Maybe it was my ridiculous “wolf” (re: puppy dog) makeup and my similarly strange looking companions, but when I arrived at the Rave of Thrones dance spectacle at the Mezzanine on Friday night, I felt a tab bit unwelcome.
I was expecting to be embraced with open arms by my fellow Game of Thrones fanatics — uber-nerds eager and willing to talk about Westerosi history and obscure theories on the parentage of fictional fantasy characters. Instead, I got a bunch of club-goers who looked a little baffled that Spud from the old Bud Light commercials showed up.
I thought we were all gathered here to celebrate the presence of Kristian Nairn, the 7-foot Northern Irish actor who plays the beloved Hodor in the hit HBO show. Nairn has long been a respected DJ in his home country, but with the runaway success of Game of Thrones, he’s been able to parlay his newfound international fame into more DJing gigs stateside. I couldn’t wait to bond with others who were equally happy to see how much ol’ Hodor has done with his life, but there were few fellow compatriots to befriend.
To deal with the initial shock of feeling alone in this cruel world, I began to wander around the club, casually listening to the various opening DJs entertain the crowds. (I’m an unapologetic indie-rock kid, so I’m not going to even try and give artistic analysis of the club music thumping out of the speakers.)
It was during these travels through the back settings of the Mezzanine that I was heartened to see more familiar faces popping out of the crowd. There was someone dressed as the Hound! And Khal Drogo! And Jorah Mormont! Fellow nerds!!! As the night progressed, an increasing number of Game of Thrones geeks filed into the club, so by the time Nairn finally stepped behind the turntables at around 12:15 a.m., the dance floor was filled with costumed characters.
Nairn didn’t disappoint, although I’m not sure how he could have let down his legion of followers. A true pro — for over a decade, Nairn was the club DJ at Kremlin, one of Belfast’s most established gay nightclubs — he stuck to his guns, reeling out cut after cut of deep and progressive house mashups. He didn’t pander to the masses with endless references to Game of Thrones, although he did indulge the crowd for a brief moment with an electronica take on the show’s famous opening theme.
Posted up behind a DJ booth bedecked in axes, swords, and other medieval weapons, Nairn was the perfect visage of a fantasy character embracing real life musical means. And even though half the crowd had probably never closed out a Friday night dancing at a chic nightclub, no one seemed out of place by the end of his performance. What started as a bunch of aimless dorks randomly bumping into each other coalesced into a friendly, unified dance party by evening’s end.
It’s safe to say that “winter is coming,” but all the Game of Thrones fans stayed warm together at the Mezzanine on Friday night.