Winter is here and, as we witnessed in the Game of Thrones season seven opener, the White Walkers are marching south with a few undead giants in tow. But when will we see the army of ice clash with the forces of Westeros? Answer: episode six. Possibly.
That’s what we’re guessing after speaking to Robert McLachlan, the award-winning Thrones cinematographer who worked on two instalments of season seven. And although his role was limited to episodes four and five, McLachlan, who has read all the scripts for the season, hinted that episode six of the seven-part run would be an exceptional one, in keeping with the blockbuster penultimate episodes of previous seasons.
“I’m really looking forward to that one because it’s quite different to the rest,” he told RadioTimes.com. “It was filmed after my shoots – it was done mostly in the winter time. They filmed in dismal conditions in a quarry in Northern Ireland. I think they got some nice scenic stuff in Iceland as well.”
Now, as Thrones fans will know, these shooting locations could be very significant. Firstly, a winter shoot in Iceland would obviously suggest episode six features some very snowy scenes. And the “scenic stuff” could mean we’ll be treated to at least one exciting wide winter landscape shot. At this late stage in the show’s story it’s more likely such a shot would capture a sprawling battalion of wights than the barren land beyond the wall Iceland portrayed in season two.
Then there’s mention of a quarry in Northern Ireland. It’s likely that’s the abandoned quarry by Magheramorne, the same location Thrones used to film Castle Black, the White Walker massacre of Hardhome, and the battle between the Night’s Watch and Wildlings in the fourth Season climax The Watchers on the Wall. Basically, anything big that goes down in Westeros goes down in that quarry.
And so the big event that could be in store in upcoming episodes? The obvious answer is a battle with the White Walkers. After all, scenes from the second season seven trailer suggest that the army of the dead is due to face off with its mortal foes.
Firstly there’s this shot of Jon Snow surrounded by wights carrying their signature farming-implement-type weapons.
And we also get an ominous glimpse of rows of soldiers in the snow, with that eerily undead stance…
It’s also possible episode six will focus solely on that encounter, rather than jumping to other locations across Westeros. Not only did McLachlan hint that the episode would be “different to the rest” in the season, but of course traditionally the penultimate instalment of each Game of Thrones series largely follows one huge event: season two’s Battle of the Blackwater, season four’s Watchers on The Wall and last year’s Battle of the Bastards were all episode nine of their respective seasons. Due to this season’s seven-episode run, the penultimate sixth episode could therefore be the pick of an action-packed bunch.
Time to get mining that Dragonglass…
Game of Thrones season 7 premieres exclusively on Mondays on Sky Atlantic and NOW TV at 2am, repeated at 9pm on the same day