Monday, July 7, 2014

A Game Of Thrones Investigation

Magheramorne Quarry became the Great Wall of Westeros through CGI
(A coyly written post from 4 years ago disguising the fact that my little brother and I broke into the Game of Thrones set before Game of Thrones was even a thing...)
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I've done a little investigation into the filming locations for Game Of Thrones and it turns out that the Great Wall and Castle Black were outdoor sets filmed at a disused quarry in Magheramorne. My grandmother was from Magheramorne, a village of about 50 people, near Larne. In fact the scenes along the Great Wall were shot in the quarry about thirty yards from my grandmother's house. It's not very snowy in Magheramorne and making snow would cost a fortune so I assume the snow and ice were put in later by CGI. My father used to work in the quarry itself when it was the Blue Circle Cement Works and I've been in it dozens of times. It's a credit to the set designers that they could have have envisaged this dramatic (and rather dangerous) location as the Great Wall of Westeros. 
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Before I came home I didn't think Game of Thrones had had much of an impact in Northern Ireland. It still hasn't been shown here but a lot of people know about it and have been affected by the production. My nephew Patrick went up for an extra and my brother's wife Dytania also was asked if she could appear as a background player. Ger Brennan's brother did make it into the show and I've read many enthusiastic pieces about GOT in the local papers. Filming GOT has been a very good thing for Northern Ireland which is still in recovery from three decades of low level civil war. 
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My little brother and I went to investigate The Game of Thrones Great Wall set which has a fence around it. You can see much of Castle Black covered in tarp and even what looks like the hand pulley elevator up the wall face. The security fence is easily climbable but I wouldn't recommend it, especially at night where the quarry hole appears suddenly in front of you and is a ten story drop to a hard limestone floor. If you want to take pictures the best place is from Mill Bay across Larne Lough on Islandmagee. 

21 comments:

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seana said...

Do you know about jumping the fence because you tried it?

I haven't gotten into the whole trilogy, but on an impulse I bought the first book for my nephew, and was really surprised that he had never heard of it. Neither had his dad. It surprised me because they are both big sci fi/fantasy readers. Apparently my nephew was too young and his fathe was too old when the whole phenomenon first hit. But they both enjoyed catching up when they were on a little vacation to Mexico this past month.

That is pretty cool to have such a major movie set in a place you know well, especially when it's been transformed into a different world.

Lisa Mandina said...

Very interesting! I want to go to Ireland so bad!

adrian mckinty said...

Seana, Lisa

Just a quickie to emphasize that it would be a VERY BAD idea to jump the fence and go wandering around the quarry. I know it well and it scares me. It is a very dangerous place. A Game of Thrones fan, jetlagged and just off the plane wandering around looking for the Wall and Castle Black sets really would be taking his life in his hands! Don't do it!

seana said...

I think that answers my question.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

My brother and I went there to see what we could see. I shall say no more.

seana said...

Nor shall I, except to speculate that however much trouble one can get into, it is probably doubled when there's a brother involved.

Not that I have brothers. But I have cousins.

Kate said...

Adrian,
I'm from the Merrimack Valley, so I'm jealous; your country's spectacular. Hope Lisa sees it soon. Can't say enough good things about the west coast.

Matt said...

Adrian, your latest twitter link makes me nervous.

adrian mckinty said...

Kate

The grass is always greener. Man, I miss the Merrimack and Plum Island. If I could hop there right now I would.

adrian mckinty said...

Matt

Maybe I'll blog about it later in the week. I just thought it was a wonderful film. The best British film in years.

seana said...

I'm thinking Matt might be nervous about the rise of China, rather than Fish Tank.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

We all should be nervous. I dont think its a coincidence that they just put 1000 US marines in Darwin.

seana said...

Off topic, but this latest episode of Mad Men was for me the best of the season so far.

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

Directed by John Slattery I noticed.

And didnt I say a few weeks ago that Lane was going to be excited about the World Cup?

adrian mckinty said...

Seana

And of course once England wins a football match all their fans become hooligans. Happens every time.

seana said...

Lane is definitely a great addition to the cast.

Anti Money Laundering said...

You did a great investigation indeed! Ireland is such a beaut I guess.

Anonymous said...

I used to ride motorcross bikes up the the quarry. Pity we cant get in anymore. And believe me, this is the best thing to happen to larne/magheramorne in a long time. Miss the place, and the security we had to get by to get in :(

Alan said...

Adrian,There is an excellent article on the filming of King's Landing Westeros in Dubrovnik in the New York Times today(Sunday). .The Producers chose well with N.I. topography lending G.O.T.an air of foreboding and danger and Croatia with it's tinge of medieval exoticism,Dubrovnik is surrounded be a mile and a half city wall.I think the Queen visiting "The Iron Throne" was a real coup for the show.Looking forward to Season Two of "The Fall" another boost to Northern Ireland's economy.Best Alan

adrian mckinty said...

Alan

Although I heard a rumour that they were going to film S 2 of the Fall in Glasgow?