Game of Thrones architecture

By Sergio González | 10:07

The epic medieval fantasy world of Westeros depicted in the HBO TV show Game of Thrones is engaging more and more viewers each week with a plot to literally die for and rich deep characters that dance to the rythm of  becoming king.

According to HBO, it’s their third most-watched television show ever and also the most downloaded TV show in 2012, as released by BBC. Millions are eager every week to find out what happens to Daenerys and her dragons, if Robb will be able to defeat the Lannisters or who will finally free Westeros, if at all, of increasingly evil king Joffrey.

Plot lines are numerous and attractive enough to drag millions to TVs and tablets but if we look at the data reselased by tourism boards, we learn that Game of Thrones fans also love visiting where their favorites characters live, or at least try to survive.

Poor Lady Sansa was kept against her will in the King’s Landing -Westeros capital- as King Joffrey was fighting against her rebel brother Robb Stark, self-claimed King in the North. On the other hand, Sansa’s real alter ego, English actress Sophie Turner, had an amazing time filming in the beautiful island of Malta.

Most outdoor shots take place in southern King’s Landing were shot in Mdina, the old capital of this Mediterranean jewel, built by the Phoenicians around 700 BC. It’s guarded by the Norman city walls and preserved outstandingly as it was. A simple walk through its narrow golden streets will transport you back in time. As if the tales of the Knights Templar and Italian nobles at Baroque palazzos or to Sansa Stark’s fate is up to your imagination.

Before getting her dragons, Daenerys married the Dothraki leader Khal Drogo, played by Jason Momoa, at an impressive location in the island of Gozo, 20 minutes by ferry from Malta. The place is known as the Azure Window, a capricious rock formation eroded into a dramatic Mediterranean landscape, almost as intense as the love between these two characters.

Westeros is a huge kingdom and the Starks live up in the North, more precisely in Winterfell, or Northern Ireland as we know it.The filming troupe visited Castle Ward, Shane’s Castle and Magheramorne quarry for exterior locations though most filming took place in a studio in Belfast. If you want to follow Theon Greyjoy home to Pyke, the Iron Islands are close to Ballintoy Harbour.

NI government invested money on the show for them to depict the greatness of their country and it paid off. Tourism income to the places shown in Game of Thrones accounted for £65 million while invested money was slightly over £9 million.

 This season is coming very intense and we are finding new sides of the Lannisters siblings or the wildlings that force us to rethink our feelings and previous ideas. Such dramatic environment requires a scenery to its pair.

We may haven’t noticed, but King’s Landing has become the walled coastal city of Dubrovnik, in Croatia, before our own eyes. Sansa mourning from a terrace over the sea for a proper husband and Lady Olena’s, of House Tyrell, interesting visit to the capital are happening here.

The nearby island of Lokrum is Quarth for the Iron Throne tales and home to a curse in real life, preventing anybody from buying land and claiming the island. Does Brienne of Tarth believe in metaphors?

Game of Thrones has been often criticized but also praised for the strong female roles. Right now, one of the main focuses should be on Daenerys as she gathers power and fame as a liberator in Essos. The Mother of Dragons has just bought 8000 slaves in Astapor only to set them free.

The sun-kissed kasbah of Ouarzazate in Morocco was the placen choosen to see Daenerys’ outstanding business skills and her bigger dragon, Drogon, first action in battle. The scene was intense and peaked in viewers and social comments yet the adobe architecture of this old trading spot didn’t go unnoticed: hotel bookings in the area have increased 100%.

Photo credit: AdventureDan

Photo credit: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

 

 

 

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