This article originally appeared on VICE UK
As we all well know, you cannot truly claim to be a fan of something until you've had its emblem scarred irreversibly into your skin. Say, for example, you claim to "stan" Game of Thrones, but refuse to have a needle dragged through your leg for an hour to prove your devotion. Well, I'm afraid that makes you both a liar and a coward.
Related: recently, Now TV flew tattoo artist Lauren Winzer – famous for tattooing the House Stark sigil on Sophie Turner, i.e. Sansa Stark – from Sydney to Soho's The Circle tattoo parlour to decorate the bodies of some lucky Game of Thrones super fans. Attendees could choose from 15 of Lauren's pre-drawn GoT designs; I asked some of them to explain why they chose what they chose.
"I'm getting the original design that Lauren did for Sophie. It's all about family, basically, which means a lot to me because I've got four kids.
"It's been a fair few years now, and this is the last series, and I feel like this tattoo tells a story just as much as any other I've got.
"The reason why I love it so much is because you just can’t guess it – it's so unpredictable. With most movies and TV I can kinda guess where it’s going, but with Game of Thrones I just don’t know.
"The only thing is I’m going to be in Kenya for the last two episodes! I'm a soldier, and they're putting me out in the middle of nowhere – no phone reception or internet. I'm going to have to wait until May to see the last two episodes, so I won’t be checking my phone until I've seen them."
"This is only my second tattoo – my only other tattoo is my daughter's name. I wanted to get the needle, but I wasn’t feeling the writing as much. I might get another one, though; the hand of the king one as well.
"I wanted to get tattoo because I’m obsessed with Game of Thrones, and also because why not? I’d love to get a sleeve of my whole childhood, like Pokemon, Transformers, even some Haribo, but I doubt I'll get it.
"GoT is the first TV programme I've invested in as much as I have, like watched it all from beginning to end.
"Within watching the first 15 minutes of the first episode, there was killing, there was White Walkers and there was sex – I was like: 'Wow.' And then afterwards I got into the storyline as well."
"I think my tattoo is obvious it's Game of Thrones without being too obvious, and I didn’t want something too in your face. I get the worst tattoos for the worst reasons!
"I don't regret them, they're just bad. Some are home tatts, when you’re drunk and stuff.
"There’s no way I’d regret it, I think. It’s such a huge show. Even if something terrible comes out about one actor, I don’t think it will ruin the show, like if someone gets Michael Jacksoned or something – so I don’t think I’d ever regret it.
"It’s going to be something that will be passed on to younger generations, just like Star Wars was back in the day. I think it’s our generation's version of that."
Ashley, 36, Owner of The Circle
"This is old school, the [tattoo] flash days, like how sailors coming into the ports would just pick from a selection of set designs – just like Lauren has done – and get it as they came straight off the boat.
"We do other flash events – like Friday the 13th, for example – where it's £50 for a predesigned tattoo. It's a great way for people who don’t normally have tattoos to come in and get a quick one; get the vibe without getting a full sleeve, for example."
Lauren Winzer, 30
"[Sophie Turner's] boyfriend, Joe Jonas, was in Sydney and wanted to get a tattoo, so he messaged me, and then asked if his girlfriend could get a tattoo, and it turned out to be Sophie, so I was like, 'Yes!' But it was so stressful.
"I started tattooing Miley Cyrus like five or six years ago, and I think that’s how Joe found me because he just messaged me on Instagram, and then it went from there.
"When [Sophie] first got [her tattoo], it was pretty constant with people asking me for GoT tattoos, especially as the show got more popular – although it's died down a bit now. I think people are mad for it here; it's more of an English thing.
"My favourite design is the dragon, but if I was going to get one it would be the needle."
"This is my second tattoo, after a self-done star on my knee, and I wanted to get it: one, because it was free, but also because I’m planning a lot of tattoos in the summer anyway, like a sleeve based on nature and a Pisces star sign. I’ve always loved tattoos, since I was 14, when I first put the star on my knee.
"Literature is such an important thing to me, and I think preserving that culture on me is important.
"I don’t think I’ll ever regret it, but I’ll look back on it as an experience, as something I did with my life, but I never want to regret things. Usually I think things through; if I really want something, I’ll go out and get it.
"I'm not the biggest fan of Game of Thrones, but I really respect authors who can build worlds in their books and make them into something massive, as I'm a writer myself. I publish a lot of fantasy stuff on a small writing community called WattPad."