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Winter in Westeros: The Weather of 'Game of Thrones'

As the fourth season of Game of Thrones kicks off Sunday night, many questions linger in the minds of fans, from wondering who will win the war for the Iron Throne, to which characters will survive this season, to when the Starks' foreboding warning that "winter is coming" will prove true.

Westeros has a complex and varied climate, spanning the dry, hot deserts of Dorne in the south, to the icy wall north of Winterfell. Seasons do not run in short or predictable schedules; summers last for years with the threat of winter's return looming ahead in the future.

To capture the varied landscape and scenery presented in the Song of Ice and Fire books, production of the Game of Thrones television show is filmed in different countries, about 100 different locations in a season. Snowy scenes that take place at the Wall are filmed in Iceland. Malta and Croatia have been used for King's Landing, and much of Westeros was represented by Northern Ireland.

The weather plays such a heavy hand in the scenery of the stories, and so the production crews often travel to get the environments and weather conditions that will be the most cooperative for their story telling.

"Basically, the saying on set is, the worse the weather is, the better it's going to look on screen," said David Benioff and Dan Weiss, executive producers and writers of the show.

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While inclement weather may make for better scenes on film, capturing those scenes can provide an extra challenge.

According to Sullivan Entertainment, "Filming outside is challenging at the best of times but dealing with bad weather definitely complicates things even further."

They said that the biggest issue the weather can present when filming is around continuity. If the weather at the start of the scene is rainy, but then the rain doesn't persist by the time shooting concludes, it creates problems for the scene's consistency.

Tricks are used to help manipulate the way scenes are shot outside when the weather is not cooperating, such as adjusting different lighting angles or setting up tarps and canopies to minimize the impact of rain when a clear-day shot is needed.

Snowy and rainy weather also provides an extra challenge to crews trying to protect their equipment. Camera crews may need to use water-resistant, well-ventilated, covers, or set up equipment in an inside location to film what is taking place outside.

With more ice and snow on tap for the fourth season as the threat of the White Walkers grows, fans of the show can expect some extreme weather conditions to set the scene this year.