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Our Game of Thrones Ice Hotel Adventure

It was an experience that will probably never be recreated. It was a curious 24 hours of fantasy, intrigue, and amazement for a fortunate group of journalists and storytellers, many of whom were also fans. It was also hard to quantify or explain, but mesmerizing it was indeed. So here is the story of Game of Thrones and the Ice Hotel.

The main connection between the two seemingly disparate entities (one a globally successful TV show, the other a tourism destination in Quebec City), has to do with both being unique experiences full of memorable entertainment. That’s rather general, while a more specific, albeit tenuous thread may find that the Ice Hotel is the closest anyone is going to have to feel like they are guarding The Wall. It’s mighty cold.

Regardless, so went forth the couple or dozen of us to the Ice Hotel for what would be a most unforgettable evening. The annually rebuilt and thematically-constructed abode runs only for a few months in the winter, offering a special and indeed very chilling escapade.

Game of Thrones, however, seems to make everything just a bit warmer, if not exciting. Drink glasses molded from ice bearing the name of the HBO show, a list of beverages titled after the various houses in the show (I went after Targaryen, never minding what was actually in the drink), and props and sculptures made up an event that was in support not of the much-anticipated Season 5, but of the successful Season 4, in time to be enjoyed ahead of what’s next.

So there were swords, shields, crests, and a lone spear that brought back tragic memories. Curiously, one of the most thrilling of what was overall incredibly exciting night, one that also featured a dazzling fire show by a dexterous artist (fireman?), was actually watching a trailer for Season 4. And we had all watched the season.

That Game of Thrones is so popular, so globally embraced and loved isn’t new; but it’s important here. This is a show that is aware of its unique nature. It’s hard to figure if, or even when, a program of this caliber will exist again; across numerous countries, many months, with a massive cast and crew, the HBO show is unparalleled and unprecedented. As it is, it seems we are about halfway through its run. I suppose then it is best to embrace it as long as it is around, and try to let people experience it to any and all ends.

The special night may have been a one-off, but the Ice Hotel, and indeed the subsequent Game of Thrones inclusion in Carnaval can be enjoyed by all. After a night in the frigid inn, in which everyone carefully climbed inside their solitary thermal sleeping bags with only the driest of clothes, there was Caraval, Quebec’s yearly winter fest. It proudly featured an Ice Throne, carefully crafted across some 10 or so chilly hours the day before.

And of course it was revealed by Bonhomme, our chatty and confident host and mascot of Carnaval who claims he would thrive on Game of Thrones and be on the side of good (but who is really good?). In a venture with tourism Quebec, the Ice Throne sits nearby the Ice Castle, and to kick off the celebrations, it was only fitting that an ice sword was used to cut (break) the ice tape.

So what does it all mean? Well, it’s as much enjoying the present as the past, recognizing the impact of this show by demonstrating its reach. HBO Home Entertainment has seen sales of each consecutive season of Game of Thrones rise, and surely the fourth season will break that set by the third when it drops next week.

It also shows how television has expanded beyond its once traditionally boundaries, that people don’t only watch and talk about it, but are ready to engage and immerse themselves in these worlds. I suppose it’s all about entertainment ultimately; Game of Thrones is something special and worth embracing in any way possible while its here.



Anthony Marcusa

A pop-culture consumer, Anthony seeks out what is important in entertainment and mocks what is not. Inspired by history, Anthony writes with the hope that someone, somewhere, might be affected.