Game of Thrones saga unfolds on a tapestry

Seamstresses working on the final section of the hand-embroidered tapestry in Belfast.   | Photo Credit: AFP

In a Belfast museum, seamstresses are at work depicting gory battles and warring kings in shimmering threads of red and gold -- an epic homage to the TV phenomenon Game of Thrones.

The team of volunteers at the Ulster Museum are putting the final touches to a 90-metre long tapestry depicting all eight seasons of the fantasy saga, which reached its dramatic conclusion in May.

“Game of Thrones”, which first hit screens in 2011, was produced and chiefly filmed in studios in Belfast and in the Northern Irish countryside.

“A tapestry is, more than anything else, a great storytelling device. The length of the tapestry allows the story to unfold, so in many ways it's the perfect medium for telling the story of the 'Game of Thrones' project.” explained Valerie Wilson, costume and textiles curator at National Museums Northern Ireland.

Styled in the manner of the treasured Bayeux Tapestry -- which depicts the 11th-century Norman conquest of England -- the completed piece will be transported to France to hang near its predecessor in September.

“This tapestry references the Bayeux Tapestry in that it has a series of repeated icons through it,” explained Mr. Wilson.

The panels of the piece are woven by machine before the finishing touches are put on by hand.

For two years, a team of 30 has been at work on and off stitching embellishments on the icons -- “blood red weddings”, “emerald green wildfire” and “cold-blue White Walkers” which prove pivotal in the HBO drama series.

The museum display also comes with a warning for underage visitors owing to its graphic content.

The group has been working on stitching depicting the eighth and final series. Participants -- like actors in the show -- were also sworn to silence, forced to sign non-disclosure agreements to maintain the shroud of secrecy.

“It was very crucial when the project launched that it had that new, fresh, almost surprise element,” Mr.Wilson said.

After the embellishments are put on, the final panels are being added to the display of series one to seven which are already on show for the visitors.

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Printable version | Jun 20, 2021 2:43:54 AM |

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