SEC hosts “Game of Thrones” trivia contest

Stuart Railey

In anticipation of the returning HBO TV series “Game of Thrones,” UT students braced themselves this past Tuesday night at the SAC by competing in the “Game of Thrones Pub Trivia Contest” hosted by the Students Events Center. Challenged by six rounds of grueling questions about the popular show, competitors tested their collective knowledge of obscure deaths and subtle plot details.

Set in a fantastical land of battling kingdoms and political intrigue, the “Game of Thrones” TV show is a take-no-prisoners adaptation of the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire” by author George R. R. Martin. Featuring mystical creatures, copious amounts of sex and gruesome violence all wrapped up into one story, the show has garnered critical acclaim for its impressive technical production and successful depiction of the books. HBO’s third season of “Game of Thrones” is set to premiere March 31.

After a few minutes of technical difficulties, the tournament Tuesday began with UT student Robert Blum’s sonorous voice filling the room. Despite many cringe-worthy mispronunciations of important characters and kingdoms, Blum set the mood with his mock British accent and disarming enthusiasm.

“They just picked me for my soothing, sensual voice,” Blum admitted over the microphone.

According to Dylan Smith, the adviser for the Tournaments and Games Committee, questions were formulated from both the TV series and the books. By doing this, he wrote, it’s easier to identify the true followers of the show.

As an avid fan of the book series and popular television show, radio-television-film senior Eric Boeglin was responsible for writing a majority of the questions.

“I came up with the book questions by myself. Out of the other members [of the Tournaments and Games Committee], I was the only one who read through the first couple of books,” he said. “But it was a group effort … Myself and a couple of the other members watched episodes from the first two seasons and we also did some research online aside from that.”  

Boeglin said that this tournament is not the first one he has helped put on. Last year, the Tournaments and Games Committee hosted a similar trivia event featuring questions from the Harry Potter movies and "The Hunger Games."

At this particular event, contestants were allowed to create teams of six people. Teams such as “Twincest” and “50 Shades of Greyjoy” vied for a first-place prize of the second season of "Game of Thrones" on Blu-ray. The team winning second place would receive coffee mugs depicting the emblems from various houses in the show.

Although the questions were culled from some of the most abstruse passages in the books and scenes from the show, by the last round of the tournament, a five-way tie emerged for second place. Even after narrowing the tie down to two teams, it could not be broken. A brief, but fair game of rock-paper-scissors ensued to settle the match.  

One of the students on the first-place team, “Alpha Dire Wolf Squadron,” explained that he first became a fan of the show last year when his roommate made him watch the pilot episode. Over the following months, he started reading the books as well and was surprised by the quality of the story.

“The characters are really deep and you can understand the motivations even if you’re not sympathetic. Each character feels alive as opposed to being a one-dimensional plot device,” he said. “The show is a really honest adaptation of the books.”

As the night of trivia concluded with groans of frustration after the answers were read aloud over the microphone, many of the teams stopped to thank the hosts and exchange their favorite aspects of the show. Even for teams who left the tournament empty-handed, Boeglin explained that he wanted contestants to be able to share their mutual love for “Game of Thrones” and get ready for the next season.

“I was hoping to get people excited and pumped to come check this out,” Boeglin said. “And I think it worked.”