War Games in Dubrovnik

Apparently it’s the most talked about and watched TV series in the world. Apparently it is set in and around Dubrovnik. And we were having lunch in the beautiful Grad (Old City).

“Have you come to see Westeros?” said the American on the next table.
“Westeros, King’s Landing?”.  I had no idea what she was talking about!
“Haven’t you seen Game of Thongs?”. Maybe it was a Freudian slip but she actually said thongs.
“Thrones, not thongs” said her exasperated and embarrassed cruise line partner.
“Thongs, thrones, it doesn’t matter what it’s called. I love it”.

DubrovnikDubrovnik is small in size but perfectly proportioned. Grad is a stunner.

I had heard about Game of Thrones but had no real idea what it is about. Medieval dwarves chopping off heads with swords almost as big as themselves. And having sex with everyone. Right? 

“No, it’s a brilliant fantasy, a medieval epic about the conflict between mighty families, betrayal and deceit, passion, courage, honour in Westeros. 

“A bit like Dallas in the middle ages. Who in it is JR Ewing?” she scowled. 

Pile Gate - filming location of King's Landing, Game of ThronesIn the series, Dubrovnik is King’s Landing, the capital, and the magnificent vertigo inducing walls, streets and squares are all featured. Perfect backdrops. Stars in their own rights. 

Game of Thrones is Dubrovnik’s cash cow. Walking tours, merchandise and clothing in abundance. 

The complex maze of alleys in Grad are perfect for ye olde troops to disappear in and plan their next moves and to hide the obligatory dragon. There must be a dragon – there usually is one to boost ratings. Think of all the plastic models they can sell. 

We were in sombre mood, we had just visited the War Photo Museum. Photos showing the brutality and futility of war. Grad has had her fair share of battles, medieval or not. Peaceful now except for the daily invasion by tourists.

Rector's Palace, DubrovnikThe siege of Dubrovnik in ’91 is vividly depicted in photos and writing. Over 50% of all buildings damaged, no water for 7 months, food in short supply. Over 2000 mortars, shells and navy gunfire. Yet the photos give hope and show the strength of the human spirit and a determination not to bow down. 

And this is the story which should be shown on our screens, not this medieval fantasy about the good, the bad and the ugly. 

The American lady soon demolished her pasta.

“Off to Lovrijenac fort now. That’s where Tyrion says “where is the god of tits and wine?“. And she laughed. 

Not words of literary wisdom or merit. You couldn’t make it up, could you? Well somebody has – apparently!


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Dave Harcombe

Travelling pharmacist

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