Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Game of Thrones' Belfast exhibition set to be a journey into a world of fantasy

New exhibition will include almost 100 original artefacts, including costumes, props, armour and weapons created specially for the series

Favourite Game of Thrones character, Jon Snow of the Night's Watch
Some of the costumes and artefacts from Game of Thrones

It has inspired political speeches in the Netherlands, is watched by Barack Obama and has the most devoted fanbase since Star Wars.

Just a month before season four is set to premiere, it can be revealed that tens of thousands of swords and sorcery fans are set to invade Belfast for a major new Game Of Thrones exhibition.

The epic saga chronicles the brutal struggle between powerful families to seize power in the fictional kingdom of Westeros.

But the Bafta-award winning show also has showcased the beauty of Northern Ireland to millions of viewers around the world, 14m in the US alone.

Famous scenes have been shot at Shane's Castle in Antrim, Ballintoy Harbour, Castle Ward, Tollymore Forest, Magheramorne quarry and Clandeboye estate near Bangor.

The Painthall studio in Titanic Quarter was also used extensively by programme makers HBO.

The new exhibition will include almost 100 original artefacts, including costumes, props, armour and weapons created specially for the series.

Last year Titanic Belfast hosted a Game of Thrones exhibition which brought in 12,500 visitors – 30% from outside Northern Ireland, including international journalists.

On Monday night Belfast City Council approved a bid to bring the exhibition back again this year.

The council has agreed to contribute £40,000 and has tasked officers to help local community and arts groups get involved.

The Northern Ireland Tourist Board and NI Screen also forked out $150,000 (£90,000) to secure the show.

While no date has yet been set, it is expected to take place at the Waterfront Hall this summer.

Organisers are aiming to bring even more visitors to it this year with a target of 20,000.

Lord Mayor Mairtin O Muilleoir told the Belfast Telegraph the council is excited about bringing the exhibition back to the city.

"Game Of Thrones has been a phenomenal success for HBO, but it has equally been a huge success for Belfast," he said.

"Not only has it brought in business, every day it is in production creates 500 jobs. Anything that feeds the Game Of Thrones hype is very good for the city."

Mr O Muilleoir said the drama is huge in the United States, adding that many American tourists ask about being able to see its productions studios when they are visiting Belfast.

Gory, saucy and twisting plots... it's got me hooked

GUT-CHURNINGLY gory, sexually explicit and an annoying tendency to kill off much-loved characters – pretty much a list of my pet hates in any film or TV show.

I have long since refused to watch anything horror-related and will quake behind cushions during even mild violence on TV.

And yet somehow I find Game Of Thrones utterly compelling.

I started off watching out of sheer curiousity, having seen the set in production on the Clandeboye estate. But very quickly I found myself hooked.

As well as beautiful Clandeboye, Castle Ward, Shane's Castle and Ballintoy have also played an important role as scenic backdrops to the power struggle.

The complicated plot line involves several noble families vying for power.

There are monk-like soldiers who give up all worldly possessions to protect all from the much feared north, damsels in distress and a tyrannical boy king that everyone loves to hate.

It is a world like no other and I'm already looking forward to the 2014 exhibition coming to Belfast.

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