Noble viewers, our watch has begun. Having recently graced our screens for its seventh series, HBO’s popular fantasy drama Game of Thrones (GOT) is the talk of most towns. Etched into the minds of millions is Westeros – the fictional land that sets the scenes for some of the greatest storylines in television history… and they are all finally coming together!
The out-of-this-world drama (literally) shows fans The Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in intricate detail, making it hard to believe that some scenes were filmed right on our doorstep. But they were…
Northern Ireland – Winterfell, the Wall, Dragonstone and Hardhome
Filmed in central Scotland at Doune Castle, GOT’s pilot episode saw King Robert Baratheon travel to Winterfell to visit his old friend Lord Eddard Stark. In order to close the distance between the many scenes in the capital of the North and Belfast’s Titanic Studios, producers decided not to return to Scotland and to instead shoot subsequent Winterfell scenes in Northern Ireland.
Many interior sets are built in Titanic Studios including the Great Pyramid of Meereen, the Red Keep, the Great Sept of Baelor and the room in which the infamous Iron Throne sits.
Castle Black, The Wall and The Wildling Village of Hardhome are all filmed in and nearby an old limestone quarry in Magheramorne. Built to protect Westeros from the White Walkers, the 700-foot magical Wall is brought to life using aspects of the quarry itself (such as the entrance to Castle Black) combined with digital visuals of ice and snow.
Dragonstone, the birthplace of Dany and original House Targaryen stronghold, is filmed on Downhill Strand beach in County Londonderry. At seven-miles long, Downhill Strand beach is one of the longest beaches in Northern Ireland.
Croatia – Kings Landing
A key filming location for the capital of the Seven Kingdoms and House Lannister stronghold is Dubrovnik, Croatia. Chosen because of its warm weather, Old Town, stone walls and limestone pavements, Dubrovnik depicts the summery feel that George R. R. Martin describes in the novels from which the drama was adapted.
One of the most memorable scenes from season six took place in Dubrovnik. Viewers will recall it being the only scene that made them feel almost sorry for Cercei Lannister…almost. In compensation for her sins, the Queen Mother is forced to take a Walk of Atonement through the Old Town, descending from the cities Jesuit Steps.
The House of the Undying can also be found in Dubrovnik. You know, the headquarters of the Warlocks of Qarth that look like they’ve been drinking blue slush puppies? Well, in real life it’s called Minčeta Tower and was used in the scene where Dany’s baby dragons are stolen.
Iceland – Beyond the Wall
Beyond the Wall is still somewhat a mystery to viewers. All we know is that it’s home to the Free Folk and the White Walkers, and that you’ll need a seriously thick coat if you want to survive a visit there. Filmed in various parts of Iceland, the cold and frosty weather is the perfect setting for scenes North of the Wall.
One of the most memorable scenes in Iceland took place in a cave in Grjótagjá, where our beloved Jon Snow breaks his oath to the Night’s Watch. Located near Lake Mývatn, the magical hot spring is naturally heated by volcanic activity.
It would take us far too long to name them all, so there you have it: some of the key GOT filming destinations that are right on our doorstep. Hardcore fans, you’ll be happy to know that you can visit most of these places, with tours and guides on offer due to the popularity of the series.
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