March 7, 2011

Maester's Path Scent Kit

HBO has done it.  They've created the coolest kit and immersive marketing campaign/experience ever to promote the upcoming premiere of Game of Thrones.  About a week ago, carefully selected recipients started to receive an elaborate box containing a flight of scents.  The kit was the necessary for figuring out the first step of The Maester's Path.  The Path is a game and once you figure out each part, you forge another link of your Maester chain.  In the books the show is based on a Maester is a person who possesses an incredible breadth of knowledge.  They wear a chain around their necks, and each link is forged with a different metal that signifies mastery over a different art.  It's the ideal set-up for a campaign, and so far, HBO has made it impressive.  If they treat promotion with this much care and detail, it bodes well for the series.

But, I digress.

I was lucky enough to win a scent kit via a contest on Twitter.  I know, right?!  I received the package within a couple of days and then patiently waited to open it until yesterday when I was with geek girl friends from the LxL.  The video is coming as soon as I can upload it to YouTube (it's taking forever), but for now, here are pictures and descriptions of the contents of the gorgeous kit.  I should mention that you can use my photos of the vials to unlock the first step in The Maester's Path.

Maester's Path
The wooden box came carefully packaged.  A letter from HBO greeted me first.  I slowed down to read the brief letter about the Maester's Path and the Game of Thrones.  It cautioned me to keep it out of underage hands and to follow the instructions set forth on the scrolls.  I think I might insist that people always give me directions on scrolls only from now on.

Maester's Path
I carefully opened the lid and instantly inhaled the scent of leather and parchment.  It was almost too lovely to take apart.  From the top left going clockwise the box contains: scrolls, a leather pouch full of strips of paper you can use to smell the fragrances, two shiny funnels, two larger glass vessels wrapped in muslin, a folded map, and six wax sealed fragrances.

Maester's Path
The map is stunning.  The texture of the paper is crinkly and the lands of Westeros are emblazoned with house sigils.  Click on the picture above to embiggen and see the details.  As you can already see, each item in the box was perfected down to the last aged detail.  Even the back of the map is aged to stained perfection.  I'm not sure how many kits were made, but I bet that most of the work (if not every last bit of it) was done by hand with painstaking care.  I really think that whoever came up with this design deserves a raise.  Or at least a cookie.

Maester's Path
I untied the twine of the biggest scroll.  "Being an accounting of the Great Houses and their seats" is a brief overview of the kingdoms of Westeros.  Look at this image full size to read it.  It closes with a word about the Targaryens - "for once they played the Game of Thrones and lost."  Chills, folks, I got chills.

Maester's Path
I unrolled the smaller scrolls until I found the instructions.  In case you wondered, these scents are only for smelling, not for wearing.  I was especially anxious to see what scents I received. I read reports about Pentos and Winterfell at Think Hero and the Dothraki Sea from another blog. I received the vials to make King's Landing and the Dothraki Sea.  I dipped a strip of paper into each vial and inhaled deeply.  As it turns out, that wasn't the best idea for the vial labeled Khal's Herd.  Kudos to the mad scientist that captured the scent of the horse barns I spent hours mucking out in my childhood.  Wow.  The other scents are just as authentic.  Campfire takes me outdoors in front of a warm, roaring blaze.  Parchment makes me think of my oft-neglected stack of parchment and quill and ink.  Summerfruit reminds me of a sweet wine that will be pleasant and then suddenly sneak up on you when you've let your guard down.  It's a King's Landing smell so that's appropriate.

Maester's Path
These are the three scents you combine to make the smell of the vast grasslands known as the Dothraki Sea.  You use the provided funnels in the larger bottles below to mix the scents.  When they are mixed, you have the captured essence of each location.

Maester's Path
I was blown away by the quality of this kit.  I do feel like I got to experience a bit of Westeros.  I'm really excited to see what future weeks on the path will bring as we approach the April 17th premiere of Game of Thrones.

Edit - Unboxing of the kit with fellow members of the @LeagueofLadies

View the full set of photos of the scent kit  here.  I'll add video by tomorrow at the latest.

Thank you, HBO for this amazing kit!  For a fan of the series, it is an absolute treasure. 
Now I must go watch all the existing trailers and try to work out the next step on The Maester's Path.  Winter is coming.


  1. That's awesome! Thanks for the pics and the great descriptions. Hehe, I want to become a Maester...

  2. The only words my boggled brain can form are:

    Holy shit.

  3. It's sooo pretty! You should go check out the game, with my pictures and photos from others you can figure out the first step!

    TigerAngel - That was pretty much my reaction too!

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