Fans of the popular TV show Game of Thrones will already be reeling from the shock twist in the programme’s latest episode from the third series, but a new exhibition opening in Belfast could help to soothe their woes.
In a move that promises to do for Northern Ireland what The Lord of the Rings did for New Zealand, fans are poised to flock to Shillanavogy Valley, near Slemish, Northern Ireland, which was where most of the filming for Game of Thrones took place.
Shillanavogy Valley was the main location for Dothraki Camp in the popular show, and fans will be shown locations such as the caves where the red priestess Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her ‘shadow baby’; Ballycastle, which is where Lord Varys was born as a slave and used as the setting for the Free Cities, and Dark Hedges road, used for the scene in which Arya Stark clothed herself as a boy in order to escape from King’s Landing.
The award winning Game of Thrones is undoubtedly one of the most popular and successful fantasy TV series ever. It is based on the books by George R.R. Martin, and is a visually stunning representation that has captured the imaginations of fans all over the world, where the charismatic characters battle in a landscape where the summers and winters can last for many years.
As the third series of the hit fantasy TV series Game of Thrones has gained over 20,000 fans, it is not altogether surprising that in only 24 hours the 12,000 advanced tickets were all allocated when they were released for the public back in May. The tour starts off at the new Titanic Belfast museum, which has only been open for a year, and this exhibition will certainly put it on the map.
The museum had previously confirmed that they have set aside around a few thousand tickets for fans who happen to turn up on the day, but long queues have already been been predicted, and an announcement on their website states that there are now no longer any more available tickets.
The exhibition runs from June 8th to 17th and follows five other cities, which are New York, São Paulo, Amsterdam and Toronto. The US television company HBO has managed to curate over 70 artifacts from the series, including costumes, props, armor and weapons. Fans of the show will be keen to see the artifacts, commissioned by artisans, whose superb craftsmanship has lent an authentic air to the medieval feel of the show.
There is an impressive costume display which was led by the show’s head costume designer Michele Clapton, and iconic artifacts such as the model dragons, an array of various weaponry including King Joffrey’s crossbow, armor worn by the main characters in the show, crowns, jewelry, books and much more are on display.
Fans will also have the chance lead an interactive Blackwater battle scene as they sit in a precise replica of the infamous iron throne.
Helen Carey, a spokeswoman from the Northern Ireland tourist board said: “As soon as the exhibition was announced in February, we started receiving thousands of emails from across the world – from Canada, from Australia. Lots of people wanted to arrange a trip around it and wanted to know which locations they could visit at the same time. We’ve noticed people booking tickets from places as far away as Honduras, the Philippines and Uruguay.”
The New York exhibition, which happened to be unticketed, saw around 5,000 people attending the show every day.
Moyra Lock, from national film commission Northern Ireland Screen, was one of the key figures who persuaded the production team to film in the country and is delighted with the reaction from fans across the world. She said: “It feels like Northern Ireland’s profile has never been bigger, and in such a positive way. We took a punt on the pilot [filmed in 2009] and the spin-offs have been amazing. It’s created an incredible buzz.”
As for the future of the series, fans will be pleased to know that filming of the fourth series is due to start in July, and only takes the story up to part two of the third book. As there are five books in the series, with author George RR Martin said to be penning two more, there will be plenty more episodes for followers of Game of Thrones to get their teeth into.
More information can be found at the Titanic Belfast website.