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Westeros Blog: The Cuisine of Game of Thrones

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Set decorator Richard Roberts provides a look into a particular sort of cuisine: prop cuisine, sometimes real food, often not. This new video at Making Game of Thrones is particularly rich in visual details, featuring images from the feasting tent at the tourney grounds outside King’s Landing, the Red Keep, Winterfell, and Castle Black. Having had a chance to visit the Castle Black set two weeks past, I have to say these shots of the mess hall and the courtyard outside capture spot-on the flavor of the locale. Particularly noteworthy for us is the description of King’s Landing as being towards a Mediterranean climate and cuisine, which while not strictly in keeping with the novels is certainly not very far off the mark. We’ll just imagine that couscous dish is a Dornish speciality that someone at court has a liking for (paging Ser Aron Santagar…)

The Artisans: Richard Roberts

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This video had some of the best behind the scenes shots yet.

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Looking fantastic...seeing those flies coming off the hung meat :laugh: must smell fantastic in there! alas no mention of dothraki food...

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Cus cus and tropical fruits? Truth be told, and while the production values excellent (much better than I had dared to hope), I have to say I'm worried that they are making King's Landing a far too exotic setting.

It's not that I doesn't match with my mental idea of the city. It's that, for tematic purposes, KL should feel like "home" for the viewers. A familiar setting for the viewers, that should have great contrast with the places Dany visits.

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Cus cus and tropical fruits? Truth be told, and while the production values excellent (much better than I had dared to hope), I have to say I'm worried that they are making King's Landing a far too exotic setting.

It's not that I doesn't match with my mental idea of the city. It's that, for tematic purposes, KL should feel like "home" for the viewers. A familiar setting for the viewers, that should have great contrast with the places Dany visits.

I think the latter point is a good one, but if you read Robert talking to Ned in AGOT, he does go on about the same stuff Mr Roberts mentions in the video: the fruits and so on. OK, he's talking about the South generally, but we know KL gets food from all over the South. As not only the capital but a major trading centre, I'd expect to see really exotic and expensive cuisine.

ETA - actually, having thought about it further, I'm now wondering if it isn't a better thing if KL doesn't feel too familiar and 'homey' to viewers. A certain amount of exotic strangeness compared to Winterfell would probably help to maintain the idea that Ned and the girls are in danger there...

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i think the fruits/mediterranean cuisine etc highlights for the unknowing viewer the long summer experienced in the bulk of westeros...so it works for me.

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Cus cus and tropical fruits? Truth be told, and while the production values excellent (much better than I had dared to hope), I have to say I'm worried that they are making King's Landing a far too exotic setting.

It's not that I doesn't match with my mental idea of the city. It's that, for tematic purposes, KL should feel like "home" for the viewers. A familiar setting for the viewers, that should have great contrast with the places Dany visits.

No, Winterfell should feel like 'home,' a place of safety and refuge with hot springs, warm fires, high walls and trusted friends. King's Landing is the different and dangerous place that Ned and family go to where everything goes wrong. The exotic aspects they highlight really do fit how it's described in the books. The lavish table-settings are a big part of that, often including dishes and ingredients from far flung parts of the world.

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I agree that Winterfell should feel more like home than KL, but this is because the first is a town were everyone is a friend, and the second is a huge city were loyalty and honor are scarce. It's the scope, and not the culture, the reason why the Stark should be "uncomfortable" there. At least that's my interpretation of the text.

It's not that I'll frown at everything remotely exotic: we know nobility tend to be extravagant and the Targaryens are a foreign dinasty, after all. But judging by the few that we've seen, I think they are taking it a little bit too far for my taste. KL will be the central stage for the later half of the first season, and the entire second, so I would liked a more "familiar" look.

Perhaps my biggest worry is that by the end the look of KL will be more distinct from Winterfell than from Pentos. And that shouldn't happen, IMO. And where will they go for settings like Qarth, Mereen, or Braavos?

Anyway, it's not a big deal, and I trust the producers will make it work.

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Perhaps my biggest worry is that by the end the look of KL will be more distinct from Winterfell than from Pentos. And that shouldn't happen, IMO. And where will they go for settings like Qarth, Mereen, or Braavos?

Really? Given that they are all huge cosmopolitan cities while Winterfell isn't at all?

The food in the books is quite opulent. I'm not sure have they changed much there. And going for a more Mediterranean look is fair enough. Not too far from the truth I think. Also moves them away from the standard fantasy look. But there are many different types of cities on the Mediterranean if they need to get inspiration.

Of course. They will also use what they have. They have Malta.

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Its not what I expected King's Landing to be. I always pictured a warmer London. Although I suppose if London had the weather Robert describes, this would be pretty close.

I think it helps remind the viewer just how big Westeros is. Different environments spawn different cultures and architecture. So when the scene goes from a Northern English/Scandinavian area to a warm and tropical climate, yet there still in the same kingdom, and only half the length of it apart, you'll constantly be reminded of how big it really is.

King's Landing seems sort of Mediterranean, I guess, with the colors and everything. When Robert described it, it seemed like a slightly less decadent Rome, though. So that fits. Also, I echo that its the royal city and thus gets lots of trade and exposure, so cultural osmosis is not farfetched.

This whole various cultures for each "kingdom" does seem little off. There are three groups: Andals, First Men, and Rhoynar. You want distinct cultures for those three, I'd say that would make perfect sense. But that way only the North and Dorne are radically different. The southern Houses should be pretty similar, all being Andals.

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I really like that they are not going stereotypical "medieval" for all of Westeros, I think it's more realistic in terms of how cultural variations often play out (not that a fantasy series ever has to be realistic, but you know), and I'm definitely looking forward to being surprised by design aspects of the world which frankly I'm usually not in things with fantasy/medieval settings.

I also think that in terms of this being an HBO show things looking and feeling a little different than the audience expects based solely on genre is part of what HBO does - for me Big Love and True Blood come to mind in terms of feeling like what I expected, and not at all like I expected at the same time.

Also in terms of where they can go settings like Qarth, Mereen, Braavos etc. real life has an incredible amount of variation between geographic areas, cultural groups, nations, etc... combine that with book descriptions & art dept/costume etc people's visions, if they can't make different cities and areas distinct I'd be very, very surprised.

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This whole various cultures for each "kingdom" does seem little off.

I'm curious to see how that idea develops. We have seen that the Starks and Lannisters look very different. I'm not sure have we seen how the Lannisters differ from the rest of the Andal kingdoms though?

At the same time, I could definitely see the Lannisters having picked up a few quirky features. One way to prove how elite they are. But I would expect many similarities also.

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