Winter Has Come

Season 7 of HBO’s Game of Thrones —the world’s favorite fantasy series  — will start shooting soon. For the upcoming season the cast and crew will return to Iceland. In previous seasons, Icelandic landscape has mostly been used for scenes north of the Wall. Among the most memorable ones was when the characters Jon Snow and Ygritte made love in the cave Grjótagjá in Mývatnssveit, North Iceland.

The US fantasy drama television series, created by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss, is set on the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos and interweaves several plot lines with a large ensemble cast. Game of Thrones has attracted record numbers of viewers on HBO and attained an exceptionally broad and active international fan base.

Serving the Storyline

Entertainment Weekly confirmed in July that Game of Thrones will be filmed in Iceland, Northern Ireland and Spain. The new season will be different from past seasons in that it will premiere in summer 2017 but not in the spring, as usual, and there will only be seven episodes instead of the conventional ten. The reason for the delayed premiere is apparently that winter has finally come (‘Winter is Coming’ is the name of the first episode).

“Now that winter has arrived on Game of Thrones, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” said Casey Bloys, president of HBO programming. “Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.”

Spectacular Scenes

A number of Icelandic tourism companies, such as Iceland Travel and The Travelling Viking, offer tours to Game of Thrones filming locations. The Telegraph listed some of the “most spectacular” ones in June. In addition to Grjótagjá, these include:

Dimmuborgir, North Iceland: the frozen lava field near lake Mývatn is where Mance Rayder’s wildling army camp was based in Season 3.

Skaftafell, South Iceland: after Season 2, Svínafellsjökull, an outlet glacier of Vatnajökull in Skaftafell national park, was used for winter scenes beyond the Wall.

Vík, South Iceland: Höfðabrekkuheiði heath near the town Vík appears as the frozen wastes of northern Westeros, while Mýrdalsjökull glacier serves as the Fist of the First Men.

Þingvellir, South Iceland: the national park is where the pass to the impregnable Eyrie is located and in Season 4, it’s where Brienne and the Hound engage in a bloody battle.  

After Season 7, new locations will likely be added to the list.

By Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir.

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