For the Throne!
Toward the end of last year, Simon received one of his most exciting projects to date. He was invited to take part in HBO’s For the Throne (#forthethrone) campaign, to promote season eight of Game of Thrones.
18 artists from around the world were selected by HBO. Each artist was given an original prop from the Game of Thrones series, and were given a brief to create something around that prop.
The Arrival of the Eggs
Simon was given the three dragon eggs that were given to Daenerys as a wedding gift. Not only was it awe-inspiring to be able to see and hold in person such an iconic object, they were also inspiring as pieces of art in themselves. They had detailed scaly texture and amazing ombre, blended metallic colouring – things that aren’t obvious on screen. Incredible to think of the time, skill and artistry that goes into even tiny props!
Simon’s task was to create a new casket for the eggs that would be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It also had to fit with the era and location of the series. Watch this video to see Simon receiving the eggs!
Simon has had lots of experience of the years in carving dragons of all scales and for all projects. This meant he had LOTS of ideas for shape, texture, and details. However, he also had to consider some practicalities.
The Practical Requirements
- The casket had to actually be large enough to hold all three eggs.
- It needed to be able to open and close without damaging the eggs.
- The eggs had to be securely so they could withstand travel (both on and off screen)
- The casket needed to be weatherproof, as in the series, it would have needed to withstand various weather conditions.
- It needed to have some way of being transportable.
- It needed to sit on a flat surface, or have some additional stand that would enable it to do so.
The Design Process
With those practicalities in place, Simon could then consider more aesthetic details.
“The concept was the first thing to get right. My first idea was to include dragon-like wings shrouding the eggs, but moved on to a skull because I felt it would look more impressive. After hearing the dragon skull idea would clash with another design I moved back to my original thought and explored the shroud idea. I went through several design ideas about what to include. Whether or not to put a dragons eye in the design, or a representation of a head? I settled on a simple organic looking lid that opened like a bread bin. It was inspired by a real mixture of Nature, Alien, Star Wars and of course Game of Thrones! The almost Alien egg like texture is also representative of dragon scales. The mismatched teeth give it a slight feel of Saarlach from Star Wars with a hint of alligator!”
The Casket Created
Simon made the casket from yew, which had some beautiful markings and colouring. An added bonus was that this colouring and texture was reminiscent of Danerys’ hair!
Seemingly random Dragon teeth throughout the interior hold the eggs securely in place. Their random placement, irregular shape, and rough texture lend the feel of danger or uncertainty. There is also an organic, unsymmetrical feel to the lid which snaps shut to protect and hide the eggs: “Like a mutated dragon”. All this heightens the sense of danger.
Although they create caution, the scales and the misshaping of the teeth also invite touch – just like the eggs themselves. Just as the eggs are experienced differently in the series, (Daenerys is the only one who feels life within them), each person will experience or focus on something slightly different as they are drawn to feel the texture of the casket.
More Artistic Details
Abstract dragon wings shroud the dragon’s mouth. This casing further protects the eggs, and perfectly exhibits the grain of the wood. The smooth finish is contrast to the scales of the inner shell and the rippled texture of the outer wood. Finally, “the ash wood carrying poles were a functional and useful addition, as well as giving an impression of a very valuable cargo, needing two or four slaves to bear the precious gift! I [Simon] chose stainless steel rings to thread the poles through as the shiny steel is a real compliment to the natural material of the wood.”
When asked about the biggest challenge, Simon told us it was difficult “getting a lid mechanism to cover the eggs when closed, sit nicely on the edges of the wings, and not touch the eggs when opening and closing“.
In retrospect however, we wonder if the greater challenge was keeping such an exciting project secret until now!
This campaign isn’t just for professionals though! HBO would love to see other work inspired by the series. They’re inviting artists to post their work on social media. When you post, just include the hashtag #forthethrone and your work might be included!