SXSWesteros: My ‘Game of Thrones’ SXSW Experience

By Erika Marquez

I’d never done SXSW before, mostly because I never wanted to deal with the extremely long lines, traffic, and parking, but when my roommates told me they were attending the Game of Thrones Interactive Event on Saturday, March 14, I just had to tag along. Last year, a friend of mine got me really into the show, resulting in me binge-watching it until I was all caught up and becoming quite a fan. So naturally, I was super excited to see and experience what the event had to offer.

We got there sometime before 11 a.m. to try to beat the line, and luckily, we only had to wait about 20 minutes before we got inside. Excitement ensued while my roommates and I waited as we selfies along the way with the Game of Thrones signage to show our friends online.


Once inside, we were greeted by darkness as we walked into the building. We were giddy with excitement as we looked around to see where to go. Straight ahead of us was a replica of the iron throne where people could sit in and take pictures and to the right of us was the large interactive art installation.

Luckily, the line for the throne wasn’t that bad, and I got to take this awesome photo. We watched as people took turns living the dream of becoming queen or king of Westeros as they posed on the throne to take their pictures. I was especially excited for this part. I got to be Queen Erika of House of Marquez for a brief moment. Pretty cool.


Afterwards, we got in line for the interactive segment — this one was the one everyone was excited about, and I was curious to see how it all worked. There was a large stage with three projected screens on the wall where people were supposed to stand. Before each person goes up on stage, a picture is taken of their face in profile and it is then projected onto the screen very faintly. In between the person and the screen is a sword that they had to use to slash up concrete objects that appeared on the screen. As they slashed each object, their portrait filled up with cool graphics, such as feathers, antlers, swords, or branches. Each portrait always came out differently, depending on how many objects you could slash and in what direction.


You get to slash stuff for about three minutes as dark beating music played overhead, and when a big raven came in and flew across all the screens, it was over. When it was my turn, I swung at the objects as fast as I could and tried to anticipate their next location so that my portrait could fill up as much as possible. And I really got into it! I was swinging left and right, feeling much like a pro, although I’ve never actually swung a sword in my life. I could only imagine what I looked like – a tiny little lady in a floral dress trying really hard to swing my sword in the air hard and fast in all directions. As ridiculous as I probably looked, I had a blast! I got to pretend to be like Arya when she was practicing her hand at the sword (I heard that that was what this experience was based on).

After your turn was done, you were directed to some iPads across the room and had the opportunity to send your unique portrait to yourself via e-mail! So cool! I was expecting that we had to pay a fee for this but I was completely stoked to hear that I didn’t have to spend a penny for this. Here’s my portrait:


A couple of other things from the event were a new “Game of Thrones”-inspired beer called Three-Eyed Raven Dark Saison Ale. I’m not a big fan of beer and I wasn’t ready to start drinking in the morning so unfortunately I didn’t get to taste it, but a friend of mine said that it was delicious. On your way out of the building, you also have the option to leave with a small surprise from a “Game of Thrones” vending machine if you have a Twitter account and tweeted about their event using their hashtag and a special code. You could get things like earphones, iPhone cases, and I also heard you could get a USB with songs on it. I got a cool pair of headphones (which was great, because I really needed another pair). Woop woop! More free goodies!

My roommates and I left feeling joyous and giddy, after having experienced such a cool interactive event. Although I did expect for there to be more things to do or see, it was still pretty awesome. Anyone who went was definitely lucky to go. Now, to await for the new season of “Game of Thrones” to come out in April.