In their latest themed series, Montegrappa raises a bejeweled goblet to the popular Game of Thrones series with four new pen designs that pay homage to some of the powerful families in George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire saga. Each of the designs is available as a fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint.
There's a blood-of-your-enemies red with gold-plate accents for the Lannisters, icy white with palladium for the Starks, regal black with gold for the Baratheons, and black and wine-red for the Targaryens that fittingly looks like it's been through a fire and come out of it even stronger. The colors are fetching and well-suited to the themes and the families they're made to represent.
At the Chicago Pen Show, I got the chance to play with the Lannister rollerball and Targaryen ballpoint models. Are they a bit cheesy? Yep. And also charming and a lot of fun.
They come in some of the best pen packaging I have ever met. There's an outer black cardstock slipcase. Inside that is a great hinged box with the Game of Thrones logo and the coat-of-arms of many of the great families of Westeros. The illustrations and colors are fantastic, and the box feels sturdy. Inside there's a lovely soft pen bed with a strap. The strap didn't do much to secure the pens--it's too loose and doesn't fit around the area where the clips are located. So I had to be careful carrying the box so that the pens didn't jiggle around too much inside. The Montegrappa name is engraved into the fabric of the lid. The bottom board comes out to reveal a compartment with the themed guide book. You could also store suspicious documents or a variety of poisons there.
The Targaryen ballpoint has a black lacquer body with wine-colored filigree pattern accents. The nose cone, center band, finial, and clip are dark bronze. The clip is molded in the shape of a dragon's head, the center band has the Game of Thrones trademark, and the finial is engraved with the three-headed dragon of house Targaryen and their words: "FIRE AND BLOOD". I didn't want to test this on borrowed pens, but I suspect the finial might serve as an excellent wax seal stamp--for when you need to keep any spiders or little birds out of your correspondence.
The pen twists to deploy the ballpoint cartridge. It's a Parker-style refill, so while it comes with the Montegrappa brand refill, you can easily replace it with your favorite brand. Which I would likely do, because this refill stopped writing for me every few words. When it was writing, it was fairly smooth and had a nice line--but I had to do the scribble-to-restart-it trick three times over the course of a fairly small writing sample. It's possible this individual refill is a dud, but since the pen takes a nice standard size, I don't consider that much of a ding against the pen itself. There are plenty of refills one could put in this very regal pen.
I do have a few issues with the ballpoint, though. For one, it is a little difficult to hold. It's broad and heavy, and the lacquer is slippery. My fingers kept sliding down the tapered nose. It wasn't terribly comfortable to write with. I do have very small hands, though--so this may not be an issue for others. Also, the clip is stiff and shallow. I didn't find it to be functional as a clip, but it does make a very attractive roll-stopper.
The Lannister rollerball pen is bright red with subtle gold scrollwork on the lacquer. It has 18k gold-plated accents on the finial, cap band, clip, and grip section. The cap band has the Game of Thrones trademark, the clip is in the shape of a lion's head with a long mane, and the finial has the lion rampant with the Lannister words "HEAR ME ROAR". The cap twists off. There is a long gold grip section that I found to be quite comfortable to hold. The pen does post, but becomes much too heavy for me when it is. It's still quite heavy even unposted. Unless you're Gregor Clegane, these pens are, I think, better suited to jotting a quick note to send by raven or adding your newest heir to the family records--but maybe not for writing lengthy declarations of fealty or 900-page books.
The clip on this pen has the same issues as the Targaryen pen--it's just not designed for effective clipping. It's designed more for intimidating your family foes into abandoning their principles and swearing loyalty to your corrupt lineage. I haven't been able to test that feature, but on first impression, I bet it works.
The refill in the rollerball is the Montegrappa brand, though it looks like it will take a variety of possible refills. The stock refill worked very well for me, though. It was smooth and never skipped and laid down a nice dark line.
These are definitely fun statement pens--especially if the statement you need to make is "I am the one true ruler of the Seven Kingdoms". If your plans involve world domination, you're going to need one of these sticking out of your shirt pocket or prominently displayed on your desk--right next to the strands of severed ears of those who dared to oppose you. Or next to some nice stationery--depends on which pen you choose.
If you're a fan of pens and a fan of the books or show, these are pretty delightful. They're just the right blend of a practical tool with a strong playtime factor. They are on the expensive side. Retail price for the ballpoint is $295 and the rollerball is $325. At those prices, even as a life-long fan of the books, these aren't something I would buy for myself. But if I were sacking an enemy city and happened across one, I wouldn't toss it into the fires of conquest. I'd likely pass it down my family line as a bit of nice treasure. Like a cool sword, but mightier.
(Kenro Industries provided this product at no charge to The Pen Addict for review purposes.)
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