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11 medieval activities for Game of Thrones fans in NYC

The Cloisters
Photograph: Shutterstock

New Yorkers might be deep into the summer of hell, but winter is coming. In fact, winter is here—or it will be on July 16 at 9pm when the seventh season of Game of Thrones premieres.

Though George R. R. Martin is still taking his sweet time with The Winds of Winter, at least fans will have new episodes of the HBO series to keep them company. Ahead of the premiere, get in the spirit of the Seven Kingdoms with these 11 medieval things to do in NYC. Valar morghulis, people.

Take up archery

Our favorite assassin Arya learns archery early, before running away from King’s Landing or becoming a servant of the Many Faced God. Channel her scrappy spirit in a class at Queens Archery in Flushing. You’ll learn the basics of notching, aiming and firing arrows and get 90 minutes of practice so you can (hopefully) hit the bull's-eye.

Explore the fantastic grounds of the Met Cloisters

The museum in Fort Tryon Park doesn’t just look like a monastery—it’s actually constructed from the remnants of five cloisters dating back to the Middle Ages. The galleries hold some of the finest medieval art in the world, including the famed Unicorn Tapestries and lavish Spanish altars. It almost feels like walking through the Citadel in Oldtown.

Watch the season premiere with other wannabe Westerosis

Bars all over the city will be throwing viewing parties when the new season debuts on HBO at 9pm on Sunday. Both The VNYL and Professor Thom’s host free watch parties all season, and the latter is also throwing a scavenger hunt and open bar bash before the show (tickets cost $45). Hungry? Shell out $55 for a large-format feast and watch party at White Gold Butchers or head to the Bowery Beer Garden for specials like the King of the North Burger.

Visit the Middle Agesthemed bar Burp Castle

This “temple of beer worship” really goes all in on the abbey theme, with quirky Medieval-looking murals on the walls and Gregorian chants playing over the speakers. Order one of the 12 rotating brews on tap and settle in for a civilized conversation—anything louder than a normal speaking voice isn’t permitted. In other words, it’s the perfect places for some Thrones-style plotting.

Taste cheeses from the Seven Kingdoms

The experts at Murray’s Cheese haven’t managed to track down feta from Dorne or camembert from Riverrun just yet, but they have pulled together a cheeseboard inspired by Westeros for a Game of Tommes class. Tomme, a type of cheese produced in the French Alps, is just one of the varieties you’ll taste—the fromageries will choose a cheese to represent every major family.

Learn to fence

Swords are so important in Game of Thrones that most characters have names for their weapons: Arya has the small-but-mighty Needle, Jon Snow has Longclaw, Brienne has Oathkeeper and Stannis Baratheon (RIP) had Lightbringer. Pick up a foil and try your hand at water dancing at Sheridan Fencing Academy. The instructors might not be Syrio Forel, but they’ll have you parrying and lunging in no time.

Embrace the cheesiness at Medieval Times

Knights in shining armor, galloping steeds, soaring falcons and a four-course feast fit for a king (let’s just hope it’s not Joffrey): You’ll find all the trappings of a King’s Landing tourney at the dinner show at Lyndhurst Castle. It’s cheesy, sure, but where else can you chow down on a chicken leg and slurp some mead while knights joust in front of you?

Discover the series’ ties to real life at the Met

Though you won’t find any artifacts from the Seven Kingdoms in the Met, you might find a few examples of George R. R. Martin’s real-life inspiration. Join one of three Game of Thrones Mini Tours of the Metropolitan Museum of Art this month to check out suits of armor, tapestries, sculptures and paintings that look like they're straight out of Westeros. You’ll solve games and riddles along the way in the battle for the Iron Throne—or for a prize, at least.

Gorge at a themed supper club

Chef David Santos is hosting four Thrones-themed dinners at Um Segredo, his intimate supper club. Each of the seven courses is inspired by a pair of characters. The Jon Snow and Sir Davos, for instance, combines torched tuna carpaccio with jalapeño ice as a nod to the fire and ice combination of the R+L=J theory. It’s BYOB, so pull a Cersei and bring plenty of wine.

Hold your own in Game of Thrones trivia

Prove you know your Starks from your Lannisters at the regular Trivia, AD competition dedicated to the TV series. Note that the five-round competition covers all six seasons and omits the books, so you can leave those 1,000-page paperbacks at home.

Drink Ommegang’s Game of Thronesthemed beer

Though the Cooperstown brewery won’t release their double white ale titled Winter is Here until October, thirsty fans can still find the previously released Bend the Knee golden ale in stores and bars around New York City. Whole Foods stocks the brew, and it’s regularly poured at beer halls like Alewife and Fraunces Tavern. Tyrion would be proud.

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