Fanspot
Dragonstone

TV show Game of Thrones (2011)
Also appears in TV show House of the Dragon (2022)
It is after a long journey that Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) finally arrives in Dragonstone, the ancestral stronghold of her family. She climbs the many steps leading to the castle, which she appropriates before the great battle for the throne begins. A site partly shaped from the Basque peninsula of Gaztelugatxe in Spain.
Gaztelugatxe
Gaztelugatxe - Photo credit: Fantrippers

“Welcome to Dragonstone. Our queen knows this is a long journey. She appreciates the effort you have made on her behalf.”

Missandei (Nathalie Emmanuel)

Dragonstone, a spectacular collage of different places

If the construction of Dragonstone, the Targaryen castle, required many years of work in Game of Thrones, it was also rather complex for the creators of the series. In fact, the latter have proceeded to a strange and yet spectacular collage, from Gaztelugatxe, a small island of the Basque coast for a long time frequented by pilgrims. In reality, the steps of Gaztelugatxe start from the beach and then reach the hermitage located at the top of the islet. In the series, however, the steps no longer go towards the sea but towards the land, allowing you to reach the gates of the Targaryen castle. Castle also added digitally in post-production. The beach itself is not the one of Gaztelugatxe but the one of Itzurun, a few miles away, still on the Spanish Basque coast.

Dragons fly over Dragonstone

The filming of Daenerys Targaryen’s arrival, and then later the arrival of Jon Snow, required significant logistics. The site was first cordoned off so that the tourists, who are numerous in normal times, would not disrupt the logistics. Afterwards, several green screens were set up to allow post-production incrustation of shots taken elsewhere and of course the famous dragons that the characters can see flying around the castle. In this respect, the buildings of the IX and X centuries located on the islet of Gaztelugatxe were not exploited at all. Only the path studded with steps had the honor of appearing on the screen. A steep staircase that fans of the series have been climbing by the hundreds every day since, perhaps in the hope of spotting one of Daenerys’ dragons at the top.

Figurine de Rhaegal - Game of Thrones
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Figurine of Rhaegal

Complete your collection with this beautiful 15.2 cm hand-painted figurine of the dragon Rhaegal from the Game of Thrones series.

Spain, star of Game of Thrones

Along with Northern Ireland, Spain has been one of the countries with the most Game of Thrones filming locations. Not only did the production make extensive use of the landscapes around Bilbao, but also the Girona region near Barcelona and of course the Alcázar of Seville and the Alcázar of Almería in Andalusia. Some residents were even able to catch a glimpse of the actors as they passed through the area, despite the heavy security detail put in place to prevent leaks.

Dragonstone returns in 2022 in House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones spin-off. A series centered on the Targaryen family, set almost 200 years before the birth of Daenerys. This is where Otto Hightower (Rhys Ifans), the King’s hand, meets Daemon Targaryen (Matt Smith) before Rhaenyra Targaryen (Milly Alcock) arrives on his dragon. However, the directors have obviously not invested again the peninsula of Gaztelugatxe, preferring to recreate the site in the Warner Studios in London.

10

The Game of Thrones production operated in locations across 10 countries.

Dragonstone
Dragonstone. All rights reserved: HBO.
Marches de Peyredragon
Dragonstone Steps. All rights reserved: HBO.

Gaztelugatxe

A small rocky islet located on the side of Biscay near Bilbao, Gaztelugatxe is home to a picturesque hermitage and a church.

Gaztelugatxe is connected to the beach by a stone bridge with 241 steps carved into the rock. The staircase being laid out as a way of the cross for pilgrims. The latter have been going there since the Middle Ages, since the construction of the buildings in the 9th and 10th centuries. Having played a role in the history of the Knights Templar, partially destroyed by fire in 1978, the site, due to its spectacular nature and the role it plays in the Game of Thrones series, receives a large number of visits each year.

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By Gilles Rolland

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Passionné de cinéma, de rock and roll, de séries TV et de littérature. Rédacteur de presse et auteur des livres Le Heavy Metal au cinéma, Paroles de fans Guns N' Roses, Paroles de fans Rammstein et Welcome to my Jungle : 100 albums rock et autres anecdotes dépareillées. Adore également voyager à la recherche des lieux les plus emblématiques de la pop culture.

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