The media here in Andalucia has been abuzz with excitement over the past few days with news that Game of Thrones Season Five will be filmed in one of our three most beautiful and historic cities: Cordoba, Seville or Granada. A beautiful Moorish or Mudejar palace with exquisite gardens dating back many centuries – either an Alcazar of Seville or Cordoba, or the Alhambra of Granada – will become the kingdom for the next series of the hugely successful fantasy TV series set in fictional medieval times.
Carlos Rosado, director of the Andalucía Film Comission, took representatives from the production company to see the Alhambra in Granada last Thursday.
Apparently the production team has spent the last two months looking for suitable locations for the hit show, which has been previously been shot in Croatia, Iceland, Malta, Morocco and the UK – namely, Scotland and Northern Ireland (where it is based), with the past three series – two, three and four – using the Dalmatian coastal nation as one of its locations.
Starkly dramatic, other-worldly landscapes in Iceland; a castle in Scotland; cities, forests and coastline in Ulster; the Moroccan desert city of Ouzarate; and the medieval walled city of Dubrovnik have all appeared on TV screens as part of the global hit series, which has regularly achieved audiences of five or six million, while the opening episode of the current season (four), aired last month, drew a total audience of 8.2 million.
Game of Thrones is renowned for its stunning locations – Season 4 was filmed in in four counties over 180 days, or nearly six months. The show has even won an award for its locations – at the first Location Managers Guild of America Awards, held in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles in March, the global hit show took home the prize for Outstanding Location Television Program. Series 5 will also be shot in Croatia, now a favourite setting for the series.
The effect on tourism of a city or country appearing on Game of Thrones is a strong one – in Dubrovnik, fans can take a four-hour guided tour of the city, and the locations outside the city, one of the main shooting locations for the HBO series since its first season. In Iceland you can take special guided visits to some of the striking natural features used as backdrops, and some tour companies even offer holidays taking in both Icelandic and Croatian locations used in the series’ distinctive fantasy world. Northern Ireland, which has been the main setting for Westeron, the fictional kingdom, offers bus tours showing fans where the action took place.
Whichever Andalucian city the show’s production team chooses in the end, and the announcement will be made soon, it will be great news for the region , both for the jobs created before and during the shoot itself, and for attention focussed on the region afterwards, when the series is broadcast. Game of Thrones is watched by millions worldwide, and would inevitably result in an increase in “set-jetters”, fans visiting locations of TV series and movies, as they come to explore the real life settings of their favourite TV programme.