Saturday, 21 June 2014

A surprise trip to Westeros: Day One

Dan was adamant he didn't want to do anything to celebrate his 30th birthday, no parties, no surprises, no surprise parties... But I had other ideas. Having discovered the Game of Thrones exhibition would be hitting Belfast's Waterfront the week of his birthday, I booked tickets via a raven and spent all the gold dragons we had on securing our passage across the Narrow Sea. Things were about to get nerdy.

Our arrival in Westeros

I was lucky enough to blag tickets for the first time slot on the exhibition's opening day, which I'm still stunned about given how quickly they were all snapped up.

As soon as we got in we headed straight for the Iron Throne, which apparently weighs half a tonne and took four weeks to construct. Top right is Tyrion Lannister's costume and bottom left is a dragon's head, which is one of two items I wanted to take home. I would've quite liked to take the Iron Throne home too, but since we'd actually come by plane, rather than ship, our baggage allowance wouldn't accommodate it. Actually my living room wouldn't either since it full of records.

Clockwise from top left: wall related stuff, my reaction to ascending the wall, a model of the trenches at the top and Dan recalls how he about shat his pants at the top of the wall.

The Ascend the Wall virtual reality experience was by far the best bit of the exhibition. You put on a headset and headphones, before being shut in a cage and taking a rickety lift to the top of the wall. You can even feel the rush of wind in your hair. Once you're at the top you spin round and run through the trenches right to the edge of the wall, then look straight down. The video moves so quickly it makes you feel unsteady on your feet - it was surprising how many grown men were screaming while doing this - and at one point I even had to hang on to the sides of the cage so I didn't fall off the wall. Well, it wasn't falling off the edge of the wall that concerned me, it was more the thought of falling face first into the side of the cage and smashing my face up.

Here is a direwolf's head. This is the other item that I really wanted to take home. Although I would prefer a live direwolf if possible.

Lannister costumes

Jaime Lannister's severed hand

I hear that another character has his cock chopped off, which is then sent to his father in a box. I was hoping the cock in the box would be part of the exhibition, but sadly it was not. 

Daenerys Targaryen costumes
She is a teeny tiny lady

Jon Snow costume and sword, with Ygritte costume

Some of those swords were almost as big as me

Tribute to the dead 

The 30th birthday celebrations wouldn't be complete without a beheading.

That dude wasn't even part of the exhibition, he was just some super fan who stood outside all day chopping heads off. This was right after we were interviewed for an Irish radio station, during which I admitted that I didn't watch the show. Controversial, I know. I've since started watching it - mainly so I can go 'seen that, seen that, sat on that...' - and have just finished season one. Unfortunately, I've also seen the In Memoriam wall, so now I know who dies. Bugger.

So that was the exhibition. The rest of day one was spent wandering along the riverside, buying records and climbing to the top of the Victoria Square shopping centre. I don't recommend doing that last one in the heat, the views of Belfast are amazing, but I would advise taking the lift. I couldn't feel my legs after I'd walked to the top.

As the majority of Game of Thrones is filmed in Northern Ireland, at Titanic Studios and out in the beautiful Irish countryside, I had another surprise up my sleeve for day two. Things were going to get nerdier...

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