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Magic in Morocco

And here I am in Morocco as the GAME OF THRONES pilot shoot winds down. This is likely to be q strqnge looking post. I am typing it from the business center of the Berbere Palqce in Ourazazate on a French/ Arabic keyboqrd zhere many of the letters qre not where my fingers expect to find them. No Qwert Yuiop here.

Morocco is a fascinating place; though oddly it reminds me of New Mexico in q lot of ways. Architecture especially. The Spanish style of NM showing its Moorish roots.

Marrakesh is amazing qnd I wish we hqd hqd more than q dqy to explore it. From there it was a four hour drive over the high sunk baked passes of the Atlas mountqins to Ouarzazate, the film center of Morocco. This plqce is pretty astonishing as well. The city looks as if it was built yesterday, with wide treeless streets lined by huge pink hotels and apartments and new contstruction everywhere. Outside the desert stretches away to the distant mountains, flat and dry and dusty, dotted with ruins and abandoned cities none of which look even vaguely Moroccan. Egyptian pharoahs stand twenty feet high, crusqder castles loom on the horizon, here's a Chinese fortress, here Sodom (or maybe Gomorrah), here a Roman ampitheater. I have q felling that Tombstone mqy be over thqt next ridge. From afar they look as if they hqve been here for centuries, but then you get up close and you realize they are all abandoned movie sets. The oldest have begun to crumble beneath the sun and sand, but they are still damned impressive;

Most imposing of all are the walls of old Jerusalem that Ridley Scott built for KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, which loom in the distance as you take the mqin road into the Ouuazazate, still surrounded by a ring of huge wooden siege towers and trebuchets, now crewed by lean brown dogs. One small portion of the Jerusalem set, redressed and repainted, became the courtyard of Illyrio's manse where Dany first meets Khal Drogo. Thqt was the scene they were filming zhen Ty and I arrived, and it looked gorgeous.

I'd say more; but this keyboard is driving me batty, and my ti,e is running out in any case;

Tonight the wedding!


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Nov. 16th, 2009 11:54 am (UTC)
Thanks for keeping us update!
I can't wait to see the pilot.
Nov. 16th, 2009 12:19 pm (UTC)
That sounds like incredible sights!

Thumbs up for QWERTY! I can imagine this writing as if with a strange Eastern accent... I concur with you about the keyboards!
We French-Canadians (or shall I say, Québécois) use QWERTY to write in French including accents, not AZERTY like our European cousins. If one were objective, neither of those traditions make much sense, but still, why the same alphabet needs different general keyboard layouts baffles me.
Nov. 16th, 2009 01:01 pm (UTC)
You mean there are just trebuchets sitting there, unused? it almost seems like a crime not to go play with them...
Nov. 16th, 2009 01:19 pm (UTC)
Welcome to Morocco!
Hi George - it all sounds fabulous. Don't tell me about those French keyboards: it used to take me an hour to send an email from the internet cafe in Tafraout. Wish I could have been there to see Dany meeting Khal Drogo. Don't think I can get over the mountains to you before you go, but it was wonderful to see you in London and I'm so glad that you are having a good time. Make sure your driver takes you to Ait Benhaddou and the ruined kasba at Tamdaght - and if you get chance to go further south into the desert proper, it's breathtaking. If not,there are some mini-dunes not far south of Ouarzazate where you can pretend you're in the Sahara. Travel safely! Jane x
Nov. 16th, 2009 01:35 pm (UTC)
Now it's clear why the books take as long as they do. Proof-reading is a full time job in itself! Either way, sounds fun! :)
Nov. 16th, 2009 01:45 pm (UTC)
Blöödy föreign keyboårds! ;)

Sounds like an amazing place. Have you seen the site where they filmed Balian's castle in Kingdom of Heaven? Somewhere on the opposite side of the valley from the Jerusalem set, IIRC. Apparently it was an old kasbah that the film was allowed to renovate and tack stuff on to to make it more imposing.

There's a nice video showing some of the sets from over the years at Youtube (French language).
Nov. 16th, 2009 02:38 pm (UTC)
wedding! hell yeah!
Nov. 16th, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
I never knew they reused old film sets. Of course it makes sense but I am also shocked that the locals allow them to leave their garbage behind...
Nov. 18th, 2009 04:55 pm (UTC)
Re: Film sets
Nov. 16th, 2009 04:39 pm (UTC)
Be interesting to see how the landscape looks on camera. Even though the Dothraki Sea is described as a vast flat grassland, I've always pictured it in my mind as a more nomadic desert terrain.

Also, since you've been around the shoot so much, have you had a chance to dress up for a cameo in the pilot?
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:27 pm (UTC)
I can almost picture the landscape in my mind. Is it possible to take some pics to share with us? I'd love to see some of the architecture.

Thanks for keeping us posted, enjoy your stay in Morocco.
Nov. 16th, 2009 05:30 pm (UTC)
More Rocco?
Sounds like you are having fun in the sun.
More wind and rain here in London, So envy is my current emotion.
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Keyboards like that...
It wasn't too bad to read that, George, but that's what you pay editors for, right? To clean up such messes? :-)
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:05 pm (UTC)
How fabulous for you, George, to see your creations come to life in such exciting places! Hope you're enjoying yourself immensely - you've earned it!

Been meaning to ask you what we can all do to support you and this production. Is there someone at HBO we can all inundate with letters, phone calls or chocolate?
Nov. 18th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I emailed HBO asking if there was a way to subscribe now and make it known that I was subscribing because of interest in A Game of Thrones. I didn't receive a response. I'm sure there is a better way to find out.
Nov. 16th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Are you sure its the keyboard? Similar results are easily obtained with a little liquor!
Nov. 16th, 2009 07:22 pm (UTC)
I'm jealous
And I'm going to start replacing all of my A's with Q's and my W's with Z's, just because it looks awesome.
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George R.R. Martin
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