Winter is coming so it’s the perfect time to write about the countries which provide a setting for HBO’s award winning Game of Thrones. Did you know that Malta is one of five European and North African countries to be used for the TV adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s first volume of his best selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire? Here’s the lowdown on the hottest (and coldest) filming destinations for the TV class.
Malta was an obvious choice for season one. It has a whopping ten (cultural and tentative) UNESCO heritage sites as well as castles, fortresses and ports which allow for war, love and escape! This makes it an ideal setting for the portrayal of a Game of Thrones’ Westeros and Essos, The Land Across the Narrow Sea.
Another benefit was that it looked ‘warm.’ An aesthetical challenge in Ireland, another country which has been used by the Game of Thrones production team for its backdrop. Malta’s yellow and orange tones offered that sought after Mediterranean feel.
Malta is not the only inhibited island of the The Maltese Archipelago, it shares this area with Gozo and Comino albeit Malta is the largest of the three islands however, not the only one to be used for blood shed and pillaging.
Location, Location, Location
According to The Globe and Mail, the city of Mdina (see map) has starred as the backdrop of King’s Landing. The medieval structure provided a perfect location for the Seven Kingdom’s walled capital city where the Iron Throne stands proudly, currently sat upon by King Tommen Baratheon (subject to change!)
The Great Sept of Baelor, the church in Game of Thrones, has often been filmed in Malta’s Gzira (see map.) The repulsive King Joffrey Baratheon and cunning to Margaery Tyrell were married here. Fort Manoel in Gzira was also used for the public execution of Eddard Stark (still sobbing!)
You will find the gates of the Red Keep on a seventeenth century fortress in a small town called Kalkara, population of three thousand.
On the island of Gozo, the striking Azure Window can be spotted in the Dothraki wedding feast scene between my favourite, Daenerys Targaryen and her late husband Drogo. Unfortunately, the arch collapsed in 2017, saddening Gozitans, visitors, and Game of Thrones destination tourists alike. If you are planning a trip to Malta you should check out the Maltese capital, Valletta too.
After season one, Malta was dropped from the Game of Thrones filming programme when the set was moved to Croatia, later, Morocco and in the fight against winter – Iceland. TV and film tourism is exploding in Europe with Outlander enthusiasts flocking to Scotland to visit Claire and Jamie’s world with tours stopping at one of my favourite places in the homeland, Glencoe.
Tour for TV? What about this guide to Orlando tours in Scotland?