There are only ten weeks in a year that I look forward to a Monday – when the new season of Game of Thrones airs. (I’m from India you see.. prime time airing in the US is almost 4am here) So, it came as no surprise that when Hubby and I booked our trip to Croatia this year, visiting the Game of Thrones filming locations formed a major part of our itinerary. Our trip started with Dubrovnik, perfect start to our quest to locate the filming location me thinks. It is common knowledge that Dubrovnik Old Town is Kings Landing, and just to make sure that we didn’t miss any of our favourite shot spots, we had Dubrovnik Walking Tours come to our rescue. Come to our rescue they did and how! The team ensured that our appetite to see and learn more about the filming of the famous show does not go insatiate.
We met our group at the at the Onofrio’s fountain. It was a hot day, but that did not impair the excitement that kept building as we were introduced to Stompa, our tour guide. Stompa, a self-proclaimed GOT fanatic, who has read the books and watched the series several times, has also been an extra on two of the episodes of the series. Now, with those qualifications, I think we were sorted (especially since there was that little promise of some inside dish!) With the receivers in place and introductions done, we were ready to dive into the world of Game of Thrones.
The tour was divided into two parts, one where the interior shots of Red Keep were filmed – at the Fort of St. Laurence and Dubrovnik Old Town which truly embraced Kings Landing. We visited the locations where scenes from Season 2, 3, and 5 were shot. The best part about the tour is that you don’t have to wait too long (ahem.. walk that long) to see the locations. The town is quite small and has been used extensively for the series. Big big thumbs up for an impatient person like me. But in this post I will concentrate on the most recognizable scenes from the series. For all the gossip, you’ll need Stompa.
Let’s do this!
‘Kill Them All!’ – Season 2
Our first stop just a few meters from our meeting point. It is near the Pile Gate where one of the scenes of the second season was shot. In the series, after Marcella gets sent to Dorne, Joffrey gets attacked as he is walking back to Red Keep. In his psychopathic anger he yells ‘Kill him! Kill them all!’ which almost gets him killed and Sansa raped and killed. The first part of the scene is shot at the Pile Gate which is the entrance of the Old Town. Watching the scene again, this place is so recognizable. There is hardly any CGI to tweak the location. What a treat!
In the same sequence, as Sansa makes a run for it and the scene cuts to an interior portion of St. Lawrence’s fort. This is probably the first time we see the human side of The Hound when he comes to Sansa’s rescue… and of course, the wonderful Tyrion yelling at Joffrey and eventually slapping him! Bwahahaha! #momentofpurejoy
‘Watch Out for Her with Him’ – Season 3
On the way to St. Lawrence’s fort, you come across a pier which any ‘thronie’ will have no problem in recognizing. It is the pier where Littlefinger and Sansa have a conversation with Shae looking out after her. You will also recognize it with the number of people trying to take pictures in the same pose (*guilty face*). There is a little bay right next to this pier is which is Blackwater Bay. Truth be told, it is quite underwhelming to see that little nook, but at the same time, quite amazing what CGI does.
‘Kill the Bastards’ – Season 2
This is a blink and miss scene in the first episode. I had to put this in because the location is so cute! This is when all Robert Baratheon’s bastards were hunted and killed. A brutal scene for a really cute filming location. The actual location also reminded me of the hobbit homes in Lord of the Rings.
Joffrey’s Naming Ceremony – Season 2
Season 2 opens with Joffrey’s naming ceremony which is almost entirely shot in St. Lawrence Fort. Getting to the fortress can be a bit of a challenge for a hot summer’s day, but this is the Red Keep. You’ve got to earn it. The views from the fort, that’s your prize.
‘Knowledge is Power’ ‘Power is Power’ – Season 2
You have got to love Cersei sometimes. She knows what she wants and this is just a little teaser to show that Cersei knows no mercy. I love this confrontation scene between Littlefinger and Cersei. This entire scene is shot in the courtyard of the fort. The lanterns that have been used extensively through scenes that are shot here belong to the fort. When we visited, the Dubrovnik summer festival was going on and was lined with seating. It did intrude in the pictures we wanted to take, but just imagine sitting in this beautiful space watching theatre as the sun goes down.. goosebumps!
‘Shame’ – Season 5
This is probably the most iconic scenes of Game of Thrones. This is the first time that Cersei is brought down to her knees, and how! This sequence was shot in a few different locations and we had our wonderful Stompa guide us through that. Guess what? Our very own Stompa was one of the extras on this scene.
We ended the walk in a true Game of Thrones season finale style… with a picture on the throne of course!
My Two Cents – This is a great tour for someone who loves Game of Thrones. Although it is easy to find information online about the shooting locations, it is the nuances and detailed information about the show, the story, the locations, the filming and of course, the little anecdotes that makes this tour an absolute must do in Dubrovnik. It is also a great way to see Dubrovnik Old Town. The tour takes you around a lot of places which includes the major scenes (some of which I put up in this post) and quite a few of the smaller scenes as well. Just goes to show that the tour has been well researched and you would’ve never known of these locations if someone had not pointed it out to you. Of course, there are a few more locations of that the series has filmed at in Dubrovnik, but covering that would not be possible for a walking tour.
If you want to take the Game of Thrones experience a little further (like us) you can always walk to the Belvedere Hotel to see the spot where the duel between Oberyn and the Mountain was shot and also take a trip to Lokrum island to see Qarth. The scene where Daenerys is trying to find her dragons at the House of Undying, is at the walls of Dubrovnik Old Town. A set was erected at a parking lot for Joffrey’s wedding scene. Turns out, Stompa’s friends were extras on that scene and watched with absolute pleasure when Joffrey died. This can be you extended GOT tour.
Having Stompa take us around and show us the sights was delightful. She knew so much about the series. Walking around with a whole bunch of Game of Thrones fanatics, you can imagine how she got bombarded with questions. She was extremely patient and answered all the questions. She shared her own experience on working with the show and her friend’s experiences as well. So watch out for her in the ‘Shame’ episode and the episode with Oberyn and The Mountain’s duel. She is peasant number 20.
The icing on the cake, of course, is the picture you take on the iron throne at the end of the tour.
A big big thank you to Dubrovnik Walking Tours to host my husband and me for this tour. The opinions, of course, are all mine!