I don’t know about you, but for me it feels like one long, lonely winter since we were immersed in the theatrics and intrigue of monster hit Game of Thrones.
The eighth and final season of the epic fantasy series will return in 2019, giving us one final blast of dragon fire before we are plunged into the eternal dungeon of a post-Game of Thrones universe.
No more shockingly gruesome deaths which haunt your Monday morning commute. No more memes which spoil major plot points clogging up your Facebook feed. Zilch.
However, there’s no need to chuck your TV through your moon door in despair just yet. Even after the final bottom is perched upon the Iron Throne, there is still plenty to explore in the wild, lawless lands of Westeros.
HBO has announced exciting plans to transform several Game of Thrones Northern Ireland based filming locations into tourist attractions.
Quintessential locations such as Winterfell, Castle Black and Kings Landing will be opened up to members of the public, according to a Tourism NI press release.
There will also be a tour of Linen Mill Studios, where visitors can view artefacts from the rich tapestry of storylines. This will include costumes, props, weaponry and set decorations as well as art files, models, and other production materials.
Tech minded fans can learn about the spellbinding effects which translate George R.R. Martin’s imagination for the screen through ‘state-of-the-art digital content and interactive materials’.
In keeping with the ambition and scale which has long set the show apart, HBO have described these future attractions as being, ‘on a scale and scope bigger than anything the public has ever seen’.
HBO will work alongside Tourism NI, Northern Ireland’s’s travel marketing authority, on the attractions which are tentatively expected to open at some point during 2019.
HBO’s vice president of licensing and retail, Jeff Peters, said:
HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the ‘Game of Thrones’ creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person,
The opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland’s pivotal role in the life and legacy of the show and share its culture, beauty and warmth is also a huge inspiration behind these Legacy projects.
CEO of Tourism NI, John McGrillen, has made the following statement:
While [Game of Thrones] fans have seen the stunning landscapes, coastlines and mountains in the series, we are thrilled they will now have the opportunity to fully experience the charm of Northern Ireland and immerse themselves in to the world of Westeros.
The Game of Thrones Legacy project will be a game changer for Northern Ireland on a global tourism level.
We very much welcome this exciting announcement by HBO and look forward to attracting many more visitors to our beautiful country as a result.
Great news for northern Ireland and local economy and fans of game of thrones.
— Paul Leighton (@paul_leigh29) September 24, 2018
Sure hope this opens when the final season drops
— Mr. Martin (@MrCeGoMa) September 24, 2018
When discussing Game of Thrones, viewers often praise the complex characterisation which avoids the cliches and lazy stereotyping of lesser shows.
In a similar way. the visually stunning filming locations also play a vital role in elevating this unique world; with each destination a gorgeous, fully-realised place complete with its own distinct personality.
If you have a story you want to tell send it to UNILAD via [email protected]
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.