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For Northern Ireland, ‘Game of Thrones’ Is Much More Than a Popular TV Show

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In this March 19, 2013, file photo, actors Michelle Fairley, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington, executive producer George R.R. Martin, actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, co-creator/executive producer David Banioff and co-creator/executive producer D.B. Weiss attend The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ Presents An Evening With “Game of Thrones” at TCL Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, California.

Over the course of eight seasons, “Game of Thrones” was filmed in more than 49 locations throughout Northern Ireland. From historic castles to rugged coastlines and ancient forests, the sites have grown popular with fans eager to visit, NBC News reports.

Tourism has become big business for Northern Ireland, with the show helping to attract 120,000 visitors a year and bringing in $40 million annually to the local economy. But not everyone is so gushing about the show’s impact on their ancient land. Some have raised concerns about how the sudden influx of tourists may affect the conservation of historic sites.

For many, however, the positive attention is preferable to the way things were before. For decades, Northern Ireland struggled to draw visitors, with many people associating the country with the decadeslong sectarian conflict known as “the Troubles,” even after it largely ended in 1998.

William van der Kells, who runs a business at the show’s “Winterfell,” believes “Game of Thrones” has helped alter that perception. “We had 40 years of violence. People have got killed, maimed, injured. Now we have fantasy violence, and it is bringing in more money.”

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5 Highlights of Comic-Con 2019

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To help make sure you stay informed, each Sunday we revisit five stories from the previous week and capsulize them in this digest. Today’s collection highlights our coverage of Comic-Con 2019! Find our special section here.

1. That Finale. ‘Game of Thrones’ Cast Talks to Fans

The cast was in good spirits after years of attending Comic-Con and not being able to reveal anything at the panels. Finally they were allowed to talk about things. So what about those coffee cups and water bottles, eh? Read about what the cast had to say here.

2. ‘Maverick’ Returns to San Diego With Long-Awaited ‘Top Gun’ Trailer

The audience in the 8,000 seat room went wild for Tom Cruise Thursday afternoon. The actor made an unexpected flyby at San Diego Comic-Con to debut the first trailer for “Top Gun: Maverick.”

Tom Cruise Crashes Comic-Con To Premiere ‘Top Gun’ SequelTom Cruise Crashes Comic-Con To Premiere 'Top Gun' Sequel

3. Fans Wait in Line and Love It

San Diegan Lauren Kaye told us she was looking forward to waiting in the long Hall H line. “I’ve been wanting to experience Comic-Con for quite a few years, and to finally be able to make it happen is a dream come true,” said Kaye.

4. Portman Is Thor, Ali Is Blade and More From Marvel

With over $22.3 billion in worldwide earnings, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is by far the most successful franchise of all time. Fans learned about new reboots and storylines directly from the producers in a special Hall H panel.

5. Carmel Valley Students Present Educational Comic at Comic-Con Panel

Among the celebrities, comic book legends, and movie studios present at Comic-Con, there is a young generation of comic book artists, high school students from Carmel Valley’s Canyon Crest Academy. NBC 7’s Danica McAdam met up with them for this report.

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It’s a Boy! Chelsea Clinton Announces Birth of Third Baby

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Chelsea Clinton is now a mother of three!

The daughter of former President Bill Clinton announced on Twitter Monday morning that she and husband Marc Mezvinsky welcomed their third child, a boy named Jasper.

“This morning we welcomed our son, Jasper Clinton Mezvinsky,” she wrote. “We are overflowing with love and gratitude and can’t wait to introduce him to his big sister and brother.”

Former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote that she and her husband were “thrilled” at the addition of their newest grandchild.

Clinton, 39, and her husband had announced in January that she was pregnant with a new sibling for daughter Charlotte, 4, and son Aidan, 3, to make them a party of five.

It’s been a big year on the baby front for children of current and former presidents, including TODAY’s own Jenna Bush Hager, the daughter of former President George W. Bush. She announced in April that she is pregnant with her third child.

Earlier in April, Eric and Lara Trump, the second-oldest son and daughter-in-law of President Trump, announced they are expecting their second child in August.

Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

This story first appeared on TODAY.com. More from TODAY: 

 

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TV Personality Jesse James Offers Reward for Return of Dog

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Reality TV star Jesse James is offering a $5,000 reward for the return of one of his beloved dogs.

James in an Instagram post says the 6-year-old French bulldog named Coco went missing in the Newport, Rhode Island area last Tuesday.

In a previous post James had offered a $2,000 reward for the return of his dog “no questions asked.”

He said in that post Coco “only has eyes for me and won’t want to stay with anyone else.”

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

James, founder of West Coast Choppers motorcycle customizing business, was the star of “Jesse James is a Dead Man” on Spike TV and “Monster Garage” on the Discovery Channel.

He says there have been reported sightings of the dog but none have panned out.

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