Winter is coming. And it has as good as arrived in Oberhausen, because on Monday, November 26, 2018, the touring exhibition Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition will open its doors. For fans of the HBO series, one of the most important events related to the medieval fantasy world penned by George RR Martin starts in the middle of the tourist center of Germany. With the interactive exhibition, which has already made stops in Barcelona and Paris, the organizers bring the worlds of Westeros and Essos directly to the promenade of the CentrO Oberhausen. We have already got a comprehensive picture of the exhibition and can tell you who should enter the visit to Oberhausen in their calendar.

Touring Exhibition: "Tickets were sold nationwide"

Game of Thrones is a worldwide phenomenon. The TV series, highly praised by film critics - and also extremely successful in commercial terms - will enter its eighth and final season next spring. For HBO, the series is the biggest hit since The SopranosSo it's no wonder that the brand can also be marketed well outside of the television set. 

What fans of the book and series always want is to take a look behind the scenes - and that is exactly what the exhibition does Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition possible. To the amazement of many, the traveling exhibition takes place in Oberhausen. Not in Munich, not in Berlin, not even in Cologne. On closer inspection, however, Oberhausen turns out to be the ideal venue: the CentrO is well connected to the transport network, there are sufficient - even free - parking spaces and the space necessary for an exhibition of this size is available. The fans don't care whether they go to Berlin, Munich, Cologne or Oberhausen anyway. This is also confirmed by Andreas Waschk, CEO of AWC AG and Managing Director of Explorado Group GmbH: “Tickets were sold nationwide. Oberhausen is in the middle of Germany and a good choice for us.”

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen
Isaac Hempstead-Wright (left) played Bran Stark, Tom Wlaschiha played the assassin Jaqen H'gar: both actors will also be guests in Oberhausen on the opening day. (Photo: André Volkmann)

With all the good conditions that a city can offer: a little luck is always part of bringing an exhibition to a city. Now it has hit Oberhausen - and everyone involved is satisfied with the choice. 

The fact that Game of Thrones is having a lasting influence not only on the fans but also on the entire film industry in view of its gigantic success is no surprise. Andreas Waschk even speaks of "Game of Thrones as Game Changer"that changed film and television forever. 

Game of Thrones exhibition: To the royal road, to the wall and back

The traveling exhibition, which is celebrating a German premiere with its stop in Oberhausen, offers fans the perfect interactive staging. 

It all begins in a darkened anteroom, on which a few film sequences are shown as an introduction. Only then do the doors open and visitors are led to the first props through a blue-lit high-speed landscape. By then at the latest, even completely unsuspecting visitors should be clear: Winter is approaching.

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen
Already on the meters it becomes clear how atmospheric the exhibition is staged. (Photo: André Volkmann)

The organizers aim to captivate visitors with the exhibits on offer, to tell the stories behind the story - and last but not least to encourage participation. At regular intervals, interactive stations ensure that visitors delve deeper into the worlds of Westeros and Essos. Sometimes through photo opportunities with weapons set up, sometimes through a mirror illusion that simulates the slope on the wall, sometimes through exciting technical gimmicks: visitors are allowed to throw their faces at the dead column in the "Hall of Faces" for around 40 seconds. This is entertaining, provides variety - and a great, because personal, photo motif. interaction succeeded.

Information signs explain the individual exhibits in a nutshell. The rest is done by audio tracks and video snippets. It is strongly advised to linger at the individual stations, because this is the only way to do it Game of Thrones: Touring Exhibition develop their full potential in Oberhausen. If you run rushed through the tube-like corridors, you will be through with the experience within a few minutes. Visitors who take their time can get lost in the rooms, look at details - maybe even discuss things with like-minded people. 

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen
The hand of the king is one of the central characters in Game of Thrones. In the picture the costume of Charles Dance, who played Tywin Lannister. (Photo: André Volkmann)

The organizers use the lighting, technical gimmicks - and noticeable smells to create the right setting to appropriately present all the exhibits. When the smoke machine blows clouds into the corridors, visitors are hardly disturbed by smoky scents. If, on the other hand, it smells strange when looking at a dragon's skull, you start pondering. And that in a positive way. The organizers seem to want to clarify their impressions. The concept works: it has never been easier to immerse yourself in the contents of an exhibition.

Siege of the purses

That Game of Thrones is commercially successful is no secret. Big brands generate big sums of money. Of course, the organizers of the traveling exhibition also take advantage of this. In any case, it seems advisable to take every euro of income with you: the license fees are enormous.

In the last section of the exhibition, fans will find everything their hearts could possibly desire: cups, glasses, T-shirts, pendants, miniatures and displays. But also: pieces of jewelry at - more or less - jewelry prices. A silver armand costs a proud 995 euros, the massive chain by the dragon mother Daenery Targaryen even more. Such items are unlikely to be sold over the counter, but they are sure to be sold. Much more often, medium-priced gifts will find their way into the shopping bags of visitors, including many beautifully designed pieces: for example the iron throne as a pendant, or a dragon egg. And if you want to take a tour of the Christmas market after visiting the traveling exhibition, you will probably buy one of the cups on offer.

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen
Cups and glasses are among the cheaper merchandise items. The prices range from a few to over 1.000 euros. This is especially exciting for die-hard fans of Game of Thrones. (Photo: André Volkmann)

The selection of merchandising items is huge. Visitors who enjoy such items will linger in the sales area for a long time. By the way: visitors can also be photographed on the Iron Throne. Professionally and in return for one or the other gold coin. A nice souvenir of a nice afternoon is somehow part of it.

Game of Thrones: Interview with Isaac Hempstead-Wright

Isaac Hempstead-Wright was only ten years old when he came into contact with the work on Game of Thrones. This experience left a lasting mark on him.

He came to Game of Thrones through a teacher who was in charge of an acting group at the time:

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen

Interview with Isaac Hempstead-Wright

“I came to Game of Thrones rather unintentionally. My drama group's teacher told me about the planned pilot episode that will be filmed as a test before a full season is produced.
He told me to just try it. And as a ten-year-old boy, I was curious about new experiences. And luckily I got stuck there. So here I am today.”

The HBO series isn't known for being squeamish. Violence, brutality and sexuality play a central role in many episodes. It's bizarre for a boy of ten, says Isaac Hempstead-Wright:

"Yeah, it was very bizarre because Bran Stark is faced with a tricky situation early on. It was a kind of enlightenment at that age. Then when I watched the series with my parents, there was a whole series of awkward conversations.
The violence on the set was often palpable, with blood all over the place. You could even play football with chopped off model heads. I really liked that, even though it was a really crazy experience.”

Anyone who becomes part of such a successful series at the age of ten also develops personally alongside the episodes. Isaac Hempstead-Wright is no exception:

"I've definitely made progress. The way I am today was also partly steered by Game of Thrones. The show ran through my school days, so yes, Game of Thrones has had a huge impact on my life.”

Bran Stark is arguably one of the most mysterious characters in the Game of Thrones series. Isaac Hempstead-Wright explains his character in an amazingly simple way:

“Of course there is a tremendous amount of backstory. But at heart, Bran is sort of a wise, all-knowing keeper of time. He manages the knowledge and knows all the stories from Westeros. 
The simple explanation is he is time itself. Bran is history personified.”

Over the long production and shooting times, the actors experience tons of unforgettable moments, including Isaac Hempstead-Wright:

“There are many. One scene I fondly remember is where I'm walking through the White Walkers in a vision and then get grabbed by the Night King. Wow, not that many characters come that close to the Night King.”

Game of Thrones season eight production has been completed. Still, the actors want to keep in contact after a long time together:

"Definitive. We have set up a group chat that we use to exchange ideas. Many friendships have been formed over the years. The actor behind Tommen Baratheon is now one of my best friends and we are in contact almost every day. Game of Thrones has become a kind of family for all of us.”

Isaac Hempstead-Wright has never read George RR Martin's books. Now that the filming is over, he wants to make up for it, also because the immense differences between the book and the TV series will be exciting to experience.

Interview with Tom Wlaschiha

Tom Wlaschiha has spurred his career by appearing in Game of Thrones. We conducted the interview in the hall of faces, which is like a living room for the actor:

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen
Interview with Tom Wlaschiha

“The room is like my living room. The Hall of Faces, the House of Black and White, that makes you feel good. That part of the exhibition is also well done. There's a rather somber atmosphere and that creates the same feeling that we felt on set."

For beginners in the TV series, the character played by Tom Wlaschiha, Jaqen H'ghar, is not easy to explain. The actor tries anyway:

"It's impossible to explain in a few sentences. I play Jaqen H'ghar, a faceless one. We serve the many-faced God. People come to us who are weary of life and the highest gift that the many-faced God can give is death. So people come to us who want to die freely, but we also work as contract killers.”

At the beginning, Tom Wlaschiha was not aware of the importance of his role, also with regard to the development of Arya Stark:

"No, I wasn't aware of that. I didn't know the books either. I was cast for the second season and at the time the first season hadn't aired. So I had never heard of Game of Thrones. I am gradually came to the topic and became a fan.”

To be part of such a success story is not only a great gift for actors from Germany:

"It's a great gift not only for German actors, but for actors from all over the world. As an actor, you live from your level of fame and a lot has changed, especially with regard to future projects. I'm glad I was able to be there."

Tom Wlaschiha has become a fan of the series, even if he's not a classic fantasy fan:

"In any case, I've become a fan. I'm not a fan of fantasy, but Game of Thrones is more than that. It's much more like Shakespeare, everything happens on a very human level. This is perhaps also one of the secrets of the series: as a viewer you experience many very ambivalent characters over the course of time, who you can watch intrigue and fight and actually never know what a character has in mind next. It's just like in real life."

Game of Thrones is not only human, but also shows inhumanity and sometimes brutal or offensive scenes - at least not in the opinion of Tom Wlaschiha. Understandable, because it's a matter of taste. The great success and the number of viewers speak a clear language anyway.

Tom Wlaschiha has not yet read all of the books, but he is well on the way to catching up on the literary sources. So far he has read two of the books. When the other works will follow is uncertain: the books are so thick, the time is too short. 

Game of Thrones: The exhibition runs in Oberhausen

Game of Thrones in Oberhausen until February 2019

No one has to panic with a visitor to the Game of Thrones: Touring Exhibition toying in Oberhausen. The traveling exhibition will be on view in the temporary exhibition hall next to the CentrO until February 12, 2019. 

The exhibition is open Monday to Thursday from 12 noon to 21 p.m., Friday, Saturday and during the holidays in North Rhine-Westphalia from 11 a.m. to 22 p.m. and on Sundays and public holidays from 10 a.m. to 20 p.m. Tickets for adults cost between 19,95 and 23,95 euros. Admission tickets with fixed admission times are also valid in order to control the rush. Tickets are now available on the Internet at available

Impressions from the exhibition

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