Experience an undiscovered world.

Explore the previously unseen castles and landscapes of George R.R. Martin’s ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ novels in a new exhibition. ‘Game of Thrones‘ artists have brought to life the Basilisk Isles, Valyria and other mysterious locations for the first time in Unseen Westeros.

Experience Westeros in VR
Now, we’ve transformed their work into an immersive virtual reality experience. Roam nine never-before-seen places in Westeros, Essos and beyond – beholding astonishing strongholds, ancient cities and far-flung forests with added depth and detail.


The Unseen Westeros VR Experience

Unseen Westeros awaits your exploration – in stunning virtual reality. The origins of the World of Ice and Fire have been visualised for the first time. Explore Widow’s Watch on the windswept coast of the North, or the Basilisk Isles – close to the coast of Sothoryos. Go further afield to the Five Forts, or marvel at the towers of Valyria.

Step 1

1. Download the latest YouTube app to your smartphone.

iOS / Android

Step 2

2. When you’re ready to start, tap this link – if prompted choose to open the link with the YouTube app.

Step 3

3. Tap the Cardboard Icon on the bottom right of your screen.

Step 4

4. Put on your headset and look around to view the video in 360° virtual reality.

Unseen locations in VR

Strongsong. The Five Forts. The Basilisk Isles. Parts of Westeros until now seen only in the ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ fantasy novels. Now experience them in virtual reality – thanks to a new exhibition of work by artists from the Game of Thrones TV series and our VR experience. Feel the mountains and cities unfold around you.

  • Golden Tooth
  • Golden Tooth

    Home to House Lefford, a key vassal sworn to the mighty House Lannister, Golden Tooth is aptly named given the precious metals and wealth of the Westerlands. While a modest castle, it holds great strategic value – controlling a crucial passage through the Hill Road. In fact, they say any hostile army must take the Tooth if they wish to threaten the Lannisters – who once utilised its gold to establish their power.

    Artist: Manuel Grad

  • Strongsong

    Strongsong is the seat of House Belmore in the Vale – a powerful family sworn to House Arryn. Situated beside rivers and lakes in the Mountains of the Moon, this castle is as robust and poetic as its name implies, and it provides a formidable stronghold north of The Eyrie. The Belmores are an ancient line that can trace their roots back to the First Men, and their home is well suited to their status.

    Artist: René Aigner

  • Strongsong
  • Widow's Watch
  • Widow's Watch

    The ancient fort of House Flint, sworn to the Starks of the North. Widow’s Watch is found on the rocky coast south-east of Winterfell – where it gazes ever vigilantly over the Narrow Sea. Some say it was a Flint who became the Night’s King: naming himself King-Beyond-the-Wall and taking the Nightfort as his seat. But despite these whispers, the house remains loyal to the North, and to the Starks.

    Artist: Manuel Grad

  • Kingdom of the Ifequevron

    In the Dothraki tongue, ‘Ifequevron’ means Wood Walkers. And it is said even the dreaded Khals fear the powers of the Ifequevron so much they never venture into northern Essos’ vast forested region, where these people once lived. When the Wood Walkers vanished, they left behind a legacy of carved wooden monuments and sinister caves, which the Dothraki have dubbed Vaes Leisi – or the ‘City of Ghosts’.

    Artist: Chris Sanchez

  • Kingdom of the Ifequevron
  • Valyria
  • Valyria

    The capital of the once-mighty Valyrian empire, this city of sky-piercing towers was home to fearsome dragonlords – including the forebears of House Targaryen – before the devastating cataclysm known as ‘The Doom’ left it desolate and devastated. Those who journey to the ruins today do so at great peril. Gerion Lannister once led an expedition to Old Valyria, following in the footsteps of his ancestor, King Tommen II. Much like Tommen however, Gerion was never seen again.

    Artist: Max Riess

  • Five Forts

    Far from Westeros, on the border of the Golden Empire of Yi Ti, there are Five Forts of untold age, with uncanny echoes of The North’s own great Wall of ice. It is said they were once used by the Pearl Emperor to defend against demons commanded by the ‘Lion of Night’. As The Wall now guards against Wildlings, so too do the Five Forts protect against raiders. But what horrors might also lurk beyond?

    Artist: Martin Höhnle

  • Five Forts
  • Basilisk Isles
  • Basilisk Isles

    The Basilisk Isles lurk close to the coast of Sothoryos – the southernmost continent of the known world. Once home to monstrous reptiles, and still a haven for deadly creatures, the isles are most frequently settled by rogues and pirates. The Lysene pirate Saathos Saan once crowned himself ‘King of the Basilisk Isles’, and others have followed in his wake. But so treacherous is life here, that so-called ‘plunder towns’ are often short-lived.

    Artist: Martin Höhnle

  • Sothoryos

    The history of Sothoryos, the southernmost continent of the known world, is as mysterious as the land is dangerous. Ruined cities suggest it once hosted civilisation, but those who venture inland rarely return to tell the tale, while legend speaks of gigantic apes, bats and spiders lurking in wait. All that is known for certain is it is a place of thick jungle and scorched deserts that stretch for thousands of miles – seemingly without end.

    Artist: Pablo Dominguez

  • Sothoryos
  • Summer Isles
  • Summer Isles

    Positioned south of Westeros, the Summer Isles are humid lands of rainforests and beaches, of precious stones and exotic birds – with the thriving Tall Trees Town a centre of culture, trade and history. The people worship gods and goddesses of love, beauty and fertility, but they are also prepared to defend themselves. The Summer Isles produce some of the greatest archers in the known world.

    Artist: Manuel Grad

How the artists brought "Unseen Westeros" to life

In these short videos, you’ll learn how the artists turned their ideas into cities and landscapes for the “Unseen Westeros” exhibition.

  • Lorath
  • Lorath

    The city of Lorath is located on a flat, rocky island. In ancient times, it was inhabited by the mysterious mazemakers, who disappeared a long time before historiography even began and left nothing behind but their mazes. The mazemakers constructed extensive buildings of remarkable complexity. Scattered across the entire island, they take up more than three-fourths of the island’s surface area, which includes four underground stories. Even today, experts wonder what the mazes were made for.

    Sven Sauer, who initiated the “Unseen Westeros” exhibition, lives and works in Berlin, Germany. Working as a digital artist for international movie productions, Sven has a project portfolio that includes Atomic Blonde, Oblivion and Melancholia. Also, he has been working for the “Game of Thrones“ series since season 2. In his role, he developed Dragonstone and Harrenhal. His projects have earned him the Academy Award for Visual Effects.

    Berlin-based Kirill Barybin has been working as a concept designer for international computer game productions for three years now. In collaboration with Berlin-based design studio KARAKTER, he has been involved with the production of a number of video games, including Call of Duty: Black Ops 3, Middle Earth: Shadow of War, and Game of Thrones: Seven Kingdoms. 

  • Valyria

    For many thousand years, the Valyrians used to be the most powerful people in the known world. Its capital, home of the dragons, was a magnificent city until one day it was wiped out completely within only a few hours. The hills erupted, and the land was covered in ashes, smoke, and fire. Until today, no one has figured out what caused the disaster that instantly destroyed what used to be the world’s proudest city.

    Max Riess is a Germany-based visual effects artist. He’s been working in the VFX industry for over a decade now. The projects he was a part of include Melancholia, Super 8, The Physician, and Martin Scorcese’s Oscar-winning movie Hugo. As for “Game of Thrones“, he’s been contributing to the series since season 5. In 2016, his work for Dragon’s Lair was nominated for the Visual Effects Society Award (VES). He co-developed and took part in the relaunch of Dragonstone in season 7.

    Sven Sauer
    : see above.

  • Valyria
  • Chroyane
  • Chroyane

    The city of Chroyane used to be called the “Festival City” of the Rhoynar. Rumour has it that its streets were made of water and its homes were made of gold. Chroyane was once the most affluent and most beautiful city on the Rhoyne river until it was destroyed in the war with Valyria. Since then, the ruins, which are covered in foul fog, have been cursed and are now inhabited by a people called the Stone Men.

    Falk Boje was born in Germany. After working in Europe for several years, he moved to Vancouver, Canada, four years ago. A lead generalist, he specializes in the creation of photorealistic landscapes and environments for international movie productions. For “Game of Thrones“, he primarily worked on Fist of the First Men and Beyond the Wall in season 2, which earned him the Visual Effects Society Award (VES) in 2011. For season 3, he was a member of the team that brought the desert city of Yunkai to life.

  • Bleeding Sea

    Bleeding Sea is located east of the Bone Mountains. An inland sea, it was named for its blood-red waters that are caused by a plant that grows in it.

    Benjamin Nowak is based in Vancouver, Canada, and has been working as a digital artist for international movie productions for five years now, including Oblivion, Ready Player One and Avengers: Infinity War. His work for Spike Jonze’s Kenzo World earned him a nomination for the Visual Effects Society Award (VES). He co-developed Yunkai for season 3 of “Game of Thrones“.

  • Bleeding Sea
  • Tyrosh
  • Tyrosh

    The city of Tyrosh was founded as a military outpost for the Valyrian Freehold. The Tyroshi are notorious for their greed. Slavery still exists in the city. The inhabitants of Tyrosh love bright colours and even colour their hair and beards brightly.

    Claudio Pilia is based in Stuttgart, Germany, and has been working as a digital artist for two years now. His portfolio includes international projects for Justice League and The Walking Dead. He has been part of “Game of Thrones“ productions since season 7, including the development of Dragonstone and Dragonpit.

Matte painting tutorials by “Unseen Westeros” artist Philipp Scherer

Join the experienced visual effects artist Philipp Scherer as he walks you through the creation of the city of Norvos by combining multiple images and digital painting techniques in Adobe Photoshop CC.

Philipp Scherer Tutorial
Turning an idea into a sketch

Philipp shows you how to do research, find reference images, and create a sketch for your matte painting.

Philipp Scherer Tutorial
Filling and combining sketch elements

Using photos, blending modes, and colour adjustment tools, Philipp creates a fantastic “Game of Thrones“-style collage.

Philipp Scherer Tutorial
Adding a film look and finishing touches

Philipp adds depth of field, makes the foreground come to life, and uses some photographic tricks to make the landscape look realistic.

Try Photoshop CC for free and create your own matte painting.

Download the “Unseen Westeros” artists’ tool of choice and start creating your own matte painting. See below for further help and resources, including the final background and useful images for creating the collage.


Getting started is easy. Download our free resources.

Even if you’re new to Photoshop CC, you can create your own matte painting by using our resources. “Unseen Westeros” artist Philipp Scherer has shared the background image of his Norvos matte painting and other resources (brushes and actions) he used. In addition, you can download 10 free* images he used for the Norvos painting from his Adobe Stock gallery.

Download the Photoshop file and resources

* Only available for new customers as part of a free membership, which will automatically become a paid membership at 29.99 €/month plus tax unless you change or cancel it within the first 30 days. Credit card information required to take advantage of this offer.

The matte painting workflow

Once you‘re done creating a matte painting in Photoshop, you can turn it into a moving image using After Effects and Premiere Pro. The artist has to create a new matte painting for every new perspective.

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Image editing and compositing

Adobe Stock
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Adobe Premiere Pro CC
Video production and editing

Adobe After Effects CC
Cinematic visual effects and motion graphics

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