Sunday, January 12, 2014

Excuses to Talk about Game of Thrones: The Best Place in Boston to Read Game of Thrones

Some of you may know that my fiancée has launched her own blog initiative about adding style to all aspects of life. So when I discovered that she was going to cover tonight’s Golden Globes with a write-up on quick hosting and signature cocktails, I realized that I needed something equally timely and high interest. But how to tie that into living positively in Boston? And because I was thinking of all this while reading Dance with Dragons, the fifth book in the Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones series, I thought, well, it should really tie into that as well. (These things tend to make the most sense as I think them and less so as time goes on.)

After thinking about this for approximately 2.5 seconds, I decided to post on the best place in Boston to read Game of Thrones.

So, without further adieu...

It only takes a quick walk down the Commonwealth Mall to realize that Boston is a city of literature and politics. Even the Boston Public Library’s statues and art reinforce this relationship. But where in Boston is the best place to read these books?  It’s not like we're wanting for options: there’s the old world charm of Beacon Hill, the bustle of Faneuil Hall, anywhere overlooking the sea by the harbor, the cafes of the North End, or your cozy home, perhaps. Pretty much anywhere in the city would work well.

But the best place in the city to read Game of Thrones? That honor goes to the café in the Museum of Fine Arts. Now, I know what you’re thinking. Why pay admission to a museum just to read in the café? Well, there are two caveats that make this suggestion work best. First, if you have a membership, which is affordable at under $100 (four visits will pay for it), then you can take as many trips to the museum over the year as you like. You get discounts on food, merchandise, classes, and special events, too. Alternatively, you could visit on Wednesdays – after 4 pm, the admission is by donation.

So what makes the museum the best place to read Game of Thrones?

The fantasy series is a gateway to our own history, something that, once you’re in the building, the Museum of Fine Arts highlights around every corner. As you read the series and travel across Westeros, the Iron Islands, the Dothraki Sea, and Valyria with the characters, you are transported to different aspects of our world history. In fact, the second volume ends with a battle familiar to anyone who may have read about the fall of Constantinople.

This is not to say that Game of Thrones is a history book – it is fantasy, for sure – but it is inspired by the legends, lore, and events of the past, and turned into something else entirely through the power of imagination. It would be hard to speak of Daenerys’s journey without picturing Egypt or Mesopotamia, even more difficult to picture the Ironborn without understanding anything about the Vikings, and all of Westeros would be unimaginable without knowing a thing or two about medieval history.

So immerse yourself in the source material. Take a seat at the café, order a coffee, and read a chapter or two or three. Then, pick yourself up and stroll the exhibits, find a statue, painting, or relic that triggers your own imagination and speaks some truth to the fiction you just read. There are whole sections of the museum that could have come from the series, so feel free to repeat the process; I think you’ll want to. And who knows? With all the special exhibits that have had mainstream appeal lately (Samurai, Hippie Chic, etc.), maybe the museum will do something special if they see enough George R.R. Martin novels in the hands of their patrons.

working on their roar

At the Museum of Fine Arts, the books will be just the beginning.

Til next time!

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