For years, the the producers of the hit TV-series, Game of Thrones have had an extremely productive symbiotic relationship with the country of Croatia, blending fiction with reality to create familiar locations from the show such as King’s Landing and Meereen. It may be difficult to tell from looking at the massive CGI cities and intricate sets that make up Game of Thrones, but behind many of the places we have grown familiar with in Westeros, lurks the real-life country of Croatia. While it’s easy to get fully immersed in the world of Westeros, those who follow the making of the show know that Croatia has acted as one of the location back-bones of Game of Thrones’ massive production. However, HBO has recently announced that Game of Thrones will not be filming in Croatia this year leaving many fans confused. How could such prime locations such as King’s Landing and Meereen which are vital to many essential characters not appear in the upcoming season?
While HBO’s decision can be surprising, especially since the corporation has not commented on the reason for its drastic change in production, the absence of Croatia from Season Six probably won’t be the end of the world (Westeros’ or our’s if you’re that much of a die-hard fan). Any business relationship can be fraught with disagreements, and many speculate that HBO had a falling out with Croatia after a local drama regarding Cersei’s infamous walk down the the city streets of “King’s Landing.” Let’s face it. Those were actually someone’s city streets, in front of a church no less, and it’s not shocking that someone somewhere had a problem with Game of Thrones baring it’s X-rated content so blatantly. It’s easy to see how a few people could see a naked body double walking down the streets and feel slightly offended. There is also speculation that filming in Croatia has simply become too expensive and HBO will be taking King’s Landing and Meereen to more affordable real-world locations, such as Spain which gave the show a warm welcome last year. As far as we know, there is a very good chance that HBO will simply film scenes normally set in Croatia somewhere else this year.
While there’s a good chance that HBO is simply switching venues, there is the possibility that the lack of filming in Croatia means that King’s Landing and Meereen will not play a part in the upcoming season. This development is not entirely impossible, as many main characters whose storylines originally were central to their location have begun adventures elsewhere. While there is still a cast of minor characters left behind in the wake of characters like Tyrion and Daenerys, it is not entirely impossible to imagine a season in which these characters took a bit of a hiatus, such as Bran did in Season Five. With the show now scheduled for at least one more season then was initially planned, the writers have more time to work with which may lead in new directions, away from familiar faces and locations.
Ultimately, so far away from Season Six, and with so little to go on, it is difficult to say for sure what Croatia’s absence from Game of Thrones’ filming means. That said, as the year progresses, and we get more of an idea of what the next season will look like, through leaked photos, casting announcements, and eventually a trailer, it will be easier to put the pieces together. For now, we can only wait and watch.