HBO's epic fantasy drama Game of Thrones will end after its eighth season airs later this month, but fans can take comfort in knowing the show's legacy will carry on for a long time. Production on its first spinoff, a prequel series set thousands of years before Game of Thrones is underway, and now a Westeros-themed tourist attraction has been announced that will open in Northern Ireland in 2020.
The Game of Thrones Studio Tour is the first of several Game of Thrones Legacy projects which HBO announced in 2018. Linen Mill Studios, located in Banbridge in Northern Ireland, has been used extensively for the filming of Game of Thrones since the show premiered in 2011, and the studio is now collaborating with HBO Licensing & Retail to create an interactive tour which will incorporate authentic set pieces, props and costumes from the show.
Travelers have been using their vacations to find and explore locations used as sets in popular movies and television for a long time -- New Zealand, for instance, is now widely associated with the backdrops of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy. Richard Williams, the Chief Executive of Northern Ireland Screen, referenced the way tourism has become an asset for former filming locations, saying, “Northern Ireland is very proud to host the epic adventure that is the production of Game of Thrones. Almost from the start fans of the show from near and far along with those that are just culturally curious have sought out and enjoyed visiting the public locations featured in the show."
John McGrillen, the Chief Executive of Tourism NI, also spoke about the opportunities opened with the Game of Thrones Studio Tour. “We very much welcome this exciting announcement," he said. "Game of Thrones has transformed Northern Ireland into a leading international screen tourism destination, bringing many more visitors and fans of the show to Northern Ireland to explore the stunning landscapes, coastlines and mountains showcased in the series."
For those who wish to experience life in Westeros without the risk of being beheaded, frozen to death or torn apart by White Walkers, your time may be coming.
Season 8 of Game of Thrones premieres April 14. The HBO drama stars Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen, Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark and Kit Harington as Jon Snow.