The news that the hit TV series, Game of Thrones, will return to Morocco is good news on many fronts. The series, which has been hugely successful, will provide much needed employment in the Atlas Corporation Studios in Ouarzazate and possibly Marrakech, as well as a tourism boost for the area.
Game of Thrones is an American medieval fantasy television series created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. It is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, George R. R. Martin's series of fantasy novels, the first of which is titled A Game of Thrones.
Primary filming for seasons one and two occurred on a soundstage at Paint Hall Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland, as well as on location elsewhere in Northern Ireland and in M'dina on Malta and, in Croatia, Dubrovnik and the Minceta, Bokar, and Lovrijenac fortresses. In Iceland the filming was done at the Svinafellsjokull calving glacier in Skaftafell, followed by shooting near Smyrlabjorg and Vik on Hofdabrekkuheidi. Morocco featured in the original pilot as well as in series two. Ouarzazate and Marrakech have both been used.
The news about Morocco being included in the shooting of series three came from Vancouver cinematographer Robert McLachlan who revealed in an interview that the final two episodes of season three would include locations in Morocco
"I just received the schedule for the show and they've got units going in Morocco and Croatia and Ireland, and indoors and outdoors, and logistically I've never seen anything like it. It's incredible," says McLachlan. "It's absolutely gigantic."
Because of the size and scope of the show, Game of Thrones uses about five different DOPs (directors of photography) and five directors working in teams of two, he notes.
The first season debuted in the U.S. on April 17, 2011. Two days later, it was picked up for a second season, which began airing on April 1, 2012. Nine days later, it was picked up for a third season.
Highly anticipated since its early stages of development, Game of Thrones has been very well received by viewers and critics.
Season 1 was nominated for or won numerous awards, including Outstanding Drama Series for the Emmy Awards and Best Television Series – Drama at the 69th Golden Globe Awards.
Interestingly, due to the limited availability of the series, it has achieved a dubious record as the most pirated series this year. The number of pirated downloads stands at around 3,900,000, while the USA viewer numbers are estimated to be 4,200,000. HBO held up the release of series two in Australia until after the release in the USA and so Australians became the country with the highest illegal downloads.