Blanket's cameo in The Last of Us wins new fans for Kingston-area farm
Wool blanket from Topsy Farms a 'character' in HBO's The Last of Us
Jacob Murray has a piece of advice for anyone preparing for the worst: "If you want a blanket that'll survive to the apocalypse, you need Canadian wool."
He can back up his claim — well, sort of — thanks to HBO's hit show The Last of Us.
Murray and his partner Rachel Hawkshaw were sitting on the couch a few weeks back when they decided to give the series a try.
The show is based on a video game of the same name and is set during a pandemic triggered by a fungus that turns people into zombie-like creatures called "the infected."
- Can the fungus in the HBO series The Last of Us turn humans into zombies one day? Here's what biologists say
The couple planned to start with the pilot, but accidentally clicked on episode eight. Moments in, they pressed pause when they spotted a familiar object — a green and grey checked blanket.
"We looked at each other like, no way — is that ours?" Murray recalled. "We were doing high-fives on the couch."
Blanket a recurring 'character'
Murray co-owns Topsy Farms on Amherst Island near Kingston, Ont., where they raise sheep and sell wool products.
Seeing the blanket brought back a memory from more than a year earlier when an entertainment industry props buyer had reached out about purchasing one.
After seeing the show, Murray said the farm emailed the company and confirmed the blanket wrapped tightly around Pedro Pascal's character Joel was indeed one of theirs.
The blanket made more than a passing appearance, showing up about 30 times in the episode — so often that Murray said he began to think of it as a "character" instead of a prop.
The show's other star, Bella Ramsey, has since shared a photo of the blanket on social media along with some heart emojis.
💔❤️🔥❤️🩹 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TheLastOfUs?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TheLastOfUs</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/TheLastofUsHBO?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TheLastofUsHBO</a> <a href="https://t.co/rdkfedOstI">pic.twitter.com/rdkfedOstI</a>—@BellaRamsey
Murray said the farm has a strong social media presence and a large fan base of its own, but it still means a lot to have one of their products figure so prominently on a show that's been watched by millions.
"We're just a family farm trying to keep the farmland from getting sold off as cottage country," he said. "We're trying to keep it wild, but we know that in order to save the farm, we have to share the farm."
Contest winner not a fan of zombies
Since the show aired, the farm has seen a surge in interest in its products, Murray said.
That includes the now-famous blanket, which he said has always been a sought-after item. The only problem was, when the episode ran the farm had only one of that model in stock.
Rather than sell it, the farm decided to hold a contest, inviting followers to interact on social media. According to Murray, thousands took part. The winner was announced Monday.
Eveline St. Denis said she never wins anything, but figured she's put her name in for the blanket anyway.
The London, Ont., woman admitted she's never seen an episode of The Last of Us and said she's more a fan of the farm and its wool than she is of the show. In fact, St. Denis said she's fine with "everything except for the zombies."
In the show, Joel is wrapped in the blanket while recovering from a wound, but St. Denis said her plans don't involved nursing anyone back to health.
"It will be on my couch," she said with a laugh. "Every time I look at wool it just makes my heart smile, so every time I look at that I'll be very happy."
St. Denis said she intends to check out the show anyway, so long as she has her son nearby and her new blanket to hide behind.