Cast and crew gathered to celebrate the final season of Game of Thrones in Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 12th. As the primary production location for the series, Belfast was the obvious destination to host the final red carpet and debut the first episode. “It’s hard to describe what Northern Ireland has meant to Game of Thrones because it’s so integral to it,” noted Jerome Flynn (Bronn). “I can’t imagine how we would have done it without it.”
“This town and this country has given us so much over the course of shooting the show,” said John Bradley (Samwell Tarly.) “Not only the crew, and not only our amazing team here, but also the people and the locals. They’ve been so welcoming, and we know that it’s been hard, making it so they can’t drive down roads for nine years. This place is going to mean something to us for the rest of our lives, and it feels right to tell them how much we think about them with an event like this.”
Many of the cast members expressed how excited they were to film somewhere they were personally connected to. “Let me put it like this,” shared Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), “I have been involved in what’s easily regarded as one of the important pieces of television ever made, and it’s two-and-a half hours from my front door.”
“I think I’m one of the last Belfastians to survive Thrones so I’m just immensely proud of the city,” Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion) said with a laugh.
“And not just Belfast, but the whole of Northern Ireland, especially where I live on the Northern coast, added Conleth Hill (Varys). “To film there, and show the rest of the world how beautiful it is, has been an immense source of pride for me.”
Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) suggested that for those who were not local, Belfast has served as a second home. Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) agreed. “When you think about the local crew who work on the show, and all the drivers, they’ve really contributed so much to our experience of being here,” he said. “Specifically for Season 8, because it was such a long shoot, we really got a sense of home and welcome. It really hit me how I was going to miss being here.”
“We knew the time was finite didn’t we this year?” said Joe Dempsie (Gendry) about leaving. “It’s the heart and soul of this show, and has been since day one when no one really knew what it was. I’ve loved every minute of it here, and it’s been a really mutually beneficial relationship. I’m going to be really sad to say goodbye.”
With the final season officially kicking off this Sunday (Monday in the UK), emotions ran high across the board. But Kit Harington put his farewell simply: “Thank you to Belfast.”