“Death is so final. Whereas life is full of possibilities”

The Paint Hall at Titanic Studios
The Paint Hall at Titanic Studios

Northern Ireland plays host to filming for the most popular and most pirated TV show in the world: Game of Thrones. The show is a medieval fiction-fantasy based on the Song of Ice and Fire series by George RR Martin, so they needed landscapes that would be sparsely populated and have features unique to that time period. Northern Ireland fits well with all of the requirements due to its long history, numerous castles and ruins, varied topography and willingness of the government to cooperate with HBO.  About 70% of the screen time on the show is filmed in Northern Ireland. Most of the interiors are shot in Belfast at the Paint Hall at Titanic Studios, the giant warehouse where the Titanic was painted. It was converted to studio space when the Northern Ireland Film Board signed Game of Thrones.

This is the Castle Black set - it's closed, so this is the closest you can get but only if you're in a moving vehicle at the time. Drones are also a no-go -- the crew will shoot them down.
This is the Castle Black set – it’s closed, so this is the closest you can get but only if you’re in a moving vehicle at the time. Drones are also a no-go — the crew will shoot them down.
While in Northern Ireland, I took a tour with McComb’s Coaches to several of the Game of Thrones filming sites and was enthralled by the gorgeous landscapes. McComb’s also transports the cast and crew to the various sites, so these guys know their Thrones. The following pictures identify which scene(s) took place in each location – mild spoilers follow.
Title quote: Tyrion Lannister, A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
This car park in Larrybane was the site for Renly's camp in season 2. It overlooks the cliff-edged water.
This car park in Larrybane was the site for Renly’s camp in season 2. It overlooks the cliff-edged water.
This is just one of the views from Renly's camp in the Stormlands - Catelyn and Renly walked along this area, chatting about the knights of summer.
This is just one of the views from Renly’s camp in the Stormlands – Catelyn and Renly walked along this area, chatting about the knights of summer.
A view out to sea from Renly's camp at Larrybane
A view out to sea from Renly’s camp at Larrybane
This is Ballintoy Harbor, which stands in for Pyke and Saltpans. Theon and Arya both used this set, but for different places, even though the only differences were the actor and weather.
This is Ballintoy Harbor, which stands in for Pyke and Saltpans. Theon and Arya both used this set, but for different places, even though the only differences were the actor and weather.
This cliff in Ballintoy Harbor is used for Dragonstone. The little beach there is where Gendry set off in his little boat.
This cliff in Ballintoy Harbor is used for Dragonstone. The little beach there is where Gendry set off in his little boat.
This is the shadow baby cave under Storm's End in season 2. In real life, it's in Cushenden.
This is the shadow baby cave under Storm’s End in season 2. In real life, it’s in Cushenden.
This is the view outside the Cushenden cave and is where Davos and Melisandre came ashore.
This is the view outside the Cushenden cave and is where Davos and Melisandre came ashore.
This little spot in Glencoy will feature in season 6 as Braavos. Arya jumps into the water here. For some reason.
This little spot in Glencoy will feature in season 6 as Braavos. Arya jumps into the water here. For some reason.
Dunluce Castle is slated to be featured in season 7 - which one from the books do you think it will be? Casterly Rock or Storm's End?
Dunluce Castle is slated to be featured in season 7 – which one from the books do you think it will be? Casterly Rock or Storm’s End?
The Dark Hedges, the only grove of serpentine beech trees growing together in the world, was featured as the Kings Road at the beginning of season 2.
The Dark Hedges, the only grove of serpentine beech trees growing together in the world, was featured as the Kings Road at the beginning of season 2.
Another view of the Dark Hedges
Another view of the Dark Hedges

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