Game of Thrones was only shot in Malta for the first season… but oh what a season that was.
Do you remember a time before every conversation on Tuesday morning was about what happened last night on Game of Thrones? It seems like so long ago now, but many scenes from the first season of the epic series were shot in Malta, with plenty of Maltese extras (we’re dead ringers for Dothrakis) and you can revisit them whenever you want. Here are eight of the top locations.
1. Khal Drogo and Daenerys Targaryen’s wedding – Azure Window
Fearsome horse warlord and eyeliner enthusiast Khal Drogo married a terrified-looking Daenerys Targaryen in a rather lively ceremony facing Gozo’s Azure Window. The Azure Window sadly collapsed into the sea in March 2017, but it’s still a beautiful swimming spot, and the ruins have now become a renowned dive site.
2. Illyrio Mopatis’ mansion – Verdala Palace
Illyrio Mopatis was a supporter of the Targaryens’ claim to the Iron Throne and gave Daenerys and her brother Viserys a place to stay for a year until Daenerys’ marriage to Khal Drogo was brokered. It’s the place where Dany and Drogo first locked eyes. Verdala Palace in Buskett was used as the location for Illyrio’s house – it’s the official summer residence of the president of Malta, but its origins date back to the sixteenth century, when it was built on the site of a hunting lodge.
3. Ned Stark confronts Cersei Lannister in the garden – St Dominic’s Priory
What starts out as a relatively civil conversation ends up with Ned telling Cersei he knows she’s having sex with her twin brother and warning her to get as far away from King’s Landing as possible. Cersei Lannister tells him she’s not doing anything of the sort and that when you play the game of thrones *winks at the camera*, you either win or you die. This iconic scene was filmed at St Dominic’s Priory in Mdina.
4. Catelyn Stark arrives at King’s Landing – Mdina Gate
Catelyn Stark suspects that the Lannisters made two separate attempts on Bran’s life – first by pushing him out of the window when he caught them in the act, then by hiring an armed assassin to take Bran out as he lay in recovery. She arrives with Ser Roderik Cassel and goes through the Mdina Gate – it’s also the place where Cat and Ned say goodbye for the last time. Sob.
5. Littlefinger harbours Catelyn in a whorehouse; Ned and Jaime fight – Mesquita Square, Mdina
When Catelyn arrives at King’s Landing to investigate the attempts on Bran’s life, her childhood friend and noted creep, Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish takes her to one of his brothels for protection – after all, nobody would think to look for Lady Stark in a den of debauchery. Of course, when Littlefinger tells Ned this, Ned thinks it’s some kind of sick joke and chokes him against a wall until Catelyn’s head pops out from the balcony. This scene, as well as the fight between Ned and Jaime Lannister, was shot in Mdina’s Mesquita Square.
6. Ned Stark’s trial and execution – Manoel Island
Ned Stark, who was ostensibly the protagonist of season one, was forced to make a false confession of treason on the steps of the Sept of Baelor in order to spare his daughters’ lives. For his troubles, he got his head chopped off by the loathsome Joffrey Baratheon while viewers all around the world wondered what on earth they had gotten themselves into. If only we knew back then… This harrowing scene was shot at the Lazzaretto in Manoel Island.
7. Sansa sees Ned’s head on a spike – San Anton Palace
Not only did the vile Joffrey kill Sansa’s beloved father, he also gloated about it to her, promised to do the same to her brother, and showed her Ned’s head, as well as the head of her septa, on a spike. Devastated and livid, Sansa thinks about pushing Joffrey off the bridge, before the Hound gently but firmly holds her back. San Anton Palace in Attard served as the location for this grisly scene.
8. The Dothraki raid a Lhazareen village – Manikata
The terrifying Dothraki set upon a peaceful village of sheep herders and Danaerys does her best to protect the women of the village, including Mirri Maz Duur, a witch and healer who was savaged by the Dothraki before Dany came to her rescue, and whose magic causes Dany to miscarry and turns Khal Drogo into a shell of his former self. The secluded village of Manikata was used as a setting for this rural little town.