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NPR Arts & Life

One Fan's Game To Find The Throne In Sweden

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

In exactly two weeks from today, the eighth and final season of HBO's hit show "Game Of Thrones" will premiere. To stoke excitement and anticipation, HBO challenged its fans worldwide to an epic scavenger hunt. The network sent fans in search of six Iron Throne replicas - you know, the ultimate symbol of power in the fictional kingdom of Westeros. Last week, the official "Game Of Thrones" Twitter account posted the hashtag, #ForTheThrone, along with a cryptic 12-second video.

(SOUNDBITE OF VIDEO)

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #1: The quest...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #2: ...For the throne...

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #3: ...Is on.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON #4: The quest for the throne...

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Six images of thrones were posted, and fans around the world began the search. One of those people, a 25-year-old gamer and project manager from Sweden.

JOSEFINE WALLENA: So my name is Josefine Wallena from Umea, Sweden.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: At first, Josephine was skeptical.

WALLENA: I'm sure they're never going to put one even, like, remotely close to me - not even in a country next to mine and, of course, not in Sweden.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But when she looked at one of the images closely, it gave her hope.

WALLENA: When I saw the snow, I was like, wait a minute. This maybe actually can be Sweden. And when I read the first clue, I was sure right away that it was in Sweden, since the clue for it said a crown for each of the three stags.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Three crowns are part of the Swedish national emblem. Within an hour of the clue being posted, Josefine set off on her quest to find the throne. She wrangled her boyfriend. They threw on warm clothes, and they headed north. No time to even pack a snack.

WALLENA: 'Cause I was like, should I bring sandwiches or not? And we were like, no, let's go. (Laughter).

GARCIA-NAVARRO: So they headed north, but where to? Josefine had only an image to look at. But one thing gave her an idea, a clear shot of the northern lights. And they were bright. This was their clue. They knew the further north you go, the brighter the light gets.

WALLENA: I drove eight hours.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Yep, you heard her right, eight hours north.

WALLENA: So when we went there on the morning, we just started hiking up the mountain, like zig-zagging across the mountain to make sure that the terrain was - was a match.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Finally, they caught a glimpse. From the distance, she could see the spikes of the throne.

WALLENA: It was, like, a surreal feeling because we were never sure that we were actually going to find the throne or if we were in the right location or if we were going to have to search for one hour or eight hours. And seeing it, it made us so, so happy, like, super surreal, weird feeling, like, seeing the throne standing there in the snow. Like, no, no, no, this is wrong. This is supposed to be, like, in the show. It's not supposed to be in the snow.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: But there was one more surprise waiting, an actual man dressed as a character from the show, a man of the Night Watch (ph), the guards of the realm, the protectors of the living. You get my point.

WALLENA: He asked us, why are you on this quest? And we told him that we were on this quest to find the throne. So he was in full, like, costume and all. And he was like, in the game of thrones, you either win or die. And today, you have won.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Josefine was triumphant. Hidden more than 150 miles north of the Arctic Circle, she found it. And the man gave her a special gift.

WALLENA: He approached me and put the crown on my head.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: She was crowned Queen of the North, the one true queen, at least for that day. And she got to keep that crown. Congratulations, Josefine. We pledge fealty.

(SOUNDBITE OF RAMIN DJAWADI'S "FINALE") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.