‘Game of Thrones’ tour in Malta (part 2)

The TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ follows the storylines from the book ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ written by George R.R. Martin and set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The series chronicles the battle of each kingdom to control the famous Iron Throne. The first season is a faithful adaptation of the novel and leads us right to… Malta.

The show has been filmed in many different locations across Europe and Africa including Morocco, Iceland, Malta and Croatia, but the majority of filming took place in Northern Ireland. Tourists and fans can now step in the same places that their heroes did, by visiting the unaltered locations on Malta.

Here is part 2 of my GoT Tour and I’ll introduce you to a unique location on Gozo, Malta’s sister island.

Azure Window 1

In Season 1 Episode 1 « Winter is coming« , Daenerys Targaryen’s memorable wedding scene to the Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo was filmed at the Azure Window, a stunning rock formation in the form of an arch at Dwerja, that frames the bay beyond. Sadly, the arch is expected to fall apart in the next few months (or probably weeks).

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (3)Game of Thrones - Behind the Scenes - Azure Window (1)

A great celebration is held for their marriage in the Free City of Pentos (Essos).

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (8)

Several Dothraki die in duels, which is a good sign : « A Dothraki wedding without at least three deaths is considered a dull affair« .Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (23)

The couple receive many gifts from their guests. One of the boxes contains three beautiful stones.

Game of Thrones - Behind the Scenes - Azure Window (3)

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (40)

According to Illyrio Mopati (a merchant-prince and a Magister of the Free City of Pentos), these are dragon eggs from the Shadow Land beyond Asshai.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (42)

They have turned to stone with the passing of time.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (31)

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (11)

In the background, you can see Fungus Rock, a small islet in the form of a massive lump of limestone, at the entrance to the Dwejra lagoon.

Fungus Rock

Game of Thrones  -Behind the Scenes - Azure Window (14)

The second interesting gift is a bunch of books containing stories and songs from the Seven Kingdoms given by Ser Jorah Mormont (an exiled Northern lord living in Essos).

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (34)

He introduces himself and tells her that he served her father for many years.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (37)

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (28)

For his gift, Drogo gives Daenerys a beautiful white stallion named Silver.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (46)

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (49)

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (52)

Azure Window 2

Viserys asks his sister Daenerys to make Drogo ‘happy’.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (54)

Drogo lifts Dany onto her horse, and they ride to a cliff top where he begins to take her dress off.

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (55)

She begins to cry as she looks out over the ocean…

Game of Thrones @ Azure Window S01E01 (57)

Next location : Mdina… (to be continued)

Conversation with Tom Wlaschiha

Tom Wlaschiha, who plays Jaqen H’ghar in the TV show « Game of Thrones » was one of the main guests at the Digital Game Manga Show in Strasbourg from May 7-8, 2016. The German born actor talked about his mysterious character and how « Game of Thrones » changed his life.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (8)

Were you afraid that your character Jaqen H’ghar would die in the show ?
No, not really… I think that Jaqen H’ghar is already dead ! He has the face of a dead man. If the producers would chose to kill me, someone else would take my face.

How did the other actors react when they realized that their characters would die, especially Kit Harington ?
I don’t know how Kit reacted. He is still alive, I met him recently ! It’s pretty cool that in this show anything can happen, especially when you don’t expect it… But it’s not a problem for me that people die !

In how many countries did you travel for the show ?
Most of the show is shot in Ireland, the studios are in Belfast and there is always a set in the South. During season 6, it was in the South of Spain and for seasons 4 and 5, it was in Croatia. But my parts are mainly in a studio, because Jaqen H’ghar likes to be inside.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (4)

Do you have any expectation for your character in the future ?
Like I said, with Game of Thrones, you can not have any expectations ! And if you have some, then you can be sure that they will not happen because the producers and George R.R. Martin are totally unpredictable and whatever you think will happen… does not happen. But of course, I expect to see Jaqen H’ghar on the iron throne at the end.

You’re German, and live in Berlin. How did you end up playing in Game of Thrones ?
First, I did a lot of theatre in Germany, then I did movies and TV shows, also in Germany. I don’t know how many of you watch German TV… Somehow, I got bored in Germany and then I looked for a UK agency, because I wanted to do more international stuff. I was lucky to get a role in Game of Thrones, that became such a big success everywhere. But for an actor, it doesn’t matter where you shoot : Germany, USA, UK… The most important is the script. And at the moment, I think the best ones come from USA and UK.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (3)

How many other seasons of Game of Thrones will we have ?
I don’t know… I think the producers said that there would be 2 more seasons after season 6. That’s the only thing I know.

Can we expect to see you in a movie in a near future ?
I hope so. Actually I don’t know yet, because for as long as Game of Thrones is running, I have a contract, but I don’t know if I would be on the next season. I will only find out in a few weeks if I’m going to be on the next season, so I have to keep the time free for this. And if I die, then I can do other stuff, yeah…

How often do you see George R.R. Martin ?
I have only met George once, he’s usually not on the set. I met him at the premiere of season 5. He’s very funny.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (7)

Would you like to play in a French movie ?
Yes, I would love to ! I already had two opportunities that I had to decline, because Game of Thrones didn’t allow me to do it. Well, maybe Game of Thrones isn’t such a good thing…

What do you think of the French cinema ?
The French cinema is very special in Europe, because it’s a total different style. I love French cinema… I’m not a fan of blockbusters or action movies. I love French movies where two characters can talk for hours, sitting at a table ! I’m also an fan of Isabelle Huppert, I would love to do a movie with her.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (6)

You play a dark and cold murderer in Game of Thrones. How do you get prepared for your role ?
I don’t need to get prepared, that’s how I am in real life ! I don’t find it that difficult… What is interesting in Game of Thrones, is that the caracters are very complex. There are very human, nothing is black or white. The all have secrets, that’s what makes the story so interesting for the viewers. I don’t think it’s really Fantasy, I would say it’s more like… Shakespeare.

What is your favourite character in the show ?
Well, I have to say Arya and Tyrion. But I especially like twisted characters like Joffrey and Ramsay Bolton.

Do you have any funny story from the set ?
Nothing funny happens… Most of the time, all my scenes are with Arya, so we’re sitting backstage. As an actor, you wait most of the time : 80 % of your time is waiting. So, we sit and play videogames and we try to beat each other. Of course, I win ! We have to concentrate on our work. It’s great to act with Arya (Maisie Williams), she’s really a natural. When I first met her, she was 13 years old and now she’s 18. So she’s growing with her character, which is pretty cool.

Talking about video games…. What kind of games do you play ?
I was sure that you would ask that question ! I usually play games on my phone, like 2084. It’s very boring as I told you !

What’s your favourite death in the show ?
My favourite death scene is definitely « The Red Wedding » at the end of season 3, because it came so unexpected. Even if I had read the books before. Also, speaking of films… For television it is a great sequence, the way it’s filmed – visually and dramatically – it’s pretty unique.

Tom Wlaschiha @ Digital Game Show Strasbourg 08.05.2016 (2)

Are there other German actors on the set of Game of Thrones ?
Right now, I’m the only one but Sibel Kekilli played Shae. She’s also from Germany but unfortunately… dead now.

You have a little accent in the show. Do you have a coach on set who helps you ?
The producers of the show do not want any American actor because it’s a middle-age story. An American accent wouldn’t fit. That’s why most of the actors are English, Irish or from other European countries. But we have some languages coaches on set who are here to check if there is any mistake.

‘Game of Thrones’ tour in Malta (part 1)

The TV show ‘Game of Thrones’ follows the storylines from the book ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ written by George R.R. Martin and set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. The series chronicles the battle of each kingdom to control the famous Iron Throne. The first season is a faithful adaptation of the novel and leads us right to… Malta.

game-of-thrones-tour

The show has been filmed in many different locations across Europe and Africa including Morocco, Iceland, Malta and Croatia, but the majority of filming took place in Northern Ireland. Tourists and fans can now step in the same places that their heroes did, by visiting the unaltered locations on Malta.

And that’s what we did too by booking a private « Game of Thrones Film Tour« .

Malcolm, our host, picked us up at our hotel and drove us to the first location : Attard, in the central part of Malta.

Malcolm Malta Film Tours

Our host : Malcolm, the Game of Thrones Master

SAN ANTON GARDENS

Attard is a lovely little city, located between Mdina and Valletta in the central part of Malta.  The town is keen on caring for its parks, such as ‘San Anton Gardens’ that is surrounding the Presidents Palace. The local motto is ‘Florigera Rosis Halo‘, which means « I perfume the air with my blossoms« . Have a look at it and you will understand why.

San Anton Palace GOT S1 (1)

San Anton Gardens is a botanical garden open to the public since 1882. It houses many beautiful flowers and an open courtyard, and also hosts floral shows and competitions. The garden has several walkways that take you through the green gardens where you will discover fountains, ponds with families of ducks and several plants and flowers as well as other trees from all over the world some of them over three centuries old.

San Anton Gardens 2

Episode 4 « Cripples, bastards and broken things »

San Anton Palace

San Anton Palace s1e4

In King’s Landing, Littlefinger meets with Eddard and suggests that he keep his investigation into Jon Arryn’s death lower in profile. He also advises him to investigate an armorer located in the city. Eddard decides that Littlefinger may be more trustworthy than he first thought, but Littlefinger discourages him to think that way… We’ll understand later why.

s1e4 (3)

San Anton Gardens

Once we’ve crossed the San Anton Gardens and the famous black swans couple, we reach the San Anton Palace and its small church.

San Anton Gardens

SAN ANTON PALACE as THE RED KEEP

In the early 17th century, Antoine de Paule, a French knight from the Order of St John built on this site a country villa which he enlarged after he became Grand Master in 1623. Successive Grand Masters continued to use the palace as their country residence. When the Maltese rebelled against the Frence (1799-1800), San Anton became the seat of the National Assembly. As chief of the Maletese Congress and Chief Commissioner, Captain Alexander Ball resided at the Palace and built the open loggias and the balustrade walk.

In the British period, it was used as the Governor’s summer residence until 1928 when San Anton replaced Valletta as the permanent residence of the sovereign’s representative. In 1888, Governor Sir Arthur Borton opened up the now public part of the palace gardens.

Since 1974, the gardens has been the official residence of the president of the Republic of Malta. The Palace has over the years welcomed within its walls a large number of distinguished visitors to Malta, including many royal personages, heads of state, statesmen and men of letters.

San Anton Palace GOT s1e3

San Anton Palace stands in for some parts of the Red Keep. In the first scene on screen, the Starks arrive there and use their stables.

San Anton Palace 1

Episode 3 « Lord Snow »

San Anton Palace GOT s1e3

P1180695

Malcolm explained us that almost none of the locations on screen were different from reality : « what you see is what you get« . And proof will follow.

San Anton Palace GOT s1e3

San Anton Palace GOT s1e3

San Anton Palace GOT s1e3

« AH THE STARKS… GREAT TEMPERS, SLOW MIND… » (Robert Baratheon)

The San Anton Palace is also the Red Keep’s Hallway, where Varys and Littlefinger inform Ned Stark that the Goldcloaks are under his control.

San Anton Palace GOT s1e7

San Anton Palace 1

Episode 7 « You win or you die »

s1e7 (73)

San Anton Palace GOT s1e7

Thanks to our guide, we got a lot of inside info, set news, backstage tips and a little bit of gossip as well.

you-win-or-you-die-05-1920

Episode 5 « The Wolf and the Lion »

agot-behind-scene-012

s1e5 (2)

San Anton Palace s1e5

s1e5 (5)

 

Sansa Stark walks down a corridor in King’s Landing with Septa Mordane, when sounds of fighting reach their ears. Lannister men have begun to slaughter the Stark guards. Septa sends Sansa to her chambers, warning her to bar the doors. Sansa hurries away as a group of Lannisters advance on her governess, gripping bloodied swords. The young girl rushes though passageways, but her escape is blocked by the Hound.

IMG_6691

s1e8 (5)

Episode 8 « The pointy end »

s1e8 (9)

s1e8 (11)

s1e8 (13)

SAINT DOMINIC CONVENT as THE GODSWOOD

St Dominic Convent Malta

Our journey continues to Rabat, a small village located just outside the old capital city Mdina. It was once the suburb of Mdina. In the 15th century, while the area served as a shelter from constant pirate attacks, several religious orders arrived in Rabat, remaining there ever since. We stopped at the Saint Dominic Convent.

game og thrones malta bts

game of thrones s1e7

A very quiet and peaceful place with a fountain in the middle of beautiful gardens. The place is less messy than a few years ago.

‘IN THIS GAME OF THRONES YOU WIN OR YOU DIE, THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND » (Cersei Baratheon)

game of thrones s1e7

Episode 7 : « You win or you die »

game of thrones s1e7

In the Godswood at King’s Landing, Ned tells Queen Cersei Baratheon that he knows the truth that Jon Arryn died for : that her brother Jaime – not King Robert Baratheon – fathered her children. She admits as much and tells Ned that she’s reviled Robert ever since their wedding night, when he drunkenly called her by the name of his true love, Lyanna (Ned’s sister). Ned suggests her to flee with her children, before Robert returns from hunting and learns the truth.

game of thrones s1e7

s1e7 (16)

you-win-or-you-die-01-1920

Next location : Gozo (… to be continued)

Soundtrack : « The Grave Yard Birds » featured in « Dead before Dawn »

It’s Zemon time again ! Fans have been requesting many times to know more about who’s behind the closing credit song of « Dead before Dawn« . Here comes another local product from Niagara Falls… Let’s meet Frank Pietrangelo, singing Zemon of « The Grave Yard Birds » aka « The Madhatters« .

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (27)

– Frank, could you introduce the Mad Hatters for the people who do not know you ?

The Madhatters are a cover band out of Niagara Falls, Ontario. We have been performing as a band together for just under 15 years since we were in high school. We have worked in other original side projects over the years such as ‘Hearts & Sounds‘ but ‘The Madhatters‘ has always remained a constant. We are lucky enough to be full-time working musicians as we perform regularly 3-4 times a week in the Niagara Region and Southern Ontario.

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (43)

– How did you get involded in « Dead before Dawn » ?

We got involved in ‘Dead Before Dawn‘ through my lifelong friendship with April Mullen. April is one of my oldest friends. We have been friends since elementary school and have both pursued our dreams, her in filmmaking and myself in music.

– You already wrote a couple of songs for April & Tim’s first movie « The Way of the Tosser »…

I had worked with her in ‘Rock, Paper Scissors‘ before as she contacted me to use some of my original music in the movie.

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (18)

– The « Dead before Dawn » song fits perfectly to the movie. How is the writing process for a movie title ? Do you need to work with the script or do you just need a few elements and use your imagination ?

When they were filming ‘Dead Before Dawn‘, she contacted me again about writing a specific type of song for the movie. This process was a little different than ‘The Tosser‘ because, with the first movie, she used some of my already-written material.

With this project we were constructing new material to fit the film. I collaborated with two other great writers and friends (Paul Gigliotti and Chris Turpin) and we followed the guidelines that April and Tim provided to create the song that you hear now.

She gave us a few lyrical ideas and specific instruments and sounds that they wanted to be included in the track. This process was so much fun as it allowed us to put our own spin on the plot without having read the script or seen the movie yet. I can speak for the other two when I say we had so much building this track.

Writing for a movie is much different than writing personal material. You have to put yourself in different situations and take all kinds of different things into consideration. I would say it’s a little more challenging.

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (35)

– How was the outdoor screening in Niagara Falls where you performed « Dead before Dawn » for the first time ?

The outdoor screening in Niagara Falls was fantastic ! We had a great turnout and we were able to perform the song live for the first time in front of a great crowd. It was also the first time we were able to see the whole movie and the music video that we filmed for the song in September 2012. It was an amazing experience.

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (45)

– What’s your favourite moment in the movie ?

I know my opinion may be a little bias, but my favourite part is towards the end when the main characters are having an intimate moment and all of a sudden our song comes on and the zemons begin to chase them ! Very cool to see the song incorporated that way !

The Grave Yard Birds-Dead Before Dawn videoclip (57)

– Where can we get the « Dead before Dawn » song ?

The song is available for download on iTunes Canada and US under the name « Dead Before Dawn – The Grave Yard Birds« 

You all know what you have to do now ! You can follow the band through their website The Madhatters and on Facebook.

Check out our photo gallery with all the photos from the « Dead before Dawn » videoclip !

Conversation with Marcus Foster

Blast from the past… This interview was originally posted on Marcus Foster France on May 9th, 2010.

Paris. April 3rd, 2010. Sitting on stage, one hour before his very first gig in Paris, Marcus Foster is pretty nervous but always funny. He’s giving his French fans some exclusive info about his new projects, writing, Paris and more. A rare moment.

 

“There will be new songs”

– First question about your album : how is your recording going ?

– Yeah, it’s good, we’re starting on Tuesday next week, we’ve done all the rehearsing. We’re recording and it’s gonna come out in the summer. And then, we’re gonna do an album in June/July.

– Will it be the same as for the E.P., with a “live band” ?

– Yeah, it’s gonna be kind of like an E.P. with a live band, it’s gonna be out in the summer, so it’ll kind of a test… a taste ! So, I’m really looking for that, hopefully it’s gonna be good, about four/five songs.

– Any new song on the album that we have never heard before ?

– Yeah, there’s a few, yeah. Now I’m finishing writing songs. There will be probably about four/five songs that no one’s heard before on the album. So, I just keep renewing stuff… There’s a couple of new songs on the E.P.

“Accordeon is like playing piano upside down a tree”

– I had a few questions from fans about your artistic talents… Beside guitar, is there any other instruments that you would be interested in learning to play ? I know you play a lot of different instruments…

– Yeah… Trumpet is something I’m finding hard to play, but yes, trumpet, trombone. And accordion actually, it’s like playing piano upside down in a tree.

– You have other talents as being a musician, like sculpture, will we one day see your work somewhere ?

– Yeah, maybe when I graduate I’ll do a website with my work. Maybe one day, I’ll make a book.

– Any exposition ? A gallery ?

– I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of things coming up once I got my big degree. I just want to be touring aside.

“I’d like to do film scores and stuff like that”

– About writing songs, how do you write songs. What comes first, lyrics or chords ?

– Both… Well, no.. Mainly lyrics.

– What inspires you the most to write a song ?

– Time (laughs)… I don’t know. Anything. Everything. Nothing.

– Would you like to write for someone else ? Have you ever been asked ?

– Yes, I was asked to do a couple of things recently. I was asked to maybe write a song for a film that is coming out, but I was too busy to complete it in time which is annoying, because it’s gonna be a big film, which is a drag… But I’d like to do film scores and stuff like that, it’s quite fun.

– Which artist would you like to sing with ? Could be dead or alive…

– Edith Piaf (smiling).

– She’s dead !

– I’d like to sing with her now. Do you know where she’s buried ?

– Yes.

– Is she buried where Jim Morrison is buried ?

– Yes.

– Really ? Oh cool…

– Same cemetery.

– Maybe I’ll go there and sing with her…

“I would like to play on the moon”

– About being on tour, what is the best thing being on tour ? And the worse ?

– I just love travelling, it’s like… same places, same strange stuff. I don’t know, it’s kind of tiring cause the last tour I did, it was a two-hours sleep a day or so.

– The US tour ?

– Yeah. And Canada as well, so… I’m looking forward to going back in a few months.

– And what would be your dream venue ?

– The moon…

– The moon ?!

– Yes, I would like to play on the moon. First gig on the moon. No, there’s a Dylan film in the Sixties called “Don’t look back”. Is it “Don’t look back” ?…

– “Don’t look back in anger ?” (laughs)

– No, no, that’s Oasis (laughs). My Dad showed me that film and I was very young and I’ve always dreamed of selling out the “Royal Albert Hall”. That’d be quite cool.

– Fans are asking you tons of questions, but is anything you’d like to know about the fans ? It’s a fan question !

(smiling) I just hope they’re doing well, hope they’re happy, hope they working !

– Is there any difference between US fans and European fans ?

– Well, I’m only just starting to do Europe, like once I released my E.P. in July or June, I’ll probably do a European Tour, so I’ll be able to answer that a bit. They’re very kind. This is my first show tonight in Paris so I’m looking forward to that.

“I like the art galleries in Paris”

– Have you ever been to Paris before ? I know… “yes” !

– I’ve been several times… I’ve been about ten times maybe, something like that.

– What’s your favourite place ?

– Oh, Jesus…. I don’t know. The « Palais de Tokyo » is quite cool. There are galleries and kids doing street dancing, it’s quite fun. I like going to the arts galleries. What’s the gallery we went to … ? There is an art gallery we went earlier, it was amazing… Really nice.

– Last question : do you sometimes listen to French artists ?

– Oh yes, all the time ! (smiling)

– Beside Edith Piaf…

– I’ve heard some good things about the new Charlotte Gainsbourg, it sounds cool !

– Yes, it’s a good album !

– And her father’s stuff is great. I’d like to hear more.

Check out the photo gallery of the interview and the show.

You can also have a glimpse of the soundcheck in Paris and watch the full show :