The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain


Power Games: An Exhibit

That Game of Thrones is a global phenomenon is without a doubt. It appears in scores of foreign markets, has events around the world where actors are eagerly sought after as guests, and the fan base reaches to some of the remotest places in the world. So it’s no surprise that the exhibitions of the show’s props and costumes have ranged widely, across both hemispheres. Usually, these have been specifically tied to promoting the TV show, but in at least one case they have been used for quite a different purpose: educational. At Stockholm’s Royal Armory, Sweden’s oldest museum and part of the royal palace complex (which happens to be one of the largest royal palaces still in use as a royal residence), a new exhibition titled Power Games (Maktspel) was launched last week exploring depictions of power in television and cinema. Set alongside costumes and artifacts from Sweden’s 16th century were costumes from the films Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age as well as Game of Thrones.

Linda and I were invited by the armory to take part, and so off to beautiful Stockholm we went! Given early admittance, we had the Iron Throne to ourselves for awhile. Besides the opportunity to take a shot on the Iron Throne, the exhibit features a terrific array of costumes. The gowns from Elizabeth are, suffice it to say, truly amazing… but a major part of the focus is on Game of Thrones, and with the help of HBO Nordic the museum delivers. Eleven costumes from show, as well as props, make their appearance, beginning with a look at one of Cersei’s gowns and Joffrey’s outfits.

The latter is accompanied by his crown, leading to the museum observing that his garments follow Renaissnace patterns, whereas the crown is in much more of a medieval style:

Moving on, the next display features quite a density of costumes: two Stark outfits, a wildling suit of furs, Jaime’s and Tyrion’s respective sets of armor. These are set besides artifact of the notorious Sture Murders, when Sweden’s own Mad King, Erik XIV, murdered several members of a powerful noble family; the artifacts include one of the best-preserved examples of courtly male dress from the 16th century and a dagger said to have been used by the king. As it happens, the display for the Stark outfits includes an explanatory text with a big SPOILER alert in the corner…

It also provides some fine details regarding the armor; who knew that the Kingsguard ensemble weighs 21 kilograms? Despite the plastic and such used, that’s still quite substantial:

Moving on, we come across outfits from Daenerys and Margaery Tyrell. Here’s a close-up detail of the dragon brooch in one of the gowns—a nice piece of work:

The third and final room in the exhibition is more of an interactive piece, including a touch-screen quiz to sort out just which sort of ruler you are, displays showing how period costuming fashions and techniques are being revived and used in conceptual and high fashion today… and, more uniquely, it contains a collection of various period costume pieces where they encourage guests at the exhibit to dress up and photo themselves. We would have tried a few pieces on ourselves, but there was quite a line as people tried on this and that!

The opening night also featured some terrific touches for those lucky enough to be present. When the doors officially opened, a great bevy of costumed people were there to greet everyone as they arrived. Some really gorgeous medieval and Elizabethan costumes were on display:

There were refreshments, of course—don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many bottles of champagne being put away in one place!—and during the reception a special treat was arranged when performers from the historical dance troupe Pied en l’aire showed off a few dances popular at Queen Elizabeth I’s court. Fascinating stuff—and yes, they really went all out on the costuming:

All in all, it was tremendous fun, hampered solely by the fact that we decided we’d try to get back home that same evening—ten hours of transit time for four hours of fun in at the armoy was very much worth it, but also very tiring! If you happen to visit Stockholm while the exhibit is running—it’ll be available through January 4, 2015—it’s certainly worth a look. Not least because all the rest of the Royal Armory’s displays of royal garments, weapons, armor, and more are there to be examined.