Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2023

Imagining King’s Landing: Dubrovnik, the Diegetic Heritage of Game of Thrones, and the Imperialism of Popular Culture

From the book Digging Politics

  • Christoph Doppelhofer


Dubrovnik, Croatia, recently re-entered the global consciousness due to its role as King’s Landing in the successful fantasy series Game of Thrones. Within this series, numerous heritage sites across several countries were used as filming locations, with Dubrovnik and its monuments being among those most prominently featured. Dubrovnik, now King’s Landing, has become a popular destination for Game of Thrones fans; multiple locations in the city have been overcoded with their on-screen identity by fusing real places with special effects, narratives, and new spatial relations. This has led to the creation of an imaginary, transnational heritage space with its own signifiers and imagined deep past, a space sustained through newly invented traditions and banal performances. The re-enacting of scenes and use of different toponyms, mapping them onto the landscape through digital activities, thereby enables fans to take interpretative ownership and create a ‘coming home’ space. While this is profitable for the local tourism industry, which has adapted to meet demand, the reimagining of the complex memory space of Dubrovnik invokes dissonance among locals who feel that their heritage could be overtaken by this “imperialism of imagination” (Goldsworthy 2013). Using data obtained through ethnographic research, this chapter concludes that the creation of the transnational heritage space of Game of Thrones is, albeit unintentionally, emulating processes of heritage- and nation-building and their contestation. By imposing the ‘deep past’ of King’s Landing onto Dubrovnik almost instantaneously, this case study exemplifies the fluid, imaginary, and contested nature of heritage and identity.

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
Downloaded on 22.9.2023 from
Scroll to top button