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.