In Lake Myvatn, Grjótagjá, a cave that houses geothermally-heated pools, witnessed the famous scene between Ygritte and Jon Snow.
Of all the nations in the world, Iceland is one of the most unique and intriguing of them all. With the Northern Lights, snow, ice, whale watching, lava caves, and volcanic activity, Iceland is a truly diverse and exciting place to visit.
One reason why the nation has become even more popular in recent years is that it’s one of the primary settings of the global smash-hit show Game of Thrones. While the series is shot all around the world, such as Croatia and Ireland, with many different nations paying homage to the show, including Finland, it is Iceland which boasts some of the most spectacular sights from Game of Thrones.
So, what makes the Game of Thrones sets in Iceland so iconic, and why does the show demand so much appeal that people want to seek out the locations of its filming?
Iceland’s great Game of Thrones locations
This fissure in the ground in Iceland, instead of opening to a deadly abyss, holds the natural hot spring known as Grjótagjá, a stunning cave pool. Fun fact: It was also the set of the secret cave where Jon Snow and Ygritte consummated their relationship in Game of Thrones. pic.twitter.com/bcbRc7ZLfR
— Atlas Obscura (@atlasobscura) April 13, 2018
As is the case with other fantasy epics, such as The Lord of the Rings, the locations for Game of Thrones had to be perfect to immerse viewers in the series. Many different locations in Iceland were used over the series’ seven seasons, with one of the most iconic combat scenes taking place on Hengilssvæðið. It is here that Sandor ‘The Hound’ Clegane and Brienne of Tarr engaged in a brutal duel.
In Lake Myvatn, Grjótagjá, a cave that houses geothermally-heated pools, witnessed the famous and oath-breaking scene between the wildling Ygritte and sworn brother of the Night’s Watch, Jon Snow. Speaking of being north of the wall, Höfðabrekkuheiði was as the winter background for many scenes in the true north, with the Mýrdalsjökull glacier being used as the Fist of the First Men. Finally, and most recently – but remaining spoiler-free – when the dragons take flight in the first episode of season eight, they land in Skogafoss after flying through Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon.
The show is so incredibly popular that The Scotsman reports that Inverness airport will be launching direct flights to Akureyri in February 2020 to grant access to the more remote filming locations of Game of Thrones. Of course, the show has been popular for a long time, so you can already arrange one of the long-standing Game of Thrones tours in Iceland, such as with Gray Line.
Why is visiting Game of Thrones locations so popular?
— Reigns: Game of Thrones (@reignsgame) April 14, 2019
Game of Thrones is an incredibly well made series with many intriguing storylines, giving it a very strong fan base. The filming locations are stunning in their own right, but being used in Game of Thrones gives fans another reason to visit. But one of the biggest ways in which Game of Thrones has managed to garner such massive popularity is through its gaming offering, which makes the fantasy world accessible and immersive at all times.
One of the longest-standing Game of Thrones games is the online slot. Betway’s Game of Thrones slot game was released in 2014 to appease the series’ adult viewers who want to spin in the great sigils of the houses of Westeros. Then, there’s the recently released Reigns: Game of Thrones on the Nintendo Switch, in which you must face the challenges of the most influential characters of the story. For the more traditional audience of high-fantasy games, Fantasy Flight Games released A Game of Thrones: The Board Game, which plays similarly to Risk, but with a huge infusion of Game of Thrones – from the map to the actions you can take. Allowing fans to play as their favorite houses against others in particularly Thrones-y ways makes it incredibly appealing.
Game of Thrones, and those who deal with its license, have done a wonderful job of creating immersive games which, in turn, bolster the desire to visit the locations of the epic show.