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

L.A.’s Pure Historical past Museum is nice at many issues: displaying dinosaur bones, explaining difficult ecosystems, digging into the historical past of our metropolis, and unearthing the wildlife that when 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 sequence. I imagined the likes of large dragon skeletons, a digital actuality dragon journey, and historic gems, instruments, costumes and ephemera from one in every of Hollywood’s most beloved fictional worlds.

I imagined unsuitable.

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 sit down on the throne, and everyone 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 a lot of these pop-up reveals, which use the legitimacy of a museum or gallery area to journey a popular culture hit, or beloved creative determine, for doubtful functions. Moderately than an encounter with artwork, these experiences are akin to looking at 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 seems to be 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 can 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 seemed like a flowery elongated horse saddle, “Yes, honey, this is it.” Just a few 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 sequence itself.

I couldn’t assist however crane my neck, searching for one other room. Imagining an exhibit the place the fantastic 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 journey 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 Comfortable Meal. Cross-promotional, sure. However to what finish?

HBO Max and its dad or mum firm, WarnerMedia, have made important stumbles within the streaming wars. Wild hypothesis presently surrounds the platform’s destiny because it seeks to mix service with Discovery+. The legacy media firm wants all of the wins it might probably get. That can take disciplined technique and an especially cautious administration of its most profitable manufacturers, together with the “GOT” empire.

A disappointing exhibit at a neighborhood museum might not look like a giant 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.