A key location in season six of GoT, Tudela, in northern Spain, has the perfect blend of drama, desert and ghoulish charm
It must be difficult being a Game of Thrones writer. Difficult to find gruesome new ways to maim and kill people. The show’s millions of fans aren’t going to be kept happy with routine beheadings and disembowelments, with a penectomy thrown in for fun. So what’s a writer to do once season six rolls round?
The first five series were filmed in some of Europe’s most spectacular locations, from Iceland and Croatia to Malta and Northern Ireland, creating a tourist boom in many places as fans stalked Jon Snow and co. Perhaps that’s why the producers chose an area near the city of Tudela in the northern Spanish region of Navarra as one of the key new filming locations for the latest season – which starts on Monday.
Thirty years after reporting the nuclear meltdown, Kim Willsher returns to consider the new ‘disaster tourism’
Standing 100 yards from the husk of Chernobyl’s Reactor Number 4, the click-click-click of the Geiger counter becomes alarmingly insistent. One step closer and it is beeping and flashing. Our guide gives a reassuring smile. “It’s fine,” she says. But she knows we know she would say that.
Soon, we are back on the bus and driving away from the Vladimir Ilyich Lenin Power Station, better known as Chernobyl. When I first visited, two years after the world’s worst nuclear accident, it took weeks of negotiating with the Soviet authorities to gain access to the plant. Today, busloads of visitors arrive on an almost daily basis. For less than £100, the adventurous can take a one-day tour of the so-called “dead zone”, the contaminated 10km circle drawn around Chernobyl after the accident in the early hours of 26 April 1986.