HBO series Game Of Thrones is currently filming its seventh season after six seasons of large-scale fantasy, adventure, sex and violence. The show is also filled with dragons, political scheming and an ever-increasing body count of dead characters. Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan Selmy), Ian Beattie (Ser Meryn Trant), Eugene Simon (Lancel Lannister), and Ian Gelder (Kevan Lannister) have come and gone from the TV series but had plenty to share about the experience of working on the hit series and what has made it so successful.
The conversation began with a simple question about the show’s costumes, sparking a long set of stories, experiences, and descriptions on the matter. Ian Beattie was first to chime in.
“For me and for Ian [McElhinney] in the first season, I was lucky enough to wear the King’s Guard outfit which when you see it up close, honestly it is stunning. All the costumes are stunning. The attention to detail, so much of the detail you don’t even see but it is so perfect. It was heavy by season five, it kept getting heavier every season cause they kept making it more ornate and more elaborate. So by the fifth season, it was 28 kilos, it’s about four and a half stone. I had to stand in the back of a boat coming into Bravos Harbour in 28 kilos of armour which was probably the most terrifying moment of my life. But there’s something about the costumes. You put them on and suddenly, you’re the King’s guard. It helps your performance so much and they are so vital to the look of the show and the success of the show.”
“You can’t underestimate the power of good costumes. It gives you a real sense of character. But that armour, the upper part of it is actually fibre-glass,” says Ian McElhinney to which Beattie objects. “No, it was only fibre-glass when you wore it, chum. It changed to brass in season two.”
McElhinney continues, “You got unlucky then. It was fibre-glass and I have to say, the upper part was amazingly comfortable. It really was, it was lovely to wear. It looked great and it was comfortable. The skirt by contrast, which went down to mid-calf, was thousands, it must’ve been thousands of little leaves of brass. It weighed a ton, it pulled you down, so that by the end of the day, your feet were tired because everything was being pulled down towards the ground. It’s a shame because the best-looking part of it was the worst bit to wear.”
Ian Gelder spoke on the powerful first impression of costuming to actors new to the show.
“It’s interesting cause it tends to be the first meeting you ever have when you go into a series like that is with costuming. I had never seen anything like it… when you saw those costumes and were fitted for them, you kind of went, ‘Oh I see. Oh it’s gonna be that good. Oh you’re spending that much money.’”
Eugene Simon followed up on this sentiment.
“The thing that actually gave me that impression exactly was when I put on my Faith Militant tunic for the first time and they put the chains across my chest and crossed them. They brought them out and I realised the costume department was holding them both in two hands cause they all were proper bits of iron. They were solid iron and you put them on my shoulders and over the course of the day you’ve just got marks on your body because they really imprint you. That weight specifically when you wear it makes you go, ‘Right. Just plug yourselves in guys,’ because it really makes you take it seriously.”
With the end game in terms of the show’s broadcast having been announced, the question is more relevant than ever about how the series could or should end.
Beattie warns, “You cannot second-guess where this could go. It could be Little Finger. Anybody could sit on that throne at the end. There will be shocks before it all ends and I personally have no idea where it’s going to lead.”
Simon adds, “People ask us and the only thing you can really say is, just try to be a contrarian to yourself. If you want something and you think that’s probably going to happen, reverse it in its entirety and you’re probably closer to the answer.”
For even more insight into the series, watch the full interview above.