I’ve been dying to do something Game of Thrones related since I arrived in Europe. I missed the exhibit in London (and Amsterdam), and I even missed this tour when I was in Dublin last time for St. Patrick’s Day. And then a miracle known as “booking the last seat to the GoT tour three days before I have to go” happened and my life’s dreams were realized.
My UNCW friend Tess is studying in Limerick University and invited me to join her and her friend on the tour. Me and Tess went to London for the Harry Potter Studio tour together back in February and ever since we became friends she’s known how passionate I am for GoT (I was the one that got her into the series). No way in hell was I missing this trip.
The GoT tour bus met at 7:30am and a by 8am the bus was packed with 30 show enthusiasts. The tour guide immediately starts giving a speech about our full day of sightseeing, but then threw a curveball right at the end. Tour lady said there would be a trivia contest. Whoever wins is crowned “King of the North” and get to hold Robb Stark’s sword for the day.
This, my friends, is called destiny. I don’t take pride in being a walking GoT encyclopedia for nothing. There was another fan on the bus dressed as Danaerys Targaryean with three different colored rubber duckies sticking to his shoulders who kept trying to get the rest of the passengers to start chanting “Mhysa.” I knew this would turn into the Trial by Trivia Contest deathmatch I’d always dreamed of.
Is it a surprise to any who know me that I won? I’ve officially reached the level where I can beat a bus full of Game of Thrones fans in a knowledge contest. I am a nerd! I am a KING! The CUBAN King in the North! I was instantly given Robb Stark’s sword on our disembarkment for our first stop: Tolleymore Forest Park. The tour dressed all of us up in Stark costumes and trekked us through the woods.
And please just look how stoic as fuck this shot is
The park was gigantic and beautiful. If there’s one regret I have it’s I wish I could’ve gotten to stay here and enjoy the woods more. Woods which were used in the opening scene of the series where unknowing Night’s Watchmen got ambushed by the deadly White Walkers. I also saw the pit used for the decimated Wilding camp. Click on the picturess for a link to the scenes!
A quick walk took us to our next scene: the ground where Tyrion Lannister and Jon Snow made camp in the second episode of the show as they headed towards the Wall.
The last stop in Tolleymore was the bridge where Ned Stark and his men and children find the corpse of a dead stag. The dead direwolf and her six pups were sprawled along the nearby stream. I could see why they chose this place for the scene, the stream was mystical.
We ate lunch at Paddy’s Bar, a local pub the tour enjoys visiting. As we started eating, our tour guide told us two stars were on their way. I finished my meal while only mildly hyperventilating. The stars turned out to be the best actors of the series: Grey Wind and Summer, Robb and Brandon Stark’s direwolves! And OH MY SHIT THEY WERE ADORABLE
After lunch was the big destination: the home castle to the Lords of the North, the much beloved Starks of Winterfell! But to be honest… it was a bit of a letdown. The area looked like some old-ish looking buildings amped up with CGI walls to create the grand Winterfell we all know and love. Just goes to show you real life sucks kids. Here’s some areas with their appropriate scenes:
“Winterfell” had some great leftover props from the beginning of the series. You could pay to dress as a Northerner or go shoot archery in the same yard Brandon Stark did before he became a cripple. They also had a metal Stark shield and the Hound’s helmet around for show.
A few other random scenes were filmed in the area. Below is the “hanging tree” from the Season 2 Episode 10 where Brienne found three hanged Lannister women after they were brutalized by three Stark men. Brienne kicks ass and kills these guys, even stabs a man up through his groin. Awesome scene. Link (of course) is in the picture.
Next came the castle of any GoT fan’s nightmares, The Twins of house Frey. Known best for the infamous Red Wedding scene. The castle looks a little different without the CGI dam extending over the water.
We departed back to the bus for the final stop of the evening: Inch Abbey. A ruined castle where Robb Stark himself was crowned the King of the North by all his men at the end of Season One. I tried to look as heroic and kingly as possible. Episode link on the castle below:
It was truly the greatest day ever. Even if I met the same fate as the King of the North (shot with crossbows, stabbed in the heart, and beheaded) I’d die content with life. Below is the promo video for the tour. If you ever get the chance to, I would definitely recommend stopping by.
Until next time, Valar Morghulis muthatruckas
PS – since this seems on topic: Kristian Nairn, aka Hodor, stopped by Swansea a couple weeks ago to party it up in Fiction. Sadly I didn’t hear any sick Game of Thrones remixes or “HODOR!” bassdrops that I’d hoped for but that gigantic man of fan favoritism knew how to DJ. And yes I wore my Game of Thrones shirt to this as well #nerdlifeisalllife