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