European unions, sovereign nation states and the global economy won’t be the only children to suffer due to the messy divorce that is the Brexit. So too will one of the troubled economic alliance’s most popular bastards, Game of Thrones. That’s because the HBO series has filmed significant portions of past episodes in and around Northern Ireland, and has done so thanks to the financial opportunities afforded it by the E.U. Now that Great Britain has decided to leave its European partner(s), however, Thrones might have to pay a great deal more to keep filming in Northern Ireland.
According to Foreign Policy, the location of Jon Snow and Ramsay Bolton’s climactic fight in “Battle of the Bastards” was made possible by the European Regional Development Fund, which was designed to encourage economic growth in underdeveloped areas across Europe. That’s precisely what the fund did for Northern Ireland, as the extra money attracted the Thrones production to the area back in season four. Now that all that financial support is gone, however, the local economy won’t be able to grant Thrones the cheap access it once had to the area (as well as the local labor force). It’s all going to cost a lot more, and HBO might not want to foot the bill.
“It might be up in the air for U.S. studios who want to film in the U.K.,” said Peter Chase, a senior fellow with the German Marshall Fund in Brussels. “There are E.U. programs to help fund all of this. If the U.K. is no longer part of the E.U., that has the potential to go away.”
Thrones isn’t the only show posed to suffer because of Britain’s decision to leave the E.U. According to CNBC, European Regional Developmental Fund-bankrolled groups like Creative Europe have provided British television and film projects with over $32 million in assistance over the last seven years. Depending on how the Brexit plays out in the near future, these economic losses could spell doom for the region’s entertainment industries.
Might be time to kiss those expensive CGI dragons goodbye, Daenerys.
UPDATE–2:47 p.m. ET: Turns out HBO hasn’t taken any of the fund’s money during the past few seasons, according to Entertainment Weekly. In a statement posted by EW and other outlets, the cable home for Thrones assured panicked fans, saying they did “not anticipate that the result of the E.U. Referendum will have any material effect on” any aspects on production of the next two seasons. Sure, the series receives all kinds of tax incentives for filming in Northern Ireland, but none of these are expected to dwindle due to the Brexit vote.
Daenerys gets to keep her dragons!