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New on 'ILYSM': The fight for the throne, plus blood donations

Addie Broyles
The "Game of Thrones" activation at South by Southwest included an on-site blood drive and actors as characters from the show. [JAMES GREGG/AMERICAN-STATESMAN]

With South by Southwest upon us, Statesman staffers are covering the festival all day and (most of) the night, and we'll be filing short podcast dispatches for "I Love You So Much: The Austin360 Podcast" throughout the week.

The first short episode of the weekend is from features editor Sharon Chapman, Austin360 editor Eric Webb and Statesman City Hall reporter Phil Jankowski, all of whom are "Game of Thrones" fans eagerly awaiting the final season, which starts next month. On Thursday night, they attended the "Game of Thrones" activation at Fair Market, which was transformed into "a sumptuous faux-medieval world of scarlet, gold and silver, of wood, stone and tapestry" with candelabras, incense, armored knights, actors milling about dressed as characters from the show and "a robed chamber choir (that) chanted so ominously, you’d think the High Sparrow was right behind you."

In partnership with the Red Cross, the activation also doubled as a blood drive. You can hear reactions from the staffers who attended by searching for "I Love You So Much" in iTunes, Stitcher or by going to