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Place, Naming, and the Interpretation of Cultural Landscapes

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... These places are not only expressed through visual but also verbal performance. Across 6.28), and social media, the toponyms inscribed onto Game of Thrones locations impact how those places and spaces are perceived, identified and communicated (Alderman, 2008;Light, 2014). Watergardens of Dorne, shouting 'Come on babe, Dorne is that way!' to her partner. ...
... Even I would almost always think of the fictional names first and had to regularly remind myself to write the 'historically correct' names in my interview protocols and fieldnotes. This was not only because I was repeatedly hearing these names from guides, interview respondents and constantly overhearing it from tourists, as well as studying filming location maps, but because in many cases I was first These comments confirm that naming, whether by intent and design or through colloquial repetition, can be used to evoke certain images, narratives and memories, create a sense of place and new mythologised spaces (Alderman, 2008;Crang & Travlou, 2001, p. 165;Light, 2014). While there are numerous places that adapted fictional names, such as ...
... After the Yugoslav Wars, Croatia tried to revitalise its image as an attractive, Adriatic tourist destination by culturally reframing and repositioning itself 'as being identical to its Western European neighbors' in contrast to the 'Balkan' or 'Eastern Europe' (Blanuša, 2015;D. Hall, 2002;Rivera, 2008 toponyms not only impact how we perceive and identify spaces and places but also lay claim to them (Alderman, 2008;Light, 2014;Rose-Redwood et al., 2017). Alderman (2008, p. 196) describes that 'renaming represents a way of creating new connections between the past and the present' and that the 'practice of naming, like all heritages, is inherently dissonant and open to multiple and sometimes competing interpretations' (L. ...
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The fantasy series Game of Thrones (2011–2019) has become a global pop-cultural phenomenon with a reach far beyond the television screen. Through extensive on-location filming, the series has linked its diegetic world of Westeros and Essos to countless heritage sites across Northern Ireland, Croatia, Spain, Iceland, Malta and Morocco, overcoding them with their on-screen identities through narratives and special effects. Fictional locations such as ‘Winterfell’ or ‘King’s Landing’ have since become popular tourist destinations, leading to an emergence of countless tours, experiences, products, and destination marketing intended to sell the ‘authentic’ fantasy to those who are seeking these imaginary geographies. However, Game of Thrones’ manifestations across its filming locations go beyond tourist products but created a complex landscape of new spatial, visual, material, and performative signifiers. Re-framing and restaging scenes, dressing up and using fictional toponyms while documenting and sharing these performances through social media photography have territorialised the diegetic heritage of Game of Thrones onto the filming locations. These practices have created liminal spaces that share aspects of pilgrimage, heritage- and nation-building processes, and established a new transnational heritage space with its own transnational imagined community, habitus and ‘hyper-traditions’. Furthermore, these new diegetic heritage landscapes are affecting previously established global perceptions and local identities. The post-conflict contexts of Northern Ireland and Dubrovnik illustrate how asserting new narratives, even if they are entirely fictional, can both overcome and create dissonant heritage as well as resolve and evoke memory conflicts. A multi-sited visual ethnography has been undertaken across Game of Thrones’ filming locations in Northern Ireland (UK), Dalmatia (Croatia) and Andalusia (Spain) to examine not only how Game of Thrones specifically has impacted the filming locations but how modern mass-media, social media and pop-culture is affecting how heritage is created, used and engaged with in the 21st century.
... The ubiquitous use of fictional names of places and monuments has ushered in a new phase of contested heritage in Dubrovnik. Manifesting themselves orally and visibly through signs, advertisements, and maps, toponyms impact how we perceive and identify spaces and places (Alderman 2008;Alderman et al. 2012). For many interview participants, various heritage sites across Dubrovnik became Blackwater Bay, the Walk of Shame, the Red Keep, and the House of the Undying. ...
Chapter
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.
... Toponyms. Toponyms (names of places) are the most basic way to link semantic meaning and space (for geographical studies on toponymy, see: Alderman, 2008;Rose-Redwood and Alderman, 2010;Scharloth, 2022). In fact, toponyms are a pre-or nonmetaphoric form of spatial reference, since they simply address particular positions or areas on the earth's surface by individual names. ...
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