06.20.14 10:14 AM ET
Queen To Visit Westeros
Prince Charles must be hoping that his mother is not looking for inspiration on how to manage one’s realm.
For news is emerging that the Queen is to visit Westeros next week.
Or, to be precise, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is to visit the Game of Thrones set during a three-day visit to Northern Ireland.
To be fair, the Queen could probably teach the ill-fated Kings of the Seven Kingdoms a good bit about staying in power, for, while she may not be a dead ringer for Daenerys Targaryen, with 60 years in power, HM has certainly hung on to her position a great deal longer than Joffre, Robert Barathian or other assorted occupants of the Iron Throne.
And the less Prince Charles hears about the Mad King, the better.
A great deal of the fantasy drama is filmed at the Titanic studios in Northern Ireland, and the province has carefully nurtured a reputation as a leading filming destination, with attractive tax breaks to film in the region.
Game Of Thrones is easily the biggest TV production in Europe and is said to have created more than 900 full-time and 5,700 part-time jobs.
As well as the studio in Belfast’s old Titanic quarter, Northern Ireland’s stunning natural landscape is also home to a number of instantly recognizable GoT locations, and various operators offer tours of the sets have sprung up.
For example, the caves where freaky fire witch Melisandre of Asshai gave birth to her “shadow assassin” who went on to slay Renly Baratheon are better known to locals as the caves at Cushendun. They were formed over a period of 400 million of years and are a product of extreme weather conditions.
Winterfell is in fact Castle Ward, which may be more familiar as Winterfell, overlooks the beautiful Strangford Lough. An exact replica of the “Winterfell Archery Range” has been re-created in the courtyard in the very same spot that the filming took place. Real nerds can even dress up in character costume for their archery lesson for a cost of £25 per person.
The Dark Hedge, a breathtaking natural archway of intertwined trees planted by a powerful local family 200 years is one of Northern Ireland’s most photographed locations - and is also the place where Arya Stark dressed as a boy to escape from King’s Landing.
Castle Black is built into an old quarry about 45 minutes north of Belfast.
However, the Queen won't be able to take in these sights as she has an engagement which would once have been as perilous a prospect for a British monarch as a duel with The Mountain—yet another handshake with former IRA commander Martin McGuinness.