How architecture has inspired the Game of Thrones set

Behind every great masterpiece lies a hidden influence and the Game of Thrones production design is no exception.

The hit series’ art director and production designer, Australian Deborah Riley, has revealed the inspiration behind the design of some of the show’s best scenes, homes, battles and buildings.

Riley, who joined the cast for the production of season four, has spent most of her career working on films, including The Matrix, Anna and the King and Moulin Rouge.   

She said while the Game of Thrones story may be fantasy, it is up to the team to focus on bringing the narrative to life and turn it into reality.   

“It may be fantasy but you have always got to ask yourself, `how would we do this for real?’” Riley said.

“There is the recipe for being able to do something like Game of Thrones, it means you can kind of dance that line between reality and fantasy.”

And that she has, with the Aussie art director thieving influences from history, classical architecture and world-wide artworks.

Think you know where the inspiration behind the Hall of Faces derives from? Guess again.

Here is a look at some of Riley’s inspirations:

Kings Landing

Although the set can’t be pinned to one influence, it was shot at a historic building outside the city of Dubrovnik in Croatia.

Hotel Belvedere, built in 1986, was under siege in 1991 during the civil war and was later abandoned, making it the perfect setting for the battle between prince Oberyn and The Mountain in Season Four.

The city of Meereen

Home to the wealthy residents of the Meereen people residing inside a city of pyramids, the set was shot in Croatia’s Klis Fortress, dating back 2000 years.

The Gates of Meereen can be linked to David Robert’s 19th century paintings specifically, Der Tempel der Dendera. The GoT vision shows the harp literally and figuratively holding up the city.

Daenery Targaryen’s Penthouse

Within the city, at the top of the soaring pyramid, is the home of the dragon queen.

Inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright’s Mayan Revival Period, Daenery’s home interior reflects the solidity of Wright’s art, reflecting an ancient yet domestic home enclosed in the pyramid.

The Hall of Faces

The interior of the Hall of Faces is a combination of influences stemming from the Elorra Caves in India and the Ten Thousand Buddhas Monastery in Hong Kong.

The latter is mirrored in the set, with towering shelves, consuming row after row and holding the faces of the dead.

The House of Black and White

Home to the manifaced god and the faceless men, the almost claustrophobic, windowless building was designed to feel faceless itself.

Inspired by Indian architecture, the exterior resembles buildings of Varanasi on the banks of the Ganges.

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