Commentary: New ‘Game of Thrones’-inspired exhibit is a blunder

L.A.’s Pure Historical past Museum is sweet at many issues: displaying dinosaur bones, explaining difficult ecosystems, digging into the historical past of our metropolis, and unearthing the natural world that after thrived right here.

So once I obtained an invitation to attend a preview of a brand new momentary exhibit on the museum titled “House of the Dragon: The Targaryen Dynasty,” I figured NHM and its collaborator HBO Max could be good at excavating the fabricated fantasy of the premium channel’s mega-hit present “Game of Thrones” and its upcoming prequel collection. I imagined the likes of large dragon skeletons, a digital actuality dragon trip, and historical gems, instruments, costumes and ephemera from one in all Hollywood’s most beloved fictional worlds.

I imagined flawed.

The exhibit is an underwhelming promotional ploy unspooled in a room giant sufficient to carry little multiple large dragon head and a duplicate of the iron throne made well-known by the unique eight-season epic, upon which the brand new prequel, “House of the Dragon,” relies. There’s a line to take a seat on the throne, and all people who does so is clearly mugging for a TikTok video or Instagram selfie. Good factor entrance is free along with your ticket to the museum.

I hope winter is coming to freeze out the relentless churn of most of these pop-up displays, which use the legitimacy of a museum or gallery area to trip a popular culture hit, or beloved creative determine, for doubtful functions. Slightly than an encounter with artwork, these experiences are akin to gazing an commercial on a billboard.

I’m speaking to you, immersive Van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Monet. I’ve obtained you in my sights, Museum of Selfies.

I’m not simply being grumpy. I legitimately love “Game of Thrones,” and I’m an enormous fan of NHM (its new “L.A. Underwater” particular exhibition appears riveting), however the present “GOT”/NHM collaboration is a bit of a Red Wedding for both entities.

For those not versed in “GOT” parlance, the Pink Marriage ceremony is a bloodbath that unfolds in Season 3. Within the case of the “House of the Dragon” exhibit, the one bloodbath shall be of your expectations. Even my 6-year-old was upset, asking, like a mini Peggy Lee, “Is that all there is?”

I assured her, as we stood beside a dragon saddle that appeared like a flowery elongated horse saddle, “Yes, honey, this is it.” A number of costumes, a few dragon eggs and a map of the present’s territories accomplished the scene, which NHM’s web site guarantees are costumes and props from the brand new collection itself.

I couldn’t assist however crane my neck, on the lookout for one other room. Imagining an exhibit the place the wonderful land of Westeros comes alive, and with it the magnificent rule of the Targaryen dynasty. NHM is fabulous at conjuring the near-mythic lives of dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures, so it’s not laborious to image what it might do in service of making a magical realm the place people trip dragons and kings and queens are godlike.

Hopefully “House of the Dragon,” which drops on HBO Max on Aug. 21, will give me the “GOT” repair I crave. Within the meantime, the exhibit is the plastic toy in an NHM Pleased Meal. Cross-promotional, sure. However to what finish?

HBO Max and its father or mother firm, WarnerMedia, have made important stumbles within the streaming wars. Wild hypothesis at present surrounds the platform’s destiny because it seeks to mix service with Discovery+. The legacy media firm wants all of the wins it could possibly get. That may take disciplined technique and a particularly cautious administration of its most profitable manufacturers, together with the “GOT” empire.

A disappointing exhibit at an area museum could not appear to be an enormous deal, however this museum is within the coronary heart of Los Angeles, and L.A. is the leisure capital of the world. Followers listed below are extraordinarily fickle, and failure isn’t a very good look.