How does one sum up the HBO original series Game of Thrones, adapted from George R. R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire? Internet memedom refers to it as a cross between Lord of the Rings and The Sopranos. Others describe it as “musical chairs for psychopaths.” Historians might call it “a list of very good reasons why most of the world abandoned monarchy as a system of government.”
The Present Author does have one way in which I differ from the mainstream fandom: I don’t think it’s such a big deal if Martin finishes the books or not. Game of Thrones isn’t really about endings, so much as it is about watching the wheels go round.
…or get broken. Endings, as the show has abundantly demonstrated, can be any old thing, usually in the category of “creatively sadistic ways to die.” Since Martin drew inspiration for harsh winter weather from my home state, I can empathize. Sharing the road with kooks who drive like maniacs in the snow does try one’s patience.
George R.R. Martin actually plots like a collaboration between a history professor and a hyperactive grade-schooler: “So there’s this kingdom, and a dramatic trial, with tensions between political factions of dueling royal families, and each side makes flowery speeches and there’s all these plot twists and intrigue -” “And then a lady rides in with GIANT DRAGONS and breathes fire and KILLS THE CRAP OUT OF EVERYBODY.” There, we’re done. What official ending could he give the whole series that we couldn’t have predicted?
Well, we’re not here to suggest alternative endings – we’ll leave that up to the fan-fiction community. We are here to march to victory, or defeat, but we go forward to explore the available offerings of select Game of Thrones fandom trinkets. Trying to steer clear of specific spoilers, but no guarantees.
I Drink and I Know Things 17 oz Beer Glass
You’d think with all the people who die of poison in this show, nobody would ever want to drink again. But in case you’re secure enough in your life circumstances to trust your beverage – or if you never take your eyes off your glass – this glass is a great novelty for Tyrion Lannister fans. Out of all the memorable lines uttered on this show, this character’s sarky little one-liner seems to have stuck around the longest. Possibly because we can identify with the guy’s stress level. Sure, he manages to get out of any situation he gets himself into, but he still gets in way more situations than normal.
Nothing says “rustic medieval entertainment” like a hand-cranked music box. No fancy phone app, no artificial intelligence, no batteries! Just mechanical metal and wood playing a tinkly little version of the Game of Thrones theme song, living in the moment. This is a pretty good representation of the sole duration of childhood for your average Westeros tyke; you have time to play with a toy for a bit and then you get kidnapped by soldiers or pushed out a window or something. You grow up fast in Westeros or you don’t grow up at all.
Dark Horse Deluxe Game of Thrones: 4″ Iron Throne Mini Replica
There’s a lot of Iron Throne replicas out there, but for the money this is the jauntiest model of the most uncomfortable seat in all of the Seven Kingdoms. Seriously, shouldn’t a king’s throne be nicer? Maybe some velvet cushion padding, perhaps an armrest or two? It doesn’t even recline, and it looks like it would be merciless on a bad back. But maybe that’s a trivial point, since hardly anybody gets to sit in the cursed thing for very long.
Game of Thrones Sculpted Dragon Egg Candles, Set of 3
Diamonds might be a girl’s best friend if you’re Marilyn Monroe, but our money’s on having a trio of fire-breathing sky lizards backing your play. It’s miraculous what you can get done in life when you have a few dragons around. They make affectionate pets and they’re very handy for those backyard summer barbecues. As Daenerys shows us, a girl with a smidgen of ambition can rise all the way from exiled nobody to a ferocious military force. You’re welcome to light these candles just to see if they might hatch, but they’re much better for those cold winter nights as you stare obsessively into the flames and ponder your destiny.
Rabbit Tanaka Game of Thrones Reversible Fleece Throw Blanket
Now here’s something that’s really on-theme for the franchise! You get a bed-sized throw blanket for an extra layer of winter snuggling. It has two sides, each a handsome design of a sigil from House Lannister and House Targaryen, with the mottoes of each. In case you haven’t read it before, sigils in Game of Thrones have meanings, and the respective cast lives up to their motifs. The Lannister’s lions have the significance that the males are typically lazy and retiring, while the females are more deadly. Targaryen’s sigil is significant because, duh, dragons solve everything!
POP! Deluxe: Game of Thrones Hodor Holding the Door
When it comes to Funko Pop figures, we have to give this one its due. How can you pass up one of the lamest and yet most dramatic backstories in the series, set up like an overworked brick joke? Hodor is also one of the few characters we can truly sympathize with, since he’s too meek to launch military invasions, too nice to slaughter anybody, and doesn’t even show interest in banging any relatives, unlike so much of the cast.
This is the other Funko Pop figure we’d like to zoom in on: The under-rated Night King. Hey, all dude ever really wanted was to be left alone. He didn’t ask to have all these power-mad men trampling all over his territory. He never asked to be created either; that was the Children of the Forest doing, and they made him just to be a bio-weapon against the invading men. The Children of the Forest are actually the indigenous people – or species – of Westeros, just one more peaceful tribe of Aborigines wiped out by human progress. Go on, Night King, make yourself at home, you’ve earned it!
Well, let’s face it, a wall map is the one truly neutral novelty you could get for the Game of Thrones franchise, without having to take sides. Which, as everyone knows, leads to having enemies. This map covers not just Westeros but the whole known continent of Essos, too. Now that you look at it this way, isn’t Westeros shaped an awful lot like a shuffled United Kingdom, with Essos coming in from the side there representing a stand-in for either one of Europe, Scandinavia, or perhaps… France? Oh no, we’re just imaging things.
Who can say how long Game of Thrones‘ legacy will last? It is without a doubt one of the best fantasy series adapted from literature, and a heavy contender for best fantasy series ever. Maybe it’s not for everybody, especially those who like a little less cussing and boinking with their faerie tales, not to mention graphic murder.
But still, the category of complete fantasy HBO series with a dwarf in the cast is surprisingly thin, especially at this level of quality.
*AHEM*! We said complete fantasy HBO series with a dwarf in the cast, not ones that were canceled after their second season with one of the most shocking and explosive cliffhangers ever left unresolved forever…
Oh, where were we? Game of Thrones‘ legacy is so extensive that it has its own Sesame Street parody…
And Game of Thrones homages even exist as Superbowl ads for Bud Light, because nothing says “crossover appeal” like geeks and football, amirite fans?
To make up for that, here’s a Jimmy Kimmel bit: “Game of Phones” for confused fans. Now that new fans can only come to the series via a streaming video binge, this should totally be a thing.
So nobody, least of all Jon Snow, can claim to know how long we’ll all still be talking about Game of Thrones. George is still allegedly writing when he isn’t too busy swimming in his huge Scrooge McDuck pool of money. There could be movies, a follow-up series, or even more books. We hear tell there’s already video games.