Game of Thrones // Stark // Mug

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I’m generally not a collecter of things that involve my nerdish interests, but every so often I’ll come across something that merchandises my love of something nerdy in a way that I find appealing or useful (and sometimes both appealing and useful!) and I’ll pick it up. Or ask for it for Christmas. That’s the great thing about being an adult. Generally, if I want something, I can buy it. The downside is that I have to go through at least five or so minutes of justification and rationalization for purchasing it if it’s not a necessity like food or toilet paper.

Our friends, Jeffrey and Paul picked us up tickets to the HBO/Movie Network Game of Thrones Exhibit at the Design Exchange in Toronto. And it was pretty neat – it was free, so expectations weren’t high. It’s not like there were cast members on hand or anything, but it was fascinating to see the costumes up close (apparently unwashed from their last use, according to some reports), and the sheer volume of ‘artifacts’ they had created just for the show – and with a level of authenticity you don’t typically expect from a television show. Full suits of armor (or half suits, in the case of Tyrion’s), weapons, broaches, even a doll. It’s pretty incredible. The best part was being able to sit on the Iron throne and have your picture taken.

My one gripe with the exhibition is this: If you’re going to hire some people to take pictures, then hire some professionals, or at least students that are in photography and give them a decent camera. Maybe throw in a cloak or something people can throw on. The cadre of event kids using ipads to snap photos in poor lighting as fast as possible meant getting a pretty shoddy photograph, with a watermark on it. The photos we took on our phones were better. But sitting on the throne. Wow. Felt awesome.

Game of Thrones is one of those things where I would say that the books and the show are on equal footing. The books, in my opinion are better, simply because the depth and breadth of information that is covered in the book is on par with what Tolkien writes. I love the books, but I get that it can be a little overwhelming for some. There’s an entire world history, dozens of families and several kingdoms that are being followed, and it’s difficult to keep track of. The trade off with the show, which pares the story down to it’s essentia, is that it’s visually stunning, and the details and histories that aren’t explored as deeply as the books are brought out in the costumes, the set design, and all the little details like the map markers for the battle maps that Robb uses – something that could have been done simply and less interestingly, but someone took the time to carve out animal heads to represent the houses. That, to me is a commitment to the show that most networks lack.

The one thing I’ve noted though is: Those that read the books before watching the show get more out of it. Those that try and read the books after watching the show struggle immensely to get through, as the story moves a lot slower when you’re reading it through.

I picked up this mug on the way out both as a way to commemorate the experience, but also because I genuinely like the heraldry designs they’ve put together for the show.

Give me some feedback!