Typically, when you play the game of thrones, you win or you die. The Northern Irish sets of HBO’s hit series, however, have been offered a rare third option: to live on as tourist attractions forever. The network announced plans this week to leave several Game of Thrones sets in place and open them to the public in 2019, after the show’s final season has aired.
This conversion from actual filming locations to tourist attractions will give GoT fans their first-ever chance to set foot inside many of the series’s most ubiquitous and recognizable locales, with the IRL sites of Winterfell, Castle Black, and King’s Landing all being considered for the standing exhibit. The sets chosen for the “Legacy” project will also display a variety of related costumes, props, and weapons, as well as digital and interactive exhibitions. Additionally, Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland will be opened for a more formal studio tour that will “showcase a wide array of subject matter from the series spanning all seasons and settings,” according to a press release.
If past Westeros-related trends are any indication, the project’s completion will likely spark a massive influx of tourism to Northern Ireland, potentially even overriding the area’s previous claim to fame as the departure point of the Titanic‘s ill-fated voyage. Countries like Spain, Croatia, and Iceland have all seen spikes in visitors since it became common knowledge that locations like Dragonstone, King’s Landing, and Arrowhead Mountain were filmed in each, respectively.
“We look forward to opening the gates and sharing the excitement of stepping inside these amazing sets with Game of Thrones fans from around the world. The opportunity to celebrate Northern Ireland’s pivotal role in the life and legacy of the show and share its culture, beauty, and warmth is also a huge inspiration behind these Legacy projects,” Jeff Peters, HBO’s VP of licensing and retail, said in a statement. Now if only we could get Kit Harrington or Emilia Clarke to serve as tour guides…
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