Sunday, March 25, 2012

Game of Thrones Exhibit at TIFF

This year for March Break, the Bell Lightbox held a free exhibit promoting the HBO mini-series "The Game of Thrones", based on the eventual 7 part fantasy novel series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George R.R. Martin (he has written up to book 5).

I devoured the first gripping novel as part of my book club and then proceeded to read the next two in the series before I got bogged down by too many new characters and an increasingly difficult to follow plot.   Having to wait so long (5+ years each) between  books 4 and 5 didn't help in keeping the interest alive.  But I still get a thrill when I think about the catch phrase from the books:  “When you play a game of thrones,  you win or you die.”  And Martin definitely lives up to that promise!

   The exhibit featured photos, props, costumes and memorabilia from the show as well as a screening of a "Making Of ... " documentary, all for the purpose of promoting the start of Season 2 on April 1.   Much of the show is based on digital images from Season 1, which are readily available on the internet.  This made it less exciting than if more physical items had been on display.  But since TIFF continues its policy of not allowing photos to be taking while viewing their exhibits, at least this provides me with something to remember the show by.

Other than the photos, costumes worn by characters including Catelyn Tully Stark, Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen were presented.  Other paraphernalia included banners of the coat of arms from each of the major families, swords, bows and arrows, goblets, the dragon egg (What's a good fantasy without a dragon or two?).   The HBO series has  perfectly cast each major character as they each exactly reflect my imagination of what he or she would look like.  Peter Dinklage seems to have cornered the market on dwarf roles and it is gratifying to see him win the Emmy and Golden Globe for playing the complex and devious Tyrion Lannister.

 It was clear from the photos and the documentary what a huge scaled production this mini-series is in terms of cast, sets and locations.  The series is shot in Ireland, Malta, Croatia and Iceland to depict scenes varying from looming castles, battlement fields, hot dry deserts and icy winter wastelands.  It was especially exciting to recognize at a glance that some walled fortress scenes were filmed in Dubrovnik, where we have visited and stood on those same walls.

 The highlight of TIFF exhibit was the "Iron Throne", the symbol of the coveted prize being battled for throughout the novels.  While it was quick to get into the show, the lineup to have your photo taken on the throne was lengthy, and included one especially enthusiastic "fanboy" who came dressed (or semi-dressed) in tributary attire including loin cloth and arm bands.  He especially stood out since it was chilly outside so all the other people in line were bundled up in winter coats.

As you exited the exhibit, staff handed out free popcorn coupons and a DVD to the first episode of Season 1 of the mini-series.  This was a great promotion of the next season and seemed to do its job of driving up the anticipation for it.

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