Thursday, March 3, 2011

A Game of Thrones Investigation

Magheramorne Quarry will become the Great Wall of Westeros through CGI

If you've read the Game of Thrones books you will be as excited as me about the upcoming TV series. It sounds like it's going to be a big budget show and it sounds like they will be faithful to the books which are are a very dark high fantasy series (I've read the first two). But I'm even more stoked because I just found out about a cool local connection to the show. 
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 are going to be 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. 
My little brother and I went to investigate The Game of Thrones Great Wall set which has a fence around it. I'm assuming filming is done now for the year certainly there was no camera equipment when we were there. On the set you can see much of Castle Black covered in tarp and what looks like a 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. To repeat: THE QUARRY IS A VERY DANGEROUS PLACE and TRESPASSING IS AGAINST THE LAW.
If you want to take pictures don't break into the quarry. The best place is from Mill Bay across Larne Lough on Islandmagee.