Doors of Thrones in Ireland
Doors of Thrones, a set of ten carved doors, won the Outdoor Grand Prix at the Epica Awards. For over 6 years Northern Ireland has been the home to the filming and production of the HBO series Game of Thrones®. It has become a part of Northern Irish culture and it’s landscape. On January 2016, the Game of Thrones® filming location, and 400-year-old tourist attraction The Dark Hedges, was hit hard by Storm Gertrude. Over ten weeks, Publicis worked with Tourism Ireland to transform the trees that fell that day into 10 beautifully crafted, bespoke doors that celebrate Northern Ireland’s heritage and craft. Each depicting an episode from Game of Thrones® season 6 and designed to celebrate the country’s connection with the award winning show. Each week a new door was installed at the beating heart of a Northern Irish community – the local pub of a Game of Thrones® filming location. Together the Doors of Thrones now form a pub-crawl through season 6 that spans the length and breadth of the country.
Door of Thrones 1, The Cuan, Strangford, sets the scene at the beginning of season 6. The intricate design shows the lay of the land with great houses dispersed across the map and dangers lurking in every corner of the continent. At the centre of the door sits an astrolabe surrounding the Westerosi sun, signifying that Westeros is at the heart of past, present, and future events of the series.
At the top of Door of Thrones 2, Fiddler’s Green, Portaferry, hangs the flayed man of House Bolton. It rises above exposed muscle and crossed swords, which are being strangled by vines. Below the swords and surrounded by vines sits the Heart Tree of Winterfell; A Weirwood tree deep in the Godswood, which during episode 2 was held by the Boltons. Lower down you can see the Greyjoy kraken falling towards the bottom of the door, possibly representing the murder of King Balon by Euron.
The defining feature of Door of Thrones 3, Percy French, Newcastle, is the direwolf running into a battlefield, surrounded by a threatening array of swords, spears and daggers, all failing to block its path. This scene represents John Snow, his resurrection, and his future, with Winterfell and skulls depicted below. An alternative reading is that this scene depicts a direwolf in Winterfell, surrounded by danger, signifying Rickon’s being handed over to Ramsey, and the grizzly end met by his direwolf, Shaggydog.
The scale and dominance of the dragons in Door of Thrones 4, Blakes of the Hollow, Enniskillen, represent a change in fortunes for House Targaryen, while other details such as the Sons of the Harpy masks refer to threats still looming. References to House Arryn also appear to be flying above it all signifying Little Finger’s influence.
Door 5 at Frank Owens, Limavady, puts a heavy focus on the dreaded Night’s King and his followers. White Walkers appear by his side with an army of undead Wight’s at his back. The inclusion of the sigil below hints at a possible second confrontation between the Night’s King and a certain member of the Stark family. The wolf also appears to have roots or branches surrounding it, suggesting which Stark that might be…
Door 6 at The Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy, doesn’t just focus on House Targaryen, but specifically Drogon – Daenerys’ most aggressive and fearsome dragon. He dominates the door, as he does the skies over Essos. It is also no coincidence that Dothraki horses at the bottom of the door appear encircled by the beast’s tail – An indicator of both Daenerys’ influence and dominance.
Signs of the recently deceased Three-Eyed Raven permeate through door 7, Gracehill House, Stranocum. Above the creature itself resides the Stark Direwolf sigil – symbolizing the family’s changing fortunes. In the bottom section you might also spot a beech tree leaf hidden inside a crown – perhaps referencing the specific trees from the Kingsroad itself (the Dark Hedges), located mere meters from door 7’s final resting place.
The events playing out in Braavos feature heavily on door 8, Mary McBride’s, Cushendun. In the center sits the Faceless Man coin that first brought Arya to the free city. Below that rests Needle – having recently been retrieved from its hiding place, this represents Arya wielding it in her final deadly confrontation with the Waif and the guild of assassins… Door 8 could also tell the story of Arya’s journey so far – the helmets of her former foes surrounding her most recent enemy.
Door 9 is at Ballygally Castle, Ballygally. Echoing the ‘Battle of the Bastards’, symbols of House Stark and House Bolton can be seen on opposing ends of the door, with the Starks’ ancestral home of Winterfell up for grabs in the middle. The weapons and shields that litter the surrounding spaces like a bloody battlefield are a sure indicator of the episode’s drama. The aggressive battle scarred Direwolf indicates the Starks’ success.
Instead of focusing on one storyline, door 10 at The Dark Horse Coffee House, Belfast, features a number of symbols in reference to key events taking place across the whole of the seven kingdoms, as season 6 draws to a close – most notably those events occurring in Kings Landing, particularly around the Great Sept of Baelor. The House Tyrell rose appears closely linked to the Seven Pointed Star on the top half of the door. Below that the Lannister Lion now appears isolated. However that doesn’t mean the lions claws are any less sharp… We also see reference to the Hand of the King – a position plagued by bad luck if the previous holders of the title are anything to go by, but this might be changing.
Doors of Thrones Credits
The Doors of Thrones campaign was developed at Publicis London by creative directors Pavlos Themistocleous and Dave Monk, copywriters/art directors Josh Norbury and Leo Bellis-Jones, agency producer Kal Parmar, account directors Ben McKee and Alex Buckland, account executive Joy Desseigne, social media strategist Radd Nadesananthan.
Illustration was by Iain Macarthur, Sam Dunn, Steve Mitchell, Joanna Malecka, Alice Duke, Kieran McKay, Compain Samuel. Digital art work and photography was by Mark Wesley.
Filming was shot by directors Tash Tung and Andrew Stewart via Believe Media.