Craftsmen recreate Euron’s axe as Game of Thrones drives up interest in blacksmithing


Game of Thrones is a cultural phenomenon, and while you’d expect it to drive interest in collectible facsimiles of the show’s costume, arms and armor, this is something else entirely; according to ABC Rural, the show is driving interest in the ancient art of blacksmithing itself.

Man at Arms, a show where blacksmiths forge items from popular culture, is one of the organizations leading what looks like a new interest in blacksmithing among young people, fueled by the popularity of Game of Thrones and its pseudo-medieval environment. Below, the team forges a reproduction of the squid-adorned axe Euron Greyjoy wielded to murderous effect in “Stormborn,” when he ambushed Yara’s fleet. You can watch the entire process here:

Brian Dreyer, a member of The Artist Blacksmiths Association of South Australia, says that more young adults want to experience the metal, fire and hammer of the forge:

"We have a lot of younger teenagers in particular who have been watching a lot of Game of Thrones and things like that, and have their own interests in what blacksmiths might be able to do. The number of younger people we have coming along and wanting to learn how to make weaponry is quite interesting."

Dreyer’s organization teaches basic blacksmithing skills, not weapon-making, he says, but “beyond that is up to them.”

Blacksmithing was an indispensable and respected profession before the 1800’s, but the mass producing machines of the Industrial Revolution largely replaced village smiths and the handworking of iron. A small international community of blacksmiths still carry on the craft, but it’s now more commonly a hobby, a kind of performance (think Rennaisance Faires) or a way to express oneself artistically, rather than an industry of necessity.

Now, Dreyer says, “we are seeing this recreation of more of the artistic interest.” He believes the renewed interest is due to both exposure through shows like Game of Thrones and because people are seeking unique places to do creative work. “We have had to train 40 people in a basic blacksmith course this year alone,” he explains, “so that is showing a definite increase in interest. There are not many things that we are allowed to play with that involve fire and hot metal and to make a bit of a mess.”

Want to make you own Euron Greyjoy squid axe? With the surge in popularity for blacksmithing, there might be a course popping up near you. Full-time apprenticeships may still be scarce, however.

Next: Game of Thrones cinematographer David Franco on shooting the show

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h/t Esquire