By: L. Mores
Have you ever wondered where the Game of Thrones episodes are shot? Did they actually build Winterfell? And where the heck is King's Landing?! Whenever I'm watching the episodes, I often find myself fascinated by the absolutely stunning locations the scenes are shot at and instantly feel the urge to get to know them myself. After doing some research, I've learned that internal scenes are produced in the program's headquarters studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland, but most of the exterior scenes are shot all around Europe. In this article, I've compiled some of the most interesting locations that are easy and accessible to the public – I really do hope I get to know some of these someday!
1. King's Landing: Dubrovnik, Croatia
“Growing up at Winterfell, all I ever wanted was to escape, to come here, to the capital. To see the southern knights and their painted armor, and King’s Landing after dark. All the candles burning in all those windows…” – Sansa Stark
Same, Sansa, same. King’s Landing was founded by King Aegon I Targaryen and home to the infamous Iron Throne. At first, I genuinely thought that the city was computer generated since everything seemed so perfect and fitting for the description of King's Landing, but I soon learned that it is a real-live city located in Croatia. Dubrovnik resides on the Adriatic Sea and is said to have been founded in the seventh century (wow, that’s ancient). With just over forty-two thousand residents, Dubrovnik is one of the most famous touristic destinations in the Mediterranean Sea, and in order to maintain its history it was named one of the "World Heritage Sites" by the UNESCO.
2. Pentos: Ouarzazate, Morocco
"Pentos is the most ruthless. The Magisters make a great show of choosing the Prince of Pentos from the Great families, and granting him powers of trade, justice and war... as long as he checks with them first" - Ser Jorah
Ser Jorah was wise beyond his ages and spoke of Pentos with truth. Pentos was founded by The Valyrian Freehold and home to Magister Illyrio Mopatis. You may remember Pentos from the very first episode of GoT – Danny and her (horrible) brother Viserys lived there for about a year before she married (my favourite) Khal Drogo. Pentos is actually Ouarzazate, an ancient city located in the region of Drâa-Tafilalet in the south of Morocco. The city, with only seventy-one thousand inhabitants, is known for its fortified village of “Aït Benhaddou”, which was also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
3. Winterfell: Doune Castle
“Winterfell is our home. It's ours and Arya's and Bran's and Rickon's. Wherever they are, it belongs to our family. We have to fight for it.” - Sansa Stark
Once again, our girl Sansa being wise and truthful. Winterfell is the ancient home of the notorious House Stark and contains a mighty castle situated right at the heart of the North. Nobody really knows who it was founded by, but an old myth states that it was created by Brandon the Builder – the first Lord of Winterfell and King of the North. The Doune Castle is the only part of Winterfell which is not CGI; the houses around it are all computer-generated. Home to the Duke of Albany and King of Scotland, the castle was built in 1440 in the Stirling district of central Scotland. The Castle is actually opened to visitation - you can really get to know its infamous tower at the entrance and feel like you’re a Stark returning from battle.
4. The Red Keep: Fort Lovrijenac, Dubrovnik, Croatia
“Aegon built his castle of red rock to remind people of the fire he roasted his enemies in, so whenever King's Landing looked up they'd see the price of defiance.” - Joffrey Baratheon
Wow, Joffrey is a character I really don't miss. The Red Keep is a castle home to the King of the Andals and the First Men located inside of King's Landing (the capital of the Seven Kingdoms). Currently the home of the “wonderful” Cersei Lannister, the Keep serves as a fortress and contains the famous Great Hall (a large throne room), which holds court and ceremonies. The Fort Lovrijenac resides outside the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia and was surprisingly built by Dubrovnik citizens early in the 11th century (wow, that’s old too). The fort has been used for many theatrical performances, the most famous one being Shakespeare's Hamlet during the Dubrovnik Summer Festival.
5. The Stormlands: Larrybane Quarry, Northern Ireland
"Tarth has lulled many a novice sailor into complacency. Our lush island sits on calm blue water like an emerald set into a sapphire. You would never be guessed that such a vision is only a sheath hiding the blade of Shipbreaker Bat, with its treacherous tides, unpredictable gales and sharp rocks lurking just below the water's surface. The storms that blow through the bat water the kingswood and rainwood, two of the great forests of Westeros, and they give the Stormlands their name.” - Brienne of Tarth
Wow Brienne, you're literally sounding like a poet. Located in south-east coast of Westeros, the Stormlands were customarily ruled by House Baratheon. This region is named The Stormlands due to the recurring violent storms originated from the Narrow Sea that crash on the coast. Larrybane Quarry is located in Northern Ireland and is primarily a lowland made out of white stone and coated in grass. It isn't really a famous location (it definitely doesn't contain an UNESCO title) like the ones previously mentioned but should nonetheless be treated with respect since it is said to be maintained impeccably.