With the Season 5 premiere of HBO’s highly acclaimed series is nearly upon us, what better way to geek out in anticipation than with an incredible-looking decorative item that’s sure to be the centerpiece of your Game of Thrones viewing parties? Thankfully, Dark Horse Collectibles has you covered.
We last shared some info on the Map and Map Markers set during our Toy Fair 2014 preview coverage and now, having it in hand, we can take a closer look at one one the greatest Game of Thrones collectibles on the market. Short of creating a line of life-sized iron throne, this 1:1 scale prop replica of Robb Stark’s iconic war map layout is probably one of the most interesting and showy items Dark Horse could have recreated. They’ve been enthusiastically creating and marketing an impressive number of quality pieces ranging from pins and magnets to statues and fashion accessories since the show’s onset, but this set really showcases Dark Horse’s detail-oriented dedication to the franchise.
When you first unpack the set, you’ll find the nondescript outer cardboard slipcover slides off to reveal a heavy-duty hinged presentation box which is a pretty amazing display item in and of itself. Illustrated inside and out to resemble an aged wooden case, the lid is emblazoned with a giant gold-foil logo bordered by an elegant circular design. Opening the box shows off the folded map material, sandwiched between two thin pieces of protective plastic and bound in a branded cardboard sleeve. Underneath this lies the styrofoam housing (also sporting the Game of Thrones logo) which keeps the map markers in place.
There are six markers in all, each measuring between 4.5 to 6 inches in height, hand-painted, and constructed of resin. As this is a recreation of the actual prop as seen on screen, the markers don’t all necessarily represent the most recognizable houses but rather those directly involved in the conflict between the Starks, Lannisters, and their respective allies. The weighty, solid pieces feature the sculpted banner sigils of those key players: a blooming rose for House Tyrell, a snarling direwolf for House Stark, a solemn lion denoting House Lannister, the kraken of House Greyjoy, the Twins’ stone towers for House Frey, and finally the white sunburst of House Karstark. Additionally, a House Bolton marker with their sigil, a flayed man, was released as an SDCC exclusive and still obtainable for the collection. There are also extra individual pieces of the Stark and Lannister markers (as Robb’s map hosted several of each to represent the many army units in play) available directly from Dark Horse.
The map itself is printed on a thick, paper-backed, stiff cloth material. Although it doesn’t quite roll out as flatly and neatly as the original piece from the show, which appeared to resemble a soft, dyed animal pelt, it’s quality construction still shows. It’s evident at even a passing glance that map isn’t simply made of paper or card stock. The fuzzy, felt-like texture shows no glare and allows the markers to be shifted and slid around the map with ease. Unlike the asymmetrical one seen in the show, the map included here is printed as a large 50” x 35.5” rectangle. The shape of the original prop is still accurately portrayed on the print however with the negative space filled with a beige, wood-like aesthetic and a Game of Thrones logo situated at the top.
At nearly five feet by three feet, the only issue some fans may need to contend with is finding a suitable place to display it. While a custom frame and shelves are always an option to display the set on a wall I found that the set works best laid out on a table near at least one window. When the sunlight hits this piece, the markers cast dramatic shadows across the lands of Westeros that look absolutely stunning. The subtle, earthy tones on the map really pop when sunlight hits them as well. At $199.99 MSRP, the Map and Map Markers are pricey but it’s easy to justify the price tag when you realize it’s not just an awesome Game of Thrones collectible but rather an amazing piece of artwork to decorate your home. Take a look through the photo gallery to get a better idea of the incredible attention to detail that went into both the map illustration and the marker sculpts.