Three years ago, a media feeding frenzy erupted in Ken and Gail Janes’s backyard.
The story felt custom-built for quickie TV news segments: Gail, along with 270,000 fellow AT&T customers, had entered the “Own the Throne” sweepstakes. Unlike 269,999 others, the retired Richfielder won the grand prize: a 7-foot tall, 310-pound replica of the Iron Throne made famous by HBO’s Game of Thrones.
“She thought she won a T-shirt or a mug,” Ken says with a chuckle. “And she won the throne, and they asked which room in the house we’d like it in… it won’t go through any of our doorways!”
The TV crews would leave, but curious onlookers never did. The hulking, spiky chair has become a neighborhood landmark, much to the delight of Ken and Gail. Ken built a platform and shelter to house the Iron Throne, which was handmade via metal and resin by prop studio Traction 3D. A sign on the side gate welcomes visitors to “House Janes,” inviting them to sit on the throne and snap photos; Gail posts about her backyard attraction on Facebook and in neighborhood forums.
“If we’re home, we’ll bring out the sword and crowns,” she says. “ If we’re not, we won’t. It’s just fun.”
The Janeses estimate around 2,000 GoT fans visited the throne. COVID caused an uptick of foot traffic along the adjacent walking path, Ken notes, meaning even more visitors. Recently, a mega-fan coming from Moorhead to see Lizzo at Treasure Island Casino messaged Gail via Facebook; she had to see the Iron Throne, and arrived wearing a full gown, furs, and an ornate crown. In February, an entire wedding party stopped by.
“We said, ‘Come back here and go ahead!’” Gail says. “We usually talk to everyone if we’re home.”
“Some of our neighbors were worried about vandalism,” Ken says. “We’ve had no issue other than someone leaving a grocery bag with a 5th of speciality scotch—House Lannister. They’ve left nice things, nothing bad.”
Bars have inquired about renting the Janes’s throne, though the logistics seem too daunting. Only one person has attempted to purchase the jumbo piece of furniture valued at $18,000.
“When we first got it, someone called and asked whether we’d consider selling,” Ken remembers. “I said, ‘It’s not mine it’s my wife’s, and no.’”
The Janeses expect House of the Dragon, an upcoming Game of Thrones prequel, will drive even more foot traffic to the Richfield home they’ve owned since 1980 and its “big playpen” of a backyard. That’s alright by them.
They’ve become happy backyard curators of the geeky memorabilia, even if they’re not GoT fanatics themselves. The Janeses simply enjoyed the show. “I can accept the way it ended, it was good enough,” Gail says. They’re bigger fans of The Mandalorian, as evidenced by their matching baby Yoda T-shirts, and J.R.R. Tolkien, as evidenced by the Lord of the Rings-themed garden 50 feet away from the throne.
Wanna visit the suburban Iron Throne? Feel free to visit 6216 3rd Ave. S., the Janeses say. Take the walking path along the Hwy. 62 sound wall and enter through the side gate.
Just don’t freak out.