All men must die, and all true Game of Thrones fans must dress up as their favourite character, sup from a goblet and recite quotes from the show without context at some point in their lives. It’s the rules.
It has come to our attention that a certain love-or-hate television programme is about to come to an end, leaving a gaping, cavernous hole of nothingness in the sad little lives of its fans. (No? Just me?)
That’s right, Game of Thrones’ final episode airs on Monday, bringing to end eight seasons of dragons, death, drinking and doing it with your brother (yes, I could have just said incest, but that doesn’t start with d).
You could watch it as you always do, hunched over your laptop alone in the dark as Drogon’s flames flicker in your tear-filled eyes (just me again?), or you could give the most ridiculously compelling TV show since ever the send-off it deserves with a party as lit as the alleyways of King’s Landing last episode.
Not much time to plan? Don’t worry, I’ve got that sorted.
WHAT TO DRINK
They love a bit of booze on GoT, and wouldn’t you if you had to deal with the shit they’re faced with?
Wine, ale, giant’s breast milk, whatever you choose, make sure it’s poured from a jug into an impressive goblet or stein, or perhaps swig from one of those nifty pouches with a strap they always have to hand on long journeys, which Google tells me are called canteens.
If you’re opting for beer, go for olde worlde vibes rather than a newfangled hazy IPA or something. New York brewery Ommegang does a line in official GoT brews that sound extremely good – Mother of Dragons smoked porter and kriek ale blend, anyone? I believe they had a few at Liquorland Newmarket for a while, but I forgot to go buy some and now I’m pretty sure they’re gone, which I don’t really want to talk about because it makes me feel sad.
Never mind, there are plenty of other Thrones-esque beers if you use your imagination. Last year I evoked the spirit of Cersei drinking this lovely Oude Draak from North End Brewing, which you can probably still get your hands on if you look hard enough.
Spirits are another option: just this weekend I sampled Johnnie Walker’s White Walker whisky at the Highball festival in Wellington, which I’m fairly sure was delicious, though it was about the 219th whisky I’d tried that evening. You’re meant to serve it straight from the freezer, for that authentic wight feel, and it’s available at a bunch of booze stores in NZ.
Grape-wise, there does appear to be an official Game of Thrones range of wines but I don’t think you can get it here. So just opt for a nice Dornish red. Chuck in some spices and heat it up for a mulled version to warm the cockles. Don’t drink white, it’s not on theme. Have you ever seen anyone on GoT drinking a cheeky sav or a buttery chard? No, so leave it in the fridge, all right? Mead is acceptable, however: try Lone Bee.
WHAT TO EAT
Heaps of options here: pie made from one of your guest’s sons, horse heart, pork sausage. Lay it all out medieval banquet styles. I went to an excellent Game of Thrones party hosted by food writer/food stylist Fiona Smith a couple of years ago, during which she presided over the barbecue wearing a head torch while clad in a Night King costume made from a papier-mâchéd man’s torso that was originally part of a David Lee Roth costume.
Smith was going for Winterfell vibes so kept it dark, wintry and a bit miserable (but in a fun way). She got big fuck-off pieces of beef marrow bone from the butcher and roasted them, which looked very impressive, while the vegetarians were served a gruel-like barley risotto. A range of skewers, inspired by Arya Stark and sword fighting – stick him with the pointy end! – were done on the barbie. Dessert was lemon cakes, Sansa Stark’s favourite.
SETTING THE SCENE
If you’re going for Winterfell vibes, don’t turn the heating on as everyone will be wearing a lot of clothes, advises Smith.
“Keep the lights down low and gather as many candelabras – pewter and tarnished silver – as you can muster. I had some of those baroquey curtains that I draped over the table, weird bits of fake fur that I draped over the chairs, and I put some mossy sticks down the table. Anything with gilded edges, tapestries, embroidery is good.”
There’s an array of Game of Thrones playlists on Spotify, so download a few of them. If you have pets or other small, cute dependents such as children, make sure you use them as props. Smith put dragon wings on her pooches, Timmy and Digby.
I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl so I say flat out ban people who don’t dress up. Those guys always suck. Accept no excuses: if they’re in their civvies, shut the door in their face.
Fiona Smith, has another suggestion, however: have a bell on hand and throughout the night, ring it in the ears of anyone who doesn’t dress up, Septa Unella styles. We’re not advising stripping anyone naked and pelting them with faeces, but if you want to really make an impact… up to you, guys.
In terms of a costume, you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a Cersei Lannister cosplay number (though I absolutely take my hat off to those who show that level of commitment), but come on, at least make a little bit of effort.
Look Sharp is a wonderful place, or just wrap yourself in tin foil and go as Arya Stark’s sword or something. Work with what nature gave you: I resemble a white walker most mornings until I put concealer on, and all Mad Chapman needed was a hoody, an office chair, a blanket and a gormless expression for an absolutely on-point Bran Stark impression, and she wasn’t even trying.