A Calgary pub organizing Game of Thrones watch parties for the final season, which premieres Sunday night, says that they have nearly completely sold out for all six episodes.
Wurst, a German pub in Mission, has been hosting watch parties since the second season of the global phenomenon in 2012.
Maria Mendelman, events manager for Wurst, said that she was amazed at how the crowds have grown over the years.
When the idea was pitched by one of the managers, Mendelman hadn’t even heard of the show.
But with the first screening, she knew they had hit on something special.
“I was blown away; I was like, ‘what’s going on?’ We had all these people calling, and we were sold out, and it was totally silent. I remember walking downstairs to the beer hall, and you could hear a pin drop,” said Mendelman.
“People are begging to be on the waiting list for the premiere on Sunday.”
The German restaurant features a special Thrones-themed menu for each viewing party.
“The beer hall seems kind of appropriate, with the communal table. . .so it seems kind of medieval,” said Mendelman.
The parties draw some intense, often costumed fans.
For the final season, they have gotten an assist from Nerd Nite Calgary, who are sponsoring and attending one of the events. On May 12, the night of the series’ penultimate episode, NerdNite has arranged for a pre-show Q+A with David J. Peterson, a linguist who created the series’ fictional languages of Dothraki and High Valyrian.
Frank Koutis from NerdNite Calgary noted that the group uses Wurst for many other of its unrelated events because of its large seating area and excellent sound and projection capabilities.
The premiere will also feature a fully-armoured sword fighting demonstration prior to the show, from Dark Age Creations.
TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz argued that Thrones will be “the last show we watch together,” a fantasy show that reached a wide crossover audience of millions around the world.
Koutis had not attended the Wurst viewings before, and is looking forward to it.
“The weird energy of a group of people getting together to watch a TV show of this style is going to be very surprising to me,” said Koutis.
“It’s just brought a whole other community, a community we weren’t even aware of before this happened. It’s made it really special; we definitely have our regulars, but this is a whole other group of people that are part of Wurst,” said Mendelman.
Even Koutis was a convert, after being exclusively into sci-fi rather than fantasy. He said the series’ constant subversion of conventional tropes set it apart.
“I was surprised it pulled me in so fast. . .it’s a show about dragons, then the dragons are never in it,” said Koutis.
He said that he and his wife had established a betting pool on the ending.
“I have no idea what’s going to happen this year, and I’m happy about that.”