Discover how Cersei’s gorgeous map of Westeros was made


As Game of Thrones fans, we’ve all gazed lovingly at Cersei Lannister’s beautiful floor map of Westeros, possibly wishing we could tile our kitchen like that. Glorious in it’s balanced tans and blues, it’s a rectangular slice of beauty lodged deep in the cold heart of King’s Landing. We all want it in our house. Yes we do.

Story-wise, the map is a manifestation of Cersei’s sweeping ambition in season 7, but the showrunners also had a bit of fun with it. When we see the map for the first time in “Dragonstone,” Cersei dismisses the artist, who’s there putting on some finishing touches. That artist character is played by Jim Stanes, who is actually the lead graphic designer on Game of Thrones. Stanes discussed how the map was made in an interview with Indiewire.

"When the map was first commissioned, there were no specific instructions other than the size of the floor, which the map was required to fill, and that it should show Westeros surrounded by sea. Artwork I developed for the map was discussed and altered. At one point I had to start again, after the decision to make this floor map relate to the map in the opening title sequence."

Stanes based his design on “multitudinous medieval references but from nothing specific. I’ve been doing medieval style maps for ages, and have much reference. The map was designed at my desk in the Set Dec office in Belfast. This was painted artwork and digital artwork, small scale.” Stanes’ watercolor and digital concept images were then submitted to the show’s scenic painters to use as a reference.

The map set is located at the Titanic Studios in Belfast, Norther Ireland, and measures 28.6 by 34.3 feet (8.71 by 10.46 metres). Stanes describes the creation process:

"Two scenic painters, Dave Packard and Greg Winter, came to Belfast to paint by hand the full size map from artwork provided by myself and Rhiannon Fraser in Graphics. The actual map was more or less painted in situ, on the floor of a sound stage in Titanic Studios … with acrylic paint on MDF tiles at 60cm square. These were painted vertically and then laid into the floor."

It took six weeks to create the finished map. Stanes says the show carpenters first had to create the 60cm tiles and then “painters provided a marbled background to each tile before the main image was painted onto it.” Including producers, designers and graphics people, the floor and its image required about 10 people to build. Surely Cersei wouldn’t think the expense too extravagant.

Stanes and his crew made the map durable enough to withstand plenty of treading boots. “It was designed to be walked on,” he says. “I haven’t seen it since last year, but again it was designed to be tough, any damage, etc., can be painted back. It’s still there, but can be removed, as it consists of movable tiles.”

Who knows? Maybe the map room will outlast Cersei.

Next: Mark Gatiss (Iron Banker Tycho Nestoris) reveals his idea for a Game of Thrones ending

To stay up to date on everything Game of Thrones, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and sign up for our exclusive newsletter.

Watch Game of Thrones for FREE with a no-risk, 7-day free trial of Amazon Channel