Belfast Telegraph

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Just remember, this is a city that's helping you to earn a living

By Malachi O'Doherty

Published 09/04/2015

So Belfast is a 'lovely place', says Jon Snow; not the sensible Jon Snow who presents Channel Four News but the character in Game of Thrones, or the guy who plays him, Kit Harington.

Harington says Belfast is lovely for tourists for 'two or three days' and beyond that, 'it's depressing'.

Aside from this being an embarrassment to all the efforts of our Executive to get Game of Thrones to come here and stay here - precious little thanks, in other words - this is also plain tripe. If Kit is depressed here, it might just not be the beautiful surroundings and the friendly people who are to blame.

There might be a wee want in himself. But a famous English actor has spoken and there is no more reason he should be taken seriously than if he was a famous pogo stick rider. But he will be heard.

His remarks are quoted widely across social media and a return for our own investment in Game of Thrones, made in the hope of inspiring tourists to come here, will now be that some will stay away, because Jon Snow, the handsome one, says it is 'depressing'.

So there has to be a reply.

Belfast is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, all the better for being small and tidily arranged around a sparkling estuary, sheltered by the escarpments of Black Mountain and the Castlereagh hills, and a base for touring, walking, cycling or sailing the nooks and valleys of Antrim and Down.

But Kit Harington is not just blind to the merits of this place; he is an ingrate.

Without local support and the landscape of Northern Ireland there may well still be a Game of Thrones series, but it would be a different GoT, without the setting in Ballintoy and North Antrim, the misty rocks in the Sea of Moyle and the Dark Hedges. And it would be without the financial support and tax breaks and local film making talent and the charming, genial extras, who speak very well of the cast even if some of the cast think this place is a dump.

Harington's big sacrifice for his career is that he has to spend time in a depressing city that has little to commend it but its bombed hotel and its sunken ship.

Maybe if he is not fitting in, that is his problem.

But he might take a more positive view of a city that hosts him if he was occasionally to remind himself that it's helping him earn a living.

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