Sharp-eyed viewers might recognise familiar landscapes in the recently unveiled trailer for House of the Dragon’s second season, as two locations in North Wales served as primary filming sites.
HBO filmed at eight locations across Ynys Môn and Gwynedd earlier in the year which not only benefited the Welsh economy but also led to the employment of over 250 local individuals as crew members, facilitated through CrewHQ, a training initiative under Warner Bros. Discovery.
With support from Creative Wales, significant investments were made in CrewHQ to establish an extensive and pioneering trainee program, offering upskilling and entry-level opportunities to over 30 participants. Additionally, outreach initiatives for local residents included set visits, masterclasses, and the development of educational resources for schools.
Adapted from George R.R. Martin’s ‘Fire & Blood’, House of the Dragon is set two centuries prior to the events depicted in Game of Thrones, narrating the saga of House Targaryen.
The recent teaser, unveiled last Saturday, offers a glimpse into the upcoming series, following the success of its predecessor, which stood as one of HBO’s most substantial high-end TV drama projects. The initial series maintained an average viewership of 29 million in the U.S. and secured a Golden Globe for Best Drama Series in 2023. Exclusive to Sky and NOW in the UK and Ireland, the series garnered attention for its filming locations in Spain, Cornwall, and Derbyshire, primarily at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, situated in Hertfordshire. However, for the second season, the production crew pinpointed significant filming spots in North Wales.
Executive Producer Kevin de la Noy remarked: “It was great to be shooting in Wales with its stunning scenery and landscapes, that bring to life our Westeros. I had no hesitation in taking House of the Dragon there, as we knew the support from Government and the local populous would help us achieve remarkable footage, and we were blessed with the most glorious weather too. Thank you, Wales!”
In addition to backing productions like House of the Dragon, Creative Wales has recently allocated support to the creative sectors in North Wales by endorsing Aria Studios, inaugurated on Anglesey in January 2023.
Aria Studios is poised to revolutionize the creative industries, serving as a premier facility that will enrich Wales’ array of studio resources. Its establishment aims to heighten Wales’ appeal to international productions, fostering increased business opportunities in the region. Furthermore, it stands as the new headquarters for Rondo Media and their enduring S4C production, Rownd a Rownd.
Moreover, Creative Wales has extended its support to a fresh initiative led by Bangor University, the University of South Wales Film and TV School, and Screen Alliance Wales. This collaboration aims to establish three new Wales Screen Academies, including one housed at Aria Studios. These academies will provide trainees with invaluable industry exposure and opportunities to develop skills within a professional setting.
Dawn Bowden, Deputy Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, said: “This is a real demonstration of the strength of North Wales as a region, and I’m delighted we were able to support such a high-end, big budget production. Not only has it boosted the economy locally during the shoot itself, but it has huge potential to bring future tourism to Wales.”
“I want to thank HBO for providing trainees here with valuable opportunities, which are extremely important as we look to strengthen the already excellent reputation that we have for the quality of our crew in Wales. This is another fantastic opportunity to raise our international profile and I can’t wait to see Wales on screen once again.”