We’re now less than three weeks out from the return of Game of Thrones. It’s the highly anticipated final season that seriously cannot come soon enough! With the final six episodes on their way, it’s officially time to go big. So even if you host a weekly viewing party with friends and family, the final season is when you need to step up your hosting game.
I’ve hosted three big viewing parties, for the season three finale, the season four premiere, and the season five premiere (on the second week, where we watched both episodes). For season five and six, I got together with friends each Sunday evening to watch, but we never really did anything major. Luke and I watched season seven together, usually with a friend, but again, we never took it to the next level. (It didn’t help that we can’t watch it until 2:00AM on Mondays, or more realistically, Monday evening.)
This year, we’re planning a big viewing party for the finale, even though that means it will be a Monday night. To prepare for it, I’m sharing some ideas for a viewing party from my past parties and Pinterest alike so you can plan your own!
This post may contain spoilers for Game of Thrones through season seven.
SEND A RAVEN
Invitations always set the tone for a party and, for Game of Thrones, you have an inspired option built right in. Just like the people in Westeros, send a raven to all the guests you’re inviting to your viewing party.
You can create an invitation to email (or text) your guests that simply includes the image of a raven, which is what I’ve done in the past.
I also love the idea of ordering or making little scrolls to send to your guests with a black feather like Chári did on Chic Homes & Styled Parties. We’ll be doing this for our party this year. I got some inexpensive black peasant feathers on Amazon to use.
Etsy is a great source for Game of Thrones inspired invitations. You can find one to customise with your details that will really knock your guests’ socks off.
And don’t forget your Game of Thrones wax seal! I got the Hand of the Queen seal, but there are lots of house sigil options.
Of course you can always go super BIG and train actual ravens to fly to your friends’ houses and deliver your scrolls. (In all seriousness, probably don’t do this because it wouldn’t be good for the well-being of the birds, I would imagine.)
RALLY THE BANNER MEN
One of the most fun things about hosting the viewing parties was creating house banners for all the guests. Each year, I would consult with the guests on what they would want for their sigil and what their house words would be. I used Join the Realm to create and print sigils for everyone coming. The best part is if they don’t have the clip art you want, you can upload your own. If you’re more artistically inclined, you can even draw them up yourself.
With the house banners, there’s a lot you can do. You can make big banners to hang from the walls, either on paper or on cloth if you know how to do it. You can make stands and decorate the rooms with them. You can even make smaller sigils to use as place cards, especially if you having a more formal feast before or after the episode. You could even just decorate your home in your own banners and/or have each guest bring their own banners with them, like King Robert Baratheon did when he arrived at Winterfell in the first episode. Whichever way you do it, you want to inspire loyalty to their house from all their guests.
PREPARE FOR A ROYAL VISIT
Now is the time to go all out on the decorations. You’ve already got your house sigils, but that’s just the tip of the ice berg. There are so many fantastic ideas for Game of Throne decor on Pinterest, so I’ll share some of my favourites. In the past, I’ve kept it simple with a Valar Morghulis banner and everyone’s sigils. For our season five party, since we were watching the first two episodes, The Wars to Come and The House of Black and White, we covered the front door in black and white paper to mimic the door on the House of Black and White.
If you don’t have time to create sigils for all of your guests (though remember it’s only one per family), you can simply use the houses from the show. Honour each of the major houses—Targaryen, Stark, Lannister, Baratheon, Tully, Greyjoy, and Arryn—by hanging their colours, or choose who you’re loyal too. RIP Tyrell. (I’m counting Baratheon because I’m holding on to hope that Gendry will be legitimised by Jon or Daenerys.) You can find the house banners on Etsy, as bunting like this or something a little more legit like this or this.. The one above features Greyjoy, Arryn, Martell, Targaryen, Tyrell, The Night’s Watch, Lannister, Stark, Baratheon, and Mormont, but her Etsy shop allows you to choose your own banners from the show to be included.
My friend Tia hosted a Game of Thrones themed Friendsgiving a few years ago and made her own Weirwood trees in just a few easy steps. She found twigs with red foliage at a craft store. She was able to spray paint the twigs white before putting them all in a glass vase to represent the trunk. On the outside of the vase, she painted a white face. If you’d rather have a more realistic version, you can find some on Etsy, just don’t expect them to be life size! ;)
Of course no Game of Thrones party would be complete without an Iron Throne and there are a number of different options to try just from Pinterest. I found an easy step-by-step guide using a plastic Adirondack chair as a starting point. And if you don’t have the space in your house (like us), you could turn your toilet into an Iron Throne instead. Though, I myself am partial to hanging the above photo across from the toilet in honour of Tywin Lannister.
No matter what decorations you plan, make sure you download and install the Game of Thrones font. It’s free and can be used on all your signs and your invitation. It’s simply too iconic to skip.
DRINK (WINE AND KNOW THINGS)
If you aim to make Tyrion proud, you probably can’t go wrong when it comes to the drinks. You probably know by now that I love mixing up cocktails and these days, almost everything we host—whether it’s a laid back games night or a nice dinner party—has a speciality drink. I recently shared 7 Game of Thrones Inspired Cocktails from around the web and talked about my plans to make one per episode, doubling up for the sixth and final episode. Unless you want to be mixing drinks one at a time all night, I recommend going for a pitcher cocktail, like The White Walker, which is similar to the drink I made at my first two GOT parties. (I froze the lemonade so it was more like a slushie and used vodka instead of rum.)
Another idea is to make one cocktail per episode inspired by the major characters: Daenerys, Jon, Cersei, Jaime, Tyrion, and include either the Night King or one of the Starks as a sixth. (Of course there’s no guarantee they’ll survive the episode you drink to them. Or even that they’ll survive until the episode you’ve chosen for them.)
The Dragon Queen
Inspired by Daenerys Targaryen, who has purple eyes in the books.
1 oz lavender simple syrup
1 oz gin or vodka (bartender’s choice)
Fill a high ball glass with ice. Add spirit and lavender simple syrup. Slowly pour lemonade over the back of a spoon inside the glass (but not touching liquid) to layer the drink. Pouring without the spoon will create a more ombré look, while mixing it up might turn the drink more blue than purple.
This year, we’re borrowing another idea from Chári of Chic Homes & Styled Parties and making shooters in glass vials. I got 30 vials and I plan to make Essence of Nightshade, Milk of the Poppy, and Manticore Venom shots. As we see in Blackwater (episode 2.9) Essence of Nightshade is a red liquid. I don’t remember seeing Milk of the Poppy on screen, but it seems to be widely believed that it’s a white or clear liquid. I don’t believe we’ve seen Manticore Venom either, but I’m thinking black in honour of Ser Robert Strong’s new skin. The vials hold less than a typical shot, which is fine for a Monday night when you’re not trying to get drunk, so my plan is to make a red and white cocktail and then divide it into 10 vials each. Tears of Lys and The Long Farewell (which is only mentioned on the show) are other prominent poisons you could use for inspiration as well. Tears of Lys was used to poison Jon Arryn before the events of the show and The Long Farewell was used to kill Myrcella and in Cersei’s revenge on Ellia and the Sand Snakes.
If you’re up for some more fun while you watch the final season, play a drinking game with your guests. Just make sure it doesn’t get too wild and you end up missing important plot points!
FEAST (FOR CROWS)
For the last two parties I had, I did a really similar menu (because it was really good). We tried to stick to a cohesive meal for the most part, but not dishes they eat in the books or on the show. Instead, we highlighted aspects of the show with what each dish was called.
This menu is from the season five party, so I’m working to update it with references from the last two seasons. We’ve also done Spears of the Unsullied (asparagus) and Ned’s Head Potatoes (whole roasted potatoes).
You could also go a different route and prepare a menu with foods more similar to what they eat on the show and in the books. I love this beautiful “Frey Pie” from Chári of Chic Homes & Styled Parties. If you decide to go that route, might I suggest The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook, A Feast of Fire and Ice?
Well, my friends, Game of Thrones season is nearly upon us. I wish you good fortune in the wars to come. And remember…the night is dark and full of terrors.
PIN FOR LATER!
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Updated April 2019 with more ideas.