So, like half the Western World, I have been mildly obsessed by George R R Martin’s A Game Of Thrones, with its politicking, bloodthirsty battles and – ahem – fruitiness. So when I heard that the Iron Throne of King’s Landing – the very seat ascended by Prince Joffrey at the end of Series 1 – was resting temporarily in Waterstones Piccadilly, it was obviously sheer coincidence that I found myself with an hour in between meetings to, you know, take a look.
Who am I kidding? I was meeting a friend who was even more obsessed with GoT than I was, but she got waylaid. So I found myself wandering the ground floor of London’s greatest bookstore wearing the same furtive expression as a teenage boy waiting for everyone else to leave the newsagent so he can swipe a copy of Big Blondes off the top shelf.
I am a 41 year old mother of three children. One of whom is a teenager with a great line in withering looks. A Game of Thrones is a fantasy series. Fantasy – the kind of thing adored by young men who keep nocturnal hours and think Pizza qualifies as one of their five a day. These are the things I told myself as I circled the empty chair, picking up and pretending to closely examine books from the 3 for 2 table.
Two young boys came in, took each others’ picture in the throne in a desultory fashion, and disappeared upstairs. An old man stopped and stared at it for some time, as if trying to work out what it was doing there. Another man came in but he looked like he might nick my camera. Or laugh at me.
I could feel my resolve ebbing away. This was pretty daft, after all. And I had a meeting at five. A proper grown up meeting where I was meant to be giving a talk to people about my grown up job. And then I sidled up to a tall Japanese man, who was engrossed in the blurb for A Dance With Dragons, glanced behind me, and I said: “Excusemebutcouldyoupossiblytakemypictureplease?”
There was a split second of excruciating awkwardness. Then he leapt upon me like a Dothraki on a blonde virgin. “Yes!” he said, looking around him and dropping the book like a hot dragon’s egg. “If you’ll take mine.” Two minutes we each exited the shop beaming and went our separate ways, our cameraphones clutched to our chest.
And yes I do know that my feet don’t touch the floor. But it made me happy. Just don’t show my daughter, okay?