HBO has just announced tentative plans to offer up Game of Thrones sets as tourist attractions in Northern Ireland.
We’re all patiently waiting (and some of us, not so patiently) for HBO to finally release the eighth and climatic season of Game of Thrones, the literal best show on television. While the next season isn’t set for release until some tragically vague time in 2019, we might be able to get a first-hand look at the locations used for filming even sooner.
HBO announced on Monday that they’re currently in the exploratory process of opening old Game of Thrones sets as tourist attractions. This is great news for several reasons: first, it means that fans will get a chance to look at the real-life places where Game of Thrones was filmed, second it’ll provide Northern Ireland with oodles of tourism, and third (and most importantly), it means that filming of season 8 must be done since otherwise they couldn’t make the sets into tourist spots.
Locations being considered are Winterfell (the home of the Starks), Castle Black (where The Night’s Watch keep their vigil), and Kings Landing (where all manner of political intrigue went down). Besides converting the sets into something safe for tourists to tromp through, HBO also plans to include costumes, props, weapons, art files, models, and interactive digital displays with behind-the-scenes tidbits for the whole series.
There will also be a formal tour of Linen Mill Studios, where much of the filming took place.
“HBO is thrilled to celebrate the work of the Game of Thrones creative team and crew by preserving these locations and inviting fans to visit Northern Ireland and explore Westeros in person,” said Jeff Peters, HBO’s Vice President of Licensing and Retail. “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.”
Currently, HBO has a tentative opening date of 2019, but that can change based on their findings of this exploratory period. HBO is also working with Tourism NI, the government of Northern Ireland's travel marketing arm to help bring this plan to fruition as it would mean a huge tourism boost to the country.