Our decision to come to Croatia on a Game of Thrones-inspired whim has certainly paid off! First we arrive in Šibenik on the day they’re filming (and get turned away by security while trying to sneak into the site), and then the cast and crew start filming in Dubrovnik the day after we arrive for a month-long stay! This is even cooler than the Game of Thrones tour I took in Iceland last year! (sorry, Iceland)

I’ll update this post every day as I try to catch more of the filming in action! (UPDATE: I’ve reversed the days so the latest photos are first. Scroll to the bottom to start from Day 1!)

Season 5 Spoilers Below!!!

DAY 11: AND NOW MY WATCH IS ENDED

Today is the final day of filming in Dubrovnik, and security was out in full force blocking anyone from seeing what they were doing. They had blocked our usual gate with a green screen, forcing us to walk around the city walls to another entrance when we went in to town.

Dubrovnik GoT Filming Green Screen

Completely by chance, this detour took us past a viewpoint where we could see what they were filming. And I wouldn’t have taken a photo of it even if there weren’t a dozen security guards there to stop me. Raw, vicious and brutal is the only way to describe what I saw of the end of the “walk.” Damn, Lena Headey is a brave badass (it could’ve been an extremely good body double, I was far away and tried not to stare as I walked by, but I’m pretty sure it was her). It was honestly hard to look at and I kinda wish I hadn’t seen it. Covered in blood and dirt, wearing nothing, hair cropped extremely short, walking past City Watchmen, Lannister guards and nobles – this is not the Cersei show watchers have come to know.

Not that there was ever any doubt, but they’ll definitely do the brutality of that scene justice.

And on that happy note, I finish my Game of Thrones filming coverage here in Dubrovnik. It’s certainly been a wild ride! I’ll leave you with a photo of one of the city’s many cats, whom I’ve dubbed “Cat of the Canals” for obvious reasons.

"Cat of the Canals" Dubrovnik

See you in Westeros!

DAY 10: AND NOW THE WALK BEGINS

A wicked cold is keeping me in bed today, so I sent my trusty partner Nick out into town to see what he could see. Here’s his report, including possible Lena Headey & Diana Rigg sightings! Sadly, no photos of filming, as security really seemed to be cracking down today.

Special Westerosi correspondent here. Cracking down is an understatement; the GoT security team was on full alert today, with principle actors in play on multiple shots and the infamous “walk” finally taking place (at least in part)! Constant shouts of “NO PHOTOS OF THE MOVIE” permeated the air as tourists up on the wall were ushered past the filming area below.

Tourists on the Wall

Tourists on the Wall

There’s a viewpoint/restaurant along the filming corridor, and this served as the staging area for the main actors before and between shots. How do I know this? Because Lena friggin’ Headey walked past me – twice – as they were filming. So did I shake her hand? Grab a few selfies? No chance. Before she emerged, two guys with umbrellas (mind you there’s no rain) created a shield above and from the side, and another person led her to and from the shots. Her hair/wig was a chopped boy cut, and she was wearing what looked like a tattered pink covering; not even a dress. On her second pass, I spied what looked like grains sprayed across the back of her left shoulder. Maybe indicative of a fall in the streets, or harassment from Flea Bottom’s finest?

As she approached a series of steps, I heard L.H. joke about “keeping her head down” and the crew announcing the steps like she was blindfolded. They *really* want to keep her look a secret!

A few moments later, I noticed all of a sudden that the wall above is empty. Then the booing begins. I see L.H. rise a few steps into a structure they’ve built at the center of what was a market. Just prior to this I had a possible Olenna Tyrell sighting as she left the staging area in her full regalia. She later returned and sat on the steps watching between takes.

"The Walk" Filming Area

The filming area.

So what else? Gone today is the massive scene at the Jesuit Steps from days past, reduced to a few props in the corner and a lone security guard to keep watch. Work continues at the Ploce Gate, where I saw workmen covering up statues and other iconography on the walls above the gate.

Photo Oct 02, 12 54 11 PM Photo Oct 02, 11 52 03 AM

Given how much they’re covering, it seems likely they’ll be using the entire section, from entrance to bridge and beyond, in one or more shots. The interior gate is still being distressed, and down a ways on the lone path there’s a strangely conspicuous black tarp being closely monitored by a guard.

Photo Oct 02, 11 53 44 AM

Although I couldn’t get more than the one photo of the filming area (because strangely I was the only non-GoT staff up there for at least 10-15 minutes of the shooting) I did have a nice chat with the crew and one of the guards.

GoT Crew

I got a cool photo of a crewman’s shirt who’d also worked in Iceland, and the Croatian security guard bemoaned that he has to stand “in this exact spot until they finish.” No breaks. “It’s a really good job. Just boring.”

But the day’s best moment came once the Cersei walk scene had concluded (to huge cheers) and tourists walking on the wall above were allowed to continue. A security guard who I’ve dubbed “Scott Foley security guard” (because he looks like Scott Foley) called down, “I thought they were going to kill me!” as the crowd stampeded past him, mock-booing like the extras in the scene they just overheard.

DAY 9: I CAN’T SEE

After everything I’ve seen in the last week, I really can’t complain that security finally figured out how to block the public’s view of the shoot. The alley I was in for Cersei’s filming yesterday, which up until now was a reliable spot to watch the action, was blocked from view today with a piece of canvas hung over a fence. They even added additional obstacles to other locations – tents at the top of the stairs and green cloth on top of an already-high barricade at the bottom prevented any sneaky photos.

Game of Thrones Sets in Croatia

I could hear the director yelling “ROLLING!” but all I could see was a camera slowly panning as someone (or a few people) moved down the steps. Though there were a few extras on top of a terrace acting as observers for the scene below, it was so quiet I’m thinking it wasn’t a mob scene of any kind.

There were still plenty of extras hanging around, though not nearly as many as during yesterday’s mega-scene. Some KL peasants were in their usual chilling spot near the bottom of the steps:

Game of Thrones Extras in Croatia

And up at the top of the stairs, there were more peasant-looking extras dressed slightly differently. They wore very uniform light tan robes, and looked slightly less grimy than their counterparts downstairs. Tons of security prevented me from getting a photo, but my guess is that they’re either members of the Faith, or maybe even peasants from Essos. Guess I’ll have to wait until Spring to find out!

Elsewhere in King’s Landing Dubrovnik, set prep went on as usual. The new market scene now contains more food then my local market, and the new doors being placed at the Ploce Gate (one of the main entrances to the city) are being stained and weathered to look less brand new.

Game of Thrones Sets in Croatia

The new market scene is looking to be almost as big as the old one!

Game of Thrones Sets in Croatia

Making a new door look old.

Game of Thrones Sets in Croatia

More canvases going up on a side street.

Game of Thrones Sets in Croatia

Using cloth to cover modern piping. Clever!

Update: And as the sun sets here in King’s Landing, I was able to catch the extras streaming out of the city and on to their buses after a longggg day of filming. Including one older gentlemen who played everyone out on his harmonica :)

Game of Thrones Extras

GoT Extras Dubrovnik Filming GoT Extras Dubrovnik Filming Bus

That’s all I’ve got today! Hopefully I’ll catch a bit more in the final days of filming here in King’s Landing!

DAY 8: ALL HANDS ON SET!

Today was the polar opposite of yesterday, with hundreds of extras milling around the beautiful Jesuit Staircase. There were peasants, Lannister guards, City Watch, noblemen, men of the Faith, and LENA FREAKING HEADEY! Ok, I only saw her for a moment through an alleyway with a dozen extras blocking the view, but it still counts as a sighting.

Fun fact: according to an extra we met, the cast had a party yesterday during their day off. Well deserved!

I’ve got lots of stuff to share today, but first here’s details of the scene they were shooting: Cersei was being escorted up the staircase (presumably to the Great Sept of Baelor, which will be added in later with CGI) by a Kingsguard (pretty sure it was Ser Meryn Trant) while wearing a black mourning gown. Some of the black Lannister banners were still up, and noble men and ladies lined either side of the stairs, silently watching her walk. At the base of the stairs, a line of City Watchmen and Lannister Guards held the peasants back. It’s incredible how much goes into such a brief scene!

It was almost impossible to get photos of filming as the crew were, understandably, extra strict today. We even witnessed one security guard going through a guy’s DSLR and making him delete his photos. All I have of the actual filming is this shot of Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) walking past some noblemen… you can juuust make out her wig. Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Cersei Filming What I do have photos of is the extras in their gorgeous, incredibly detailed costumes! We arrived before filming began and were able to mingle with the extras as they waited to be called on set. My favorite shot of the “lower class” extras at the bottom of the stairs was this one of a Lannister guard canoodling with a peasant. Scandal! Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras But by far the coolest thing I saw today was the splendor of the “noble” extras at the top of the stairs. When we arrived they were all lining up to have their photos taken by the crew (I’m assuming for continuity purposes?) both front and back. Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras It was a relaxed atmosphere and we were able to walk around chatting with a few of them, as well as spotting the incredible detail on the costumes! One girl was presumably a Tyrell because of a gorgeous rose pin near her chest, and an older gentleman sported a metal lion embellished on his leather collar. It’s hard to believe the camera will pick up these little details, but I’m sure glad they go to all the effort! Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras These two women told me their hair took over an hour and a half to do, and most of it wasn’t theirs! Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras We met one friendly American living in Croatia who said he’d been an extra 3 years in a row. “I’m the only one who does it more than once!” he said. “Most people don’t like getting up at 3:30am.”

Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Extras

How often do you get an opportunity for a photo with a Westerosi nobleman?

Looking at the intricacy of the costumes for hundreds of extras, I can’t believe they got everyone ready in only 9 hours. These outfits are amazing! Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras

Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras

Anyone else think this is a recycled Margaery dress?

Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Finally, we saw a new market/street scene being put up on the street where the old one was. This one is less intricate, but still has some food stalls and lanterns to be set up! Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Market Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Market Meanwhile, over near the Ploce Gate, a crew was hard at work covering up wires and finishing the staircase we saw yesterday. A large part of that street seems to have been prepped or filming, judging by the amount of wood covering wire we saw. I’m expecting this area will be totally closed while they film, but fingers crossed we can get some photos! GoT Filming Crew 2 GoT Filming Crew GoT Filming Setup And here’s some bonus photos of the residents of King’s Landing getting ready for their closeup: Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Filming: Extras

DAY 7: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTEROSI FRONT

Weirdly there wasn’t much to see in King’s Landing today (at least around late morning/early afternoon). The sets that were up yesterday are still up, with a few modifications, but other than a few security personnel there weren’t any cast or crew to be seen. The Jesuit Staircase has been reset with black banners displaying the gold Lannister lion, so I’m thinking we’re getting a procession to Tywin’s funeral! GoT Filming Dubrovnik Setup GoT Filming Dubrovnik Lannister Banners GoT Filming Dubrovnik Parts of the market scene are still up, mostly wall coverings, which leads me to believe they’ll be using this street for more general KL scenes in the coming days. Right now it’s just a storage area for the stuff from the tavern/market scene, guarded by a lonely security guard who didn’t mind me grabbing my new Facebook profile pic while we were snooping around. Me in King's Landing One interesting thing we saw today was a small crew by the Ploce Gate putting up wooden doors and fixing up a modern staircase with fake stone columns. This is exciting because it’s only 1 minute from our Airbnb apartment! Hopefully I’ll catch some of whatever they’re filming here. :) GoT Filming Dubrovnik Crew GoT Filming Dubrovnik Staircase Hopefully tomorrow we’ll see some more filming!

DAY 6: THE JEERING BEGINS

Today the crew had closed off the entire area around the Jesuit Steps (and much of the square below it) with big panels blocking our view. Game of Thrones Filming Location Even when we found an unblocked side alley all we could see were some gold cloaks resting on the steps. Game of Thrones Gold Cloaks Filming What we could hear was interesting though! There was a LOT of jeering and shouting, suggesting that the people of King’s Landing are unhappy with a certain someone passing through their streets. Here’s some video to give you an idea of what we heard: Finally we were able to locate a viewpoint from above, but the guard there would allow no photos. What we saw was the royal litter from yesterday being carried past a crowd of peasants, all of whom were yelling at the person inside. The person inside today was a cameraman, getting shots of the crowd outside the litter. The security guard said they were only filming scenes with extras today, but that this area would be used tomorrow and the next day for shooting with the principal cast! I imagine security will be even tighter, then, but I’ll definitely be back. Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Green Screen Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Extra Green Screen Bonus shots of the HUGE green screen placed at the top of the steps to block the view of the church and tourists. I’m guessing it will be replaced either with the Red Keep or the Great Sept of Baelor, but we’ll have to wait until next spring to know for sure! Can’t wait to see more tomorrow!

DAY 5: A PROCESSION IS COMING

I’m fairly certain the Thrones security team is starting to recognize me. I tried every side street to access today’s filming, but was rebuffed by the diligent (but friendly) crew. I could see where they were filming, but was too far away to make anything out. What I did find today was a lot of set-up.

There were workmen seemingly over half of the lower town today, covering up pipes with vines, painting black wires white to match the stone, and plastering columns over pipes. Basically turning Old Town Dubrovnik into an even older-looking town.

Most of this is taking place in and around the impressive Jesuit staircase (which has a big structure at the top that I’m assuming will serve as a way to prevent tourists from getting in the shots). Judging by the wideness of the street, and the fake flowers that are decorating the walls, this will be a fancier part of King’s Landing. No Flea Bottom here!

Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Flower Setup Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Set Prep Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Setup Game of Thrones Setup Dubrovnik This is backed up by the fact that a royal litter was sitting in the middle of all this commotion, emblazoned with the Lannister lion and Baratheon stag. Quite impressive! Royal Litter 4 Game of Thrones Filming Drubovnik Royal Litter 2 Game of Thrones Filming Drubovnik Royal Litter 3 Game of Thrones Filming Drubovnik Royal Litter Game of Thrones Filming Drubovnik Nearby was a storage area containing at least a half dozen smaller, less-impressive litters. Clearly the royal passenger will be accompanied by plenty of other people & things. Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Litters 1 Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Litters 4 Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Litters3 Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Litters 2 When trying to find a way into filming, we stumbled upon yet another royal litter in a different part of town. Judging by the lighting and the rig, it had just been used for filming. The street around it wasn’t decorated at all, so I’m assuming it was strictly for interior shots of the passengers. Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Royal Carriage 2 Game of Thrones Dubrovnik Royal Carriage That’s all for today!

DAY 4: FILMING THE MARKET SCENE

We knew they were filming the market scene today, so we took a chance and paid to go up on the city walls (which is a beautiful walk anyway). It paid off!

Though a sign warned that we would be stopped before the place where they were filming, we were able to watch as they filmed (SPOILER ALERT!!!) the Faith Militant guys storming into the tavern area and trashing the place, throwing poor extras around and spilling ale everywhere. So I can now confirm that the market/tavern set was NOT for “the walk.” Just showing how serious the Faith Militant guys are about their “no sinning” rules.

Ok, spoilers over.

There were many security guys around and they had a strict no-photos rule, so here is all I was able to get:

Filming over the shoulder of a City Watchman as he watches the events below.

Filming over the shoulder of a City Watchman as he watches the events below.

The crew mills about in a small alleyway as the director gets ready to call ACTION!

The crew mills about in a small alleyway as the director gets ready to call ACTION!

Tourists watch over the wall as a scene is filmed.

Tourists watch over the wall as a scene is filmed.

And Nick took a video of the City Watchmen walking on the walls with us (he had to go to the bathroom, which I imagine is difficult in that costume). Amazing to see how detailed the costumes are up close!

The Watchers on the Wall blog has more close-ups of the extras in their costumes if you’re interested!

DUBROVNIK DAY 3: MARKET SET + A NICE PLACE FOR A WALK

The second day of filming was trickier to photograph. The crew was holed up in an elevated street in the southern part of the city that was tricky to access, with security guards at every entrance. All I managed to see were a few Lannister guardsmen and some King’s Landing extras filming a scene where all they seemed to do was walk back and forth. As exciting as the show is, it’s easy to forget that many hours of production are spent filming what are slightly dull scenes.

This is as close as anyone without a badge could get to filming today. No photos allowed, but we saw Lannister guardsmen and plenty of peasants walking around.

This is as close as anyone without a badge could get to filming today. No photos allowed!

Luckily for us, the market set we saw earlier in the week was still open, and my has it improved! The level of detail is incredible: fresh bread and fruit for sale, hand-crafted lanterns and trinkets on the stalls, and beautifully-embroidered canvases that no one will ever notice on screen. Reminded me a lot of real markets I’ve seen in Morocco!

The marketplace set is really coming together. I'm not sure it's for "the walk" because it's just so damned detailed!

The marketplace set is really coming together. I’m not sure it’s for “the walk” because it’s just so damned detailed!

The marketplace set is really coming together. I'm not sure it's for "the walk" because it's just so damned detailed!

A tavern being prepared!

Market stall.

Market stall.

Some lanterns for sale?

Some lanterns for sale?

Marketplace for sure.

Marketplace for sure.

Closeup of objects "for sale" in the market.

Closeup of objects “for sale” in the market.

Closeup of the objects "for sale" in the market.

I want some of this stuff!

Food!

Food!

More food!

More food!

Bread, anyone?

Bread, anyone?

Weights & measures.

Weights & measures.

Doing something to the walls in the corner of the market.

Doing something to the walls in the corner of the market.

Covering the stone walls with some fabric... but why???

Covering the stone walls with some fabric… but why???

This section is set up like an outdoor tavern, with some of the crew & a laptop hanging out at the wooden tables.

This section is set up like an outdoor tavern, with some of the crew & a laptop hanging out at the wooden tables.

More of the tavern, with artfully-displayed barrels.

More of the tavern, with artfully-displayed barrels.

Evenly-spaced barrels.

Evenly-spaced barrels.

More boxes of props to be set up.

More boxes of props to be set up.

And, as we walked away, we noticed they were preparing many of the nearby streets with hay on the ground and canvases overhead…. maybe for a long walk for a certain someone? (I won’t spoil that here for non-book readers. But it’s going to be brutal!)

Now THIS looks like a nice place for a walk. A few streets away from the market set & verrrrry long.

Now THIS looks like a nice place for a walk. A few streets away from the market set & verrrrry long.

They were building this fake arch further down. Probably to block the view of air conditioners above.

They were building this fake arch further down. Probably to block the view of air conditioners above.

A medieval door to cover the modern door during filming.

A medieval door to cover the modern door during filming.

Love the tiny ways they find to cover the pipes, grates and modern windows. Also: hay in the street!

Love the tiny ways they find to cover the pipes, grates and modern windows.

DUBROVNIK DAY 2: CERSEI, TOMMEN & LORAS

We lucked out on the first day of filming, spotting some of the main cast working above the Pile Gate. Walking out of the city right behind Loras (who was dressed suspiciously casually) and Tommen (who looks so much like Joffrey it’s scary) it was hard to resist bugging the actors for an autograph. But we were soon distracted by the imposing members of the Faith Militant making an entrance.

Dressed all in black, covered in chains, and with seven-pointed stars carved into their foreheads, they were pretty damn intimidating… until one of them blew a kiss at me while I was photographing them! ;)

Ser Loras being escorted into King's Landing

Ser Loras being escorted into King’s Landing

It didn't come out in the photos, but these guys (part of the army of the faith?) had the seven-pointed star carved into their foreheads. Creepy & amazing makeup!

It didn’t come out in the photos, but these guys (part of the army of the faith?) had the seven-pointed star carved into their foreheads. Creepy & amazing makeup!

The Baratheon/Lannister flag flying above King's Landing.

The Baratheon/Lannister flag flying above King’s Landing.

A Cersei sighting! When we watched her leave, I could see she was wearing flip-flops under her dress :)

A Cersei sighting! When we watched her leave, I could see she was wearing flip-flops under her dress :)

Walking right behind Loras & Tommen as they left the set. I could've touched them... but I resisted. Fun side note: I heard a tourist say "OH! They must be extras in Game of Thrones!" I really wanted to yell "That is the KING!"

Walking right behind Loras & Tommen as they left the set. I could’ve touched them… but I resisted.
Fun side note: I heard a tourist say “OH! They must be extras in Game of Thrones!” I really wanted to yell “That is the KING!”

More Faith Militant dudes.

More Faith Militant dudes.

Closeup on the Lannister/Baratheon flag over the city. There were multiple!

Closeup on the Lannister/Baratheon flag over the city. There were multiple!

Ser Loras escorting King Tommen to his van.

Ser Loras escorting King Tommen to his van.

King Tommen surveying his kingdom! (Actually I think the actor was just taking a break)

King Tommen surveying his kingdom!

DUBROVNIK DAY 1: SETTING THE SCENE

We were just walking away from a lovely lunch in a church plaza, when I noticed some canvases artfully strung up and down an alley.”This looks like a Game of Thrones set….. YEAH IT IS!” I eventually got waved away by security for taking too many photos. But it was worth it for the behind-the-scenes look at how a set is made! Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Prep Market Stall Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Props at Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Setting Up Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Street Scene Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Street Set Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik Tavern Set Game of Thrones Filming Dubrovnik