Lonely Planet Writer

Game of Thrones prequel begins filming in Northern Ireland

A Song of Ice and Fire has ended but the Age of Heroes is just beginning as filming gets underway on the Game of Thrones prequel series in Northern Ireland.

Filming is already underway on the new Game of Thrones prequel series. Image by HBO.

Northern Ireland was the primary filming location for the HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones (based on the A Song of Ice and Fire novels by George R.R. Martin) and it appears that the network is back for more. The sprawling, fantasy drama about seven kingdoms battling for control of the Iron Throne ended last month and became the most popular show in HBO’s history. So it’s hardly a surprise that HBO is keeping the momentum going with filming already underway on the yet-untitled prequel show set during the Age of Heroes – a time some 5,000 years before the events in the current series when much of the Game of Thrones’ myth is born, such as the Children of the Forest.

The Dark Hedges were use as a location in Game of Thrones. Image by ©Westend61/Getty Images

Filming started at a remote secret location in Co Down and on the north coast of Northern Ireland last week, according to a report in the Belfast Telegraph. Key sites used in the previous Game of Thrones series were also being set up last week, including Titanic Studios in Belfast. Other spots linked to the project include Marble Arch Caves and Claddagh Glen in Co Fermanagh. It’s rumoured that these sites have been closed off and many fans on Reddit have already commented on their likeness to “Children of the Forest” locations.

Claddagh Glen is rumoured to be a Game of Thrones prequel filming location.

The project, from creators Jane Goldman and George R.R. Martin, will star Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts (21 Grams, The Impossible), as well as Bafta award-winner Miranda Richardson (Damage). According to HBO, it “chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour.” It’s the first of five potential Game of Thrones’ spin-offs in the works.

In July, George R. R. Martin spoke with Entertainment Weekly, revealing more details on the upcoming prequel. The story will take place in Westeros in the lead up to The Long Night – an event referenced as ancient history and lore throughout Game of Thrones. While Game of Thrones followed the war for the Seven Kingdoms, thousands of years before, in the prequel, the continent is divided up into hundreds of kingdoms. Many of our favourite – or most hated – families have yet to come into existence, but the Starks, who are descended from the First Men, will in fact be around, according to Martin.

Meanwhile, earlier this year, HBO confirmed that many of the famous Game of Thrones sets would find a home in a new permanent attraction in Northern Ireland in 2020.

This story was first published on 22 June and updated on 11 July.