1. Game of Thrones is a BIG production …
Filming for season five started in late July and involved shoots on 151 sets across five countries, including the three locations featured here: Belfast in Northern Ireland, Dubrovnik in Croatia and Seville in Spain.
Two separate units filmed in parallel for 120 days each. The Belfast crew is seen shooting scenes involving Daenerys in Meereen, while the second unit films Cersei and new character the High Sparrow in Dubrovnik, doubling as a less salubrious quarter of King’s Landing behind the Sept of Baelor. Meanwhile a production team in Seville is prepping locations which will be used to represent Dorne once shooting in Croatia is complete.
2. … Involving a LOT of people
The series has 166 cast members, over 1,000 crew and uses over 5,000 extras over the course of filming the season.
More than 86,000 people from all over the world applied to be an extra on the show, a role which sees them reporting for costume and make-up at 5am with no guarantee of being selected to appear in a scene.
3. The best locations aren’t always the easiest locations
Dubrovnik’s ancient buildings and narrow streets look fantastic on TV but are a nightmare for the crew, who have to carry their equipment along roads that cars cannot fit in.
Locations in and around Seville include the Alcazar Palace, a popular tourist destination which receives as many as 8,000 visitors a day and requires bulkier equipment to be lifted by crane to inaccessible above-ground areas. And the Plaza de Toros bull-ring in Osuna is a national monument that has to be carefully redressed to appear as a gladiatorial arena.
4. Haven’t we been here before?
The Magheramorne Quarry outside Belfast has previously been used for both Castle Black and the Battle of Blackwater and will again play a significant role this season as the fishing village of Hardhome. Viewers who have read book five, A Dance with Dragons, will be delighted at Hardhome’s inclusion.
5. Big scenes
The Plaza de Toros is being used for just one scene, but it’s set to be a big one – it was scheduled for a 12-day shoot.
And fans of Game of Thrones’ epic battle sequences can rest easy. Hardhome will see Jon Snow and friends engage in battle once more, in a scene that took a whopping three weeks to film.
6. Communication is everything
With two units shooting simultaneously and cast members moving between different countries, the production teams are in constant contact to ensure smooth continuity. This includes meticulous photos of Emilia Clarke’s hair, make-up and costume travelling with the cast to ensure there are no visible gaffes.
All this ensures that viewers in 193 countries around the world will enjoy the highest possible production values across the season’s ten episodes. It’s a hugely complex logistical operation and although the documentary barely scratches the surface of what goes on behind the cameras, it’s enough to whet the appetite for what is to come. Valar morghulis.
Game of Thrones season five premieres on Sky Atlantic on Monday 13th April.