As Final Season Of ‘Game Of Thrones’ Begins Tonight Scranton Couple Shares Traditions Tied To Show
A map of Westeros and Essos, the fictional settings for acclaimed fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” hangs over the couch where Sean Flynn sits, running through the facts, plot points and theories he’s accumulated in eight years of devotion to the show.
The band at the infamous “Red Wedding” of season three? You’ll find members of Coldplay in there. The Lannister family’s lion crest? That’s based off one from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y. The “Game of Thrones”-themed beer Flynn often cracks open when he watches an episode? That’s from Ommegang, too.
And the woman who marries leading character Robb Stark? Well ... hmm — that trips Flynn up. He looks to his fiancee, Shalon Corrigan, for help, but she can’t remember either.
The character’s actually Talisa Maegyr, and while that might not be one of the more memorable “Thrones” facts, the couple has plenty of other ones in their heads, thanks to a tradition they started four years ago and will continue tonight as the HBO show’s final season premieres. The “Thrones” super fans have made it a point to carve out time each Sunday night to spend time together watching the fantasy-drama based on author George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series.
Flynn and Corrigan, who live in West Scranton, own their self-proclaimed nerdiness. Aside from the “Thrones” map in their living room — a past birthday gift from Flynn to his fiancee — Corrigan professes a love for Harry Potter, while Flynn’s devotion to “Star Wars” is apparent in the pair of lightsabers hanging on a nearby wall.
But for them, “Thrones” is different. It’s a fandom they share, and it brings them together no matter what. They’re “not nuts,” Flynn assured — “just big fans.”
“Personally, for me, it’s everything I could have wanted growing up playing ... video games, watching and reading Tolkien, that kind of thing,” he said of the show.
Corrigan appreciates the strength of “Thrones’” female characters.
“Arya (Stark) has grown, and she’s just a powerful woman, and that’s a big part for me,” she said.
Flynn and Corrigan both work full-time day jobs, and Flynn, a musician, keeps busy on Friday and Saturday nights with gigs. So the couple decided to make it a point that Sunday night was time just for them and “Game of Thrones,” a tradition they’ve only broken a “shockingly low” number of times, Flynn said. They do “normal couple things,” too, Corrigan said, but the show offers a way for them to decompress.
“We sit, and we just watch it beginning to end,” she said.
They even observed the ritual during a recent trip to Disney World, relaxing one night on their vacation by catching an episode together. And when they finish all of the seasons, they start over again.
“It definitely strengthened our relationship a lot because it gives us something to look forward to on a weekly basis,” Corrigan said.
Usually, they go to their local beer shop to pick up one of Ommegang’s “Thrones”-themed brews for the night.
“We’re known for buying these beers continuously,” Flynn said.
Flynn began his “Game of Thrones” journey when the show premiered on HBO in 2011. He and Corrigan began to date around season four, he said, and when they got their first apartment together, he told her she could have the TV the rest of the weekend but that it was all his when “Thrones” aired on Sunday nights. Corrigan decided to watch, too, but read the books first — Martin has published five novels in the series — plowing through them in just a few weeks.
“She was like, ‘I should start watching this show with you,’” Flynn recalled. “Within two weeks (of watching), she already had a favorite character.”
Flynn had never read the books, and so certain plots that ended up in the TV show came as a surprise to him, particularly the infamous “Red Wedding” in which — spoiler alert — numerous main characters are slaughtered. He’s read the “Lord of the Rings” books and was familiar with the fantasy genre, so he eventually tried the “Thrones” books but only made it about 100 pages into the first book before moving on.
“I gave it a day in court,” Flynn said with a laugh.
They’ve picked up some memorabilia here and there too. A trip to Ommegang added a “Thrones” growler to their collection.
“I just kind of bit the bullet and threw down the credit card,” Flynn said.
“I still kick myself for not getting the dragon egg shotglasses,” Corrigan added.
They’ve saved bottles of past editions of the specialty beer and have more waiting for the final season. They’ve also collected and enjoyed a few bottles of Johnnie Walker’s special edition “Thrones”-inspired scotches.
The couple’s music collection, meanwhile, includes vinyl records of “Thrones” soundtracks, and they’ve made some dishes from the official “Thrones” cookbook. Their dog has a name inspired by the show’s heroic Stark family, and their memorabilia collection includes a “Thrones” version of Monopoly and a miniature Iron Throne. And, Corrigan said, they’re “the go-to people for ‘Game of Thrones’ trivia” among their acquaintances.
While their Catholic wedding ceremony won’t let them recite the wedding vows featured in “Thrones” word-for-word, they hope to at least be able to include one line in particular: “I am yours and you are mine from this day until the end of my days, from this day until my last day.” Their wedding colors, at least, will take inspiration from the show’s villainous Night King, known for his icy blue skin and clothes.
“For our honeymoon, we’re going to get Stark tattoos,” Flynn said, noting they hope to get inked at a famous Hawaii parlor.
In the meantime, they have six final episodes of the series to sit through, and each has a theory on what will play out in this final season. That the show is ending is bittersweet, Corrigan said, but she looks forward to a potential showdown between the brothers known as the Hound and the Mountain. Flynn, meanwhile, feels excited for an anticipated battle at the Starks’ home, Winterfell. He doesn’t expect to get any closure when the final credits roll on Sunday, May 19, but he does believe hero Jon Snow will sit on the Iron Throne — a place Corrigan doesn’t think anyone will end up.
Come the series finale, both Flynn and Corrigan plan to take off from work the following day so they can rewatch and savor those final moments.
And as for all the Sundays afterward?
“Once it’s over, we’re gonna start it all over again,” Flynn said, “because what else are we going to do?”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org; 570-348-9100 x5107; @cheaneywest on Twitter
If you watch
What: “Game of Thrones” season eight premiere
April 14, 9 p.m.
and its streaming platforms
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The folks behind “Game of Thrones” have gone all-out this spring with tie-ins to the final season. Here are some of unusual ways you can celebrate the show:
Baseball: At their Saturday, April 27, game, the New York Mets will hand out a bobblehead of pitcher Noah Syndergaard sitting on the Iron Throne to the first 25,000 fans through the gate. ( mlb.com/mets )
Beer: Brewery Ommegang continues its “Thrones” series of beers with a new co-fermentation brew, dubbed For the Throne, to mark the final season’s premiere. ( ommegang.com )
Blood donation: “Thrones” has never been shy about spilling blood, and it’s partnered with the American Red Cross for the “Bleed for the Throne” blood and platelet donation initiative. Donate through Tuesday, April 30, and you will not only receive a commemorative poster but also be entered into a contest to win a full-sized Iron Throne. ( redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/hbogameofthrones.html )
Cookies: Special-edition Oreos will feature the logos of a few of the show’s Great Houses and an image of the villainous Night King embossed on the cookies. ( oreo.com )
Makeup: Urban Decay is releasing a “Thrones”-themed brand of makeup, including eyeshadows, highlighters, eye pencils, lipstick, cheek stain and brushes. Or, you can get a bunch of the products together in the $250 “vault.” ( urbandecay.com )
Sneakers: The Game of Thrones x adidas Ultra Boost Collection retails for $180 per pair online only and comes in colors inspired by “Thrones” houses, dragons and the Night’s Watch. ( adidas.com/us/ultraboost-game_of_thrones )
Soda: Mountain Dew has released a limited-edition, color-changing can inspired by the show. Solid white when warm, the can, once chilled, reveals the names on Arya Stark’s infamous list of people to kill. ( mountaindew.com )
If you go
A couple local spots have planned events around the “Game of Thrones” season premiere on Sunday, April 14.
“Game of Thrones” trivia and premiere screening
When: 5 to 10 p.m. (trivia check-in ends at 4:45 p.m.)
Where: Center City Wine Cellar, the Marketplace at Steamtown 300 Lackawanna Ave., Scranton
Details: Seating is limited. Trivia costs $3 in advance and $5 at the door, cash only; call 570-507-9243 or email kblack@themarketplace
atsteamtown.com to register. Visit the Facebook event page for more information.
“Game of Thrones” viewing party
When: Trivia, prizes, activities and refreshments, 7:30 to 9 p.m.; show screening, 9 to 10 p.m.
Where: Abington Community Library, 1200 W. Grove St., Clarks Summit
Details: For adults; call 570-587-3440 for reservations.