Throngs of bustling people, choral singing and a downpour of epic proportions... It sounds like something out of a fantasy television programme.
And that is exactly what Kings Langley was aiming for when it agreed to play host to the fictional capital of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros in cult drama Game of Thrones.
After weeks of hype and more than a little confusion about what the fortnight-long name change to King’s Landing would mean for the Dacorum village, residents, businesses, councillors and schoolchildren alike got into the spirit for the unveiling of the brand-new signs.
Pupils from Kings Langley School displayed handmade murals based on the series and even performed a song from the episode The Rains Of Castermere – which was very appropriate as the heavens opened just as local and national media were poised to take their snaps.
Dacorum mayor Penny Hearn donned archaic robes and posed with a three-eyed raven prop from the show itself, while staff at the Young Pretender pub also dressed up and invited the sodden party indoors.
The tourism-boosting scheme coincides with the DVD release of Game of Thrones’ third series, and production company HBO have offered prizes of merchandise to any fans who make the pilgrimage to Dacorum and tweet their picture with the signs – which were produced by Great Gaddesden-based live event production company TSE Productions – to @HBO_UK.
Dacorum borough and Kings Langley parish councillor Alan Anderson, who was instrumental in pushing through the idea, said: “It was suitably grim as we launched King’s Landing for the first time. I am full of admiration for the people who did dress up for the occasion, and got very wet doing so.
“Local businesses are doing what they can within the realms of what we are allowed to do, everyone is entering into the spirit of things and we hope it will bring a reasonable amount of people into the village.
“You don’t often hear the words ‘sense of humour’ and ‘council’ in the same sentence, but we have already got evidence that this is working and we hope local businesses will benefit.”
Mr Anderson says he has heard reports from hotels in the area of higher bookings than would usually be expected at this time of year. He also urges those entering HBO’s Twitter competition to pose next to the sign opposite the Young Pretender and not the one nearest the motorway, where there is no safe parking.
Kings Langley-based PURE is also working in partnership with High Street deli Dalling and Co to promote their own social media competition, which encourages fans to create their own ‘house mottos’ similar to those featured in Game of Thrones to win a state of the art radio. Simply tweet your suggestion to @PURE_Insider or @Dallingandco.
Other village businesses are displaying posters and stocking free postcards advertising the phenomenon as well as planning themed events.