If you’re a fan of HBO, and it’s variety of high-quality shows, there’s probably been a moment when you’ve been tempted to buy a piece of merchandise, whether that be a t-shirt, a key-chain, an exact replica of a sword, or if you’re really a die hard fan who just inherited a great deal of wealth, perhaps a life-sized Iron Throne(as offered on the official HBO Store website for the tidy sum of $30,000). At this point, if you’ve ever browsed the extensive online HBO store, you will know HBO has realized that people are ready to spend their money on everything from collectible action figures and prop-replicas to stuffed direwolves and shot glasses, and they have stocked their inventory accordingly with endless enticing options that makes it very easy to make parting with your money the most wonderful idea in the world. After all, once you know a Stark and Lannister Map Marker Salt and Shaker set exists, it’s pretty much impossible to live without it right?
Living as a foreigner in Asia, where you can’t walk into Walmart and buy a Stark shirt or saunter into a Barnes and Noble and acquire a Tyrion Lannister Funko Pop, I have often stared misty eyed at the offerings of the online HBO Store, occasionally adding things to my cart, but not actually purchasing anything, due to the exorbitant fees of international shipping. Those who have read my articles know that I’m a bit of a die-hard “Game of Thrones” fan, and life felt empty without the opportunity to indulge in a bit of GoT inspired commercialism (even if my wallet felt the opposite). So, when I found out I would be in New York City this summer, home of the one and only physical HBO Store, I swore by the old gods and the new that I would make a pit-stop there and finally pay the gold-price for a few physical mementos to add to my Game of Thrones collection.
I am not ashamed to say that I went to the HBO Store the first day in New York. I was bristling with excitement, and by the time I arrived at 1100 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY, I was ready to burst. Before I get any further in this article, it is important to note that I was here strictly for Game of Thrones merchandise. I have not seen many other HBO shows, and didn’t really know what I was looking at when I saw other show’s merchandise. Even if that were not the case, other than a few sections in the back (I distinctly remember a Girls section, as well as a smaller True Blood section) most of the store is devoted to Game of Thrones, anyway, and thus this article will focus on the store’s Game of Thrones offerings.
The store was surprisingly small, but immediately caught your attention from the outside with a well-designed window display featuring several Game of Thrones shirts and a eye-catching montage featuring HBO shows, but leaning heavily towards Game of Thrones. Of course, I had to wait around until the Greyjoy sigil came up for the perfect photo-op. At this time, it’s important to make another caveat in this article. I am a loyal Greyjoy fan and as it happened, most of my attention was placed on Greyjoy items. Thus, the upcoming pictures lean a little in the favor of Greyjoy memorabilia. I promise, though, the store isn’t stocked with Greyjoy-only merchandise. There’s something for everyone–even unpopular houses like the Boltons were well represented in various forms such as T-shirts, posters, banners, and paper weights, throughout the store.
As I entered the store, I was surprised at how small it is. The store is almost cramped, but stuffed to the ceiling with merchandise which makes shopping a little difficult, especially when the store is crowded. On walking in, you are greeted with a large wall display featuring all of the Game of Thrones Funko Pops, including new ones that may not be in general stores yet. The figures are cute, with their distinctive giant heads and black eyes, and whether you’re a dedicated Funko Pop collector, or just someone who wants Oberyn Martell on their shelf, there’s a good range of Funko Pops to choose from.
Moving deeper into the store, the fun really began as I was assaulted by a barrage of every piece of Game of Thrones merchandise you could expect. Posters? Check. T-shirts? Check. Stuffed dragons, dragon eggs, and dire-wolfs? Check. Full-sized costumes, ready to be donned for your next journey into the North? Yes, they had that too. The only thing I was disappointed not to find were the replica swords that were so popular on the online HBO Store, as well as Greyjoy shirt, which the cashier said was often sold out (so much for us being an unpopular house!). That said, I found lots of other Greyjoy merchandise to make me smile, including…
An awesome cup.
A good looking key chain.
A stunning necklace
A spectacular poster
And, my personal favorite, Greyjoy pillow.
The moral of this story is, no matter which house you like, there is a lot of merchandise available for each one, and even if you can’t decide which house you’re loyal to, there are lot’s of neutral Game of Thrones things available for sale, like…
…this hilarious shirt.
…or these amazing action figures
…all of which….
….were incredibly well-crafted and would make a beautiful addition to any desk or study.
Of course, if the choices overwhelm you, there is always the brand-new Game of Thrones Monopoly Game to fall back on, which is pretty hard to score right now in normal stores, but is available at the HBO Store.
After browsing the shop and oohing and ahing, appreciatively, I settled on two shirts and a poster and headed for the cashier. The prices were by no means reasonable, but all of the things for sale at the store are very high quality, and if you’re looking to save money there was a large sales rack to choose from. The customer service was awesome– the cashier was a Game of Thrones fan too, and we chatted about recent episodes from the show as I checked out. Overall, as I exited the store, back out into the hot sun and busy rush of New York City, I was beyond pleased with my entire experience. Even if you come just to window shop, the store is worth visiting if you’re an HBO fan. There are lots of interesting things on display and probably a crowd of like-minded people who will be happy to share your excitement as you stare ogle-eyed at a replica of Joffrey’s crown (which could be yours for a mere $300) or get up close and personal with a Braavosi coin. It’s like a combination of a museum and a kitschy museum gift-shop, except everything’s for sale, so whether you want to spend your savings on something really special or just come for the sights and leave with a key-chain, there’s the opportunity to do both and have fun either way.
Altogether, going to the HBO Store in New York is an amazing experience. If you’re ever in New York, you should definitely drop by and pay it a visit.