‘Game of Thrones’ video: Iceland provides ‘otherworldly’ location

Jan. 31, 2013 | 1:41 p.m.
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Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen, who embraced her role as the "Mother of Dragons" at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Lena Headey returns as Queen Regent Cersei Lannister, attempting to maintain control of the Seven Kingdoms with her psychotic son, Joffrey, and her controlling father. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau plays Jaime Lannister, last seen being escorted to King's Landing by Brienne of Tarth to be exchanged for Arya and Sansa Stark. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage) managed to repel Stannis Baratheon's invading forces from King's Landing at the end of last season, but he was rewarded with the loss of his title (King's Hand) and a scar on his face. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Charles Dance plays Tywin Lannister, patriarch of the Lannister family, who returned to King's Landing to relieve his son, Tyrion, from his role as the King's Hand. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Michelle Fairley plays Catelyn Stark, who is attempting to keep her children safe. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Robb Stark (Richard Madden) ended last season by breaking his engagement to Lord Walder Frey's daughter and marrying Lady Talisa (Oona Chaplin) instead. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Sophie Turner plays Sansa Stark, who was promised to the psychotic King Joffrey, but managed to avoid marriage. However, so long as she remains in King's Landing, she's in danger. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow, the Night's Watch soldier who has been captured by the Wildlings north of the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Maisie Williams plays Arya Stark, who learned of a secret organization known as the Faceless Men at the end of last season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Isaac Hempstead-Wright plays Bran Stark, who has begun a trek north to the Wall. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Thomas Brodie-Sangster plays Jojen Reed, brother of Meera Reed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Ellie Kendrick plays Meera Reed, who will assist Bran Stark on his journey. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Rose Leslie plays the Wildling warrior Ygritte, who has her eye on Jon Snow. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Stephen Dillane plays Stannis Baratheon, who still lusts after the Iron Throne, even though his assault on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Carice van Houten plays the red priestess Melisandre, who continues to advise Stannis Baratheon, even though his attack on King's Landing failed. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Natalie Dormer plays Lady Margaery Tyrell, the new lady love of King Joffrey (Jack Gleeson). (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Ciaran Hinds joins the cast as Mance Rayder, the "King Beyond the Wall" and leader of the Wildlings. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Diana Rigg joins the cast as Lady Olenna Redwyne, also known as the Queen of Thorns. She's the grandmother of Margaery and Loras Tyrell and a scheming force to be reckoned with. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Richard Dormer plays Beric Dondarrion, leader of the mysterious Brotherhood Without Banners, which is introduced in the third season. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Paul Kaye joins the cast as Thoros of Myr, a red priest who worships the same deity as Melisandre, who also serves as an adviser to Beric Dondarrion. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Gwendoline Christie plays Brienne of Tarth, the female knight tasked with escorting Jaime Lannister to King's Landing. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

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Clive Russell joins the cast as Brynden Tully, also known as the Blackfish, Catelyn Stark's uncle. (Helen Sloan / HBO)

The icicles in Jon Snow’s beard are real — the result of filming in Iceland rather than using special effects — in the hit HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones.”

The show’s production blog posted a video Thursday revealing a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the cast and crew filming scenes from Season 3 in the snow-covered mountains of Iceland. The upcoming season of “Game of Thrones” (based on George R. R. Martin’s bestselling “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series) will continue to follow Jon Snow, played by Kit Harington, a Night’s Watch soldier who was kidnapped by Wildlings north of the wall protecting Westeros.

“It’s harsh weather conditions. It’s not easy to shoot here,” Harington said in the video. “But the country’s so beautiful that it makes it such a pleasure to come here.”

Harsh conditions indeed.

“Yesterday we were shooting in a blizzard, so we couldn’t see how beautiful it was,” said Ciarán Hinds, who is joining the cast as Mance Rayder, the Wilding leader and “King Beyond the Wall.”

The blizzards aren’t the only challenge for the cast and crew.

“There’s about five hours of daylight, so you can imagine it’s a lot of pressure to get a lot of shots,” director Daniel Minahan said.

But despite the time constraints and the weather, co-creator David Benioff said he’d rather film in Iceland than in front of a green screen.

“It just makes such a huge difference coming to a place where it’s actually this cold, and it’s actually snowing like this, and the actors, when they’re huddling up for warmth, they really did need to get close to get warm,” Benioff said. “It’s a lot of work to schedule everything and figure out how to get all the equipment here and how we can afford it all, but at the end of the day, we’d rather spend the money on the locations rather than on the effects. It just makes everything more real.”

Check out the video above.

– Noelene Clark
Twitter.com/@NoeleneClark

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