be­ing cold, are just stun­ning. I don’t know how they find half of these places. Ob­vi­ously, there are big green screens and CGI, but in gen­eral if they can do it with props and back­drops they will. As an ac­tor it’s re­ally cool.”

GOT has be­come known for its at­ten­tion to de­tail, es­pe­cially in cre­at­ing fan­tas­ti­cal places, which they do by film­ing in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions around the world. North­ern Ire­land, Ice­land, Croa­tia, Morocco, Malta and Spain are some of the pop­u­lar GOT film­ing des­ti­na­tions, recre­ated into the myth­i­cal land of Wes­teros, as imag­ined by author Ge­orge R.R. Martin in his best­selling se­ries of epic fan­tasy nov­els, A Song Of Ice And Fire.

John Bradley, who plays Samwell Tarly, got the chance to work in both the cold and warmer cli­mates. For six sea­sons, Sam was sur­rounded by snow, snow and more snow (Ice­land stand­ing in for Cas­tle Black).

But in the up­com­ing sea­son, Sam is in Citadel – a his­tor­i­cal Wes­teros city filled with books and wise men – where the weather is al­most per­fect (Spain stands in for Citadel). But that’s not nec­es­sar­ily a good thing.

“I can’t win. I re­ally can’t win,” said Bradley, with a sigh. “I am at one ex­treme in Ice­land where you are walk­ing on wh t be­lieve to be the ground, but it’s n are ac­tu­ally walk­ing on 10 fe snow and the ground is do where.

“We are in a cos­tume heavy, and that’s com can’t move in it pro You are walk­ing on and your feet have merged in snow an of keep­ing you wa not warm enough your face is not c your face is getti with icy wind, a dif­fi­cult.

“And you thin wait to be in Sp it’s warmer).’ A to Spain, but y the same costu you do find t ter how nice are, the imp of the costu to get you d

Near­ing the end

But Bradley, 29, is also quick to point out that it has been a great ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing on GOT. “This is my first job. I think if any­body leaves some­thing like this – which is not only some­thing big, but some­thing so good, pop­u­lar and cred­i­ble – you know you are go­ing to find it hard, com­pared to any­thing you are go­ing to do af­ter­wards.”

Ja­cob An­der­son, who grew to promi­nence play­ing Daen­erys’ faith­ful sol­dier Grey Worm, agreed that the se­ries has been a gift. “I can speak for every­body on the show, it kind of changed every­body’s lives to vary­ing de­grees. Every­body is proud to be part of this,” said An­der­son, 27.

“The r done re­ally well and it's ac­tu­ally good. What peo­ple don't see about the show is that, there are lot of peo­ple who work on it and they work re­ally, re­ally hard on it. "It feels like a per­sonal en­vi­ron­ment; the big­ness of the show gets lost some­times be­cause the" peo­ple are per­sonal to us ... As a fan of the show I am go­ing to miss it when it’s gone but I am glad it’s end­ing while it’s still at the top.”

Sim­i­larly Gemma Whe­lan, who plays the for­mi­da­ble Yara Greyjoy, at­tested it is the warmth of the GOT col­leagues and crew that she would miss the most when the show wraps.

“Peo­ple you have known for years and years now,” the 36-year-old said. “Peo­ple you see every year. I haven’t missed ev­ery­one so much this year, I am tak­ing it for granted. But once it’s over there is def­i­nitely no chance of see­ing ev­ery­one again in that stance.

“That bound en­ergy, tha ev ry­one is mak­ing the best they pos­si­bly can. It re­ally is a dy­namic place to be. I am re­ally priv­i­leged to be in such a high qual­ity, beau­ti­ful, beau­ti­ful pro­duc­tion."

Game of Thrones Sea­son Seven pre­mieres on July 17 at 9am on HBO (Astro ch 411).

Photo: HBO

— Pho­tos: HBO

Cer­sei Lan­nis­ter, as usual, has some­thing up her sleeve as she sits pretty on the throne. Her brother Jaime just goes along for the ride.

When you want to do some con­quer­ing, it helps to have a dragon on your side.

The new King of the North, Jon Snow, leads his men to a fight.

Daen­erys Tar­garyen and her fol­low­ers have reached Dragon­stone.

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