House Of The Dragon: Shots of Leavesden Studios hint at prequel's plot

House Of The Dragon FIRST LOOK: Aerial shots of Leavesden Studios reveal the iconic Winterfell Castle and Weirwood Tree will feature in the hotly-anticipated Game Of Thrones prequel

  • Aerial shots taken above Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire showed a spectacular erection of Winterfell Castle, which played a pivotal role in the fantasy mega-hit
  • Also visible on-set was the unmistakable Weirwood Tree, which had been a marker for the condition of the ancestral home of House Stark in the drama’s opening credits
  • White tents and trailers populated the deserted area, while stacks of logs had been cordoned off with neon orange fencing, as well as a collection of boulders and a large black ship 

Preparations for what is believed to be the upcoming Game Of Thrones prequel, House Of The Dragon, appeared to be well-and-truly under way on Friday.

Aerial shots taken above Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire showed a spectacular erection of Winterfell Castle, which played a pivotal role in the fantasy mega-hit.

Also visible on-set was the unmistakable Weirwood Tree, which had been a marker for the condition of the ancestral home of House Stark in the drama’s opening credits.  

Spectacular: House Of The Dragon FIRST LOOK: Aerial shots of Leavesden Studios reveal the iconic Winterfell Castle and Weirwood Tree will feature in the Game Of Thrones prequel’s storyline

Its decimation under Ramsay Bolton caused it to be damaged and surrounded by smoke. But with the Starks back in their hometown for the final season, and Bran stronger than ever, the Weirwood fully blossomed in the CGI opening.

Weirwood trees have played a key role in the history of Westeros, as it was on one of them that the Children Of The Forest created the first White Walker to help them defeat the First Men.

Castle Ward in Northern Ireland was Winterfell for the first series of Game Of Thrones only, with production moving onto an enormous custom-built set deep in the County Antrim countryside. 

Wow! Preparations for what is believed to be the upcoming Game Of Thrones prequel appeared to be well-and-truly under way on Friday 

Impressive: All eight Harry Potter films as well as other movies including James Bond, Fast and Furious and the Mission Impossible franchises have filmed at the studios (pictured in 2017)

Exciting: Aerial shots taken above the Hertfordshire set showed a spectacular erection of Winterfell Castle, which played a pivotal role in the fantasy mega-hit

Incredible: The set certainly looked like it had plenty of potential

Stunning: Also visible on-set was the unmistakable Weirwood Tree, which had been a marker for the condition of the ancestral home of House Stark in the drama’s opening credits

History: The site – which covers almost 200 acres – was previously an aircraft factory called Leavesden Aerodrome that was central to production during World War II

White tents and trailers populated the deserted area, while stacks of logs had been cordoned off with neon orange fencing, as well as a collection of boulders and a large black ship.

All eight Harry Potter films as well as other movies including James Bond, Fast and Furious and the Mission Impossible franchises have filmed at the studios.

The site – which covers almost 200 acres – was previously an aircraft factory called Leavesden Aerodrome that was central to production during World War II.

Under cover: White tents and trailers populated the deserted area

Interesting: Stacks of logs had been cordoned off with neon orange fencing

Busy: The set appeared to be filled with set-ups and clues

Woah! A large black ship hinted at future storylines

Life-like: The castle certainly looked like the real deal

It was converted for film use in 1994 for Pierce Brosnan’s first Bond film GoldenEye and has been a popular site for producers ever since.

Other films shot at the studios include Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Inception, Paddington, The Dark Knight and Bohemian Rhapsody.

The site is also near the Warner Bros. Studio Tour attraction which takes guests behind the scenes of the making of the Harry Potter series. 

Work-in-progress: Scaffolding had been set up on the side of the castle

What could they be? A collection of boulders had been laid out on the grass

Protected: The imposing ship was framed with a collection of storage units

Iconic: Other films shot at the studios include Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Inception, Paddington, The Dark Knight and Bohemian Rhapsody

HBO recently released its first teaser for the hotly-anticipated prequel, which features star Matt Smith as he broods on a dark beach.

Matt plays Prince Daemon Targaryen and has been filming in Kynance Cove in Cornwall – the setting of the beach in the trailer.

The show is set 200 years before the ‘fall of the throne’ that fans saw play out in Game Of Thrones. 

First look: HBO has released its first teaser for Game Of Thrones spin-off House Of The Dragon, which features star Matt Smith as he broods on a dark beach

Matt is heard saying: ‘Gods, kings, fire and blood. Dreams didn’t make us kings – dragons did!’

Images flash up of other characters, such as Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen, and Theo Nate who portrays Laenor Velaryon.

A clip sees a pair of knights on horseback, battling one another in a violent clash. 

Lead role: Images flash up of other characters, such as Milly Alcock as Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen

200 years earlier: Theo Nate who portrays Laenor Velaryon is also featured in the trailer

The trailer gives little away, with dark, sweeping shots of candlelit halls and frantic-looking characters in a rush.

One shot sees an unknown man clutching firmly onto the handle of a sword; another sees two men fighting.

The end of the teaser sees Princess Rhaenyra as she approaches the infamous Iron Throne, from the previous series.

Fans seemed to approve, with one taking to Twitter to pen: ‘This looks so good! I’m so excited!!! House of the Dragon gonna be amazing!’

Fans seemed to approve, with one taking to Twitter to pen: ‘This looks so good! I’m so excited!!! House of the Dragon gonna be amazing!’

‘Matt Smith is just perfect,’ another tweeted, followed by: ‘Looks so promising!’

One penned: ‘GAME OF THRONES IS BACK. HOUSE OF THE DRAGON LOOKS F***ING BEAUTIFUL.’

‘This is fire. Literally,’ said another, followed by: ‘Best TV show of 2022. Absolutely no competition’.

Matt’s character in the series is a dragonrider and the younger brother of King Viserys (Paddy Considine) and heir to the throne.

Action! A clip sees a pair of knights on horseback, battling one another in a violent clash

Prequel: The show is set 200 years before the ‘fall of the throne’ that fans saw play out in Game Of Thrones

In July, production was paused after a person on set tested positive for Covid-19.

It is understood that the production shut down for two days, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

A spokesperson for House Of The Dragon told the publication at the time: ‘As part of the rigorous testing implemented for all production employees, a Zone A production member on House of the Dragon tested positive for COVID-19.

‘In compliance with industry guidelines, the production member is in isolation, and close contacts will be required to quarantine.’

Alongside Matt, non-binary actor Emma D’Arcy is portraying the 28-year-old version of Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen.

Swords at the ready: One shot sees an unknown man clutching firmly onto the handle of a sword; another sees two men fighting

Matt is heard saying: ‘Gods, kings, fire and blood. Dreams didn’t make us kings – dragons did!’

They join Eve Best as Rhaenys Velaryon, Fabien Frankel as Ser Criston Cole, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower, Rhys Ifans as Otto Hightower, Sonoya Mizuno as Mysaria and Steve Toussaint as Lord Corlys Velaryon.

The show will depict the war of succession between Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors Rhaenyra and Aegon II, two dragon-wielding heirs to the Iron Throne, in a civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons.

The Dance of the Dragons saw Rhaenyra and her half-brother Aegon II fight over their father Viserys I’s throne in a war that lasted three years, and led to untold death and misfortune to the Targaryen line.

Rhaenyra was declared the heir to her father Viserys I, but upon his passing, Aegon II was hastily crowned and she swore revenge against him.

Origin story: Back in May Game Of Thrones fans got their first look at the upcoming prequel, with HBO releasing three official photos from the project

She was shortly crowned queen with their father’s stolen crown, thus leading to a power struggle between the two.

Rhaenyra wed her uncle Daemon following the death of her first husband Ser Laenor Velaryon, prior to the Dance of the Dragons, and he helped support her campaign against her half-brother.

Casting began last year, and the prequel is due to be released in spring 2022.

Back in May Game Of Thrones fans got their first look at the upcoming prequel, with HBO releasing three official photos from the project.

In the photos The Crown’s Matt and actress Emma appear as the royals Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen and Prince Daemon Targaryen, seen with the same white-blonde locks Emilia Clarke’s character Daenerys Targaryen wore in the original.

Outsiders: Olivia Cooke and Rhys Ifans were seen in another shot, donning dark green to represent their their lineage: House Hightower. The pair play Alicent Hightower, King Viserys I Targaryen’s second wife, and Otto Hightower, the Hand of the King

High seas: Steve Toussaint wore white dreadlocks and a sea-weathered stare while transforming into Lord Corlys Velaryon, also known as the Sea Snake. He will later become Hand to Queen Rhaenyra Targaryen

House Of The Dragon was created by George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal, who also wrote the pilot script that earned the series a 10-episode production order. 

Miguel Sapochnik will join Condal as showrunner, as well as directing the pilot and additional episodes. Sapochnik is no stranger to the Reach, earning an Emmy for his work on the original Game Of Thrones.

The spin-off began shooting in April, with the stars seen filming in rural Cornwall, England.

In April, speculation mounted that the prequel is being filmed in the southern county, after crews were spotted in different locations last week. 


Power struggle: House Of The Dragon will depict the war of succession between Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors Rhaenyra and Aegon II, two dragon-wielding heirs to the Iron Throne, in a civil war known as the Dance of the Dragons. (Pictured left, Emilia Clarke and Harry Lloys as Daenerys and Viserys)

Pictures emerged showing a film set had appeared on Holywell Bay beach, suggesting that it could be used in scenes featuring Matt and Emma.

And the medieval castle on St Michael’s Mount on Mount’s Bay in Cornwall where production was also said to be taking place bore a striking resemblance to the castle inhabited by Queen Cersei in the original HBO series, filmed in Dubrovnik, Croatia.

The castle has a breathtaking view of the North Sea with much of the filming said to be taking place in the lower reaches of the mount within days.

The production crew behind the series were said to have been given full permission from the family who still reside in the higher area of the castle to film there.

It had already been confirmed that filming for House Of The Dragon would begin in spring 2021, and would be filmed in the UK, at Leavesden Studios, which is owned by Warner Bros. 

House of the Dragon will debut on HBO Max in the US in 2022, with a UK release expected to be around the same time.

Worth the wait: The House Of The Dragon is aiming for a spring 2022 release and has been filming in Cornwall, England since April

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