Visiting the PNE has always been one of my favourite summertime Vancouver traditions. To me, absurd carnival food and Superdogs are always a winning recipe for an awesome day. This year, the PNE has upped the stakes by bringing in Game of Thrones: The Exhibition as one of the Fair’s main attractions.
Now, I am going to make the very safe assumption that all of you have heard about Game of Thrones, the hit HBO show that tortures us with its unpredictable twists and turns. As a huge fan of the show, I’ve been dreaming about visiting the exhibit ever since it was announced several months ago. When I finally got the chance, I definitely was not disappointed. In case you missed it, here’s a recap (full of photos) of the exhibition.
I arrived at 11am (when the Fair opens) and headed straight for the exhibition. I heard from a lot of people that tickets go very quickly, so I suggest arriving as soon as possible to ensure that you get in. There were two lines actually – one to receive a timed ticket and one to get into the actual exhibit. The first line moves very quickly. I got a timed ticket for 12pm and was told to come back 15 minutes before that, at 11:45.
The second line to actually get in takes longer. I think in total I waited about an hour. Fortunately, the time passes quickly and is actually quite pleasant! Hearing others around me discuss Game of Thrones hardcore (theories, favourite characters, etc.) was highly entertaining.
The last part of the line is the most unbearable, because you can hear music from the show playing and you just know you’re going in next but you’re not quite there. Regardless, once you’re in, you’re in and you’re immediately greeted by displays of costumes, props and of course, the famed Iron Throne.
Costumes are arranged according to location/storyline, so for example, all the characters in King’s Landing were clustered together. Seeing the costumes is a really cool experience because you get to see the amount of detail that goes into each one, but even more interestingly, how small some of the actors are! I’m not just talking about Peter Dinklage (who plays Tyrion Lannister), but Daenerys and Jon Snow’s get-ups were surprisingly small as well. They never seem that petite on TV! The more you know, I guess.
Here are photos from each section:
Besides the costume and prop displays, there are two other prominent features of the Exhibit.
Firstly, you can take a photo with the Iron Throne! Of course, you have to line up for this bit but the line moves quickly. I only waited about 10 minutes. The staff there will even help you snap a few photos as well. You may only get this chance once, so have fun with it and do something crazy! As you can see in the photo above, I decided to pose over the ‘corpse’ of my boyfriend. You know, when you play the game of thrones, either you win or you die so…… yeah.
The other feature is the interactive Oculus Rift experience. Having read lots about the Rift, and having even done a school project about it, I was super excited to finally try it out. How immersive could it be? Well…
It was freaking amazing! The lineup for this bit lasted about 45 minutes, but it goes by quickly. The friendly staff there were really nice and entertaining. I overheard one employee asking each person who their favourite character was before they went in, and he said “me too” to every single one regardless of their answer haha. They’ll even take photos of you on your phone if you ask!
Once it’s your turn, you step into your own booth where they’ll put some headphones on you and of course, the Oculus Rift headset. At first (before it started), I felt like the graphics were not realistic at all, and wondered why everyone was praising this experience so much. I ate my words though when it started because my goodness, did that feel real!
Essentially the whole experience lasts about a minute, and you are taken in an elevator up to the top of the Wall. [SPOILERS AHEAD] Once you get to the top, you’ll be asked to turn around and you’ll realize that you are in fact at the very edge of the wall and subsequently get killed by a fire arrow and start falling. Overall, it’s a really cool experience complete with wind machines and everything. The sound, wind and visuals all combine to make it feel super realistic. Even as the elevator shakes you can feel it!
Overall the exhibit was an awesome experience for a fan (though, chopped full of spoilers, including a ‘In Memoriam’ section). The wait can total a few hours, but I would say it’s worth it! Be sure to check it out if it’s coming to a city near you.