1. The exhibit, which resided at 3 W. 57th Street during its time in New York City, is hard to miss.
2. Approximately 2,500 people visited the exhibit each day during its weeklong stint in New York City, except for the exhibit’s first day, when staff estimated that nearly 5,000 people showed up.
Even at 8:30 a.m., lines stretched down 57th Street.
3. The exhibition, the first of its kind by HBO, is designed to feel like a museum.
4. The huge illuminated parchment map of Westeros at the exhibit’s entrance was illustrated by hand by the show’s lead graphic artist, Jim Stanes.
6. The weapons used on Game of Thrones are conceived, designed, and created (or forged) by the show’s armory department in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
7. The detail on the weaponry is absolutely breathtaking.
Joffrey Baratheon’s crossbow.
8. The greatsword of House Stark, “Ice,” was hand-forged using a technique called pattern welding and took three weeks to make. The detailing on the blade is (somewhat) visible through the glass.
9. The armory makes two full sets of armor for each principal character — one for the actor and one for the stunt double. The helms are made of lightweight steel so they can be worn comfortably for 8- to 12-hour days of shooting.
The helm of Sandor Clegane, called “The Hound.”
10. “Needle,” the sword gifted to Arya Stark by her half-brother Jon Snow, was made especially to fit actress Maisie Williams. Since Arya is left-handed in the books, the right-handed actress made a point to learn swordplay with her left hand.
11. Sadly, fans of the series knew this already.
12. To represent the Starks as a close family unit, costume designer Michele Clapton chose to dress them in complementary shades of warm blues and grays.
13. The show’s costumes go through a two-week distressing, breaking-down, and aging process once they’ve been created so they’ll come across as authentic, even in HD.
14. Costume designer Michele Clapton purposefully chose not to give the Starks jewelry, to reflect the harsh, practical nature of life in the north. The one exception to this rule was Catelyn’s trout pin, the sigil of her family, House Tully.
15. Although this made it a bit difficult to take pictures, the shifting lights and gloomy shadows gave the exhibit an authentic feel. The same can’t be said for the ever-present Game of Thrones theme being looped through speakers overhead.
“The music’s finally getting to me,” said one weary staffer on the exhibit’s last day. “I hear this song in my dreams,” agreed another.
16. A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin appears in the production videos scattered throughout the exhibit to provide background information about the series.
17. Incredibly detailed life-size models (also called maquettes) of Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons were created based on George R.R. Martin’s descriptions and then scanned into computers and used to create the CGI dragons seen on the show.
Drogon the dragon as a hatchling.
18. International VFX company Pixomondo creates the amazing visual effects on Game of Thrones that bring the dragons and the White Walkers to life.
Drogon as he appears in Season 3.
19. Emilia Clarke is ridiculously tiny.
20. The mysterious Quaithe’s mask features the same hexagonal shapes that form the links of Melisandre’s ruby necklace. Costume designer Michele Clapton wanted to tie the two characters together since they both hail from the city of Asshai.
21. Daenerys Targaryen’s clothes in Seasons 2 and 3 depict her growing confidence and independence as she comes into her own. She begins blending the styles of different cultures to create her own look.
Concept art by costume designer Michele Clapton.
22. The Game of Thrones producers gave George R.R. Martin one of the three dragon eggs used in the show as a wedding gift when he married Parris McBride in February 2011.
23. All of the props on display at the exhibit (with the exception of the Iron Throne) were actually used in the filming of the show. No replicas here!
From left to right: Maester Luwin’s chain; the “chess pieces” used to represent the warring houses of Westeros on Robb Stark’s strategic map; the dart Jaqen H’ghar used to kill Ser Amory; the coin Jaqen H’ghar presents to Arya Stark; the doll that Ned Stark gives Sansa.
24. The intricate Hand of the King pin may not be the chain that A Song of Ice and Fire readers expected to see in the television series, but there’s no denying its beauty.
From left to right: the necklace with the Lannister sigil that Joffrey gives to Sansa; the Hand of the King pin; Catelyn’s House Tully sigil pin.
25. Game of Thrones fans are a diverse bunch…and there are a lot of them. The crowds of people made it difficult to navigate the exhibit without bumping into anyone.
26. Robert Baratheon’s drinking horn does not look as well-worn as one would expect.
Robert Baratheon’s drinking horn (left), the last will and testament of Robert Baratheon (center), Renly Baratheon’s armor (right).
27. Davos Seaworth’s “lucky” finger bones are so realistic, they have dirt under their nails.
28. Both Robert Baratheon’s crown (left) and Renly Baratheon’s crown (right) are based on a component of their family’s sigil: the antlers of the Baratheon stag.
29. Ned Stark’s head on a pike is just as ghoulish in person as it appeared on the show.
30. The High Septon’s arm resembles a real human arm to an unnerving degree.
From left to right: Cersei Lannister’s sigil necklace; Cersei Lannister’s vial of essence of nightshade; the High Septon’s arm; a pot of wildfire; Joffrey Baratheon’s crown; assorted glassware used in the show; Tyrion Lannister’s purse; a rubber fish used in a feast scene; a bag of diamonds; one of Tyrion Lannister’s books.
31. The books used as props on Game of Thrones are designed by the show’s artists and then sent to a specialized printer in London to be compiled, bound, and aged.
32. Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister, is not as short as you might think.
From left to right: an outfit worn by Joffrey Baratheon; a gown worn by Cersei Lannister; Tywin Lannister’s armor; Tyrion Lannister’s armor; Jamie Lannister’s armor.
33. Almost all of the costumes are made by the Game of Thrones wardrobe department show’s costumes in-house at Titanic Studios in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Even the fabric is created just for the show — the costumers use a loom to weave the
34. Costume embroiderer Michele Carragher embroiders the details on the show’s costumes by hand.
35. The embroidery on Cersei’s clothes evolves with her character throughout the series. In the first episodes of Game of Thrones, the embroidery on Cersei’s outfits feature birds. As the show continues, the birds become lions.
Concept art by costume designer Michele Clapton.
36. The metal belts that Queen Cersei wears are based on Lannister armor.
37. Tywin Lannister’s armor is even more exquisite in person than it appears on TV.
38. Ygritte’s boots (and perhaps the boots of other Wildlings as well?) have antlers on their soles as makeshift crampons*.
*A helpful commenter pointed out that the antlers are “crampons” and not “cleats,” as the caption previously stated.
39. To make the clothes of the men of the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings look authentic, costumers paint wax onto the fabrics to create a snow-worn look.
40. For the Wildlings’ armor, particularly that of Rattleshirt, who wears a suit of bones, costume designer Michele Clapton made molds of human and animal bones and strapped them together with latex designed to resemble guts.
41. The “Blackwater Bay Interactive Experience,” where you use wildfire to set Stannis Baratheon’s ships on fire, is kind of like Big Buck Hunter with a longbow.
42. The most popular part of the exhibit was the Iron Throne, where fans could sit and take an official picture. The line for the throne was an extra 20-30 minutes in addition to the time spent waiting outside.
43. Freezing temperatures do not keep Game of Thrones fans from dressing up in costumes from the show. This Dothraki maiden was one of many cosplayers at the exhibit.
45. The exhibit itself is incredibly compact. For all of the items on display, it takes up a very small space.
46. Sitting on the Iron Throne is worth any amount of time waiting in line.
BuzzFeed photographer extraordinaire Macey J. Foronda and myself (left); BuzzFeed editor Ryan Broderick (center); myself on a previous visit to the exhibit (right).
Game of Thrones airs Sundays at 9 p.m. E/PT on HBO.
But you probably were already aware of that.
- People are cringing (and laughing) at this Forever 21 necklace they think is taking the choker trend too far 😬