Wiki of Westeros


Wiki of Westeros
Wiki of Westeros

The opening credits of Game of Thrones introduce every episode and changes depending on the locations visited in that particular episode.


Doom of Valyria Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting the Doom of Valyria.

Robert's Rebellion Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting Robert's Rebellion.

Baratheon Victory Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting Robert Baratheon's victory.

Title card (Game of Thrones)

The Game of Thrones title card.

The opening credits consists of a three-dimensional map of the world, with the continents of Westeros and Essos located on the inner surface of a sphere. At the center of the sphere is a light source, effectively a sun surrounded by an armillary sphere or astrolabe-like arrangement of rotating rings. The details of the opening credits change each week depending on the locations visited. The following description is how the sequence appears in the first episode of the series, "Winter Is Coming".

The sequence opens with a close-up of the sun and the astrolabe surrounding it. Relief details are visible on the astrolabe, showing a volcano destroying a city while a dragon watches on and several people escaping in a boat, a reference to the Doom of Valyria and the Targaryens escape from it. The camera then pans to a wide-shot of Westeros and Essos before zooming in on the city of King's Landing, in particular the sigil of House Baratheon on what appears to be a large gear in the middle of the city. The gear begins turning, moving other cogs, and then three-dimensional buildings start rising out of the ground, such as the Red Keep and the Great Sept of Baelor.

Once the city is assembled, the camera moves north over the Kingsroad across Westeros to Winterfell, which similarly rises out of the ground while a gear bearing the sigil of House Stark rotates. The camera pays particular attention to the godswood of Winterfell and its heart tree as it rises out of the ground before panning up to the sun and astrolabe. There is then another close-up of the detail on the astrolabe, this time showing the Stark direwolf, Lannister lion and Baratheon stag engaging the Targaryen dragon in combat, a reference to Robert's Rebellion.

The camera returns to Winterfell and then pans north to the Wall, where more gears start turning and Castle Black emerges from the ground, while the pulley lift emerges from the face of the Wall. The camera pulls all the way back to King's Landing before moving across the Narrow Sea to the Free City of Pentos, which similarly emerges from the ground while gears rotate.

The opening credits ends with a return to the relief detail of the astrolabe, now showing the animals representing the various noble houses of Westeros bowing to the triumphant Baratheon stag. The Game of Thrones logo then appears over the astrolabe, with the heads of a dragon, wolf, lion, and stag emerging from the side of the logo.

Throughout the series, the opening credits continues to change and add locations, depending on the locations visited in that particular episode. In the first season, Vaes Dothrak, the Eyrie, and the Twins appeared. Dragonstone, Pyke, Harrenhal and Qarth first appeared in the second season. Astapor, Riverrun, and Yunkai first appeared in the third season. The Dreadfort, Meereen, Braavos, and Moat Cailin first appeared in the fourth season, while the region of Dorne was the only location added during the fifth season. No new locations were added to the opening credits during the sixth season. Oldtown and Eastwatch first appeared in the seventh season.

However, the opening credits shown in the eighth season differs majorly from that of previous seasons. Although the sequence still opens with a close-up of the sun and the astrolabe surrounding it, the events visible on the astrolabe tell the plot of the aforementioned seasons rather than Westerosi history: showing the Breaching of the Wall. In contrast with the previous sequence, the large crevice left in the Wall following the breach is shown initially (rather than King's Landing), after which white tiles begin to emerge from the layers of mapping, symbolizing the movement of the army of the dead. Then the camera goes to Winterfell as it emerges to the ground, focusing on the godswood, then coming inside the throne room and then to the crypt. After panning to the sun and the astrolabe (which depicts the Red Wedding at this point), the camera pans to King's Landing, then to the gears pulling up one of the gates. Then the camera goes to the Red Keep, entering one of its towers, coming to the cellars while passing over the ballista and the skull of Balerion which shuts off its jaws, then finally to the throne room, with the Lannister sigil revealing up and the Iron Throne emerging from the floor. Last Hearth first appears in the eighth season.

Breaching of the Wall Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting the Breaching of the Wall.

Red Wedding Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting the Red Wedding.

Red Comet Title Sequence

Relief detail depicting the Red Comet and the birth of Daenerys's dragons.

Unlike previous seasons, the eighth season's sequence also seems to be strictly abiding by the events of the show, therefore changing many aspects in the process. For example, the theme of sigils is present throughout previous sequences, but are removed in the latest version. The opening credits also clearly highlights House Lannister's control of King's Landing, removing the sigil of House Baratheon, despite Robert Baratheon being deceased since the first season (even more so when one considers House Baratheon of King's Landing and its effectiveness as a puppet of House Lannister).


The opening credits was created by Elastic, the company that previously created the opening credits for Rome, Big Love and Carnivale for HBO. The latter won them an Emmy Award.

The opening credits was inspired by the maps of Westeros that precede each novel in the series (and maps in fantasy novels in general). The creators decided to place the map on the inner surface of a sphere with an astrolabe-sun object at the center. The camera would then visit different parts of the map, while illustrations on the astrolabe covered some of the backstory to the series. The turning gears and cogs were meant to be reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions.

As for why it is specifically an astrolabe with moving parts, producer Greg Spence explained that Angus Wall at Elastic came up with "a vision of a mad monk, in a tower somewhere," who was somehow keeping track of all this action, "and creating as he went. He would then fashion little automatons out of the materials that would be available in his world. They would be stone, or tin, or wood, and everything would feel very hand-crafted."[1]


In an interview during Season 5, producer Greg Spence explained several rules about which locations appear in each episode's opening sequence. These rules explain why the map doesn't always match up exactly to what appears in the episode.[2]

First, as a rule, every episode's map must contain King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and "wherever Daenerys is at the moment" - even if Daenerys does not appear in that episode. The reason for this rule about Daenerys is because her locations outside of Westeros help show the vast sweep of the entire world, which is larger than just the one continent Westeros. If the camera simply panned up from King's Landing, to Winterfell, and then the Wall, it wouldn't really show much of the world at all. As Spence said:

"The way the main title, and the way that the camera travels, and crossing the Narrow Sea into Essos is important to us, because it communicates the expanse of the show, and it helps to remind the audience of the entire world in which the show takes place. I think if we tried to limit the main title to just places that appear in the episodes, or we're literally tracing each character, it would be more confusing and less successful at its primary task, which is really orienting people to the world."[3]

Winterfell also appears in every episode, even though during seasons 3 and 4 it was never physically visited. Again, this is to ground the most important parts of the world within the narrative: King's Landing is the capital city, the Wall is meant to hold back the return of the White Walkers, and Winterfell is the home of all the Starks.

Second, they don't always have the time and resources to create specific animations for every minor location - thus the capital of a region is often used as a stand-in to represent the overall territory. For example, at the beginning of Season 5 the Eyrie appears in the opening credits, even though Sansa and Littlefinger left it at the end of Season 4. Instead, they are at Runestone, a major castle in the Vale. Even so, Spence explained, they didn't make a separate animation for Runestone, because it would only appear in that one episode and wasn't that important to the storyline as a whole, so it didn't justify the time and expense in creating an entirely new animation. Therefore, the Eyrie appears in that opening credits to represent the Vale as a whole, because it is the capital.

These budget constraints are also why they haven't made animations for many important locations which only appear once or twice: they have to skew their choices towards locations which they know are going to reappear more than once, so the money invested in producing each animation will get as much use as possible.

Pentos only appeared once in the first four seasons (and through Season 5 has been the rarest location), but it appeared in the first episode due to the rule that they need to show where Daenerys is.

Third, and perhaps most importantly, they can only show a limited number of locations in the 90 second duration of the opening sequence. The opening credits is never going to be delayed longer, in part due to the finite length of the opening theme song. As additional locations appear, some of the animations are being sped up to fit into the desired duration (most notably, in later versions of the opening credits usually only the last one from the original three takes of the Wall animation is being used). Added to this is the time it takes for the camera to zoom in and out, and pan across the globe, which can vary depending on which locations are in a single episode. The combined result is that through Season 5, no opening sequence has ever contained more than six locations, because there physically isn't enough time to fit more in (they might have more than six at a later point, if two are close together).

This became particularly notable in Season 5: up to that point, Daenerys (and her associated storyline) was the only major character not in Westeros (barring Stannis's one-episode trip to Braavos in Season 4). Starting in Season 5, however, other characters start traveling to the eastern continent, particularly Arya Stark, Tyrion Lannister, and Varys. Meanwhile, the TV series also physically visited Dorne for the first time, at the extreme southern end of Westeros - meaning it would take even longer for the camera to pan down to it. Also consider that each opening credits, as a rule, must show the Wall - which is on the exact opposite lengthwise side of the entire continent.

For example, in episode 5.2, besides the four constant locations (King's Landing, Winterfell, the Wall, and Daenerys in Meereen), the other major locations were Arya in Braavos, Tyrion in (the outskirts of) Pentos, the Eyrie for Sansa in the Vale, and the introduction of Dorne. This amounted to eight locations, and all at the far corners of the map, so there just wasn't enough time to zoom to each of them. Thus, the new Dorne animation could not debut in this episode, and the Pentos animation didn't reappear either. Greg Spence explained that they simply have to weigh how many motions the camera can physically make in a limited amount of time, and make tradeoffs relative to how important a location is in a given episode.

Similarly, in episode 5.3, in addition to the core four locations, both Sansa and Brienne went to Moat Cailin, Arya was in Braavos, and Tyrion arrived at Volantis. While Volantis is an important location within the narrative and characters have discussed it throughout the TV series, it was the first time it had been physically visited, and they didn't know at the time if it would be revisited - meaning it didn't justify the expense of creating an entirely new Volantis-animation that would only get used once. It also would have involved a large amount of panning by the camera, because Braavos is the northernmost Free City and Volantis is the southernmost.


The same musical piece, titled only "Main Title", is used in every version of the opening credits. Commonly called the "Game of Thrones Theme", it opens with a string ostinato in C minor, quickly modulating to C major. A melodic variation over the ostinato then takes over on a solo cello. The alternation between minor and major continues throughout the entire piece. Its B section features a lyrical melody played by strings and later sung by a choir, supported by the main ostinato which is sustained throughout and never reaches a climax. The section ends on a crescendo leading into a light and short coda.


Asked to avoid the use of flutes and solo violin, which the producers saw as a fantasy cliché, composer Ramin Djawadi prominently features the cello in this piece and in much of the other music of Game of Thrones. It ends with a dulcimer (common in medieval music) and a kantele, a traditional Fenno-Karelian zither instrument. Djawadi uses these two instruments to create a sense of mystery and anticipation for the episode. In addition, Djawadi uses a standard strings section (violins 1 and 2, violas, cellos, basses) and a choir.

Locations featured

Location appears in the opening credits and the episode
Location appears in the opening credits but not the episode
Location appears in the episode but not the opening credits
Location does not appear in either the opening credits or the episode

Season 1

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (Stark) 10
The Wall 10
The Eyrie 4
The Twins 1
Pentos 1
Vaes Dothrak 9
Variation 1 2 3 4 2

Season 2

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (Stark) 10
The Wall 10
Dragonstone 3
Harrenhal 7
Pyke 9
Vaes Dothrak 3
Qarth 7
Variation 5 6 7

Season 3

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (sacked) 10
The Wall 10
Dragonstone 4
Harrenhal 8
Riverrun 6
The Twins 2
Astapor 4
Yunkai 6
The Dreadfort 0
Variation 8 9 10 11

Season 4

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (sacked) 10
The Wall 10
The Dreadfort 7
Moat Cailin 3
Dragonstone 5
Braavos 5
Meereen 10
The Eyrie 0
Variation 12 13 14

Season 5

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (Bolton) 10
The Wall 10
The Eyrie 2
Moat Cailin 1
Pentos 1
Braavos 9
Meereen 10
Dorne 7
Variation 15 16 14 17

Season 6

rowspan="2" Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Total
King's Landing 10
Winterfell (Bolton) 9
Winterfell (Stark) 1
The Wall 10
Pyke 3
The Eyrie 1
Riverrun 3
The Twins 1
Braavos 7
Vaes Dothrak 3
Meereen 10
Dorne 2
Variation 17 18 19 20 18 21 22 23

Season 7

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Total
King's Landing 7
Winterfell (Stark) 7
The Wall 7
The Twins 1
Eastwatch 3
Dragonstone 7
Pyke 3
Oldtown 7
Variation 24 25 26

Season 8

Location Episodes
1 2 3 4 5 6 Total
The Wall (breached) 6
Last Hearth 6
Winterfell (Stark) 6
King's Landing 6
Dragonstone 0
Variation 27


Location Seasons
Location S1 S2 S3 S4 S5 S6 S7 S8 Total
King's Landing 10 10 10 10 10 10 7 6 73
Winterfell (all) 10 10 10 10 10 10 7 6 73
Winterfell (Stark) 10 10 1 7 6 34
Winterfell (sacked) 10 10 20
Winterfell (Bolton) 10 9 19
The Wall (all) 10 10 10 10 10 10 7 6 73
The Wall (whole) 10 10 10 10 10 10 7 67
The Wall (breached) 6 6
Pentos 1 1 2
Vaes Dothrak 9 3 3 15
The Eyrie 4 2 1 7
The Twins 1 2 1 1 5
Dragonstone 3 4 5 7 19
Pyke 9 3 3 15
Harrenhal 7 8 15
Qarth 7 7
Astapor 4 4
Riverrun 6 3 9
Yunkai 6 6
The Dreadfort 7 7
Meereen 10 10 10 30
Braavos 5 9 7 21
Moat Cailin 3 1 4
Dorne 7 2 9
Oldtown 7 7
Eastwatch 3 3
Last Hearth 6 6


The opening credits sometimes change depending on the locations visited in each episode. The known variations so far are as follows:

  • Episode 1: The capital city of King's Landing, the castle of Winterfell, the Wall and the free city of Pentos all make their first appearance.
  • Episode 2: Pentos is replaced by the Dothraki city of Vaes Dothrak, where tents rise up out of the ground as more gears whir and rotate.
  • Episode 5: The castle of the Eyrie is added to the map between King’s Landing and Winterfell, with the castle rising out of the top of its mountain.
  • Episode 9: The Eyrie is replaced by the Twins.
  • Episode 10: The Twins are removed from the map.
  • Episode 11: The castle of Dragonstone is added to the map between King’s Landing and Winterfell, which rises up from the ground on the island of the same name.
  • Episode 12: The castle of Pyke of the Iron Islands is added to the map between Dragonstone and Winterfell, rising from the sea with each keep connected by a swaying bridge.
  • Episode 14: Dragonstone is replaced by the blackened ruin of Harrenhal by the shores of the lake of Gods Eye and Vaes Dothrak is replaced by the eastern city of Qarth.
  • Episode 21: Qarth is replaced by the slave city of Astapor. Dragonstone returns, replacing Pyke. Winterfell is now clouded in smoke to reflect its sacking at the end of Season 2.
  • Episode 23: Dragonstone is replaced by the castle of Riverrun which rises from the tributary of the Trident.
  • Episode 25: Astapor is replaced by the city of Yunkai.
  • Episode 29: Dragonstone and the Twins return, replacing Harrenhal and Riverrun respectively.
  • Episode 31: The Twins are replaced by the castle of the Dreadfort, and Yunkai is replaced by the slave city of Meereen.
  • Episode 36: Dragonstone is removed from the map and the free city of Braavos is added between The Wall and Meereen. This episode marks the first time two Essos locations are featured in the opening credits.
  • Episode 38: The Dreadfort is replaced by the castle of Moat Cailin.
  • Episode 41: The Eyrie and Pentos return, replacing Moat Cailin and Braavos respectively. Winterfell is not clouded in smoke anymore and the Stark sigil is replaced by the flayed man of House Bolton.
  • Episode 42: Braavos returns, replacing Pentos.
  • Episode 43: Moat Cailin returns, replacing the Eyrie.
  • Episode 44: Moat Cailin is removed from the map and the Kingdom of Dorne is added after Meereen.
  • Episode 52: Dorne is removed and Pyke returns, appearing between King's Landing and Winterfell.
  • Episode 53: Vaes Dothrak returns, replacing Braavos.
  • Episode 54: The Eyrie returns, replacing Pyke.
  • Episode 55: Pyke and Braavos return, replacing the Eyrie and Vaes Dothrak respectively.
  • Episode 56: Pyke is removed and Vaes Dothrak returns, appearing between Braavos and Meereen. This episode marks the first time three Essos locations are featured in the opening credits.
  • Episode 57: Vaes Dothrak is removed and Riverrun returns, appearing between King's Landing and Winterfell.
  • Episode 60: Riverrun is replaced by the Twins. Braavos is removed and Dorne returns, appearing after Meereen. The Bolton sigil in Winterfell is replaced by the grey direwolf of House Stark.
  • Episode 61: Dragonstone returns, appearing between King's Landing and the Twins. Meereen is removed and the port city of Oldtown is added, replacing Dorne. This episode marks the first time no Essos locations are featured in the opening credits.
  • Episode 62: Pyke returns, replacing the Twins.
  • Episode 65: Pyke is removed and the Night's Watch castle of Eastwatch-by-the-Sea is added, appearing between the Wall and Oldtown.
  • Episode 68: The redesigned opening credits begins with the destroyed Wall (unnamed), appearing where Eastwatch-by-the-Sea was located. Dragonstone and Oldtown are removed. The abandoned castle of House Umber, Last Hearth, is added, and blue tiles move from the wall towards it. Winterfell and King's Landing have new animations showing the interiors of each location.
  • Episode 69: The blue tiles are starting to expand from Last Hearth. Tents and trenches are added around Winterfell.
  • Episode 70: The blue tiles reach Winterfell and the torches in the crypt turn off.
  • Episode 71: The aftermath of the Battle of Winterfell is seen. Destroyed tents and fewer trenches are seen.
  • Episode 72: Scorpions are added at the gate of King's Landing.
  • Episode 73: The aftermath of the Battle of King's Landing is seen. Steps are missing from the tower in King's Landing and the Lannister sigil is removed from the window above the Iron Throne.


The opening credits won a Creative Arts Emmy Award on September 10, 2011.[4]


The Simpsons episode "Exit Through the Kwik-E-Mart" features a homage to the Game of Thrones opening credits, with famous buildings in the town of Springfield rising through the ground as characters watch on, dressed in Game of Thrones-style costumes. The Wall is replaced by the monolithic "Couch" at the end of the sequence.[5]

Behind the scenes




External links