Shortly before the first episode of the finale season hits the small screen, TBL International announced that GAME OF THRONES: The Touring Exhibition will make its debut visit to the Titanic Exhibition Centre Belfast, Northern Ireland, for a limited run from 11th April to 1st September 2019.
It will be the largest ever Game of Thrones public display, giving fans opportunities to take a close and personal look at 3 times Emmy-winning costumes, authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons. Two never-seen-before sets, the Winterfell Crypt and Dragon Skull Pit, have been exclusively added for Northern Ireland, creating an immersive experience of Game of Thrones like on other.
(Fans can take a close look at the dragon skulls, ranging in size from about that of an apple to the one belonging to Balerion the Dread, which decorated the throne room in the Red Keep until King Robert Baratheon had them hidden away in the catacombs.)
Northern Ireland is home to 26 Game of Thrones filming locations and the legendary Titanic Studios where much of the series was filmed over a 10-year period, which makes Ni the real life Westeros. It was indeed a homecoming for the exhibition.
(“Most of my life events have been in some way connected to Belfast and I’m really grateful for that.” Game of Thrones actor Isaac Wright who plays Bran Stark says it’s difficult to say goodbye to Northern Ireland at the launch of the Game of Thrones touring exhibition at the TEC Belfast. Source: BBC News NI)
Just hours after some 192,000 UK enthusiasts stayed up until 2am to watch the first of the six final episodes, Tourism NI unveiled a huge stained glass monument opposite the main entrance to Belfast City Hall. Dedicated to the House Stark, the window is the first of six that will be unveiled each week across Belfast as the new episodes are shown on the small screen.
These window monuments will form part of a major new campaign to promote Northern Ireland around the world as “Game of Thrones Territory”. By the end of series eight, the windows will form a new Game of Thrones trail, leading fans across the city to the final window at the Titanic Studios.
(Picture from: belfasttelegraph)
Now that the filming is over, a permanent “Game of Thrones Studio Tour” – Linen Mill Studios is being planned for Banbridge, Co Down, and is expected to be open to public in spring 2020.
HBO also confirmed in a statement that they have ordered a pilot episode of a prequel series called “The Long Night”, which will tell tales of “the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour”. The pilot episode, and possibly the full series depending on the quality of the pilot, will be broadcast after Game of Thrones’ final season in 2019. Fans and Northern Ireland film industry can now look forward to more tales from Westeros.
Game of Thrones has brought Northern Ireland to the attention of travelers around the world and creates a good image. Last year alone the series drew 100,000 visitors to Northern Ireland, injecting £30m into the economy. Statistics can't do justice to the Game of Thrones effect on Northern Ireland's economy, said economist Graham Brownlow, from Queens University Belfast. There is little doubt that this epic series will continue to generate interest in tourism here for a long time to come.
Beyond tourism, the direct employment of local workers has been very important for the local economy. Northern Ireland Screen, the Government body that promotes the film and tv industry in Northern Ireland, estimates the filming process alone has pumped £250m into the economy.
The show's presence has helped foster a film industry that enjoys global recognition. With world-class facilities and access to a highly skilled talent pool, it’s catching the eye of Hollywood productions, and will continue to play a key part in the picture. Yellow Moon, a production facility near Belfast, has enjoyed strong growth and doubled its workforce by being involved with Game of Thrones. Five years ago, 80 percent of Yellow Moon's work was for local. Now, 70 percent of their work is commissioned outside Northern Ireland. “After Game of Thrones, there’s nobody that’s serious in the screen industry that doesn’t know that Northern Ireland is a hub for content.” said Northern Ireland screen chief Richard Williams. Other companies such as Universal Pictures, BBC and Disney have also chosen Northern Ireland for recent productions.
In Northern Ireland, employment in the creative industries accounted for around 24,000 jobs in 2016, which represented 2.9 per cent of the workforce. (Source: Creative Industries economic estimates for Northern Ireland 2018) Northern Ireland is home to a dynamic cluster of companies who are working with international partners to deliver creative solutions within animation, audio technology, e-learning, music and of course screen production. No doubt creative industry will become one of the key economic drivers for future growth.