Game of Thrones fans are set to enjoy the most epic season yet if reports from those near the Northern Ireland set are anything to go by.
The hit HBO drama is busy shooting its sixth series in the village of Saintfield, where a “massive” amount of activity is underway.
Predictably sky-high levels of security, including a “resident police car” mean few quality photos have leaked, but YouTube channel Irish Thrones has been tweeting everything it spots.
Viewers can expect a “huge amount of smoke”, lots of horses and possibly some dry ice style fog, with the scale apparently “bigger than anything the show has ever done”. Yes, more awesome than the Battle of Hardhome, even.
GoT S6 at Saintfield,Ireland.Filming again today, A MASSIVE amount of activity & HUGE amount of Smoke!Fake snow too, Largest activity yet!— Irish Thrones (@IrishThrones) September 29, 2015
(2)GoT S6 Saintfield,Ireland.The sheer scale is bigger than ANYTHING the show has ever did!Lots of local Horse boxes entering & leaving set— Irish Thrones (@IrishThrones) September 29, 2015
(3) GoT S6 Saintfield, Ireland. The 'white Smoke' used smells more like the sort used at large concerts or indoor events, possibly for fog.— Irish Thrones (@IrishThrones) September 29, 2015
(4) GoT S6 Saintfield, Ireland.Gtg pics close by is now impossible.Set hve a resident POLICE car!& Police NO STOP notice w/cones for 1 mile!— Irish Thrones (@IrishThrones) September 29, 2015
Over on the other Thrones set in Peniscola, Spain, snoopers are also being shut out. Twitter user Dragons and Direwolves is convinced the production team has bought all the hotel rooms overlooking filming to make sure no spoilers emerge.
Nobody actually knows what is going to happen in season six, with showrunners finally overtaking George RR Martin’s books, but sources claim the battle will be for both the once Stark stronghold and the entire North.
Kit Harington has been spotted wearing Stark armour as the presumably resurrected Jon Snow and director Jeremy Podeswa has promised fans that the season “starts off with a bang".
Sadly there’s still a wait for Winter to arrive, with Thrones expected to return in April 2016.
Game of Thrones locations you can visit
Game of Thrones locations you can visit
1/10 Mdina Gate
Often known as the Silent City, Mdina is the 4000 year-old capital of Malta. Mdina Gate is the entrance into the medieval walled city and sets the scene for Catelyn and Ser Rodrik’s ride into King’s Landing in series two, when they investigate the attack on Bran.
2/10 Hverfjall Volcano
Filming for the fourth series took place in the original land of ice and fire; Hverfjall Volcano in the Lake Myvatin region of Northern Iceland was a location used for the icy scenes. More specifically, you may recognise it as the place through which the White Walkers trudged beyond the wall (the Beyond The Wall area). Hverfjall erupted 2000 years ago and has a crater of 3280 feet wide.
Ævar Arnfjörð Bjarmason
3/10 Dubrovnik, Croatia
Hotel Belvedere, an abandoned hotel in Dubrovnik, Croatia featured in series four. The hotel was built in 1986 by the communist government of Yugoslavia and later abandoned during the 1991 Yugoslavia War, remaining so to this day. The abandoned hotel is thirteen storeys high and provides sweeping views of the coast. Empty swimming pools and political graffiti make for a spooky off-the-beaten-track location.
4/10 Essaouira, Morocco
This sleepy fishing town was the location of scenes in series three of Game of Thrones, as the ancient city of Astapor. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the coastal town was designed by a Frenchman also responsible for designing the tourist town of St-Malo, on the Brittany coast. Once a thriving port in the Middle Ages, it now attracts many British tourists.
5/10 Azure Window, Gozo Malta
This natural arch made of limestone can be found on the island of Gozo and was created due to the collapse of sea caves. It featured in the first series as the location for the Dothraki wedding and previously in Clash of The Titans (1981) and The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). The spot is also popular with scuba divers.
6/10 Castle Ward, Northern Ireland
Castle Ward is an 18th century mansion and stately home combining a gothic and classic style, and one of Northern Ireland’s popular tourist attractions. The Castle and its 820 acres of grounds, most prominently the courtyard and interior, featured as Winterfell in series one. However, exterior shots of Doune Castle in Scotland were used as the exterior of the castle due to it being better suited.
7/10 Meteora, Greece
Many of the scenes in series one were filmed in Ireland, but shots from Meteora in Greece were used for the background scenery. Meteora is the second biggest complex of orthodox monasteries in Greece, second to Mount Athos. The six monasteries are built on naturally occurring sandstone pillars.
8/10 Ballintoy Harbour, Northern Ireland
This harbour can be found at the end of a steep narrow road in the picturesque village of Ballintoy, Northern Ireland. It is known as the ‘raised beach’. Shots of the location were used for the Pyke and Iron Islands in series four.
9/10 Lokrum Island, Croatia
Shots of the ancient port of Qarth in series two were filmed on the idyllic island of Lokrum, 500m from Croatia’s Dalmatian coast. A ferry ride from Dubrovnik, Lokrum is the destination of choice for day trips of tourists visiting the Dubrovnik area. It is home to a botanical garden, a monastery and many roaming peacocks.
10/10 The Dark Hedges, Northern Ireland
The Dark Hedges are often deemed one of the most picturesque examples of natural beauty in Northern Ireland, making them highly photographed and visited by tourists from around the world. The line of trees by the roadside represent The Kingsroad in season two, episode one.