Yep, I was one of the lucky 50 people who got a free Game of Thrones tattoo this past Friday.
Wait….scratch that, there were more than 50 people who got tattoos…but let’s start from the beginning.
My whole tattoo journey, which finally ended at 7:30pm on Friday night, started around 3pm on Thursday. This is when I saw the tweet from RackedNY about the tattoos. Why was I just hearing about this? I subscribe to all things geeky/nerdy, I’m even a fan of Game of Thrones (TV) on Facebook. This should have been a way bigger deal than it seemed to be. Heck, even on RackedNY, only two people commented on it. Through RackedNY, I did see that the Facebook page for Game of Thrones mentioned it, but most people who were commenting on it were poo-pooing the idea, stating that anyone who would get this tattoo should probably get checked out by a psychiatrist.
By the time I got home and checked again, it still didn’t seem like that big of an idea. I made my decision. I randomly had Friday off, so why not go for the adventure? I kept checking Facebook, and by 11pm some numskull had posted that the line for the tattoos was already 100 people deep. I didn’t believe this for a second. Turns out I was right.
Friday morning. I didn’t wake up super early. I went about my usual routine of getting woken up by my cats, feeding them, showering….you know what? Let’s check Facebook. Has anyone gone down to Wooster Street Social Club and posted about it? Is it stupid for me to go down there? At 9:30am, I saw that someone had. Someone posted that they had just gotten there, and that they were number 30 in line. 30?! Shit, I may as well try, then. I left the house promptly by 10am.
I arrived at the scene at around 10:30am. I walked to the front of the small line, but soon realized no one was handing out numbers, and went to the back. I asked the very last guy in line if they had reached 50 people yet, and he said he didn’t know. Then all the boys that would soon become like family to me over the course of the next 7 hours, chimed in about how they were counting and they thought they were in the late 30s, early 40s. YES! I’ll get one, I will get a Game of Thrones tattoo!
I guess this would be a good point to stop, and actually discuss Game of Thrones. I am, actually, a fan. I’m not just someone who wanted a free tattoo by the stars of NY Ink (there were some in line). I’ve watched the first season, and read almost all the books in The Song of Ice and Fire series. I haven’t read book 5, A Dance with Dragons, because, to be honest, I read books 1-4 straight and I needed a breather. So, yes, I am a fan. I’m a big fan of the books. Yes, there is a shit ton of details, and sometimes it gets confusing because there are a bajillion characters, but they are all captivating. I particularly love the way the female characters are portrayed. For the most part they are all strong, fierce creatures. They aren’t the typical damsels in distress like you see in a lot of fantasy-genre novels. (The one exception is Sansa, but even she seems to be gaining some smarts on her). The tv show has remained pretty true to the books. A few things had to change, I understand this. Some characters are chopped out, some characters are added in, no eye colors, etc. People are prettier in the show than they are in the books. Duh. Arya is gonna have to be a cute little girl, not the horseface she is in the books. Same with Tyrion. I am happy with the tv show. (Shout out to my girl Gemma Jackson! She is the fabulous production designer on the show. I had the honor of working with her on John Adams. Her attention to detail is amazing)
Let’s get back to the line, though. I don’t quite know how, but time passed pretty quickly. At first, the boys and I discussed what we were getting. It seemed everyone wanted the Targaryen dragon. There were a few Starks out there too, but everyone around me (in the beginning) wanted to get the dragon.
I wanted to get the Greyjoy kraken. Here’s my reasoning:
- A.) It’s a fucking Kraken! Krakens are badass, the Greyjoys are badass. (Shut up about Theon. He can suck it. I just love Asha, and the rest of the drowned crew) Done.
- B.) It was the best art. Let’s face it, it is a tattoo. It’s for life. I’m gonna go with what I would actually want on my body. I don’t really want a floating lion or direwolf head hanging out randomly on me. I’m also not really a fan of getting a kinda tribal-y looking dragon – just not my style. The Baratheon stag reminded me too much of the John Deere logo. Nope, Kraken, you are for me.
Anyways, it was a choice that I made, and I seemed to be the only person getting it.
As the day went on, more people showed up. It never ended up being that many people, though. A hour after I showed up, only two more people showed up (One was Tony, my fellow Greyjoy lover). By the time the doors opened, I would say that there were only about 60-65 people in line. HBO kinda failed on their promotion. We could all see it. We were all scratching our heads at why more people hadn’t come out (not that we were complaining!). You could see the film crew trying to figure out how to make the line look longer. They were desperate to find crazed fans (or at least unusual looking – I’m looking at you Goth crew) to interview. Later, we spotted the main PR guy having, what seemed to be, a heated conversation with someone on his cell about how the tattoo idea may not have been the best idea. He was an unhappy dude all day long.
At about noon, they finally let in the first 20 people. My crew and I were trying to count people as they went in to see if we would still be in the running for getting a tattoo. We thought we were still good; we were probably in the mid-late forties. For some dumb reason, HBO still hadn’t given out numbers. Everyone in line had no idea if they would get in or not. It took them until about 2pm to finally pass out numbers. I was number #47! Unfortunately, this meant the woman that came with her grandmother and child four people behind me was number 51. We all felt bad for her. She had only been waiting since about noon, but still, grandma was really old, and it was chilly in the shade. Anyone after #50 was asked if they wanted to be on the waiting list, and gave their info to the nice PAs who had the job of consoling the sobbing nerds (just kidding…no one seemed extremely crushed, no fights broke out, we were all very compliant).
What do people do while waiting in line for 5+ hours to get a free Game of Thrones tattoo?
- Talk about Game of Thrones (I was actually surprised at how many people had only seen the tv show)
- show off other tattoos one might have
- elect one member of the group to go get food for everyone
- talk about Game of Thrones
- Shout to the front of the line “King in the North!” and have them reply “KING IN THE NORTH!”
- show off other tattoos
- talk about food
- talk about Game of Thrones
Throughout the time we all spent together, various new people would show up. Support teams to those of us in line. One guy’s wife showed up with cookies. Another had a buddy stop by with a newspaper and Gatorade (this buddy would later go on to get a tattoo himself, even though he had never seen the show or read the books! haha) My friend Andy stopped by to keep me company. I’m impressed he stayed the whole time, and I have to thank him for it. I think he almost decided to get one, but he thought he should consult his girlfriend first. Instead, we ended up talking about which of the temporary tattoos that they gave away he should put on his balls, and which sigil should go where, and how his girlfriend would like it.
Eventually, the line got shorter and shorter. Soon it was just down to just #45-#50 waiting to get inside. Then we started to notice something. I looked in the window and saw the woman that had come with grandma and child was getting ready to be tattooed. I guess HBO realized that the day was going quicker than they thought, or maybe they just hadn’t grabbed any good stories from anyone. They had started calling in the waiting list people. It was around 5pm, and there was only 5 people left in line. This event was suppose to last til 8pm. I don’t know. I don’t really care that wait list people got tattooed before me. I had fun throughout the day. Sorry, HBO, that my story wasn’t cool (not that I was interviewed or anything). We were actually happy that the other people they originally sent away were going to be able to come back and get tattooed. Tats for everyone!
The final five finally got called into the shop at around 6pm. YAY! We made it in! WARMTH! SWAG! GIMME A TSHIRT! All those things.
Oh wait, let’s fill out some paperwork. Oh, and let’s get interviewed by some random lady about why we are getting tattooed. She’ll get confused between Arya Stark and Asha Greyjoy, but that’s ok. Whatever. She’ll ask you why they are tattooing #50 when your number is #47, like you know, but that’s ok. She’ll ask Tony (my fellow Kraken brother) why he chose the Greyjoys, and why are they so tough. You like them because they are tough? What makes them tough? UGH…out of our face, lady, just get me to the pain maker!
After seeing everyone else get called, including a bunch of wait listers, my number was finally called! REJOICE! I was finally getting my tattoo!
My tattoo artist was Jeb. He usually tattoos at Fly Rite Tattoo in Williamsburg, but was called in to help. He took one look at me and said, “Really? You’re the one getting this on your ribs? You really want it there? Really? You are a brave soul”. He then went on for a couple of minutes about how everyone was making fun of him because he got one of the two rib tattoos today, and that it was of the ‘squid’. (For those not in the know, the ribs suck as a place to get a tattoo for various reasons. The skin is really stretchy so a small tattoo becomes five times as much work for the artist. It is also one of the most painful places you can get tattoo, so people are usually squirmy.)
After Jeb was finished getting the placement right, I laid down on the table and prepared myself for the pain. Here’s why Jeb is awesome. Right before he started, he paused and said, “Do you want this like how it looks on the sheet, or do you want me to make it look like a real tattoo?”. Umm…a real tattoo, of course. ”Ok, well then fuck it, I’m taking my time on this. Maybe you’ll be my final person of the day.”
I could go on about the pain. GOD was there pain, but I won’t. I’m a lady, and women are better at taking pain then men. Jeb did call me a “trooper”, though. The only times he had to tell me to be still were when I was laughing at jokes he was making. He was an awesome guy, and I still feel horrible about forgetting to tip him. (It’s in the mail, Jeb, I swear!)
Overall, I had a great time. I met some really awesome people, and got an amazing tattoo. Hopefully, HBO was happy with the end product. They should be. I pledged my allegiance. I had a sweet little mini geek adventure that will last me until ComiCon comes around again.
…and it made me watch the entire first season all over again the next day. Can’t wait for the new season!