A Kentucky welder, and 'Game of Thrones' fan, built an Iron Throne for his wife
LOUISVILLE, Ky. – As far as Mike Hayes was concerned, one person was meant for the Iron Throne, and that was Kacie.
No, Kacie is not a character in the wildly popular HBO drama "Game of Thrones," but she is Mike's queen.
So when Hayes, a 32-year-old student at Louisville's Knight School of Welding, prepared to marry Kacie last year, he got together some instructors and students at the welding school on 39th Street to build an Iron Throne as a wedding gift for her.
After two months and over 100 hours of work, the Iron Throne, which weighs at least 200 pounds, was complete.
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Just in time for the couple's wedding in September in Eastern Kentucky's Red River Gorge.
"We were always fans of 'Game of Thrones,' " Hayes said. "It was kind of one of the first things that we hit it off over."
Hayes and a few other instructors and students at the Knight School of Welding used aluminum to make the throne, and they cut out 400 individual swords.
It normally takes four people to lift the throne, Hayes said.
Matt Hobbs, owner of the Knight School of Welding, said he was happy to have the school fund the $7,000 throne project, especially after seeing Mike and Kacie eventually pose for photos with it at their wedding.
"It was a big collaboration," Hobbs said. "The best part about it was Mike got to take it to his wedding. We love him to death. He's got a really good heart, and he's got a really good drive."
To make things even better, Hayes said Kacie, 29, looks like "Game of Thrones" character Daenerys Targaryen, aka the "Mother of Dragons," while he can pass for Jon Snow, who, ahem, hails from the show's beloved Stark family.
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Since the wedding, the Iron Throne has received some attention.
Hayes has hauled it in a trailer to events where it is rented out.
For example, a Cincinnati bar used it last weekend as part of a party for the season 8 premiere of "Game of Thrones."
In Pittsburgh, the Iron Throne made an appearance at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Hayes said.
And at the end of February, the throne was featured at the Arnold Classic, a multiday bodybuilding and fitness festival in Columbus, Ohio.
The festival's namesake, Arnold Schwarzenegger, even sat on the throne, Hayes said.
When it's not being whisked around the country, the Iron Throne remains outside Hayes' home ("It will not fit inside anyone's home ..." Hayes said) or in the Knight School of Welding, alongside other fun creations students and staff have made over the years (such as a replica of Cinderella's carriage).
Hayes wants the other instructors and students who helped him turn his idea of an Iron Throne into reality to get just as much attention and praise for the project.
An Army veteran who lost a leg while serving in Iraq in 2006, Hayes said he attends the Knight School of Welding on the GI Bill and originally planned on becoming a blacksmith. (Sort of like Gendry, "Thrones" fans.)
"But going into welding was the best decision of my life," he said. "Learning is one of the most powerful, motivating, humbling tools out there."
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Hayes also stays busy by competing in Ohio Valley Wrestling. Both activities – welding and wrestling – help Hayes as a military veteran, he said.
"I think that's huge in regards to mental health and finding purpose, especially for veterans," Hayes said. "We're in a really tough spot when we get back, so anytime we get an opportunity to dive in and learn and execute something, it's amazing for us."
Anyone interested in seeing or possibly renting out the throne can email Hayes at email@example.com.
The final season of HBO's "Game of Thrones" runs until May 19.
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Reach Billy Kobin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 502-582-7030.
This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: A Kentucky welder, and 'Game of Thrones' fan, built an Iron Throne for his wife