How would you like to wander where direwolves roam, mix with the descendants of wildlings and maybe bump into some actual Game of Thrones cast members? In Denmark you can!
Game of Thrones’ terrifying world of dragons, White Walkers (R.I.P. Night King) and feuding royals may be an imaginary place, but George R. R. Martin has drawn on thousands of years of mad human history to create his epic fantasy. Yes, Denmark looks like a quiet, peaceful kind of place, but its history is as wild as Westeros’. Read on for 7 reasons why Game of Thrones could’ve happened in Denmark.
The Vikings were a wild bunch. And while they didn’t live behind an 8,000-year-old wall of ice, they did share many similarities with the wildlings from Game of Thrones. Ygritte was a brave female wildling who was not afraid to battle. Did George R. R. Martin take inspiration for his wildling spearwives from the famous shieldmaidens of Viking times? And just look at Tormund… Can you get more Viking than that?!
The Kingslayer (our very own Dane, Nikolaj Coaster-Waldau) did everyone a favour when he stabbed Aerys Targaryen, the Mad King, in the back. Denmark’s own mad king, King Christian VII, reigned in the late 1700s. His life and erratic behaviour has inspired many works of literature and film, including A Royal Affair, starring Mads Mikkelsen. Denmark’s history is full of would-be Game of Thrones characters! (For the record, we refuse to believe Daenerys is going to follow in her father's mad footsteps. We just refuse.) UPDATE AFTER LAST EPISODE: Oh. Well what can we say. We were wrong.
It’s not exactly a compliment to be likened to Cersei Lannister, the cut-throat Queen of the Seven Kingdoms who survived her husband and children to take the Iron Throne. But Queen Margaretha's life story followed a very similar pattern. Her husband was King of Denmark and her father, King of Norway. When they both died, followed closely after by her only son, Margaretha I became queen of both countries. She then helped oust the ruler of Sweden and remained de facto monarch of the Kalmar Union of Denmark, Sweden and Norway until her death.
OK, this has nothing to do with history, but right now, quite a few Game of Thrones cast members are walking around in Denmark! Denmark is a small place where you regularly bump into real royals and celebrities. So sitting in a bar next to Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau), cycling alongside Euron Greyjoy (Pilou Asbæk) or shopping with Karsi (Birgitte Hjort Sørensen) might not be an unrealistic fantasy!
Well, sort of. The Starks’ direwolves have had a difficult time in Game of Thrones so far. Wolves in Denmark did not fare any better throughout history, being hunted to extinction over 200 years ago. But in 2012, a wolf was spotted in Jutland for the first time in two centuries and since then, wolf numbers have begun to slowly grow. In early 2017, we even had our first wild wolf pack roaming the country!
In the Royal Deer Park north of Copenhagen, some of the impressive trees have been living for over 1,000 years. Not only are they ancient, but some seem to seriously resemble weirwood trees from the godswood at Winterfell! In Denmark, you can also walk in spooky troll forests (pictured), where the twisted trunks give the trees an eerie, mystical feel. Definitely a weekend walk with a twist!
A few years ago HBO Nordic, together with their Danish agency Seligemig, helpfully hung leash holders around Copenhagen so that, as well as tying up your dog, you could also tie your dragon whilst shopping. Sadly Daenerys has not been here to make use of the dragon parking offered in Copenhagen yet. But if she does come to the world’s best city, who knows, she might just give up her fight for the Iron Throne and stay!
Thanks to HBO Nordic for the photos. Don't forget to watch Game of Thrones Season 8 on HBO Nordic every Monday until the 20th May. (Boo hoo! Why does it have to end?!)