15 Experiences Every 'Game of Thrones' Fan Will Love
The new season of "Game of Thrones" is coming (just like winter), and if you're a fan, you're probably looking for ways to get your Westeros fix before the premiere on July 16. Thankfully there are plenty of exciting "Game of Thrones" related experiences that you can check out in real life to get you ready for the show and to enjoy while you watch. From incredible tours of the actual filming locations and sword-fighting classes to food and drinks inspired by the series, here are 15 "Game of Thrones" experiences for die-hard fans.
From the castles of Winterfell and King's Landing to the Water Gardens of Dorne and frosty terrain beyond The Wall, you can visit the stunning locations used to film the series. These guided tours offer an intimate behind-the-scenes look of sites in Iceland, Ireland, Spain, Croatia, and elsewhere. And while the trips might be a splurge, they often offer discounts for groups and added perks like banquets. Plus, you can use the trip as an opportunity to explore the surrounding areas with cheap flights throughout Europe on WOW Air and Ryanair.
Don your finest Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen costume and head to a renaissance fair where you can eat, drink, and be merry Westeros-style. Keep an eye out for The Mountain at jousting battles and sword fights, shop for artisanal crafts at the market, wave to the king and queen (or don't!), and enjoy the performances of medieval musicians, dancers, and jesters. You can also practice your ax-throwing and archery, or just enjoy a turkey leg and a goblet of ale.
If you get excited just hearing the pounding drums and swelling strings of the opening title music to "Game of Thrones," just imagine how thrilling it is to hear them live in a huge arena. The Game Of Thrones Live Experience features live performances led by composer Ramin Djawadi, who writes the music for the series, with a full choir and orchestra. Enjoy music from pivotal scenes, characters and houses like the Starks and Lannisters, while the stage transforms to recreate locations such as the weirwood tree or the Iron Islands. Scenes from the show are also played on giant screens, and there's lots of fire and even the Iron Throne. This year's tour has ended, but there's a good chance they'll be on the road again soon.
The blog Inn at the Crossroads features delicious food and drink recipes inspired by the HBO show, the original books by George R.R. Martin, and historical accounts of the Middle Ages. From breakfast at Winterfell to Cersei's Creamy Chestnut Soup, the recipes are divided up by meal category and the regions of Westeros.
"Game of Thrones" is full of plenty of intense sword fights, and now you can learn to wield Valyrian steel like the best of them. Follow in the footsteps of Arya Stark and the sword fighters of the Free City of Braavos by learning the Water Dance technique from Miltos Yerolemou, who plays Syrio Forel in the show. Yerolemou frequently offers the classes at fan conventions around the world, so keep an eye on his Facebook page to sign up for the next one. Or learn long-sword techniques based on historical medieval styles at home with friends, thanks to online lessons.
At the cleverly named Game of Toast restaurant in Abu Dhabi, you can chow down on sandwiches while surrounded by memorabilia from the show. From the "House of Rolls" menu, you can order hearty bites like the pulled beef brisket, and from the "House of Sides," order up the sweet potato fries. On the stone walls, you'll find maps of Westeros, swords and shields, and even the Iron Throne made from forks and knives.
At the Camlann Medieval Village in Carnation, Washington, you can learn what it was like to live in 14th-century England, which was not unlike many parts of Westeros. Explore the recreated medieval village, talk with actors well-versed in the period, and watch demonstrations of archery, blacksmithing, textile production, animal care, and artwork. You can also enjoy a historically accurate meal at the Bors Hede Inne, shop for crafts, or celebrate during one the feasts and festivals held throughout the year.
Get an up-close look at historic medieval castles in Europe, many of which inspired the designs of "Game of Thrones." Tour the turrets, cross the moats, and learn what life was like centuries ago with guided tours. You can usually save money on the tours if you opt for group trips instead of private ones, but if you're looking to really splurge, you can get the full experience by staying in an Irish castle for a week.
At the Blood & Wine pop-up bar in Edinburgh, Scotland, you can raise a toast like Tyrion Lannister and stay warm during the Long Night. The bar features drinks inspired by the Seven Kingdoms, including the Red Wedding merlot and The Mountain vodka, as well as delicious Frey pie, and the walls are decorated with maps and memorabilia. The pop-up returns just in time for the new season. Meanwhile, a GoT-inspired pub has popped up in Washington, D.C., this summer as well, featuring elaborately themed designs and cocktails like the Dothraquiri and The North Remembers.
There's plenty of drinking that takes place on-screen in "Game of Thrones" -- Tyrion, we're looking at you -- so if you want to raise a glass with your favorite characters, consider making your own medieval ale at home. Or if you'd rather leave the beer-making to the experts, pick up some of the excellent "Game of Thrones" inspired beers from Brewery Ommegang.
Animals play significant roles in "Game of Thrones," from the direwolves of the Starks to the dragons of Daenerys. So if you're looking to get an up-close look at some similarly impressive animals, consider visiting a wildlife sanctuary in your area, like the incredible Wildlife Waystation in Southern California where you'll find rescued bears, wolves, exotic birds, and even lions. However we can't guarantee you'll find a dragon of your own, and we don't recommend trying to warg with the wolves.
If you prefer watching epic battles from the comfort of the banquet table, you're bound to love the show at Medieval Times. With locations around the U.S. and Canada, you can witness impressive sword fights, jousts, and even falconry and horsemanship, all while enjoying a four-course meal. The "castles" also feature a dance floor, a Hall of Arms with medieval artifacts, a medieval torture museum, and a bar for grownups. And be sure to check for frequent seasonal discounts, birthday deals, and specials for groups, students, teachers, and the military.
For those "Game of Thrones" fans looking to really learn how people fought, dressed, danced, and ate during Middle Ages and Renaissance, the Society for Creative Anachronism is about as serious as it gets. The international organization has local chapters around the world organized by "kingdoms," where members regularly gather to research and recreate historical battles and royal courts, as well as develop period-accurate skills such as cooking and crafting. They also host special kingdom events and inter-kingdom wars where you can engage in armored combat or share craft skills with others.
While you may not belong to House Stark, House Lannister, or one of the many other families in Westeros, you at least create your very own coat of arms for your family. You can create one based on your actual genealogy or just make it up, and then have it emblemized on a flag, ring, or even a coffee mug that you can proudly use while watching "Game of Thrones."
Long before the HBO series began, A Game of Thrones: The Board Game captivated fans of George R.R. Martin's epic fantasy world. The game lets you and your friends play as the Houses of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, and battle it out for control of the Iron Throne using all of the strategy, alliances, and treachery you've come to love from the series. The incredibly thorough and visually impressive board game will keep fans entertained for hours on end, especially thanks to additional expansion packs.