At SXSW, Game of Thrones Fans Are Literally Bleeding to Get Closer to the Iron Throne

A look inside HBO and Giant Spoon's activation

Fans of HBO's Game of Thrones will do just about anything to get closer to the Iron Throne, including giving their own blood. 

To enter the "Bleed for the Throne" activation at SXSW, as Muse did on Thursday night during a press preview, fans are encouraged to donate blood as part of HBO's partnership with the American Red Cross. Although it's not required for all entrants, those who donate receive exclusive surprises throughout the experience. The activation itself, brought to life by Giant Spoon (which also did HBO's celebrated SXSWestworld activation last year), is an immersive experience centered around characters who have shed blood to get closer to the throne. 

After donating blood, fans embark on an audio tour with key characters—Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister. 

After the tour, guests are ushered into church pews facing the throne. As musicians and choir singers perform, Hand of the King pins are bestowed upon "worthy" guests, which are those who have bled for the throne (donated blood). As fans kneel before the Iron Throne to receive their pins, Melisandre whispers to them, "The night is dark and full of terrors." At the end of each 27-minute stretch, Melisandre's booming rally cry for allegiance to the throne ends with "Fight for life!"

Swipe/click through our photos from the activation here:

Now that fans are ready to fight, they are led outside into the War Camp, full of soldiers from all over Westeros sizing up guests as they walk by to see if they should join the fight. The camp is swarming with characters to interact with, from Wildlings to fortune tellers. 

Fans can also enter different tents to unlock surprises, like a Snapchat lens that turns a map of Westeros into half fire, half ice: 

HBO said the campaign is expected to collect more than 15,000 pints of blood. The activation features more than 80 actors and musicians, 27 minutes of original music and "two local horses." 

Here are more photos provided by HBO: 

The activation, at Fair Market (1100 E. 5th Street) in Austin, will be open Friday and Saturday from noon to 6 p.m. The final season of Game of Thrones premieres April 14 on HBO. 

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Janie Sircey
Janie Sircey is associate director of social media at the Clio Awards.

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