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10 'Game of Thrones' locales you can visit in real life

Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) and Sandor Clegane (Rory McCann) square off in the the Vale of Arryn

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

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Visit the 'real' Westeros

The HBO series "Game of Thrones" is known for its loyal viewership, its high production budget, and its deft blending of historical fantasy and realistically ruthless characters. You don't have to be a fantasy fan or sci-fi geek to enjoy the plot twists, talented ensemble cast, and epic feel of this show.

The small-screen's most buzzed-about program is filmed in some seriously stunning locations in Europe and North Africa. "Thrones" enthusiasts have been flocking to places in Malta and Northern Ireland just like "Lord of the Rings" fanatics have been making pilgrimages to New Zealand. Even casual HBO watchers and non-fans will appreciate the natural beauty, deep history and timelessness of the locations that are seen onscreen, as seen here as Arya Stark (left) and Sandor "The Hound" Clegane in an episode from season four.

Here are 10 "Game of Thrones" locations that are worth visiting, even if you don't follow the show. (Text: Josh Lew)