Newbold College becomes first Adventist filming location for Game of Thrones


BRACKNELL, England — Unaccustomed to hosting more than Adventist conventions and the occasional student Shakespeare performance, the campus of England’s Newbold College appears poised for fame with the announcement that it will serve as a filming location for the HBO-produced “Game of Thrones” series.

As the season 5 premier of the fantasy drama series drew record viewing ratings around the world this week, show producers announced that the Adventist institution’s grounds will be featured heavily in the first half of the show’s sixth season, due for filming in the second half of 2015.

“Parts of Newbold’s campus are extremely picturesque and have a definite historical gravitas to them,” said “Game of Thrones” spokesperson Emilio Franco. “The bulk of the ‘Game of Thrones’ filming at Newbold will take place in and around the historic Moor Close and the picturesque Sylvia’s Gardens.”

Moor Close seen from Sylvia’s Gardens

With a per episode budget of $6-$8 million, “Game of Thrones” producers are said to have paid handsomely for the use of the Jacobethan Moor Close (built in 1881) and the adjoining gardens, both of which are listed in the UK’s National Register of Historical Parks and Gardens.

To capitalize on the PR momentum created by news of the filming, Newbold has even toyed with developing classes in its theology and humanities tracks which deal with the role of fantasy literature and film in the teaching of religious dogma.

Newbold students are said to be ecstatic about the administration’s decision to open up the campus to Game of Thrones film crews and have been sharing the news with jealous friends at other Adventist schools. “This move says a lot about Newbold’s willingness to experiment,” said Trans-European Division Education Department representative Inclaire Francis. “It will, no doubt, draw flocks of American transfer students who want to do an Adventist ‘Game of Thrones’ year.”

“Adventist institutions around the world are struggling to find new revenue streams,” said Newbold spokesperson Lis Gunnard. “We decided to take advantage of our agility as a smaller Adventist institution with little red tape and just pitched a ‘Game of Thrones’ location scout. They went for it. It turns out size really does matter.”

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  1. If this story were not a satire joke, I would say I’m actually not surprised by the selection of Newbold. The campus really is rather picturesque. And the next stop among small-but-picturesque SDA colleges is (drumroll . . .): Universidad Adventista de las Antillas, with its 284 acres of mountainous land with a beautiful view of the Atlantic Ocean in Puerto Rico.

  2. Ray Kraft

    I can imagine another hit TV series . . . The Game of Faith . . . about the last 200 years of theological controversies and debates behind the closed doors of the General Conference and the Theology departments of the various SDA colleges . . . beginning with the Millerites and moving through the present and into the future . . . Why didn’t Jesus come in 1944? Or 1888? is it a sin to wear wedding rings? Drink wine? Eat meat? Dance to the sounds of the Heritage Singers? Did Ellen G. White plagiarize anyone?

    I bet it’d have the highest ratings in TV history!

  3. Doug Elsey

    Spent five lovely years as a student at Newbold College…..was baptized there, met my wife there…..many many happy memories… years of my life…..I wish the story was true I might of actually turned on the telly to see the campus again.

  4. Well-written! So it’s not real, but is it satire? The definition of satire in the Oxford dictionary is: The use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. Can someone point out to me what actual situation or person is made fun of, ridiculed or attacked here? I don’t know enough about what is going on at Newbold nowadays. Or is this perhaps mainly an exercise in fabrication or even deception? If so, I hope it’s not part of the curriculum as well!

  5. Sometimes the stories seem to exhibit Juvenalian satire, and sometimes the stories exhibit Horatian satire. The fact that SDA metaphors from the book of Revelation hit us with imminent despair seem to be surfacing in this parody of an article. That probably is Juvenalian because satire hits home to the heart of Adventism. Hence the name Adventist. Or you could just take the story at face-value and just enjoy it. Or not.

  6. Much as I would like to just enjoy the story, I find no references to any SDA metaphors from the book of Revelation, let alone ones that would hit us with imminent despair. On the contrary, the story is more like a light-hearted PR stunt for Newbold, one that cleverly exploits the popularity of the Game of Thrones series by using a fictional event. In that sense the words “To capitalize on the PR momentum” are not even a parody, but reality. I wonder if the author has done this with the express permission of the producers of the series. Just presenting something that might have been true, does not necessarily make it funny, either. Otherwise, as I said, it was well-written.

  7. Disclaimer at the top of every page: “Adventist satire and humor.”

    On the “About” page: “BarelyAdventist is a satire and humor blog on Adventist culture and issues.”

    “Please note that all characters and incidents appearing in this ‘report,’ including any comments thereupon, are fictitious or parodied. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead (or incidents, past or future) is purely coincidental and/or is solely for purposes of parody, satire, irony, caricature, or comedy. If you do not find the stories funny, please see your doctor to check your sense of humor (or perhaps to check your pulse). After all, laughter is the best medicine.”

  8. Guess what? I followed your advice and went to see the doctor, just to rule out any inflammation or blockages of my sense of humour. Fortunately, everything checked out OK. My pulse, however, was absent. So I am writing this from beyond the grave, something I know can be very scary to Adventists. Apologies for that. The cause of death was soon found. I had laughed myself to death about the site’s disclaimer. The makers actually seemed to think it would protect them from brand abuse charges, should they be filed. They seemed or pretended not to realize that jokes can be serious PR in today’s information age. That is perhaps why the site is tolerated by the more-than-barely Adventists, who would still be able to distance themselves from it. Then I had to laugh about “any resemblance to real persons“ being “purely coincidental”, because it is so easy to prove that this post uses images of real actors, the real name and logo of the series and many historically accurate details about Newbold. Then I had to laugh about myself, for thinking that I could ever convince Adventists of anything whatsoever. Well, in my case laughter proved not to be the best medicine. Let us hope it works for the authors themselves. By the way, I am a Newbold alumnus with fond memories of Newbold. But I will haunt you no longer. I will leave you to work out how much time you have left (if any) before the door of mercy closeth. That should keep you folks occupied for a while…

  9. Steven Thompson

    With the fame and fortune coming Newbold’s way from this “barelyadventist” (or is it “barleyadventist” or “bearlyadventist”?) publicity, the place can manage without “gameofthrones”! A point of correction: the word “Jacobeathan” in line 2 of the article, describing Moor Close Lodge, must be “barelyenglish” for “Neo-Tudor”!

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