Cerabino: “Game of Thrones” fever no dragon Florida tourism


As a full-service newspaper columnist I sometime offer my services as an unpaid consultant to worthy causes.

And of course, there are few things more worthy than grabbing every last person in the Northeast to come here for a winter vacation.

Which brings me to the HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

If you haven’t seen it, congratulations. You’ve missed dozens of hours of a ponderous costume drama, in which all humor has been meticulously excised from the script to make room for graphic violence, flashes of skin, and the parade of a never-ending characters trudging, and sometimes flying dragon-back, across a mythological world in search of the ever-elusive compelling story line.

In other words, it’s a huge hit.

At this point, after the seventh season wraps up on Sunday, being conversant in the Game of Thrones story line has become an unavoidable part of participating in water-cooler conversation, even though it requires a level of devotion not dissimilar to memorizing pi out to the first 30 digits: Yes, it can be done, but what’s the point?

But I’m not here to criticize “Game of Thrones.” I’m here to cash in on it, or more precisely, to help the state of Florida to cash in on it.

For even a conscientious objector like me can’t help but notice that a major subplot of the show revolves around the fear of winter, particularly for the Stark family, who are constantly looking northward and fearing the approach of the White Walkers.

The White Walkers are an ancient race of humanoid creatures, an ambling horde of zombies, who can usually be spotted in great numbers emerging from bad weather.

In other words, they’re Westeros’ Greatest Generation.

And if you were writing a script for the show, a good rule of thumb is to make sure that every once in a while, some character looks at another and ominously says, “Winter is coming.”

Is there a better slogan for South Florida tourism?

Winter is coming. Visit Florida!

Not to mention that those scenes when the White Walkers emerge look a lot like an arriving Southwest Airlines flight from Long Island at Palm Beach International Airport.

The current season of the TV show is called “Winter is Here” and in the trailer, Sansa Stark, says:

“When the snows fall and the white winds blow, the lone wolf dies, but the pack survives.”

That’s also a useful tourism angle to exploit: Join the pack in Florida this winter. Or else.

The state will need a pitchman from the show, somebody willing to more than the rapper Pitbull, who collected a million dollars from Florida for making a music video that included #LoveFl written in the sand.

We ought to expect something less subtle this time.

I’d recommend hiring the Jon Snow character, who is played by the actor Kit Harrington, to make the tourism spot.

The show makes a habit of killing off characters, which could make it dicey to hire a “Game of Thrones” character that’s just going to end up being killed. Which is why the Jon Snow character makes sense. Even when he’s killed, he gets brought back from the dead the next season.

He’s also pretty easy to dress. Just wrap drape a shaggy throw rug over his shoulders and hand him a sword and he’s good to go.

“This is Jon Snow,” he would say into the camera, standing at the airport’s baggage claim area. “Winter is coming. You know what that means.”

Pan to a long shot, and in the distance, the White Walkers are coming down the escalator, moaning and making their way toward the baggage carousels.

The camera goes back to Jon Snow, who now has an expression of resolve.

“Don’t be left behind,” he says before unsheathing his sword. “Come to Florida!”



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