The best TV offers escapism to worlds beyond our imaginations. From historical dramas like Downton Abbey taking us to 1920s England and France to Game of Thrones’ ability to create Westeros, the goal is for fans to say they want to go to there. Amazon’s Wheel of Time series is no exception; it creates an all-new continent for viewers, with fantastical cities and tiny hamlets to explore. But where was The Wheel Of Time filmed? Can fans actually visit these places?
Warning: Light spoilers for The Wheel of Time Season 1, Episodes 1-3 follow. Like Game of Thrones, The Wheel of Time begins with a leavetaking, as a set of young men and women leave home for the first time to head toward the big city. But this is not in service of a king, but rather due to an ancient evil tracking them. The Dark One, as he is referred to (like Voldemort, he’s a He Who Must Not Be Named-type), has sent an army of Trollocs and Fades who follow the group as they race across forests and dales, heading to the White Tower in the city of Tar Valon.
But as the group travels and is eventually driven to split up, they each take different paths, from small valley towns to water-parched deserts filled with wolves to lush forests. So, where are all these places? Are they even real, or is this all CGI?
Like Westeros, it’s a mix. King’s Landing, for example, used the Old City of Dubrovnik as a filming location. Fans can visit the Croatian city and stand in places Arya and Cersei walked. But they’ll also see there’s no Red Keep, no Great Sept of Baelor; those were added in post-production.
For The Wheel of Time, the production also used areas of Europe that fans might not be all that familiar with. The main area where the show was filmed is in and around Prague in the Czech Republic. Several of the mountainous regions and forests used the eastern European country of Slovenia. The series even used part of Dubrovnik for its major cities. So if Tar Valon feels just a bit familiar at times, it might be because it was once Westeros.
But the important thing is that Amazon’s new series followed the same concept that Game of Thrones followed, filming in real locations redressed to look like another world. In both cases, using actual locations grounds the story in something solid, something fans recognize as real. And soon enough, it might even be a place where tourists can travel to see the Two Rivers and Tar Valon.
The Wheel of Time Season 1 continues with new episodes streaming every Friday on Amazon Prime Video.