I have heard that a lot of women suffer from a kind of withdrawal after their weddings are done. They've gotten in touch with a DIY side of themselves they never knew they had. The wedding ends, only to have the adrenaline rush subside and be left with thick rolls of butcher paper and artistinal twine, with naught to be done with it. That was not the case for me with our wedding - I loved everything about how it turned out, and was happy with the mild crafting I had taken on (the bulk of it having gone to my mother). I felt satisfied, but not eager to keep the momentum going.
...I think that withdrawal just caught up with me.
For those of you still getting to know me, I do not tend to plan parties full of charming crafts and clean, thematic, Martha Stewart-esque spreads. This particular party post comes to mind. I respect those who do, and know some who do it expertly - I just never had that kind of crafting ability, nor can refrain from making a big 'ol mess in the process, ruining the notion of a tidy spread.
Until, one day this past Summer, my husband asked if I would want to have a party for my 30th birthday. We had hosted a house party for his 30th several years ago, which was a big success (It was Batman-themed... I may have strong-armed him into it). Plus, it had been so long since we had thrown a large house party! I was ready to dust off my entry-level crafting skills and apply them to my current obsession. Game of Thrones.
After Season 4's gripping conclusion of the hit TV series, I just plain couldn't wait another half year for it to return to the air before getting another fix of Tyrion Lannister and Westeros. Instead, I dove in and power housed through those books. Dear God, was I ready to talk to people about it! My nerdy obsession with Game of Thrones had reached the same level of geeky insatiability as waiting for the final Harry Potter books to come out.
It seemed only right that my milestone birthday party should not only combines the joy of seeing friends, but indeed welcome them in the warm embrace of the Iron Throne I have come to love.
The more I searched for inspiration, the more I found fun little touches used at various premiere or viewing parties. I also discovered that there is a very delicate balance between throwing a Game of Thrones-themed party and making your house look like a medieval sex dungeon, with candles and blood red fabric draped everywhere, accented by plastic weaponry.
As such, I decided to theme the party around the different houses from the series (and their sigils), versus the general medieval time period.
As a birthday gift, the amazingly talented Alex Wysocki was kind enough to take photos of the party and gift them to me to use for this post so I could actually enjoy my party. So let's take a stroll through this geeky Westerosi soiree, shall we?
If you landed here because you are throwing your very own Game of Thrones party, I hope you find something you can use! Please feel free to message me if you have any questions about details or sources.
|Christie and me mid-party prep - note our geeky shirts.|
|Eileen and I partying like Lannisters, I with my new pewter birthday goblet!|
After months of planning out details, I will admit that setting up everything took WORK. I was lucky in that I had assistance from other mega-fans in the form of my husband, Ryan (wearing a Hand of the King pin), and dear friends Christie and Eileen.
Being both an artist and a calligrapher, Eileen inevitably was tasked with penning signs for the different displays. Ryan created a 'name day' hashtag for easy Instagram photo sharing.
My first purchase was a lovely dragon egg cookie jar from ThinkGeek, which I had had my eye on for some time. We filled this with name tags calling out the major houses of Westeros and asked folks to "Choose a House." Ultimately, this was going to be the teammaking tactic for our pub trivia - all Lannisters together, etc. We ended up splitting up more evenly based on level of knowledge but, nonetheless, the nametags were still a fun laugh for those who got stuck with Bolton.
We built a general ambience by using a red tablecloth and buying gold plastic chargers, cheap vases and candle holders from Goodwill and the 99-cent stores. Not my choice for everyday decor, but getting things in red and gold shades means you can easily reuse them as Christmas. Medieval-y enough, but not too over the top.
The centerpiece of the to-do was an idea I got from a FABULOUS Game of Thrones party post by Vixventure.com. I loved everything about her party, and it was a huge inspiration. It features a skull covered in putty, then painted gold. Yes, my friends, that is the skull of 'ol Vicerys, brother of Daenerys, who is killed when Kahl Drogo topples of pot of melted gold over his head. This tickled me to no end, and I am super grateful for the idea.
Additional decor came in the form of a Joffrey shooting target, a a Night's Watch recruitment poster from my friend Christine, a mini Arya guarding the bathroom and cheap ravens from a Halloween store scattered throughout the house.
We set up a table to the side of our main spread (next to the beverage cooler) to hold the glasses for the beverages. Our floral element consisted of long stems of roses from the backyard, and a stack of onions as an ode to Lord Davos (the Onion Knight). That one in particular may have been confusing to folks who hadn't seen the show...
We printed "Lost Direwolf" signs from io9, and hung Michael Tyznik's Westeros Transit Map on the door in case people needed help getting home. Have I emphasized how much fun planning this was?
Even the kids and dogs got involved!
To help distribute the groups of people throughout the house and encourage socializing outside as well as next to the food and drink, we left a bowl of temporary tattoos on our patio table, directing people to go there if they wanted to brand themselves with a house sigil.
Fun fact - you can get temporary tattoo paper on Amazon! After doing vector, high-res image searches for the popular versions of the house sigils, I arranged them to print on an 8 1/2 x 11 page of paper. After a few test rounds, I printed on the tattoo paper and cut out as close to the image as possible.
These were set out in a dish with a moistened one-inch thick slice of kitchen sponge, for folks to dab the design on with. Ultimately, we only had to touch this up once or twice throughout the party.
For interested parties, I have uploaded the layout I used below. Again, please note that I have not created nor claim to have any rights to these designs, just freaking love them.
|Click to go to downloadable image|
We really wanted to have fun little nerdy nods wherever we could get them, as well as showcase some of our favorite elements of the series. I feel like this really came through, and fellow fans got a few laughs at some of the more obtuse references.
Wondering where the food and booze are? Stay tuned for Part 2, focusing on that very subject!