Winter may be coming, but season 6 of HBO's Game of Thrones is finally here.
The show is a near-constant emotional pummeling of wildly erratic character arcs and a plot that twists so hard you think it’s going to break.
But that’s probably why we love it. And why it’s so easy for the viewer to get lost in the heat of battle. Or in the fire of a dragon. Or, the Seven willing, in the fiery heat of a dragon battle. And while you’ve probably noticed the platinum Queen of Dragons or the brooding Jon Snow, you may have missed some of the amazing places that these characters live.
The wizards masquerading as set designers at HBO have worked some amazing magic to bring the world of George R. R. Martin to life. And we want to share our favorite abodes so far.
The Red Keep keeps it real
Anyone who has ever played the game of thrones knows that there is one throne to rule them all (I just made a lot of fantasy-fans pretty mad). And that throne is an iron one.
The Red Keep, or more specifically the Great Hall inside the Red Keep, is home to one of the most famous pieces of pointy furniture in real or imagined history, the Iron Throne. For those of you who don’t know, the Iron Throne is a chair made from hundreds of swords melded together like the Frankenstein creation of a heavy metal Herman Miller.
And it is in front of this garish throne that many of the most famous scenes play out. The throne itself serves as a pointed metaphor for the prickly nature and high cost of playing the game of thrones. Also, the Red Keep is the king’s palace, so there’s that.
Back in Castle Black
It’s all about perspective. Castle Black, with its oaken décor and the noticeable absence of a feminine touch, might not seem like the most obvious of residences you’d want to shack up in. But consider the alternative.
The frightening White Walkers, the frigid cold, the undead wights, the wildlings: if you have to be at the Wall, there’s really no better place to be than Castle Black. Snuggling up with your albino dire-wolf next to a roaring fire sounds pretty nice when you think about it.
Dothraki tents mean you’re always ready to go camping
I’m not going to lie to you. I’m a yurt guy. I come from a long line of yurt guys that stretches all the way back to Grand Pappy Yurt. But that tent, though…
Maybe it’s just the beautiful, if guttural, music of their invented language, or the wide open vistas of the Dothraki sea, but I really like the idea of just plopping your tent down wherever you see fit.
Sure, it’s not a traditional palace but at least it’s got good air flow. And for a show set in a timeframe that’s similar to our middle-ages (with comparable hygiene practices), I imagine air flow is next to godliness.
I Winterfell head over heels for this place
Located in the North, this castle is the first one we see in the series and is, perhaps, my favorite. A huge and imposing structure, Winterfell just looks tough. And the place has been through a lot.
But being the castle and seat of a noble family whose words are “Winter is coming,” means you had better be able to weather the weather. Winterfell has a secret weapon to combat the bone-deep cold that a northern winter can bring: radiant heating. Winterfell channels the steam from the geo-thermal springs it’s located on top of, in order to keep the castle nice and toasty even if the rest of the world is in the grips of a multi-year winter.
And while it's hard to know for sure how long I'd live if I was in Game of Thrones, I'd like to imagine that I'd get to spend a few mornings walking the cozy halls of Winterfell, waiting for winter to finally come.
All photos originally appeared in HBO’s Game of Thrones.