It was time for the annual “Christmas at the Englands’” shindig, and, whilst Star Wars was the obvious choice (but it seemed a little too soon to replicate our Star Wars Xmas 2013 party), we decided instead, that the Seven Kingdoms would be a fitting backdrop to our festive celebrations.
The Game of Thrones is the first novel by George R.R. Martin forming part of the A Song of Ice and Fire fantasy series. The novels are truly epic beasts, and spawned a hugely successful television franchise produced by the American network HBO, released in 2011. For the first time, a fantasy genre has captured the imagination of a whole new audience, with the series assuming a defined place in general popular culture. Inspired by the complex and intricate War of the Roses, Game of Thrones has something for all tastes, and the collision of treachery, enchantment and battles continues to entertain us. And it looks like it will be with us for some time yet, as the novels have a further two installments until conclusion, and Season 6 of the television series is scheduled for another couple of seasons.
Watchers on the Wall
GOT is unquestionably a perfect Christmas theme, with its snow, merrymaking and feasting. The (Gingerbread) Wall took centre stage at our GOT party table, and it is arguably the most iconic of all of the awesome Game of Thrones locations. The Wall (inspired by Hadrian’s Wall in Northern England), is a colossal structure, thousands of years old, and made entirely of ice. Having been built by Brandon the Builder, the gallant Black Watch guard has guarded it against those wildlings inhabiting beyond for millennia, but as winter approaches, rumours of supernatural beings and White Walkers unearth ancient cautionary tales. The fate of the realm lies in the hands of these dedicated and noble watchmen.
The Great Houses
In the GOT universe, there are nine great houses (Baratheon, Bolton, Florent, Lannister, Martell, Redwyne, Stark, Umber, Targaryen and Tully), and here, snowflakes bore the emblems of some of these. Available from Krystal HigginsJoffrey, officially one of the Baratheon’s, but in truth a pure bred Lannister, is silhouetted here poised and ready for a spot of target practice, a nod to the sadistic nature of the young king. Lannister gold coins also adorned.
The night is dark and full of terrors
A traditional Xmas glitter tree was transformed into a Heart Weirwood tree, dedicated to the Old Gods of the Forest (a Northern religion), usually sitting at the centre of a Godswood. The Old Gods existed prior to the invasion of the Andals, and has been replaced in more Southern regions by the Faith of the Seven. The Lord of Light/R’hllor is another deity worshiped in the realm although largely followed in Essos, but the GOT series witnesses the infiltration of the one true god in Westeros, promoted by the exiled Stannis Baratheon, and also the outlaw Beric Dondarrion.
Everything is better with wine in the belly
Feasting assumes a prominent role in the GOT series, with the novels particularly dedicating much page space to describing the food consumed by its characters. The infamous Red Wedding destroys the inalienable custom that was, and the Purple Wedding brings with it its own horrors, albeit more satisfying ones.
And feast we would, with the reliable M&S party selection as the foundation. Our cheeseboard (with some unusual pepper and port varieties) was served on a gorgeous US red slate from the Just Slate Company, and the Baratheon meat platter presented on a rustic Welsh wood board.
My sun and stars, the moon of my life
And it wouldn’t be Christmas without an abundance of lights and candles. A local potter’s stars and moon votive fitted in perfectly, as did the weeping ice candles from Lakeland. We also picked up some fabulous crab apples from Forbesfield Flowers, Castle Arcade, Cardiff.
Winter is Coming
Despite the musings of House Stark, winter in Wales is as yet, no-where to be seen, but the Englands are, at least, ready for the festivities to begin!
GOT returns to our screens in April 2016 for Season 6, where we all eagerly await the fate of protagonist, Jon Snow. The Winds of Winter (the novel’s 6th installment) is still, it seems, a long way away.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ALL!