Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Wonderfully depressing' - Game of Thrones star Kit Harrington slates Belfast

English actor Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow in the 'Game of Thrones'
English actor Kit Harrington plays Jon Snow in the 'Game of Thrones'

Claire Williamson

Game of Thrones star Kit Harington has slated Belfast's tourist drive as he lampooned the Northern Ireland Tourist Board as "wonderfully depressing" during an interview on a late night American chat show.

The English actor plays Jon Snow in the hit HBO series, which is shot across locations in Northern Ireland and have become tourist attractions as people from around the world flock to see the iconic beauty spots.

The actor spoke about filming in the city which he said he has been based in for the past five years adding, " I have to be careful what I say".

The comments came during a discussion on Late Night with Seth Meyers about the exotic locations that feature in the programme, with host Meyers suggesting that it's "unfair" that Harington has been based in Belfast.

Read more: Viral video shows why you should never invite Game of Thrones' Jon Snow to dinner

He said: "One thing that doesn't seem fair or exciting for you is there are a lot of incredible locations for this show, Croatia, Spain this year. Your part isn't in the nice places. You spent a lot of time in Belfast.

To which Harington replies: "A lot of time in Belfast."

He is then quizzed on what he would say to a traveller going to Belfast.

He replies: "It's wonderful for two or three days."   

But says that he has been living here for five years and describes it as having a "wonderfully, depressing tourist board."

"I have to be careful what I say", he adds.

He said: "They have a wonderful tourist board, they celebrate three things. Having the most bombed hotel in Europe, which is great.

"They built the Tiitanic which is a ship that sunk on its maiden voyage and now they have Game of Thrones, the most depressing TV show in history.

"So it's a wonderfully, depressing Tourist Board"

In response to the comments Tourism Northern Ireland said the filming of Game of Thrones and screen tourism was a "key asset and a key area for growth in Northern Ireland".

Read more: 'They've gone too far this time' - Game of Thrones star Nikolaj Coster Landau on new season

A spokeswoman said: "Belfast and Northern Ireland is recognised as a great short break destination.  Belfast was recently voted, for a fourth consecutive year, by TripAdvisor as one of the UK’s top 10 best destinations among travellers from around the world.

"In recent years significant investment into our tourism infrastructure has created unique visitor experiences.

"This includes Titanic Belfast which was recently named Europe’s number one visitor attraction and since it’s opening in 2012 has exceeded visitor number expectations, attracting over 2 million visitors from across 145 countries."

Read more: WATCH: Sesame Street take on Game of Thrones in parody video

Last June a senior US television executive at HBO  issued a grovelling apology for controversial comments he made criticising Belfast.

Michael Lombardo had said that "Belfast is not the most cosmopolitan of cities to spend half the year".

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