The Starks tried to warn us. Winter is coming, they said—and holy hell, did it ever. (But no one warned us about that Melisandre shocker!). Season six is already promising to be one of the strongest, most jolting yet, and by the end of it we expect to be left in an exhausted heap (hopefully with Jon Snow alive and delivering brooding handsomeness one cagain). Until then, here are some local landmarks to remind you of our favorite places from the show.
Boston as Game of Thrones
Home to our first Game of Thrones family, the Starks (or what’s left of them anyway), Winterfell is earthy, old-school, and achingly in-demand. You can see why those in the know are jostling to rule Somerville, too. Those who worship the Old Gods would love the city’s running paths flanked by gorgeous trees. Word from King’s Landing is they’ll be getting a shiny, new Kings Road (Green Line) rolling through some day. And crunchy Davis Square has a movie theater that serves hearty ale, for Robb’s sake, though reusable horn beer mugs have yet to make an appearance. Somerville even has a Winter Hill (how Westeros apropos).
Oldtown dates back to the days of the First Men and has survived through the ages on the cleverness, not the might, of its rulers. It’s also home to the Citadel, where the best and brightest of Westeros go to get their training as maesters; in other words, it’s a hotbed of coastal elitism. Sound familiar? Cambridge, which was one of the first towns founded by Massachusetts’ original Puritan colonists, is now home to the overachieving intelligentsia attending Harvard and MIT.
Riverrun sits on the banks of some of the mightiest rivers in Westeros. While the Charles might be more noxious than mighty, that dirty water is all the river Boston’s got. As the former home of the Tullys, notably fan favorite Brynden Tully, or “the Blackfish,” Riverrun is also known for its hospitality and warmth. One visit to the many bars of Cambridgeport, especially quirky watering hole River Gods, is enough to convince anyone that this city’s residents know how to welcome a weary traveler.
Home to students, punks, bedbug castoffs and opportunistic rodents, Allston is the clear sister neighborhood to Westeros’ beleaguered Flea Bottom. Still, Flea Bottom is not without its undersung charms. It produced some of our favorite characters—Ser Davos Seaworth the Onion Knight and Hottie McHots-A-Lot, the bastard Gendry. Allston, too, has fostered its share of Boston iconoclasts, such as Aerosmith (who wrote their first song while living in Rock City), David Foster Wallace (Allston features prominently in Infinite Jest) and the late, beloved local icon Mr. Butch.
The faraway, magical land of Dorne has produced some of the most colorful (and tragic) characters of the show (RIP the Red Viper). The bucolic place abounds with good food and people who don’t care for stodgy heterosexual norms. Plus, it’s safe enough to be a haven for the princess Myrcella. Jamaica Plain is all those things and more: a bit sequestered, but once you’re there, you’ll be surrounded by inviting restaurants and cheery, diverse families.
Highgarden is the kingdom of queens: the beautiful and ambitious Margeary Tyrell; the old and cunning Queen of Thorns, Olenna Tyrell; and our handsome, fey Loras Tyrell. They all describe Highgarden as a Shangri-la of good food and nice weather. Although rising rents may have pushed out many of the artists who birthed the South End scene, there is still enough fine drink and seductive jazz to entertain any Tyrell.
On the other side of the spectrum, we have Casterly Rock, the seat of one of the most powerful families in Westeros—the Lannisters—who are as emotionally frigid as they are rich. We know money comes from Casterly Rock, but it doesn’t seem to have much else going for it. Downtown, likewise, is home to myriad banks and businesses, as well as a burgeoning luxury condo market, but its gray, grimy thoroughfares are less than inviting.
King’s Landing is built on the coast, with excellent views of the water—if you’re one of the lucky few that can afford the exorbitant rents. Similarly, Back Bay is a bastion of wealth and power, its luxury brownstones abutting the picturesque Charles.
So many of us still mourn Arya’s swashbuckling fencing master, former First Sword of Braavos, Syrio Forel. What other neighborhood but the North End could produce a man so similarly bombastic and deadly? Like the North End, Braavos is a neighborhood whose people take pride in their birthplace—and who know how to throw a good party and a good punch in equal form.
Ruled by the Boltons, notably the bastard Ramsay, most of the time we spent at the Dreadfort last season was watching the brutal torture of Theon Greyjoy. Still, there may be no greater torture than clawing your way through the clueless tourists clogging cavernous Faneuil Hall. Also like the Dreadfort, Faneuil Hall has its healthy share of scalpers.
Not far from Faneuil Hall lies another great, depressing icon of Boston: Government Center. Harrenhal is the largest castle in all of Westeros, home to great power and glory, but is now falling apart in disrepair. It’s debatable whether City Hall, Government Center’s Brutalist Goliath, was ever quite “glorious,” but standing in the cantilevered shadows of that 1960s architectural relic would give anyone the chills.
“Sometimes you wanna go/Where everybody knows your name...” Just kidding! The Inn at the Crossroads is way too real to be anything like the Disney-fied tourist trap that is Cheers. In reality, Boston Common is the Inn at the Crossroads, sitting as it does at the crossroads of the Red and Green lines.
As the people of the North keep looking for places to start anew, the Innovation District, just like the Gift, is positioned as the next exciting place to be. Now if we could just find easier ways besides the Silver Line to get out there…
The people of the Iron Islands are a deeply proud, hardy and sometimes brutal people. They have lived through some tough times and come out the other side stronger for it. Lately, these hardscrabble local residents have been butting heads with the powers that be over time-honored traditions: In the Iron Islands, it’s the right to raid; in Southie, the right to park. One thing’s for sure, these Ironborn won’t give up their customs without a fight.
The Stormlands are an old seat of power but are no longer as formidable as they used to be. A little off the beaten path, the region is rarely visited by outsiders. It’s also a seafaring kingdom with a proud fleet—Old Ironsides would fit right in.
With great struggle and perseverance, this is how you get everywhere you need to go.
Only the brave few venture beyond the wall, but don’t let that fool you into thinking there’s nothing out there. Just west of 495, huge populations of Worcester wildlings have constructed tight-knit societies, working together to survive the frigid temperatures of the North. In fact, these canny wildlings might outlive us all in the snow…
There’s a new voice across the Narrow Sea (the Northeast Corridor) causing a ruckus, threatening to burn things down. Will she prevail and become queen of all the lands?