Game of Thrones' legacy in pop culture will last far beyond its run on television, and HBO just ensured that with a very special announcement. The network announced that future fans won't just have to settle for an on-screen experience of the highly successful fantasy series, they'll be able to visit the series' most iconic locations in person for an experience unlike any other. That's right, HBO is teaming up with Northern Ireland and opening up several of its iconic sets and locations to serve as tourist attractions for years to come.
HBO has yet to drill down on everything future patrons will be able to see, but it is considering including the standing sets for King's Landing, Castle Black, and Winterfell on top of the Northern Ireland structures that have been closed to the public for years. In addition to that, tourists will be able to take a formal tour of Linen Mill Studios, which will be jam-packed with Game of Thrones memorabilia. This includes costumes, props, weapons, art files and lots of other things that would interest even the most casual of viewers.
The Game of Thrones Legacy attractions will apparently be on a scale larger than the public has ever seen, and will measure up to the equally impressive landscapes the show used to film. HBO will supplement the experience using state-of-the-art digital content and other effects to make visitors feel as though they're a part of the program. Fans frantically searching for flights to Northern Ireland have a little time to wait, as the attraction's tentative open date is set for 2019.
As mentioned, the full scope of the project is unknown as HBO still has to go through an exploratory process before an official announcement, but what's been teased of The Game of Thrones Legacy attraction is promising. HBO vice president of Licensing and Retail Jeff Peters thinks fans will be excited not just to visit the show's iconic locations, but learn how pivotal a role Northern Ireland played in shaping the series' vision for Westeros. Chief executive of tourism for Northern Ireland John McGrillen said largely the same thing and added that the attraction will make for a big boost in the area's global tourism.
The Game of Thrones Legacy attraction is unquestionably exciting, although it does pose some interesting questions for the future of the franchise. After all, with a prequel on the way and a few pilot scripts waiting in the wings, it's hard to believe none of them will include any of these locations that have played vital roles in Westeros' culture. One exhibit could be closed temporarily for filming while tourists are still allowed to wander other sets, although one would imagine that creates an increased risk of spoilers leaking out. On the flip side, perhaps this project just subtly confirmed the show won't be utilizing these locations in the prequel.