The Great War has arrived, the Wall is down and the Night King’s army of white walkers is streaming toward Westeros. The end of arguably the most popular TV series of its era approaches, and millions will watch as the first of the final six episodes of Game of Thrones airs Sunday, wondering who will ultimately sit on the iron throne.
The series has been dissected by every TV critic around, so we'll skip that here, and instead present this collection of facts, numbers, events and more for Thrones fans in the Tampa Bay area.
The Tampa Bay connection
David Nutter, who directed Sunday’s Game of Thrones premiere (the title of which is yet to be revealed), as well as two others in this six-episode final season, is a graduate of Dunedin High School, Class of 1978, who performed in several high school productions during his time there before going on to the University of Miami. Nutter, who first found acclaim directing episodes of The X-Files, won his first Emmy for Band of Brothers, before winning another for the Game of Thrones episode “Mother’s Mercy,” the Season 5 finale.
What’s it like to be a real-life Jon Snow?
For the first 24 years of his life, Jon Snow's name was ordinary, but "since around season two, every time I introduce myself, there's like this two second pause when I know its coming, 'You mean like Game of Thrones?' It's everywhere I go, sometimes people want to see my ID. Even at the doctor's office."
Snow, 31, of Holiday was the only person we could find in Tampa Bay with the same name and spelling as one of the series’ characters. (We tried calling a Casey Khaleesi in Arizona. Her ringback tone was the Thrones theme song, but she did not return a call). “I called to buy car insurance recently, and the agent asked me about it,” Snow said. “I told him 'I’m just happy I’m named after a good character, who’s still alive and that people root for. I could have been named after someone everyone hates, like Joffrey. He said, ‘my name is Jeffrey, and everyone at work calls me Joffrey’.”
Snow, who ran against Gus Bilirakis in Florida's 12 Congressional District in 2012, said he recently bought a shirt reading "Snow 2018: Make the North Great Again." "I thought if anyone on earth should have that shirt it's me."
12. 1 million live viewers for the Season 7 finale
591 days since last episode aired
63 hours, 30 minutes to watch the first seven seasons
Friday at 5:29 a.m., the last minute you can start bingeing the entire series nonstop and be done in time for Sunday’s premiere, with a one-minute bathroom break before it starts.
2,339 on-screen deaths so far, according to the Washington Post
466 babies named Khaleesi in the U.S. in 2017, the most since the name first entered the nation’s top 1000 birth names in 2014, according to the Social Security Administration
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2,156 named Arya in 2017, also the most ever
Thrones-themed events are coming
Game of Lesser Thrones, a completely improvised comedy show at downtown St. Petersburg’s Spitfire Theater is described by the troupe thusly: “Winter draws near. The Maester of the Lesser Houses has gathered nobles to prove their right to sit upon the Wooden Throne. A series of conquests will decide the fate of the absurd, poorly managed, and absolutely blasphemous families of Westeros.” $20. 9 and 10 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays through April 27. 14 18th St S.(727) 329-6290. spitfiretheater.com
The pre-premiere party at Waypoint 6, the Tampa Bay area’s only “tavern and geekery,” is inviting fans to come in their best cosplay or Game of Thrones t-shirts for a night of Game of Thrones speed trivia with prizes. Do you drink and know things? They’ve concocted Night King and Wildfire cocktails for the occasion, and food specials include dragon’s eggs (pork sausage and hardboiled eggs, breaded and deep fried) and Frey’s pie, a pork and mushroom pie with a flaky crust, “Walter Frey’s sons not included.” 6 to 11 p.m., Saturday, 9057 Ulmerton Road, Largo. (727) 754-7346. waypoint6tavern.com
A “Game of Scones” edition of Eggs & Kegs, the brunch served up by Loko Cuisine’s chef John Loscalzo at a different Tampa Bay brewery every third Sunday, is coming to 7venth Sun in Tampa. Tickets include a four-course brunch and “one horn of ale or goblet of wine." The brewery will be tapping four, limited Thrones-themed beers including Blood and Brimstome, a double IPA with charred blood orange, ancho and chipotle peppers, and the Wall of Many Faces, an imperial stout with roasted walnuts and peanuts, cacao, honey, coffee, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla. $32.55, 11 a.m., April 21, 6809 N Nebraska Ave. (813) 231-5900. lokocuisine.com/eggs-and-kegs/
Who will sit on the iron throne ... at the Trop?
The Tampa Bay Rays have a $30 Game of Thrones ticket special that runs Sunday at 10 a.m. through April 21 for tickets to the May 10, 11 or 12 game at Tropicana Field. The ticket includes a Rays/Game of Thrones T-shirt with Kevin Kiermaier’s face on it. And for the ultimate photo-op, there will be a full-size iron throne at the stadium for all three of those games. Buy tickets at raysbaseball.com/GOT.
Tell your HR department to step their party game up
There will be plenty of post-premiere, water cooler chatter on Monday morning, but it will be employer mandated in at least one local office. Commercial real estate services company Cushman & Wakefield is throwing a Game of Scones “recap breakfast” for the 175 employees at its Tampa office, with signage throughout the workplace reading “Game of Scones. Breakfast is coming. All men must dine.” “Everyone is going to be talking about the premiere anyway," said operations manager and “day one fan of the show” Nicole Grzywacz. "So why not make an event out of it and have some fun.”
So many products
Want a souvenir of your fandom? The crazy array of currently-on-sale HBO-licensed products includes: Major League Baseball bobbleheads (including Rays mascot Raymond seated on the iron throne), Oreos (with direwolves and the Night King printed on the cookies), a full line of Adidas Ultraboost running shoes (the orange and black House Targaryen colorway is particularly nice looking), Johnnie Walker “White Walker” limited-edition Scotch, Urban Decay makeup’s 20-shade Game of Thrones eyeshadow palette, handbags by Danielle Nicole, 14 different beers by Ommegang and a lot more.
Seen on a T-shirt at ‘Thrones’ trivia at Flying Boat in St. Pete
"Be a dragon"
"It was me," featuring Olenna Tyrell wearing cool sunglasses
"Hold me closer tiny Lannister"
"All men must die, but we are not men"
"Direwolf Winter Lager, by Stark Brewing Co."
"I drink and I know things"
The couple that cosplays together
Tampa piano teacher Anne Rosato, 36, and her partner Anthony Acosta, 28, an IT specialist for the University of South Florida, didn’t start out their relationship bonding over cosplay, “but it has definitely ended up that way,” Rosato said via phone, as Acosta sewed a costume in the background.
Rosato says it took her several months to sew the thousands of beads into her Daenerys Targaryen costume, and that the couple have over 300 hours altogether invested their Daenerys and Jon Snow costumes, most of that time spent side by side. Their costumes envision an “end game” in which Jon Snow and Daenerys have come out victorious, and spring has returned. That means lighter materials, and less fur — a good thing in the Florida heat.
The couple won their division in the cosplay competition at Megacon Orlando last year. If you’re looking for a photo-op with them, Rosato said she plans to rush over to Waypoint 6 in Largo for their pre-premiere party on Saturday, after she plays Easter cantatas at a church in Tampa. “I won’t have much time,” she said. “So I’ll probably just wear the wig to church.”
When to watch the premiere
Sunday, 9 p.m. on HBO