WINTER IS COMING

9 fiery Game of Thrones watch parties in Houston

Here's where to catch Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen on Sunday. Photo courtesy of HBO

This article originally appeared on CultureMap and was written by Craig D. Lindsey.

Sadly, for millions of worldwide fans, Game of Thrones is coming to an end this year.

The immensely popular, Emmy-winning HBO series (based on George R.R. Martin's still-going A Song of Ice and Fire novels) will close out its run with an eighth season of only six episodes. This will be everybody's last chance to catch Jon Snow, Daenerys Targaryen, Cersei Lannister (her trifling!), and all the other Westeros-based characters you have followed throughout the years.

If you would like to celebrate this show's final season by watching the season premiere on Sunday, April 14 night with a bunch of like-minded individuals, presumably under the influence of alcohol, are you in luck! Here is a rundown of watch parties in and around Houston, where you can take in all of the epic fantasy madness.

Camerata at Paulie's

The Montrose wine bar will be using its watch party as a good time to pour rustic reds and powerful whites from France's Rhône Valley. (If you haven't guessed it already, this party is called the "Game of Rhones Season Premiere.") And feel free to dress as your favorite character. 8-9 pm.

Chuck's Sports Bar & Memorabilia

This League City destination will officially become "Chuckstros" for its watch party, asking all naives and surfs to join "The Chuck's Watch." (Is this all corny? Yes, but we'll let it slide.) There will also be food and drink specials all night. 5-11 pm.

Chuy Benitez's Backyard

Honestly, we don't know who this dude is, but it appears he wants people to know about the watch party that he'll be having in his backyard. Bring your own food, beverages and lawn chairs, but he will have crawfish for those who request it beforehand. 7:30-11:30 pm.

Exit 73 Bar & Grill

Over in Spring, this place will have a full-on feast during its watch party. People can gorge on Targaryen turkey legs, Baratheon burgers, and Theon Greyjoy's sausage-on-a-stick. (That's messed up, man.) If you feel like it, you can also dress as your favorite character. 8-11 pm.

Hotel Ylem

This spot will have a watch party for every episode of Thrones' final season, complete with a themed cocktail/mocktail menu, a rewatch of the previous episode before the new episode starts and dishes from the Chef on the Run Halal food truck. Of course, you can also dress as your favorite character. 6-9 pm.

Liberty Station

Not only will this bar have a watch party, projected onto a large screen, there will also be a pre-show trivia night. Teams of six or fewer will be able to compete, and prizes will go to the top three teams. Trivia starts at 6 and will be finished before the show airs. 6-10 pm.

Continue reading on CultureMap to learn about three more spots to catch Game of Thrones.

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I met James Arthur Harris a pretty long time ago, it had to be before 2001, because I was at the gate waiting for his flight from New Orleans to land. I was supposed to pick him up, drive him to the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza on Loop 610, wait for him to change into his work clothes, and get him to the George R. Brown before 3 p.m.

I had never met him, but it would be easy to pick him out in the line of passengers filing off the plane. He'd be the big guy, 6 ft. 7 and weighing more than 400 pounds. Because our schedule was tight, I was hoping he wasn't already in his work clothes. You'll understand why.

When Harris worked, he wore a leopard loin cloth, bare feet, bright painted stars and moons on his huge pot belly, and white face paint under his scary witch doctor mask. He also carried a spear and shield.

James Harris, who died this week at age 70 from COVID-19 complications, performed in wrestling rings around the world as Kamala the Ugandan Giant. Or Kamala the Ugandan Head Hunter. This day, he came to Houston to sign autographs at TriStar Sports memorabilia shows.

"Kamala was a huge draw to our shows in the '90s. His character was mysterious and intriguing. Fans lined up to get his autograph and pose for photos with him. He was one of our biggest draws," said Tristar senior vice president Bobby Mintz.

I checked Harris into the Crowne Plaza and waited in the lobby while he went upstairs to take off his shoes and socks, paint stars and moons on his belly … and become Kamala the uncivilized cannibal from the jungles of deepest Africa.

You couldn't get away with this stereotyped character today. But this was then, and Kamala was one of the hottest performers in the wrestling world.

You should have seen the looks on people's faces when the elevator door opened, and out came Kamala, in full ring regalia. We got into my car and made it to the George R. Brown in time for his autograph session. The line already was 100 wrestling fans deep. I sat next to Kamala for three hours, muttering grunts and nonsense sounds because, of course, Kamala did not speak English.

James Harris was born and died in Mississippi. He broke into pro wrestling in 1978 under the name Sugar Bear Harris. He also wrestled as Ugly Bear Harris, The Mississippi Mauler and Bad News Harris.

It was Jerry Lawler, owner of Memphis independent wrestling scene in the early '80s, who gave Harris his new gimmick and name Kamala. He would be billed as Kamala the Ugandan Giant, former bodyguard to the brutal dictator Idi Amin. Lawler picked the name Kamala after the capital of Uganda. Actually, the capital of Uganda is Kampala. It doesn't matter.

Kamala was money, as they say, he put butts in seats. He used a devastating karate chop to opponents' heads and pinned them, 1-2-3. Soon he was hired by Mid-South Wrestling, where the circuit included the Sam Houston Coliseum in Houston. In 1986, he became a main event wrestler for the WWE and headlined shows against Hulk Hogan coast-to-coast.

As we sat at the autograph show, one of my jobs was to assure young fans that Kamala was really a nice person, so don't be scared.

That night, I threw my one and only dinner party. I invited about 20 people to meet Kamala. I prepared a casual buffet, the main course was lasagna. I had two large trays, one with vegetable lasagna, one with sausage and ground beef.

The guests showed up, and Kamala posed for photos and signed autographs. He let my friends wear his witch doctor mask. He hoisted some of the guests and pretended he was body slamming them for their photos. He was the most gracious and gentle giant you could imagine. Until …

I was taking the lasagna trays out of the oven. I brought Kamala into the kitchen so he could eat first, and return to mingle with the guests. I asked him, which would you like, vegetable or meat lasagna? He said meat, and picked up the entire tray, sat at the kitchen table and ate the whole thing. I told the other guests, eat lots of garlic bread.

Kamala retired from wrestling full-time around 2000. He bought a truck and hauled gravel, asphalt and dirt from Mississippi across the southern U.S. If he knew a town had an independent wrestling show, he'd re-route his route so he could pick up extra money dusting off his Kamala persona for one night. That's how he made an appearance at the Texas All-Star Wrestling show in Humble in 2003.

Kamala fell into bad health with diabetes and high blood pressure. He had both legs amputated. Despite headlining wrestling shows around the world, Kamala never earned much money. In his later years, he made wood chairs near his home in Oxford, Mississippi. He also recorded an album, Kamala's Greatest Hits: Vol. 1, and wrote his autobiography, Kamala Speaks.

After the dinner party, which did not make Maxine Mesinger's society column in the Chronicle, something I'm still bitter about, I drove Kamala back to the Crowne Plaza. I told him, be in the lobby at 9 a.m., we'll get breakfast on our way to the airport. I asked him, what would you like for breakfast. Pancakes? Bacon and eggs? Fruit?

He said, and I'll never forget this, "When it comes to food, I isn't choicy."

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