The fifth season of “Game of Thrones” starts this Sunday (Monday if you’re in the UK), promising another 10 episodes of scheming, sex, and bloody violence in the fractured fictional kingdoms of Westeros and Essos.
With a staggering $US6 million spent per episode, no expense is spared to faithfully replicate George R. R. Martin’s world. Actors and crew travel to Iceland, Morocco, Ireland, and beyond to find the sets that represent the icy crags of the Vale, the untamed wilds of the North, and the bitter desert cities around Slaver’s Bay.
But can you tell which is which? With a keen eye — and an encyclopedic knowledge of the Seven Kingdoms — it’s possible to identify which real-life windswept hill stands in for the Crownlands, and which snowy tundra is North of the Wall.
(Warning: This post contains extensive spoilers for already-aired episodes of Game of Thrones.)
Yep -- it's Winterfell, the historic seat of House Stark, ruling family of the North. Trailers suggest we will be seeing more of Winterfell this season.
It's the site of Daenerys Targaryen's wedding to Dothraki warlord Khal Drogo on the outskirts on Pentos.
...King's Landing, in the Crownlands. With Tywin Lannister murdered by his son Tyrion, the city is sure to be thrown into chaos in Season 5.
King's Landing is named that because it was where Aegon the Conqueror first made his landing during his invasion of Westeros, 300 years before the events of the TV show.
It makes up the external shots of the Red Keep, the castle at the heart of King's Landing that houses the Iron Throne.
...again corresponding to the Red Keep. It's where Littlefinger offers to smuggle Sansa out of King's Landing at the start of Season 3.
It should: It's the thermal cave North of the Wall where Jon Snow and Ygritte became very well acquainted before they climbed the Wall.
But in 'Game of Thrones' it's the Great Sept of Baelor, the holiest site of the Faith of the Seven and where Ned Stark met a grizzly death on King Joffrey's orders.
We should be seeing more of the Faith in Season 5...
It's in the Stormlands, close to Storm's End, seat of House Baratheon. Here Lord Renly gathered an army as he prepared to challenge King Joffrey after his brother Robert Baratheon's death.
It's also the site of the negotiations that took place between brothers Renly and Stannis, prior to Renly's sudden death as a result of Melisandre's (the 'Red Woman') sorcery. Stannis and Melisandre are now at the Wall with Jon Snow, after saving the Night's Watch from a Wildling army.
Yes, it's North of the Wall. Specifically, the Frostfang mountains, where Jon Snow, Quorin Halfhand and others went ranging.
It's the set for Lordsport on the isle of Pyke in the Iron Islands, where Theon Greyjoy travels to curry his father's favour of King Robb's behalf -- before turning his cloak and invading the North. Theon is now a broken man, tortured and enslaved by the sadistic Ramsay.
...A.K.A. the King's Road, which Arya travels up in the company of Night's Watch recruiter Yoren. With Winterfell in ruins, Arya has now set sail for the free city of Braavos, to an uncertain fate.
For 'Game Of Thrones,' it stood in for Yunkai, a city in Slaver's Bay liberated by Daenerys Targaryen. The 'Khaleesi' now resides in recently-liberated Meereen, determined to rule.
And the same is true in 'Game of Thrones,' where they play Vaes Dothrak, the closest thing the nomadic Dothraki horse lords have to a city.
...It's Astapor, one of the Ghiscari city states dotted around Slaver's Bay. This is the Walk of Punishment, where slaves are left to die.
It's the harbour in Astapor where a supernatural assassin in the form of a child is sent by Qartheen warlocks to try and kill Daenerys Targaryen.
But unlike Fort Lovrijenac, it's not in King's Landing -- or even Westeros. It's the House of the Undying in Qarth, where Daenerys ventures at the end of Season 2 to rescue her dragons.
Answer: It's in Wolfswood in the North, where Ned Stark found a dead dire wolf, and gave its pups to his children. 5 years on, his children have grown up, and winter is coming.
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