She’s rushing me to catch up… it was ever thus.
The much-anticipated eighth and final series of the most successful television series of all time, Game of Thrones, is only weeks away and I’m cramming.
If only I could cheat!
And guess what. I can, and I don’t even have to invoke my Valyrian magic. See, I WAS concentrating.
My Queen of Dragons
We have come to the adopted heartland of Game of Thrones, Northern Irleand, to indulge my Queen of Dragons and her passion for GoT.
And where we can learn about Belfast’s rich tapestry.
Yes, the Game of Thrones tapestry in the Ulster Museum.
We will billet at the palatial 5* Fitzwilliam Hotel in the heart of the city.
The GoT tapestry has been a living, growing monument to George R.R. Martin’s evolving story since the first stitch was woven in 2017.
Snarking around wooden boards you get walked through the plot, not knowing what’s around the next corner (much like GoT).
Weaving a story
With the weavers adding sections with each series, to the point now that the tapestry now stretches to 217ft.
When the last noble or serf is bludgeoned to death in May, and the rightful sovereign sits triumphantly on The Iron Throne, the tapestry will span 253ft, longer still.
And it is an upgrade on its inspiration, the Bayeux Tapestry.
The GoT tapestry succeeds in remaining true to the spirit of George’s world with every intricate detail in rich colours and golden hues.
And playful recreations of memorable moments from series past, with my favourite being the depiction of the murder of Lord Tywin Lannister on the privy.
For fans of Game of Thrones the tapestry is a must-visit on any trip to the Northern Irish capital.
And it gets better still with the Game of Thrones touring exhibition visiting the Titanic Exhibition Centre on April 11.
Ahead of Series Eight kicking off on April 14.
Warring dynasties and royal symbolism are, of course, nothing new to this city. Belfast’s rich tapestry is all around.
The iconography of William of Orange, is long woven into its history.
The real King Billy
And the ubiquitous king on his white charger is splayed on a mural at the entrance of Sandy Row as we make our way through the city.
The fact is though that that depiction is most likely fiction and this ‘William’ is based on a noble soldier in his army.
It is best for Southern eyes to look at this part of the Belfast story through this prism.
As of course, there is much of the rest of Belfast that truly deserves to be called majestic.
The views are, from our deluxe room in the refurbished Fitzwilliam.
Out to the Cave Hills, beyond to City Hall and to the shipbuilding Harland and Wolff cranes and the Titanic Quarter.
Upstairs is Rihanna’spenthouse, for when she stays and plays… the Fitzwilliam is much beloved by pop royalty (Katie Perry) and the Clintons.
But it’s us who are the Fitzwilliam’s VIPS on this, the weekend of her tenth birthday celebrations.
And we’re about to be feted at banquet.
So that’s obviously something gamey, the duck, and sweet, a Neapolitan Arctic roll with mixed berry compote coulis, and a full-bodied red to wash it all down.
With the night still young, we head out to Belfast’s hip Cathedral Quarter… to see a man about a door.
A doorway to fantasy
The GoT door at the Dark Horse, aka The Duke of York, is the last of ten stops in the North that you need to fill out on your Game of Thrones passport.
The door were carved from the wood of the Dark Hedges trees in Ballymoney that were felled by Storm Gabriel a few years ago.
We pose for the obligatory photo in front of the door.
I ask where the door lead and am told that’s where the rest rooms are.
I remember the fate of Lord Tywin Lannister and make my excuses.
The five-star Fitzwilliam Hotel has a The Fitz is 10 package which includes a luxurious stay with a special Fitzwilliam birthday cocktail on arrival.
There’s a Welcome Plate and Full Fitzwilliam breakfast on morning of departure Rooms available from £131 (€152). Offer valid for March. http://www.fitzwilliamhotelbelfast.com
And for another side of Belfast and one of its most adopted sons… https://jimmurtytraveltraveltravel.com/culture/belfastvanmorrison/. And see http://www.discovernortherland.com.