I had the great fortune to preview the first episode of Game of Thrones Season 4 at Lincoln Center last night – but don’t worry, you won’t find any spoilers here.
I suppose I’ve tweeted or Facebooked or otherwise shared enough about GoT on the Intertubes that HBO reps contacted me to find out if I’d want to attend last night’s festivities. Given the chance to stand just feet away from Tyrion and Cersei, plus be treated to an early viewing of the season’s first episode in one of New York City’s iconic venues, I naturally said, “YES, PLEASE TO INCLUDE ME.”
Instructions were to show up promptly at 4 p.m., and my fellow fans were nothing if not punctual. The fear of being kept out was a strong motivator. People (myself included) were early, in fact – something that usually doesn’t happen in New York. Once inside, we got our goodie bags (photos of what was in it in the slideshow, but the coolest were the Hand of the King pins) and signed waivers that basically said if we hurt ourselves, it was our own damn fault.
We were ushered outside, where we could take photos of and with the big dragon they’d set up in the plaza and then put into the “Fanzone” where we lined the red-carpeted stairs where the stars would stroll in.
Shortly thereafter, the black SUVs started rolling up (side note: Apparently limos are out in New York, and the black SUV is in).
Things started in high gear with Shae (Sibel Kekilli), Cersei (Lena Headey) and the man himself, George R.R. Martin taking their turns on the carpet. At least a couple people yelled out, asking when the next book was coming out. Spoiler alert: He didn’t answer.
The group on the other side of the red carpet was much louder than the folks around me, so almost all the actors looked at them, while my quieter side leaned over barricades to get front shots and made do with a lot of photos from the side (as you can see from mine).
The Hound, Littlefinger, Tywin Lannister. The Onion Knight, Jojen. Joffrey strolled up with a gorgeous Ygritte (whom I accidentally called Margaery in the heat of the moment on Instagram and Twitter, and was corrected repeatedly throughout the night).
The surviving Stark children – Bran, Sansa and Arya – came out of an SUV together and looked absolutely adorable as they first took photos of the red carpet, then strolled up themselves.
And when Hodor showed up? There were many shouts of delight.
If there was ever any question as to who was really the star of Game of Thrones, however, it was answered when Tyrion himself, Peter Dinklage, showed up.
People fell all over themselves to photograph him, and Dinklage himself was obviously having a fabulous time. It seems that even among his castmates, he’s something of a star (more on that in a moment).
Things wrapped up and we were given our tickets for the showing, let back inside (not a moment too soon, because after an hour standing outside, it was getting a bit nippy) and we headed to our seats in the second tier. The seats were pretty great, because the screen’s huge and we were facing it head on. All the stars were downstairs, though, so there was no chance for mingling.
Then the announcement came over the PA. The unmistakable voice of Tywin Lannister admonished us to put away our phones and other devices, or we’d be executed. Especially Peter Dinklage. We were NOT to record any part of the upcoming event.
We were treated to the New York Philharmonic conducted by GoT composer Ramin Djawadi, playing the show’s theme and then the Red Wedding theme. No one died this time, however. We were introduced to Martin, the executive producers, the producers, the writers and directors and then the cast.
Then, the lights went down and the show began with “Previously on” and we had to relive the horror of the Red Wedding, albeit in an abbreviated fashion.
Finally, an hour of new Game of Thrones and we were done.
I won’t spoil the episode, but we got to see most of our favorites. We had Arya and the Hound; Sansa, Tyrion, and Shae; Cersei and Jamie; Jamie and Brienne; Joffrey, Margaery; and we met Oberyn Martell.
And scene. Applause. Sincere applause.