One of the most impressive aspects of Game of Thrones is the sheer magnitude of the production itself. Aside from the inherent challenge of translating thousands of pages of source material from the novels to the screen (seriously, thousands), filming it is quite the undertaking as well (the "Long Story Short" video released by HBO in March, embedded above, gives you a good idea of what it takes).
With only three episodes left to air of season four, producers are already hard at work on season five and are reportedly doing some more jet-setting to scout additional filming locations. Entertainment Weekly said on Wednesday that the show is now scouting locations in Spain, specifically in the Andalusia region located in the south of the Iberian peninsula.
Major filming locations for the show through the first four seasons include Northern Ireland, where it does most of its studio filming at Titanic Studios in Belfast, plus Iceland and Croatia in addition to some special effects work in Hollywood (namely the direwolves and Brienne’s bear pit scene). Dubrovnik, Croatia serves as the setting for King’s Landing and multiple new locations were added in that country for season four.
That leaves us with the burning question: what part of the Game of Thrones universe would Spain become? Though there’s a possibility it could serve as another location in Essos, a better guess would be that it will become Dorne, the southernmost region of the Seven Kingdoms.
A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, gives us some insight into the landscape of Dorne, which is largely a hot desert region, but also has mountains and a coastline. Dorne’s capital is Sunspear, a hot desert-region stronghold where prominent members of the ruling Martell family reside. As the books continue to unfold, we travel down to Sunspear and are introduced to more of the Martell clan, who are described as having dark eyes and olive skin.
George R.R. Martin said way back in 2000 that while his settings don’t typically translate directly to a real-life equivalent, he does sometimes mix and match. In the case of Dorne, Martin’s influences include the green valleys of Wales, which are mimicked in the area north of the Dornish mountains, as well as “a hot, dry country more like Spain or Palestine” below them.
“I suppose the closest real life equivilent [sic] to that would be the Moorish influence in parts of Spain,” he wrote, according to Westeros.org. “So you could say Dorne is Wales mixed with Spain and Palestine with some entirely imaginary influences mixed in. Or you could just say it's Dorne....”
The addition of Spain would bring the grand total of countries used for 'Thrones' filming to eight. It would certainly make sense for Dorne since viewers haven’t seen any of it yet, aside from the arrival of Dornish characters Prince Oberyn (played by the fantastic Pedro Pascal) and Ellaria Sand in King’s Landing. Production on season five is expected to begin this summer.