Set in the fictional land of Westeros, Game of Thrones draws huge inspiration from real-life locations. Culture Trip caught up with the cast (who were still sworn to secrecy about details around the show) and found out about their best experiences on set.
For Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who portray Brienne of Tarth and Jaime Lannister respectively, Dubrovnik, Croatia’s stunning walled city was the highlight. The city itself has become a tourist hotspot in recent years with film fans flocking to the destination having seen it on screen in Game of Thrones and high-profile films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017).
“Croatia was exquisitely beautiful,” Christie says. “Before it became a destination for Game of Thrones fans it felt like it was a hidden Medieval city with beautiful scenery and crystal clear waters.”
“We have so many great memories from Dubrovnik,” says Coster-Waldau. “But I would also tell people to go to Northern Ireland.”
Kristofer Hivju has played wildling raider Tormund Giantsbane for several seasons, and one place stood out for the Norwegian actor.
“I loved Belfast. I think Belfast is a big part of Game of Thrones becoming what it is,” Hivju says. “One thing is the fantastic locations, and of course the studios where they actually built the Titanic are now where they are building Game of Thrones. There are so many beautiful spots in Belfast that I think if you really want to experience Game of Thrones, Belfast is the place to go.”
Hivju’s character is from ‘north of the wall’ in the show, which meant the actor also spent time in much colder locations.
“Iceland is fantastic,” he says. “It had beautiful scenery, and we had some great times there.”
“I loved Italica in Spain, where the big Colosseum scene took place in season seven,” Liam Cunningham says.
The area in Seville is home to the biggest Colosseum outside Italy, and producers turned the location into a vast set for a pivotal meeting in the last season. Cunningham’s character, known as the best smuggler in all the Seven Kingdoms, was a big part of the scene.
“To be standing in the middle of that place, where god knows how many thousands of people lost their lives, had that air of history. You could feel the ghosts in that place, which felt very weird,” Cunningham says.
Although Carice Van Houten rarely left Belfast for her scenes, she agrees with Cunningham about the spectacular nature of the locations used in the show. At last, the Red Priestess and Davos Seaworth have something in common.
Game of Thrones is now available on digital download.