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Good company, mixed reviews for ‘GOT’ finale

May 21, 2019

A “Game of Thrones” watch party was a crowning achievement at 125 Live.

The popular HBO fantasy series came to a close Sunday evening after eight seasons, and Sylwia Bujak, 125 Live executive director, wanted to send off the show in style with staff members who are also fans. However, the party grew to a public event as more than a dozen people attended.

A watch party felt right to send off a series that has elicited an emotional connection from fans.

“I think we feel invested — all of us,” said Bujak, who dressed as “Game of Thrones” character Cersei Lannister.

The event was a chance for people to get in costume, eat themed snacks (Winterfell snow popcorn, remains of Kings Landing Chex mix) and pose by a wood replica iron throne, built in the 125 Live wood shop. Most of those attending gathered in the theater to watch the last two episodes consecutively under candlelight.

Ken Baerg, operations director, built the throne over a week-and-a-half of lunch breaks, he said.

Bujak said the piece was also a way to promote the center’s wood shop, which can be used by center members and members of the public for a fee.

For Baerg, that project was more engaging than the show, he said.

“I lack the attention span to get all that into it,” he said. “My biggest thing is I got to eat some snacks and hang out with cool people.”

For some fans, the watch party was the prodding they needed to catch up on the series.

Jen Schimek said she had most of the last two seasons to catch up on before the event.

For others, it was a chance to bring out their costumes.

Marti Wynia was one of two people dressed as Daenerys Targaryen — complete with a dragon hatchling atop her shoulder.

“We knew it was going to be a guaranteed good time,” Wynia said. “I thought it’d be fun to get into character.”

The event was also a chance to draw a different audience to the event center.

“People still think we’re a senior center only,” Bujak said. “We’re really trying to push a younger crowd.”

If you’ve read this far and have a burning interest in the show but haven’t seen the finale, be grateful that you haven’t encountered any spoilers so far. Now is a good time to stop reading until you catch up on the series (and maybe stop reading articles with “Game of Thrones” in the headline until then, too).

Wynia said she was satisfied with the show’s ending — including Daenerys’ death.

“I wasn’t expecting it,” she said. “It was kind of bittersweet — I was hoping in the end she would come around.”

Chad Allen, 125 Live community engagement coordinator, said the conclusion was satisfying and compared it to the series finale of another HBO hit series, “Six Feet Under.”

Bujak said this season hasn’t been very satisfying and has felt “rushed.” She began reading the books by George R. R. Martin on which the series was based about 19 years ago. She said she’s waiting for the next one and perhaps more detailed conclusions to some story lines.

“I hope in my heart of hearts, even if it ends the same, it’s more satisfying,” she said.

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