Game of Thrones
Jon Snow (Kit Harrington) feels the crush of the Battle of the Bastards in "Game of Thrones." (HBO)

‘Game of Thrones’ BTS fan experience wins

HBO brought Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes interactive event to Chicago this weekend. It’s not too late to attend the free event—and it’s so worth it for fans of the series.

If you hurry, you can pre-register online here or just head down to the Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park. The museum-like exhibit is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday before it moves to Los Angeles Dec. 9 and 10.

I walked through the installation of five buildings Saturday. It’s designed to celebrate the Nov. 15 release of the Game of Thrones Season 6 Blu-Ray/DVD set—and of course to encourage people to buy the set.

The exhibit features props, costumes and other production elements from the series, sneak peeks of bonus material from the Blu-Ray/DVD, and a giant relief map of Westeros. In Chicago, you might also catch Finn Jones, who played Ser Loras Tyrell in the series.

Apologies to Jones, but the virtual reality experience housed in the Castle Black building is the best part of the exhibit. Once you get all the VR gear on, Jon Snow leads you through a defense of Castle Black. You shoot arrows at targets and use a shield to block stones and arrows aimed your way. You’ll experience all the sounds and shakes of a battle. It seemed so real I weaved and dodged to get out of the way, much to the delight of the folks helping fans through the experience.

I took some photos which you can see here. Read more about each of the interactive experiences below.

Game of Thrones Behind the Scenes fan experience

Castle Black

The Defend the Wall Virtual Reality Experience, modeled after the Castle Black courtyard, was created exclusively for the Game of Thrones: Season 6—Behind the Scenes fan event. As I said before, this one is awesome.

Vaes Dothrak

This exhibit lets fans stand in for Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) as she burns down the Temple of the Dosh Khaleen ion a shareable video using green screen technology. The hut houses Daario Naharis’ (Michael Huisman) scimitar and Ser Jorah Mormont’s (Ian Glen) sword, as well as the ring Daenarys dropped on the Dothraki Plain so they could track her. Plans for the creation of the temple, script pagesand a sneak peek at “Recreating the Dothraki World” extra also are part of the exhibit.

North of the Wall

In this straw hut, fans will see a recreation of the mystical Weirwood tree and learn about the Children of the Forest. You can “hold the door” in a photo opp just like Hodor (Kristian Nairn) to save Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead Wright) from the White Walkers. A piece of the “Bran’s Journey” extra plays. Props include and ice sword belonging to the White Walkers.


Modeled after Jon Snow’s (Kit Harrington) command tent, the exhibit allows fans stand in Jon’s position in the aerial mob photo at the height of battle (see photo top of page). You’ll be covered in a green blanket as part of the green screen experience. You’ll see sigil swords, a battle map and costumes. “The Battle of the Bastards: An In-Depth Look” extra examines the production challenges of creating the epic Season 6 battle.

The Workshop

This aluminum structure is modeled after a building used at Belfast-based Titanic Studios, better known as the Paint Hall. Fans will find more props and costumes from the show, plus the Iron Throne. Get your photo taken as the new ruler of the Seven Kingdoms. The “18 Hours at the Paint Hall” DVD feature follows all three “Game of Thrones” filming units at Titanic Studios.


Ramin Djawadi’s “Game of Thrones Theme” plays as fans examine a giant relief map of Westeros that feels like an interactive viewing of the opening credits.

My behind the scenes videos