Sprinting along the wet, miry pavement of Circular Quay — my umbrellas hinges rattling as golf-sized raindrops tremble down its flimsy fabric — I dart my way through sightseers trying to make the best out of their vacation time. I anxiously scamper my way up the iconic steps of the Sydney Opera House like a madwoman; overhearing groups of globetrotters exchange scandalising whispers, unaware that this would be one of the most memorable nights of my life.
With my VIP Enthroned ticket and lanyard in hand, I am escorted by the beautiful people at Ideas at the House into a divine cocktail room overlooking the wondrous Sydney Harbour Bridge.
But, trust me, it wasn’t the view that sparked my attention.
Taking a sip of my fresh Orange Juice, three extraordinary people suddenly appeared by my side faster than you can say Jack Robinson: Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin alongside two of the stars of the eponymous hit HBO show, Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) and Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark).
As a self-confessed fan of both the novels and television series, I was absolutely stunned to be in such a position. After rushing from my final exam for the year to the event, it still hadn’t entirely sunken in that I would be meeting these talented people. But, here they were, standing beside me.
Was I dreaming? No. I certainly was not.
I was first introduced to the exquisite Michelle Fairley — who I candidly admit is so ripped — while I was still catching my breath. She has the most gentle mannerisms and was genuinely flattered when I said that I had attended her Q&A at the Randwick Ritz back in March [x]. While I admit to having met numerous celebrities over the years, Michelle is most definitely one of the most down-to-earth people I have ever met. There’s no hierarchy. She treats you like a friend.
Lena Headey gives the best hugs, though. On arrival, she gave me the biggest bear hug, and held my hand the entire time. She sweetly introduced herself, followed by the compliment: “Nice to meet you, Jenna”.
Yes, you know what I was thinking: How did she know my name?
Then it suddenly dawned on me.
Well, of course, she read my name necklace.
[Cue Music – Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?]
She is quite possibly the sweetest person I have ever encountered.
Oh, and on request, she kindly recited that very famous line of hers in the beautiful film, Imagine Me & You: “You’re a wanker, number 9!”
Yes, I squealed a
lot little bit.
I exclaimed my love for London and suggested she travel to Australia again for a holiday, which she kindly approved of. I also admitted to the night being one of the best times of my life to which she asked my age and replied: “Oh baby, you’re going to have far more wild nights to come”. Was Lena really talking to me?
It wasn’t until I was standing in front of George R.R. Martin that I had to pinch myself. Was this really happening?
He spoke of his recent experience of holding a Koala — which he considers the most boring animal — and provided some extremely useful writing advice. I was utterly astounded by his self-confessed ability to transform his mindset into various characters while writing his novels. He also revealed that the characters decide when they die, not him. His ability to articulate and expose the intricacies of life is so inspiring.
Following the 60 minute cocktail party, we were given complimentary photos with all three figures as part of the VIP Enthroned Package; the perfect souvenir from one of the greatest nights of my life. Upon making my way to the photography area, both Michelle and Lena cheered when they saw me. And, they remembered my name! Despite everybody getting ‘normal’ images with the stars, I asked them whether we could do a ‘funny’ pose.
“Zombies or Gangstas?” asked Lena.
“Zombies!” replied Michelle.
Unbeknown to me, George apparently does not like these type of photos, but he kindly obliged.
I was stoked.
The main event, Game of Thrones: In Conversation with George R.R. Martin, Lena Headey and Michelle Fairley was then set to start at 8pm.
While I don’t want to bore you with my own personal interpretation of the event, I encourage you to watch the recorded video. It’s 90 minutes worth of pure laughs.
After the brilliance of the main act, we were placed in the VIP queue to receive autographs from George, Lena and Michelle. During our wait, we were given mini Tyrion Lannister bobble heads and exclusive George R.R. Martin tote bags, on the house. Lucky I trusted my instincts not to buy them prior to the show!
It was fairly rushed so there was no time for any more small talk, but Lena took the time to wish me good luck in my future endeavours and Michelle called me a “darling” (
It has been exactly a week since this wondrous encounter, and I am still starstruck. The part that I believe resonated the most was the fact that all three of them remembered my name and acknowledged the fact that I was a dedicated fan, not just a person who paid their way through for the sake of it. While we all imagine celebrities to sit on a pedestal looking down on all their metaphorical peasants, this particular event challenged such a view.
Now, let’s just see whether I aced that exam!
“The things I do for
love authors and actors”