Artificial snow was used instead of the real thing in the first season but production moved to Iceland for scenes beyond the Wall thereafter which had a positive effect on tourism in Iceland (complete with superfans dressed in fake animal skins and fur).
Vatnajökull, Europe’s largest glacier, appeared often on Season 2 and 3, standing in as the desolate Wildling country north of the Wall and White Walker territory. In fact, one of its glacial tongues, Svínafellsjökull, nicknamed ‘The Hollywood Glacier’, has been featured in numerous blockbusters, including Batman Begins. But it’s hard not to be awed by this magnificent outlet glacier which features sharp frozen ridges of deep electric blues punctuated with veins of black ash formed by centuries of ancient volcanic eruptions.
Another popular blockbuster location is Reynisfjara, Vík’s black sand beach, which appeared as Planet Eaduin in Star Wars’ Rogue One; in GoT it was the location for Eastwatch, the farthest side of the Wall where the icy monolith drops into the sea. Seen in Season 7, the amazing rock formation jutting out in the sea, called Dyrhólaey, was CGI-ed to represent the Wall and Jon and company landed on the beach’s black sands.
Kirkjufell or Church Mountain was a superstar even before it appeared on GoT as its distinctive peak is Iceland’s most photographed mountain. In the series, it was seen repeatedly to signify White Walker territory and the Hound cites it as the “mountain shaped as an arrowhead” to confirm he was on the right track in his hunt for White Walkers. Despite playing such a significant role in the plot, the cast was never actually filmed at Kirkjufell and the peak, which was filmed in winter and summer, was inserted into scenes – a random fact that hasn’t stopped fans from re-enacting The Hound vs The Mountain in pictures.
This article is an excerpt from UNRESERVED’s April 2019 issue from the article Westeros Ho!