How to 3d-Model the Great Sept of Baelor (From Game of Thrones)
About the Sept of Baelor
The Great Sept of Baelor is the Byzantine-styled grand cathedral of the capital of Westeros, in G.R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series. In this tutorial I will be presenting how to easily model the building. Due to the relative complexity of individual parts of the Sept, there will be three tutorials: the first (this one) will be covering the main form (walls, towers, domes and some peripheral adornments). The second will be focused on the intricate seven towers, while the third will deal with all details seen in images of the building in the TV show “Game of Thrones”.
First step in modeling the Sept of Baelor (Game of Thrones monument)
We begin with a first 'primitive' 3d form: a cylinder. Given that this will be the core of the main building, we need it to have eight surfaces – in the show, the Sept's form is that of a perfect octagon. (Figure 1)
We then add seven towers (they represent the seven figures in King Landing's "Faith of the Seven" religion). These are also perfectly octagonal. We can at first place them loosely (to allow for some room for fine-tuning later on), but the positioning follows the pattern shown in Figure 2.
We then place a more rounded (with more surfaces) cylinder, as shown in Figure 3. This one serves as the basis of the main dome. I chose to use a cylinder with 32 surfaces. 34 might also be a good idea (the main dome, as depicted in the TV show, is quite similar to the one of the Hagia Sophia). Note that the number of sides your cylinder will have will be tied to the number of marble columns which are to be added in the next steps of this tutorial (from HBO's images, it seems that those columns are between 32 and 36 in total).
Figure 4 is a render of the model thus far.
Second step in modeling the Sept of Baelor (Game of Thrones monument)
In Figure 5 we add another primitive; this time a sphere. We then move to erase the bottom 2/3 of its volume so as to turn it into a dome: the great dome of the Sept.
In Figure 6, a copy of the cylinder with the 32 sides is made to have smaller height, and is then placed directly below the dome.
Now it is time to start placing columns – this building does have a lot of them!
In Figure 7, I present 32 columns which are to surround the space between the large 32-sided cylinder and the smaller 32-sided cylinder. You can experiment with the relative size; from HBO's images it seems that they are roughly as sturdy as modeled in this step. That said: we will revisit the analogies of parts of the building as we go on, so don't worry if you don't immediately get them to look as you want to.
Hint: If you are unsure as to how to create a symmetrical group of 32 columns:
It is a simple procedure. You first place one cylinder (one of the columns) on the edge of the are you wish to cover. You then copy that and paste it as another cylinder at the opposite edge of that area. You now have two cylinders, one at 0 degrees of a circle (the area when shown from above) and the other at 180 degrees. You select both, unite them (so that now they are a single object), copy the new object, and paste it, placing it at a 90 degree angle to the previous one. This gives you four cylinders, each at 90 degrees from the next one. You continue this for two more times, given to get 32 columns you need each column to be at (360 divided by 32) 11,25 degrees from the next.
Figure 8 is a render of the building thus far.
Third step in modeling the Sept of Baelor (Game of Thrones monument)
As noted, formations of columns exist in many parts of this building. A faster way to create them is to use the ones we already have (highlighted in Figure 9), copy/paste and then alter them as needed. Therefore (Figure 10) we select the formation of columns we modeled, and then move on to form the corresponding group of columns which surrounds (and protrudes from) the core part of the Sept; that is the large octagonal we started with back in Figure 1.
Do notice that the new set of 32 columns is shorter, and also is rotated somewhat. To be precise, it is rotated by half the difference between each individual column's position in the circle: 12.25 divided by 2= 5,625 degrees.
I also created a first embellishment: the bottom part of the bottom row of columns, and the top part of the top row, have an ancient Greek-Byzantine protrusion. HBO's image presents something similar; again, depending on how authentic you want the model to look, you can experiment with this part very considerably...
Fourth step in modeling the Sept of Baelor (Game of Thrones monument)
This step is largely about corrective work, regarding the analogies of forms in the building.
In Figure 12 I have already shrunk the circumference of the octagon which we used (since Figure 1...) as the core of the Sept.
In the same figure I also highlighted the seven towers, shrunk accordingly, and placed once again to their corresponding angles. The result of this change is easy to observe in Figure 13 (another render of the current state of the model).
Figure 14 gives an idea of the final (non-detailed; that will come in tutorials 2&3) form of the monument. In it I have created the main shapes of the towers (by enlarging the top surface of each of the cylinders so as to make the dark-green top, and then copy/pasting and shrinking the same cylinders in order to produce their second level; finally adding a dome to each).
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Two more will follow, until the final model looks considerably like the one in the TV show!
By the end of the third tutorial you should be having a good idea of how to create this building in 3d, and then – if you have access to a 3d-printer – make your own copies of it.
© 2018 Kyriakos Chalkopoulos