Game of Thrones, HBO’s hit fantasy drama that is based on the novels by George R.R. Martin, is widely known for the huge impact that it has had on television. Since premiering on HBO in 2011, it has gone on to become one of the most popular and well-known shows around.
As the Hollywood Reporterreported at the time, Game of Thrones officially became HBO’s most popular series of all time back in 2014. It is a title that had previously been held by The Sopranos.
Much of the show is filmed in Northern Ireland, and it has also made a difference in the real life of a Northern Irish farmer. According to David Blevins of Sky News, “Forthill Farm in County Armagh” has truly been able to benefit from the success of the show. Per Sky News, the area was in a state of economic hardship until the show came along and “turned its rare breed residents into celebrities.”
— Belfast Page (@belfastpage) January 1, 2017
“It has been a great asset and a great savior to our farm,” farmer Kenny Gracey told Sky News. “Any of the background animals, the chickens, the goats, the geese, the dogs for instance or the deer… I’m supplying those.”
Other, better known animals from the show are discussed in the article as well. Per Sky News, “Northern Inuit dogs from County Down,” who are named Odin and Thorn, like the Gods of Norse Mythology, made their on-screen debuts at only six weeks of age.
Odin and Thor played “Summer” and “Greywind,” the direwolves of Bran and Robb Stark, respectively. In the Sky News article, William Mulhall of “Direwolf Tours” recalls Odin and Thor’s humble beginnings before they rose to fame.
“I got a phone call one day from the breeder, who had owned them, saying that some TV show wants to use my dogs in it,” Mulhall told Sky News. “So I brought the dogs up to the breeder’s house where the trainers from Game of Thrones were and they had pictures and then that was it, that’s how it began.”
Sadly, Summer and Greywind are no longer in the show. From the litter of the six direwolf “pups” that were discovered in the show’s first episode, only two remain. Of course, one of them is Jon Snow’s direwolf, “Ghost,” an albino who Theon Greyjoy once described as “the runt of the litter.” Though Arya Stark’s direwolf, “Nymeria,” has been missing since Season 1, many fans believe she is still alive as well. Last June, Inverse reported that Nymeria “is still out there somewhere,” and predicted she would return in Season 7.
However, in real life, the dogs who played Greywind and Summer are still a “hit.” According to Sky News, Odin and Thor are so popular that Game of Thrones fans come from “all over the world” to get a chance to meet them.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) January 1, 2017
Game of Thrones has also presented an opportunity for taxidermist Ingrid Houwers. Per Sky News, Houwers helps “dress the set with props and costumes,” which come from “animals that died ethically.” She described how, in a way, it gives the animals “an extra life.”
“It gives them an extra life and rather than go to a museum where, although they still get admired, these certainly have more of a movie star kind of a life, where it does get used and obviously admired.”
The seventh season of Game of Thrones is reportedly set to air in the summer of 2017. Unlike the previous six seasons, which consisted of 10 episodes a piece, the upcoming season of Game of Thrones will only feature seven episodes. However, the Inquisitr recently reported that actor Iain Glen, who portrays Ser Jorah Mormont on the show, recently said that this may actually equate to higher quality episodes. Glen also promised that the show will have a superb ending.
— Business Insider (@businessinsider) December 22, 2016
More Spoiler (s):
As always, the latest season of Game of Thrones certainly left fans yearning for more. Though Eddard “Ned” Stark raised Jon Snow as his illegitimate son in order to protect him, his true lineage was finally revealed at the end of Season 6. What’s more, Jon finally reunited with his half-sister/cousin, Sansa Stark, and retook the North from Ramsay Bolton. Lastly, Daenerys Targaryen, who is likely Jon’s aunt, was seen crossing “the Narrow Sea” and sailing to Westeros, where she will try to win back the Iron Throne.
Game of Thrones will conclude after Season 8 airs in 2018. The final season of Game of Thrones will consist of only six episodes, according to Entertainment Weekly.
Though Game of Thrones will be remembered mostly for its on-screen impact, it is certainly interesting and exciting to learn it has had such an effect on the real-life economy in Northern Ireland as well.
[Featured Image by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images]