I was holidaying in Dubrovnik for a week during September 2014 and one of the main highlights of the trip was the Game of Thrones tour. It was a three hour tour and organised by Elite Tours though I booked through Viator.com. I actually booked all my transfers and day trips with Viator and couldn’t recommend them enough.
We met on a rainy morning at Pile Gate and because of the terrible weather our group ended up being quite small (group of 5) which suited us just fine. The rain quickly cleared up which made way for a great start to the tour. Our guide’s name was Ana and she was an extra on the set and played a peasant because she was tall. She was extremely knowledgeable and really nice too. One of the first things she told us was that the rivaling families with Stark and Lannister could have been very well based on the feud of York and Lancaster which was known in history as the War of Roses. The wars between the two families lasted for over thirty years. George R Martin did admit that the War of Roses was one of his inspirations but at the same time wanted to keep it fictional.
Throughout this post I will try and include all photos of the tour in which I took which are in context to the scenes. Ana had a folder of HBO images which she showed us (CGI and all) with each physical location we visited.
Location: Kings landing – external outlook
As you can see this depicts the city walls of Kings Landing. The castle is missing. This is because it has been inserted using CGI. This is probably the largest element where CGI was used. In many other cases objects like a wall of roses and decorative architecture, CGI was commonly used.
In the first season King’s Landing was actually filmed in Malta but Ana said that the lure of Dubrovnik and its medieval architecture proved to more appealing.
Location: King’s Landing docks and pier
In Season Two, Princess Myrcella is shipped off to House Martell of Dorne by Tyrion, leaving Cersei to despise him even more, and the scene is set below. The ships were a product of CGI as well as the two extra towers on the fortress.
In Season Three Episode One, adjacent to the docks is a pier. This sets the scene where Sansa is watching the ships in the distance (also CGI) with Shae until Lord Baelish (Littlefinger) interrupts and they discuss escape plans. The scene ends with Rose (Littlefinger’s sidekick ex prostitute) warning Shae to watch out for Sansa.
Location: The Battle of Blackwater
By now we already know that something big and unexpected happens in Episode Nine of the show and Season Two didn’t disappoint. Stannis Baratheon could no longer stand sitting around Dragonstone any longer, he needed to fight for his crown as he was the rightful heir to the Iron Throne.
I couldn’t find any decent photos online of the background of the battle since it was fought at night. But Ana explained to us that this cove was where the Battle of Blackwater was filmed, where Tyrion’s army fired large amounts of a green concoction called Wildfire to bomb Stannis Baratheon’s ships.
Location: The Red Keep
The scenes of the Red Keep, inside anyway, was filmed inside Lovrijenac Fortress which is just outside of the city walls. It’s an amazing piece of architecture, giving you a 180 degree view of the city walls and the sea.
Over the entrance to Lovrijenac fortress an ancient inscription reads as follows: NON BENE PRO TOTO LIBERTAS VENDITUR AURO. In translation: Freedom is not sold for all the gold in the world. It played a large part in defending the city against the Venetians during the 11th century.
These days, it is used during the summer festival for theatre productions including Hamlet.
In Season Two, Episode One, it is Joffrey’s name day and here is a scene of the landing where the fighting occured. I didn’t take it at the exact angle but you get the picture.
Please stay tuned for more posts on my tour experiencing Game of Thrones Westeros locations. There is much more to come including the House of the Undying, The City of Qarth and more! These posts are very time consuming to write so please be patient 🙂