Game of Thrones producers decide against Sweden, Norway in play

Flag-Pins-Norway-SwedenA week ago we reported HBO was scouting Sweden, in particular Visby on the island of Gotland as a potential Game of Thrones location. The decision has now been made not to film there.

As the local press writes, the major factor was the lack of tax breaks for filming. This does not rule Sweden out for potential filming in the future, especially if the circumstances change – for now, however, the production team has turned their gaze to the neighbouring Norway. The native country of Tormund Giantsbane (a.k.a. Kristofer Hivju) does have a system of tax breaks in place, which gives it an advantage.

For now, no details of potential Norwegian locations have been made public, but we are sure to report once we catch any word on it, official or not, right here on Watchers on the Wall.

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    1. I saw another article mention Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) in Norway. If they used that it would make for some breathtaking visuals! Can you imagine Drogon landing up on the edge of that!?

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    2. 🙂

      As a Scandinavian American I’m rather interested in these possibilities. My maternal side is from the Trondheim, Norway area while my paternal side just a few hours away in the Offerdal, Sweden area.

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    3. I think my heart will stop. If they come here to Norway, there are so many places from the south at Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) to the Lofoten Islands in the north, where I spent the summer to the beautiful frozen north in Narvik and beyond. We in Norway have been praying for many years that GoT might come here. Crossing my fingers!!!

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    4. Norway is simply amazing and I’m sure they will find gorgeous places to film in… Too bad that they won’t use St. Catherine’s church in Visby (Gotland), it would have been an amazing set for a burnt Red Keep.

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    5. Clob,

      Oh boy, what a location .. what abreathtaking view !!
      I can already imagine a corronation happening there, or a dragon scene or even better, a Jon and Dany wedding happening there right at the end of the show, like the Aragorn x Arwen ceremony on the cliff in the White Tower of Ecthelion from The Lord Of The Rings ! Don’t mind me, my inner gullible romantic is out, I know there are greater chances of them dying before that happens.

      I love seeing photos of locations and imagining what they could use them for ! Norway is a stunning location to film, props to Dan & David for their decision !

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    6. They’ll probably film around Preikestolen, which is great as it’s only 30 minutes from me! Spyphotos are probably out of the question as there’s only one way up…

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    7. Carne:
      They’ll probably film around Preikestolen, which is great as it’s only 30 minutes from me! Spyphotos are probably out of the question as there’s only one way up…

      There’s at least one very quick way down though. O>O
      My parents went there a handful of years back and took pictures sitting near the edge. There’s very little chance I’d get anywhere near the edge. I don’t mind heights, but in the wide open like that, no way!

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    8. Irina Stark:
      Clob,

      Oh boy, what a location .. what abreathtaking view !!
      I can already imagine a corronation happening there, or a dragon scene or even better, a Jon and Dany wedding happening there right at the end of the show, like the Aragorn x Arwen ceremony on the cliff in the White Tower of Ecthelion from The Lord Of The Rings !

      Not sure George or producers Wess and Benioff are fond of happy endings. One of them or both will likely die. But it looks gorgeous and much like Sweeden Gotland.

      I’d love to visit these countries one day. I had opportunity when Ice Hockey Championship was being played there. I am always more towards beach and that stuff but there is something beautiful about winter in Norway, Sweden or Finland. Scenery looks amazing.

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    9. Fienix,

      I ‘d love to see some fjords in GoT. Although they always remind me of Hitchhikers to the Galaxy and old Slartibartfast who designed them when they were building earth.

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    10. I’m two minds about tax breaks.

      On the one hand, I think companies should pay fair tax because they’re using tax-payer funded infrastructure, educated workforce etc.

      On the other hand, tax breaks can and do attract productions (as this article proves) and thereby inject money into local economies. Accommodation, catering, transport, employment for local electricians, builders, all kinds of assistants. Maybe not so much for short shoots but NI film industry (people working in these occupations) has clearly benefited from GoT being based there.

      There’s also the tourism factor, though I don’t know how big or important that is. People do visit filming locations of their favourite films/TV series, even if it isn’t the primary reason of chosing that destination.

      A shame Visby/Gotland won’t be used, the town and the island are beautiful. However, Norway has some spectacular scenery – I can attest to that, having visited several times (last time, sailing along the “top” in the Barents Sea in the Arctic Ocean and into the Norwegian Sea in the North Atlantic). Also, even southern/central Norway is likely have snow from December onwards. Important for “the Long Winter” expected in Westeros.

      (I think the moniker “Long Winter” to describe what happens next in the show (and books) is misplaced. It properly applies to an event 8000 years ago. The next winter isn’t going to be that long – unless GRRM writes another 12 books (haha!) about it, or the show ends with winter. No, it seems this winter will be exceptionally short.)

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    11. Clob: There’s at least one very quick way down though. O>O
      My parents went there a handful of years back and took pictures sitting near the edge.There’s very little chance I’d get anywhere near the edge.I don’t mind heights, but in the wide open like that, no way!

      I’m with you, Clob. I’d never go nearer the edge than maybe 5 metres… No, scrap that, I’d never even go on Preikestolen! I get vertigo and nausea even looking at the pictures! lol!
      (I was a total whimp when we visited the Cliffs of Moher in Ireland. “Yes, I can hear the waves crashing and feel the salt spray here (20 metres away) quite well, thank you.”)

      But it could be a spectaculat GoT location… though I have a hard time imagining which place in Westeros it would be.

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    12. Flayed Potatoes,

      We got some solid foreshadowing one and that is most likely Dany will die. House of the Undying show version basically said as much. She’ll fight white walkers, die and reunite with love of her life Khal Drogo and her son Rhaego.

      When it comes to Jon it’s either death or being King. Since both were touched by magic, possible is even death of both of them.

      But we can petty much ruled ut them living, having kid and rulling together.

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    13. talvikorppi,

      I live in the north metro Atlanta area (The Walking Dead films south of the city). About 7-8 years ago or so Georgia passed a law enabling rather significant tax breaks for any kind of movie or TV production done here. (the only stipulation is they must show a peach- the state “emblem”- at the end credits and a small blurb about being filmed here.) I saw something a few years ago when the law was up for renewal comparing how much money we’ve “lost” by offering tax incentives compared to gained through all the other services that are entailed in filming. At the time, I think the lost was ~ $3 million, but the gained was over a billion (!) dollars. Not to mention the number of things being produced here has grown exponentially, which has helped the state coffers significantly. So yes, I think the tax breaks can be worth it, but with the grain of salt about volume of productions being done. If hardly anything is being filmed there, then the tax breaks aren’t worth it for the state or country.

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    14. As stunning as Norway is, if they are looking for a “Gotlandish” environment , with beaches, Medieval buildings and probabability of snow with cheaper production costs, they should be looking in Baltic States.

      Really, that’s where even Nordic production houses film most of their large scale productions nowadays, for a good reason. Production running costs are about half of those in Sweden or Finland, not to speak of Norway, which is prohibitive for this kind of work, tax rebates or not. Take Wildeye, a Finnish movie that was set in WWII Kirkenes and Petchenga, Northeast Norway and current Northwest Russia. They did some outside shooting with main characters in actual locations in Kirkenes and Finnish Lapland, but anything requiring heavy logistics was shot in Lithuania.

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    15. Flayed Potatoes,

      Geralt of Rivia,

      Actually a lot of people don’t believe the house of undying visions about Dany means she’s dying at all. Instead a lot of people theorised that they meant Dany will walk away from all the things she desires the throne, her dead family etc because she knows to put her own desires aside for something more important aka the fight of the WW.
      A lot of people also theorise her endgame is not dying but bearing a child as her entire story has been about motherhood in some form, and in the books she had something resembling a miscarriage and the same taste in her mouth she had when the witch cursed her barren. I’m sure that will more likely be her endgame, i’m not sure who the father will be or if she’ll ever sit on the Iron Throne if there is even a Iron Throne at the end of this but signs point to her bearing another child.

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    16. As a Norwegian I will be very surprised if they actually decide to film here. The costs of living are just do damn high. Perhaps if the oil price continues to be so low, reducing the value of the Norwegian krone, there might be a chance haha. Another issue is that the tax break is only appx. 5 million dollars for all projects produced during a year combined. And you have to apply for it, so you’re not guarenteed anything

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    17. Talvivaara,

      Ah, a fellow Finn, judging by your nic. Talvi means winter, vaara means fell, Talvivaara means Winterfell. Oh, and my nic? Korppi is raven, so “winterraven”.

      Yeah, I broadly agree with you. But even if Finland gave tax breaks… We don’t exactly have the scenery. The only things I can think that are unique are the “flow country” semi-arctic swamps all over the country, the southern/Turku archipelago, and maybe some Laplandish fell scenery. Lakes and forests are grander and bigger even in Sweden, not to mention Canada.

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    18. As a Norwegian I kinda doubt they will ever film in Norway. The costs of living are just too high there compared to other European countries. Of course, the low oil price has made it cheaper for foreigners since the Norwegian currency, NOK, has reduced its value compared to other currencies (Norway has an oil-based economy). Still, it’s very expensive.

      The other thing is that the tax refund thing is a little limited. The government only gives out approximately 5 million dollars in tax refunds a year, and that’s to all projects combined. All productions have to apply for the tax refund, and you’re not guaranteed anything, so you might end up with a very limited tax return.

      Still, it would be a dream come true if they actually come here. I study in Trondheim, and the Nidaros cathedral located here is something they might be interested in.

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    19. Dolorous Methuselah,

      Hee great minds think alike….

      By the time I could register for English my freshman year in college, most of the classes I wanted were filled. I only had a couple of choices (this is before you could register on line, when we frosh had to stand in line for hours to get class cards….). The best of the lot was Scandinavian lit. Taught by this old Norwegean guy who looked like he stepped off a Viking ship. One of the best classes I ever had – reading all the sagas, learning the mythology and the history was all so fascinating. Would love to go there someday.

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    20. I liked the look of the cathedral in Visby – I haven’t actually visited any of the Scandinavian countries but understand they all have some spectacular scenery. (A couple I know went on a cruise around one of the fjords – forget which one sorry and said it was well worth a visit).

      talvikorppi: The next winter isn’t going to be that long – unless GRRM writes another 12 books (haha!) about it, or the show ends with winter. No, it seems this winter will be exceptionally short.)

      I’ll be happy if he writes the other TWO books that are supposed to feature in the series – hopefully not just about Princess Not-Appearing-in-the-Series and Sandsnake-Not-appearing-in-the-Series trying to meet Fakey McFakeface (thankfully not appearing in the series) or about Mad-as-a-Box-of-Frogs Greyjoy appearing but toned down (thus far at least) in the series.

      ash: ash
      November 2, 2016 at 9:07 pm
      Dolorous Methuselah,

      Hee great minds think alike….

      “Fools seldom differ”. Sorry Ash, couldn’t resist it….but you are right there are some very interesting Nordic legends.

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    21. There is a chance to film in one of the Baltic states. In regards to tax breaks, Lithuania is now quite famous location for filming (i.e. BBC drama War and Peace was basically filmed in Lithuania). Yet it is a flat country, but has the nordic feeling and nice scenery. Winters are even colder than in many Scandinavian places.

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    22. I didn’t think about it until now but all of the articles popping up are mentioning the possibility of filming in Norway for season 7 (rather than aiming for S8)… It’s November already though so shouldn’t they have everything scheduled for this season’s shoots? They probably have time enough to change plans but would that mean they weren’t happy with their initial location or that they haven’t yet found places for certain scenes?

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