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16th May 2019

Incredible video shows how Game of Thrones rebuilt King’s Landing in Northern Ireland

Kyle Picknell

The original set was in Dubrovnik, Croatia, but the show’s producers didn’t want ‘to burn it down’

For anyone that saw ‘The Bells’ – the penultimate episode of the final series of Game of Thrones and the lowest rated of the show’s to date – you’ll know that, even if it was perhaps underwhelming from a thematic perspective, it was at least very impressive visually.

In the episode, Daenerys’ last remaining dragon, aptly named Drogon, completely burns the largest city in Westeros and capital – King’s Landing – to the ground.

And now we have a behind-the-scenes HBO video that explains exactly how they managed to achieve the spectacular visual effects of the carnage (as well as preserving the historic Croatian city of Dubrovnik, where King’s Landing scenes were originally filmed).

Essentially, they rebuilt the entire fictional city on the lot of their production base in Northern Ireland. Even better than that, they built it specifically to be destroyed, complete with gas canisters in all the buildings to create more fire.

Miguel Sapochnik, the director of episode 3 (‘The Long Night’) as well as 5 (‘The Bells’) explains: “There’s no such thing as a set that you can just walk onto and shoot when you’re planning on destroying it.

“There was so much thought that went into every single section because it had so many requirements,” he added.

Meanwhile, Philip Elton, art director on the show, says: “While we were designing the buildings we were also designing the destruction at the same time. So for every lovely drawing of plans and elevations of the building… we had lovely plans and elevations of the buildings destroyed.

You can watch the segment below.