The Game of Thrones universe is known for its complex system of moving pieces that make up the power politics of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond. The show's opening title sequence reflects this, showing the various key locations in which the show takes place assembling like clockwork, full of all the little cogs that are necessary to make things work.
Behind the scenes things are much the same. Game of Thrones has a relatively lavish budget of around $6 million per episode, but that's money that has to be stretched a very long way and handled very carefully, given the scope of the show. Over the course of the four seasons released so far, Game of Thrones has been filmed in Northern Ireland, Morocco, Malta, Croatia, Iceland and (briefly) the USA, with up to three production units shooting at any one time.
For those interested in how all the little cogs fit together, HBO has released a behind the scenes special for Game of Thrones season 5 titled "A Day in the Life," which follows production units in Northern Ireland, Croatia and Spain over the course of a single day. While filming is taking place in two locations, elsewhere there are sets being built, locations being scouted, extras being cast and costumed, and a thousand and one other elements of pre-production that all need to be completed by the time the cameras and actors arrive.
After four seasons it seems like the Game of Thrones production team has honed the practice of shooting so much in so many different locations and with such a tight deadline, but it's nonetheless impressive to see how much work goes on around the world during any given day of filming. Last summer Game of Thrones finally overtook The Sopranos to become HBO's highest rated show of all time, so there's a lot of pressure to deliver when the series returns this spring.
The special is also worth a watch for a behind-the-scenes look at some of the upcoming stories, such as Jonathan Pryce's introduction as the High Sparrow, the upcoming scenes in Dorne and the set of Hardhome. For more of what's to come, be sure to check out the full length trailer for Game of Thrones season 5.
The Game of Thrones begins again on April 12th, 2015.