Execution of the deserter

TV show Game of Thrones (2011)
In the first episode of season 1, Eddard Stark (Sean Bean) executes a deserter from the Night's Watch in front of his two sons Robb Stark (Richard Madden) and Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) but also Theon Greyjoy (Alfie Allen). A striking scene shot in Knockdhu Park, on the hillside.
Knockdhu by Gilles Rolland.

“The man who passes the sentence should swing the sword.”

Eddard Stark (Sean Bean)

The Carncastle Hills, a natural place without any human intervention

The scene of the execution of the deserter of the Night Watch is the subject of particular care. Supposed to demonstrate the righteousness of Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), the lord of Winterfell, as well as his determination, it takes place on one of the hills of Carncastle, near Ballygalley, not far from the shore. This private land welcomes the actors in the first hours of the production. Here, the surrounding nature greatly facilitates the work of the decorators. Indeed, no high voltage lines or other modern constructions come to spoil the landscape.

Ice, Eddard Stark’s super-powerful sword

An explanatory sign now stands in front of the entrance to the steep meadow where Eddard Stark once beheaded one of the Night’s Watch with his impressive sword. Called Ice, the weapon has a prominent place in the series. It is indeed with this one that the same Eddard Stark is executed at the end of season 1. It was later melted down to make two swords: the first one went to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau) and the second one was given as a wedding gift to Joffrey Baratheon (Jack Gleeson). Made of Valyrian steel, a very precious metal, Glace changes its shape throughout the seasons but never leaves the series.

Portes-clés arme épée métal Game of Thrones
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Fighting safely

All the weapons in Game of Thrones were designed by Tommy Dunne. The latter explained his job in the columns of the Business Insider site: “We’d never fight with them but we’d always have them for the hero feel, the hero look. We always then make an aluminium version of the blade. We’ll make a bamboo version and we’ll make a rubber version. So we have all the components that will be safe. So anybody who fights will be bamboo on bamboo, will be rubber on rubber, will be aluminium on aluminium and we never mix and match the different blades.” So during all the scenes on horseback or during the big battles, such as the one in which Jon Snow (Kit Harington) faces Ramsay Bolton (Iwan Rheon), all the actors were battening with plastic swords.


1700 kg of rubber were used to make the Game of Thrones weapons.

Éxécution du déserteur de la Garde de nuit
L’éxécution du déserteur de la Garde de nuit. Tous droits réservés : HBO.
Exécution du déserteur
Exécution du déserteur. Tous droits réservés : HBO.

Knock Dhu

This hilly, spectacular and wild region is located a stone’s throw from Ballygalley and the coast, near the beaches of the same name.

Accessible by car, Mount Knockdhu is revealed to visitors at the end of a small dirt road. Offering unobstructed views of the surrounding green and grand surroundings, it is located near the picturesque village of Carncastle a few hours drive north of Belfast. Used as part of the filming of the first episode of the first season of the Game of Thrones series, the site is now one of the most visited in the region. It also hosted the production of The Northman film in 2020.

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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