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What if Boston were Game of Thrones?

We map the lands and castles of George R.R. Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire to their equivalent Boston neighborhoods

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

Somerville is Winterfell

Somerville is Winterfell

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).

Cambridge is Oldtown

Cambridge is Oldtown

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.

Cambridgeport is Riverrun

Cambridgeport is Riverrun

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.

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Allston is Flea Bottom

Allston is Flea Bottom

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. 

Jamaica Plain is Dorne

Jamaica Plain is Dorne

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.

The South End is Highgarden

The South End is Highgarden

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.

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Downtown is Casterly Rock

Downtown is Casterly Rock

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.

Back Bay/Beacon Hill is King’s Landing

Back Bay/Beacon Hill is King’s Landing

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. 

The North End is Braavos

The North End is Braavos

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.

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Faneuil Hall is The Dreadfort

Faneuil Hall is The Dreadfort

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.

Government Center is Harrenhal

Government Center is Harrenhal

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.

The Cheers Bar is The Inn at the Crossroads

The Cheers Bar is The Inn at the Crossroads

“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.

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Seaport/Innovation District is The Gift

Seaport/Innovation District is The Gift

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…

Southie is The Iron Islands

Southie is The Iron Islands

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. 

Charlestown is The Stormlands

Charlestown is The Stormlands

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. 

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The Mass Pike is The Kingsroad

The Mass Pike is The Kingsroad

With great struggle and perseverance, this is how you get everywhere you need to go.

Worcester is Beyond the Wall

Worcester is Beyond the Wall

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…

Elizabeth Warren is Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Mother of Dragons

Elizabeth Warren is Queen Daenerys of House Targaryen, First of Her Name, Mother of Dragons

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?

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Comments

11 comments
Lisa D
Lisa D

I know you were just trying to be cute and all,  just some fun you were having around the office and decided to share, but including Charlestown and Worcester as "Boston" while leaving out East Boston, Roxbury, Roslindale, Hyde Park and Dorchester as well as demonstrating that the only part of JP you know is center street (it's not all cute shops, hipsters and JP Licks) is an unacceptable blind spot this publication consistently suffers from. At best it demonstrates ignorance of the city you are supposedly writing about. At worst it seems classist and racist. 

John M
John M

@Lisa D Lisa.... I'm not sure what planet you grew up on, but Charlestown is part of the City of Boston and has been since 1874, annexed by Boston 4 years after Dorchester, 6 years after Roxbury, and 38 years before Hyde Park. Every city/town/neighborhood has trendy and not-so-trendy parts, including Dorne. In your comment, you forgot to mention Mattapan, so by your own logic, you must be classist and racist! Your criticism of the author demonstrates the same "unacceptable blind spot" and "at best it demonstrates ignorance of the city you are supposedly writing about" you hypocrite!

Jesse A
Jesse A

This isn't "Boston," this is the Greater Boston Area (GBA) + Worcester. You left out so many Boston neighborhoods including East Boston.

John M
John M

@Jesse A It's pretty clear that the aim of the article was not to find a Game of Thrones analog for every single Boston/GBA neighborhood. All of this "what about this neighborhood, what about that neighborhood" sounds like a bunch of whiny babies. I'm from Charlestown and I think the Stormlands analogy is pretty weak but I'm not here crying about it.

Robert W
Robert W

How did you guys miss the DORchester DORne connection :)

Sam S
Sam S

Did you guys f-ing forget that Dorchester and Roxbury are wayyyy more Boston than Cambridge and Somerville?? I mean, c'mon! I am sick of these lists neglecting those neighborhoods. Frankly, it borders on racism.

John M
John M

@sslabyk This article isn't about what is more "Boston" it's about which neighborhoods in the Boston area have similarities to Game of Thrones areas. Borders on racism... did you forget to take your pills?

Jesse A
Jesse A

@Sam S They missed East Boston too, which like Dot and Rox, is AWAYS forgotten.