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SXSW 2019: “Game of Thrones” Had Us Bleeding for Season 8

From the moment I heard about Bleed for the Throne, I knew I had to attend. I had already been kicking myself for not attending Game of Thrones SXSW events in the past and especially for not attending the Westworld experience last year, which was set up by the same guys behind Bleed for the Throne. After seeing pictures and videos of these types of events in prior years (and feeling ALL the fomo), I had a feeling this year’s event would live up to every expectation I built in my mind, and it certainly met all those expectations.

The “Game of Thrones” Bleed for the Throne event was unique in that it partnered with the American Red Cross to give blood donors an immersive experience that only a limited amount could encounter during SXSW. Though I consider myself a SXSW newbie, I have to say that this was one of the first events I’ve seen that has found a way to give back in such a strong way.

Photo by Leigh Kettle

After giving blood, donors were taken through a visual and audio experience of those who had also bled for the throne: Aria, Cersei, John, and Tyrion. Through each narrow hallway and turn we listened and relived each character’s roughest moments in the show, from Aria’s blindness to Cersei’s walk of shame. Soon after, we were guided to a hallway with pews facing the Iron Throne. A live chorus and orchestra glided out on the stage surrounding the throne and proceeded to sing the theme song and soundtrack to the show as a mysterious woman in red walked across the pews, whispering secret words into select person’s ears. After several minutes passed by, she soared to the front and began to list off those who had bled for the throne, inviting each one to join her at the front and receive their well-deserved the Hand of the Throne pin.

As if the evening couldn’t have gotten better, we were then invited to go outside to the “encampment” outside, where Wildlings, the Night’s Watch, the Unsullied, and the Dothraki joined together to interact with all attendees, asking “who’s side are ya for?” while responding that they are simply “for the living.” If there’s one thing we can assume for the upcoming season, it’s that pretty much any living human (despite who they previously served) are going to all join together to fight the un-living.

Though I’ll admit I’m not that great at interacting with actors in character (at one point it got so awkward I asked if I could touch one of them), my boyfriend made the evening hilarious with his witty banter and ability to get into character himself (I swear he could have been an actor in another life). Needless to say, we had a blast at the Bleed for the Throne event, and definitely enjoyed the bonus perk of being fed free Shake Shack (ohhh yeah).

For more coverage on SXSW, click here, and be sure to check back in for more interviews, recaps, and photo galleries!

Featured image & photo gallery credit: Leigh Kettle/Shuffle Online

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