A stitch in time: Tapestry immortalizes 'Game of Thrones' - GulfToday

A stitch in time: Tapestry immortalizes 'Game of Thrones'

Game of Thrones 4

A woman takes a photo of the "Game of Thrones" tapestry in Bayeux, Normandy, France. AP

Famously, Arya Stark always preferred her sword Needle to needlework. Still, even she would be impressed with the giant tapestry now on show in France that recounts the plot of "Game of Thrones" in glorious and, of course, gory and salacious detail.

With the award-winning saga about power struggles in mythical Westeros poised for more success at the Emmy Awards on Sunday, the tapestry's unveiling this month in the Normandy town of Bayeux could hardly be better-timed. The show's 32 nominations broke a single-year record.

Game of Thrones 1
The 11th century Bayeux tapestry chronicling the Norman conquest of England. AP

Fans who have flocked in their thousands to see the embroidered artwork are giving it a thumbs-up.

"It's fantastic. You can see kind of the story, how it all lays out," Amanda Zides, visiting from a suburb of Boston, said as she pored over the tapestry this week. "They did a nice job - great colour, great detail."

Game of Thrones 2
A detail of the 11th century Bayeux tapestry chronicling the Norman conquest of England. AP

At 87 meters (285 feet), the tapestry is longer than the width of a soccer pitch and longer than the famous 11th-century Bayeux Tapestry that recounts the Norman invasion of England in 1066. That tapestry served as an inspiration for the "Game of Thrones" lookalike.

Game of Thrones 3
Loic Jamin, Bayeux's deputy mayor for tourism and museums, poses with the "Game of Thrones" tapestry. AP

The work was commissioned by the tourism office of Northern Ireland, where HBO filmed many of the scenes. Irish officials hope the Bayeux exhibit will boost tourism to Northern Ireland. Its "Game of Thrones" sites are already a big draw, attracting 350,000 visitors in 2018 alone.

"We consider the Bayeux Tapestry as the grandmother of our 'Game of Thrones' tapestry," said Séverine Lecart, director of marketing in France for Tourism Ireland.

Game of Thrones  5
Two women walk past the "Game of Thrones" tapestry in Bayeux. AP

Obvious parallels between the two tapestries include the embroidery styles, colours and structures. Both are divided into three segments, with their central storylines running through the middle bordered by smaller panels displaying motifs like winged beasts or weaponry. The two works evoke similar themes of violent conquest and feudal loyalties.

Game of Thrones 8
Visitors look at the "Game of Thrones" tapestry in Bayeux, Normandy, France. AP

The Bayeux Tapestry is thought to have been commissioned by William the Conqueror's brother. It tells the story of William's conquest of England with vivid scenes of battle and palace intrigue. It attracts nearly 400,000 visitors annually and Bayeux officials hope the "Game of Thrones" exhibit will grow that number.

The tapestry begins with fictional King Robert Baratheon visiting the Stark family in Winterfell and ends with the final scenes from the eighth and last season. It took a 30-strong team of volunteer embroiderers in Northern Ireland nearly four months to stitch the tapestry in 2017, adding final scenes after "Games of Thrones" finished airing in May.

"Amazingly well-presented," said Geoffrey Vasse, visiting from the Normandy city of Caen. "I'm a fan of the series of 'Game of Thrones' and if there is a tapestry just nearby, I wanted to come

Associated Press