‘Game of Thrones’-inspired scavenger hunt tour seeks the sources of iconic fantasies 

‘Game of Thrones’-inspired scavenger hunt tour seeks the sources of iconic fantasies 
"It's kind of like a role-playing game ... you're invested in it a way you typically aren't on a tour."

“It’s kind of like a role-playing game … you’re invested in it a way you typically aren’t on a tour.”

“When you play the game of thrones, you win or you die,” but if you’re looking for epic fun without the high body count, this new tour has your back.

Fable & Lark, a tour company that uses games and activities to bring iconic books and stories to life at museums, is launching a “Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings” -inspired tour at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in March.

Dubbed “Crown & Prophet,” the tour guides fantasy fans around The Met to find objects and art that may have served as inspiration for the iconic stories such as shining armor, intricate tapestries and coats of arms within the museum’s Arms and Armor, Medieval Art and European Sculpture and Decorative Arts departments. 

This tilework featuring a lion on a shield from the late 1400s or early 1500s, which is found at The Met, resembles the "Game of Thrones" Lannister coat of arms.
This tilework featuring a lion on a shield from the late 1400s or early 1500s, which is found at The Met, resembles the "Game of Thrones" Lannister coat of arms. Photo Credit: Rogers Fund, 1916

Tourists’ decisions make an impact on their journey. They first meet a Fable & Lark tour guide, which is often the company’s founder Evan Levy, inside the Great Hall, where they are given their quest. Each activity they’re given builds upon another. Riddles they solve take them to the next step and if they are unable to figure it out, they must give up one of their provided tools.

“It’s kind of like a role-playing game or a board game … you’re invested in it a way you typically aren’t on a tour,” Levy told amNewYork. “When something is at stake, it makes you feel like you’re part of one of these fantasies.” 

While none of the objects sought in the tour are objects or replicas used in the “Game of Thrones” show or “The Lord of the Rings” movie, all of them are the real deal and are the precursors to our favorite stories. 

These small gauntlets on view at The Met were made for the armor for the 7-year-old heir to the Spanish throne, the future Philip III (1578-1621, king from 1598). 
These small gauntlets on view at The Met were made for the armor for the 7-year-old heir to the Spanish throne, the future Philip III (1578-1621, king from 1598).  Photo Credit: Rogers Fund, 1904

“You may find something that looks like the Lannister coat of arms — we look at the pageantry, the banners, the coats of arms … there are direct parallels in those galleries,” she said. “Both stories [“Game of Thrones” and “Lord of the Rings”] have origins in earlier myths.”

Levy’s tour company has a handful of themed, interactive tours: “Griffins, Goblets and Gold: A Wizarding tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” “Quest Control: A Demigod Search in the Metropolitan Museum,” children’s book-themed tours and another new tour called “Here Be Dragons,” which is a “Fantastic Beasts” -inspired romp through The American Museum of Natural History and The Met done in two parts. 

In the latter, tour groups are sent around the Museum of Natural History to find creatures that inspired the mythological ones like unicorns and dragons and learn why they were classified as monsters. The second part of the tour at The Met then leads tourists to how these creatures became things of folklore.

“Museums can be a little intimidating and hard to know how to get a handle on them,” Levy said. “There’s something about the idea of using epic fantasies as themes — they all have quests, obstacles, heroes, villains and universal themes of power, religion and magic — themes that echo across them. We never think of these tours as gimmicks but as new ways to enjoy and explore these museums.” 

A 17th century medallion depicts Saint George slaying a dragon.
A 17th century medallion depicts Saint George slaying a dragon. Photo Credit: Theodore M. Davis Collection, Bequest of Theodore M. Davis, 1915

Shaye Weaver