HBO markets its new Game of Thrones series with a hand-crafted wooden box full of scrolls, maps and the scents of fantasy locales.
The scope of HBO's adaptation of George R. R. Martin's fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire is pretty intense, on par with Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter movies. The show, which shares its Game of Thrones title with the first book in the series, was filmed at castles and locations in Ireland, Scotland and Morocco in order bring its gritty atmosphere to life. Given the unconventional nature of the story for mainstream audiences, HBO had to come up with a creative way to get people talking about Game of Thrones. The result was mailed out this week, and novelist and transmedia expert J. C. Hutchins was kind enough to do an "unboxing" video walking us through the sensory journey into the fictional realm of Westeros. If you weren't excited to watch the premiere episode April 17 already, this amazing box full of olfactory treasures will get even your nose interested in Game of Thrones.
A series of scrolls, tied with leather straps and twine, instruct the recipient to dip small pieces of paper into vials of liquid labeled with setting-specific fragrances such as summerfruit and crypt. Then, two different formulae are supplied to mix these scents to evoke a location in the show. The first, Winterfell, where house Stark makes its home in the North, combines crypt, godswood and pepper, while King's Landing, the more decadent capital of the Seven Kingdoms, smells like leather, summerfruit and parchment.
The whole package is impressive in its execution, as the maps, scrolls and parchments all appear hand-painted and authentic to the early medieval setting. J. C. Hutchins might talk a little bit too much in the videos above, but he is extremely impressed with the care and attention paid to provide this sensory journey into the world of Westeros.
"It's like I'm smelling a mood," Hutchins said, saying that King's Landing evoked a more light-hearted mood. "Smelling Winterfell, the mood that I think about is real somber. Somber and melancholy.
"It was a real treat to experience storytelling through the most unconventional way that I've experienced yet, and its my business to do stuff like this," Hutchins continued.
As a big fan of Martin's story, I was pretty excited about the TV show anyway. This amazing olfactory journey through Westeros just seals the deal. The letter that HBO sent to Hutchins promised that this was just the first phase of an ongoing marketing program so I'm definitely intrigued to see what they come up with next.
Also, hey HBO, I love this show already. How 'bout you hook this poor hedge knight up with one of those fancy boxes?