Royal Road

TV show Game of Thrones (2011)
Forced to flee King's Landing after the execution of her father Eddard Stark (Sean Bean), Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) takes to the road with Yoren (Francis Magee), one of the Night's Watch recruiters. She then poses as a boy and transits the royal road, heading for the Wall. The road in question is actually located in Northern Ireland, in the countryside of Ballymoney.
Dark Hedges
Dark Hedges by Gilles Rolland

“I’m not a lady and I never have been. That’s not me.”

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams)

If the first season of Game of Thrones justified a shooting in several countries, it is indeed in Northern Ireland, near the former shipyards of the Titanic, in Belfast, that the production has settled. Involved on many levels, the country welcomed the series team with joy. With a comfortable budget, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss were quickly seduced by the landscapes of Northern Ireland, which they scoured in order to find the most beautiful places likely to match the descriptions of George R.R. Martin’s novels from which the show is adapted. Dark Hedges, this twisty tree-lined road, checks all the boxes and makes a perfect royal road. Visible at the end of episode 10, the last one of the first season, this site marks right away the spirits.

Poster vieille carte du Westeros et Essos - Game of Thrones
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Poster old map of Westeros and Essos

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If the series did not return to Dark Hedges, the fans rushed to it. Forever associated with Game of Thrones, this road and its canopy were hit by a terrible storm a few years after Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) left King’s Landing following the death of her father (Sean Bean). It was then that the production decided to exploit the wood in a very original way. While the series was in full swing, HBO commissioned the making of several engraved wooden doors. Each of its doors relates a particular event in Game of Thrones. The craftsmen use the wood of the fallen trees at Dark Hedges. Once completed, the doors are set up in several pubs, hotels and other bars in Northern Ireland, offering fans a tour of the Game of Thrones filming locations. A small passport booklet has even been published to allow tourists to collect stamps along their journey.


Maisie Williams started filming in Game of Thrones when she was 12 years old.

Route royale
Royal road. All rights reserved: HBO.

The Dark Hedges

Located near a golf course, this country road is lined with several trees whose strangely curved trunks and branches form an amazing canopy.

Depending on the season, Dark Hedges changes its face but never loses its magical character. Chosen to feature in the Game of Thrones series as a royal road, this site attracts thousands of tourists each year. Nearby, the town of Ballymoney is also not lacking in attractions. It is one of the oldest cities in Ireland and houses a church dating from 1637. Its drama festival is also one of the oldest in the country. It is also the birthplace of Thomas McKean, one of the signers of the United States Declaration of Independence.

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By Gilles Rolland

Tuesday, August 30, 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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