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Westeros Blog: What the Dispatches Tell Us

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Okay, still processing Bryan Cogman’s Dispatches from the Seven Kingdoms. By now, the majority of episodes IV and V have been completed, as has a large part of episode III. Going through it post by post:

  • July 23rd: A new scene between Ned and Cersei, not from the novels and not in episode IV. From episode IV—written by Cogman—is a tender scene between Ned and Arya. At a guess, this scene is the one that leads up to her dancing master being employed. At this time, the first week or two of filming are largely in the Red Keep sets in the Paint Hall studio.<br >
  • July 29: Ned speaking with Grand Maester Pycelle, also from episode 4. This corresponds with Ned’s fifth chapter, his second after reaching King’s Landing. Still at the Paint Hall at this point, it looks like.<br >
  • July 30: Big small council scene, which we’re told is one of three fatured across three episodes in the first season. Now, the list of people attending this scene is interesting: Mark Addy as Robert, Aidan Gillen as Littlefinger, Julian Glover as Pycelle, Sean Bean as Eddard Stark. Is this an entirely new scene, or one significantly changed up? There are, to my recollection, only three small council scenes in A Game of Thrones, only one of which has Robert present. But in that scene, Barristan Selmy (played by Ian McElhinney) is also present, and yet he isn’t mentioned. This may suggest that Robert has been inserted into one of the two earlier small council scenes—featured in Eddard’s first and third Kign’s Landing chapters—while for some reason (probably simply streamlining the cast to focus on fewer characters) Barristan the Bold has been left out.<br ><br >Of course, we do know that the last of Ned’s small council scene has already been shot, in part or in full, because we saw it in the teaser—here’s a frame. Given what Bryan has said, we think we can now place that scene from the teaser (which may not be the same scene as he’s watching) as being in episode V, directed by Brian Kirk. Very compressed storytelling, as episode V then encompasses both the tourney chapter from Ned and his following chapter. Things are moving pretty fast, all considered, if that’s the case. At a guess, the three small council scenes he mentions may be in episodes III, IV, and V respectively… or IV and V, and then one scene down the road that’s a bit different.<br >
  • August 3: The first day on location, at Leslie Hill as we previously reported (here’s a Ballymoney Times article about this. We can see from the Behind the Scenes featurette that footage was also shot there on the next day if we read that slate right, and that it would all have been for episode III, directed by Brian Kirk. A new name is mentioned, Paul Jennings, as stunt coordinator. Jennings has some significant credits, including Batman Begins (where Buster Reeves, the series’ fight arranger, was the lead stunt double for Christian Bale). Post-production digital effects will be used to expand the Leslie Hill area to represent the Dothraki sea.<br >
  • August 5: Filming at Leslie Hill is done and we go to the “opposite end” of Northern Ireland. This was a bit confusing, but Leslie Hill’s to the north of Belfast, whereas we believe Sandy Brae is in the Mourne Mountains region in the southeast corner of the country. If that’s right, Vaes Dothrak is well-situated in a region that has some mountains, as the Dothraki city is situated next to the holy Mother of Mountains. The usual cast you expect will be there is there.

Now, to the present. Bryan mentions scenes with Bran and Tyrion’s stand-in. Hrm… Tyrion’s stand-in? Scenes from Bran’s bedchamber? This leads us to some speculation, to say the least, about the content of episode IV. But, equally possible, it’s general shooting of scenes from the first episode. The original pilot is in the process of reshoots, due to recasting and various other tweaks. We know from recent reports that Castle Ward has been used for filming for the last several days.

A final comment: if large parts of episodes III, IV, and V have been shot… might it make sense that Brian Kirk is in charge of four of the total episodes of the series? Certainly, III and V are definitely Kirk episodes, and it seems difficult to imagine so much of IV having been done if they were constantly switching directors from shoot to shoot during the day. We’ve also previously reported the possibility that Kirk is in charge of the reshoots for the pilot episode, which may be what’s presently being shot.

(Oh, and as a bit of trivia, the scrolls can be partially read if you reverse the image. “Aegon Targaryen, the Fourth of his Reign, King of the Andals and the First Men” can be clearly read. Nice! We’re going to guess that the scroll is one among many on Grand Maester Pycelle’s table.)

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(Oh, and as a bit of trivia, the scrolls can be partially read if you reverse the image. “Aegon Targaryen, the Fourth of his Reign, King of the Andals and the First Men” can be clearly read. Nice! We’re going to guess that the scroll is one among many on Grand Maester Pycelle’s table.)

I love the scrolls pic, by the way. It excites me even more than the character pics. Beautiful photograph and geeky details. Mmm.

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The scrolls on the desk are great. Someone at WiC noticed that if you flip the image both horizontally and vertically, you can resolve the following through the paper in one of the scrolls:

"AEGON TARGARYEN, fourth of his name, King of the ANDALS and of the FIRST MEN."

Another noted it doesn't mention him also as King of the Rhoynar because Aegon IV predates the conquest inclusion of Dorne into the Seven Kingdoms. In other words, the prop masters have been doing their research.

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Not really. Aegon the First always saw himself as ruling the whole thing, from the Wall to the Summer Sea. It has generally been taken to mean that the Targaryens always laid claim to ruling Dorne, even if they weren't actually able to get the Dornish to admit it. ;)

However, there's a particular reason for why Aegon the Fourth would not use it, even if his predecessors did.

Alternatively, they have changed the history a bit and dropped that part. Or Bryan isn't quite as steeped in the minutae and didn't realize this peculiar fact.

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The same scroll also mentions Sunspear (top line to the right of the string reads "at Sunspear"), but I'm having trouble gleaning further details from that image.

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The same scroll also mentions Sunspear (top line to the right of the string reads "at Sunspear"), but I'm having trouble gleaning further details from that image.

oi can't make any sense of that portion, i must know what it sez

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Wasn't the "King of the Rhoyner" part also left out in the leaked pilot script when King Robert is introduced? I vaguely remember some discussion about that and how it would probably just confuse people who arent familiar with the books.

ETA: Just dug out my copy of the leaked pilot script. During the beheading scene in the beginning Ned says "In the name of Robert of the house Baratheon, the first of his name, King of the Andals and the first men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm"

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ETA: Just dug out my copy of the leaked pilot script. During the beheading scene in the beginning Ned says "In the name of Robert of the house Baratheon, the first of his name, King of the Andals and the first men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms and Protector of the Realm"

Hmmm. Maybe they just decided to leave that whole bit out...one less thing to explain. I could see where somewhere along the way they decided it was too much ancient history to get into. They may well talk about the First Men and then the coming of the Andals, but beyond that it might start to feel too pedantic for a dramatic adaptation.

If that is the case, I wonder if they'll explain the meaning of Arya's wolf's name, and if so will they get into the whole Rhoynar history, or maybe they'll just leave it at that she was an ancient warrior queen. Just saying that much is enough to make you understand the differences in Arya's name choice and Sansa's.

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Yes, now I'm thinking they've just elided the Rhoynar part of things. Which actually is a little bit of a shame, because it's one of those things that expands the scope of the world. 'We've heard of the Andals and the First Men, and he rules these Rhoynar guys too? Wow. But where are they at? They must be somewhere. Wonder if HBO has a map of the Seven Kingdoms somewhere...'

I mean, it doesn't even need explaining to begin with. That's one of those you can just drop out there and pick up later. Don't even need Arya or Bran to mention Nymeria was a Rhoynar queen, save it for much later after Elia of Dorne is mentioned and let people draw the connection or what have you.

We can lay this down to the same thing as Robin Arryn: simplification to make sure the audience can keep up. It feels wrong to me, as if the audience is being underestimated. Simplifying things makes sense on certain occasions, but when it narrows the world and makes it less of the "Sopranos in Middle-earth" than it is, it seems erroneous to me.

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wrt Robert's presence in the Small Council scenes, I have a hunch that means they might simply have decided to have Robert attend all the Small Council meetings. That would allow them to develop a bit of business between Ned and Robert about how uninterested Robert is in the affairs of the realm, making it explicit rather than implicit from his failure to bother with the meetings at all.

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Wasn't Robert at one Small Council meeting when they were arguing about whether or not to assassinate Dany and Viserys? Robert was all about just killing them, Ned was against it. I believe Varys and Pycelle were also both in the mix in that discussion (and are both seen in that shot. I think that was Ned storming out of that meeting at the end because he and Robert were arguing about it, no?

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I love the scrolls pic, by the way.

Can someone link this? I can't seem to find it anywhere. :dunce:

Wasn't Robert at one Small Council meeting when they were arguing about whether or not to assassinate Dany and Viserys? Robert was all about just killing them, Ned was against it.

Yes, he was at that one. Ned and Barristan were both against the assassination and Ned resigns as Hand as he walks out of the meeting in disgust.

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Ah. Thanks, Ran.

The same scroll also mentions Sunspear (top line to the right of the string reads "at Sunspear"), but I'm having trouble gleaning further details from that image.

It seems to me to read "King something *obscured* at Sunspear" and then the next line "Crowned something *obscured* something fifth".

Whatever it says should be completely out of context though as it must be at the top of a new column of text. And has the image been deliberately reversed for some reason, or are we reading text through the parchment?

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The text is through the parchment. It's just a random bunch of scrolls on the table. I bet they aren't even to be read on screen.

First-rate props people will get into that much detail in their props, writing things that aren't even meant to really be seen. Real newspaper front pages and such with real articles. I had a teacher in college whose apartment was used in a Woody Allen movie. He told me the way they dressed the set was like it was a real home. Every single detail was there, down to uncanceled stamps torn from envelopes placed in a little jar on a desk to be used later...I guess it's a little insight into how thrifty that character was. Something that may or may not have even shown up in the film.

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First-rate props people will get into that much detail in their props, writing things that aren't even meant to really be seen.

Well, its encouraging that the props department is so enthusiastic about their work. Everything else in the frame certainly looks to be beautifully detailed. Though, as much as its fun to geek out over superfluous details, I doubt they were added during somebody's free time.

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