Recap: Game of Thrones Epic Fan Experience at the Barclays Center

We were there! See what fans wore to the advance screening at Barclays Center last night, plus more juicy details from the sold-out evening.

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Fans at Game of Thrones: The Epic Fan Experience

Fans at Game of Thrones: The Epic Fan Experience Photograph: Sophie Harris

Last night, some 7,000 Game of Thrones fans got to watch the season-four premiere almost two weeks early at Barclays Center. In addition to an advance screening of that long-awaited episode, "Two Swords," on a stadium-size screen, the Epic Fan Experience featured costumes and props from the show’s traveling exhibit on display, and a replica of the Iron Throne—perfect for selfies by die-hards in full-blown Westeros garb.


Highlights from last night's Fan Experience? A regally decked-out marching band gathered at the stage and played the Game of Thrones theme tune; even unamplified in a massive arena, it sounded brilliant. Then the lights came up on hip-hop star Common—who contributed to the GoT mixtape—sitting on the Iron Throne and looking very happy about it. He performed "The Ladder" from the album. And excitement mounted when Kristian Nairn—Hodor!—took the stage, and delighted everyone (including himself) by saying "Hodor" a couple of times.


He then introduced creator George R.R. Martin for a Q&A session, and the crowd went berserk. Standing ovation. "Question for George," Nairn began, and Martin quickly deadpanned, "I'm working on it" (referring to the next GoT book, The Winds of Winter). Martin talked about the way he draws on history for his own story lines, referring to such events as Scotland's "Black Dinner" and saying, "You can't make this stuff up." Props to Martin, too, for talking about how women are underrepresented in most tomes: "The women don't feature as prominently in the history books, but if you meet a researcher, you'll find some amazing women." As far as alluding to future plots, he was asked how one might kill a dragon, and shrugged in response, "Dragons have a pretty good record of killing each other."


More Game of Thrones cast members appeared for a quiz: Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), Sibel Kekilli (Shae) and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly)—to much squealing in the stadium. All were delightful, and Bradley, particularly, turned out to be what the Brits would call "a right charmer." Finally the Iron Throne itself was given away, raffle-style: Martin read out a seat number in the stands, and a very, very startled man named Mike from Hoboken came to the stage and sat, shell-shocked, on the throne replica (which HBO sells on its website for $30,000).


Then, the screening commenced. Hearing the theme music and watching the titles on a massive screen for the first time in nearly a year was a heady feeling indeed. The episode itself delivered all the GoT staples—gripping plot, many an expletive (three uses of the c-word!), nudity and dragons. Best part of the night? Sitting comfortably in the darkness and watching your favorite TV show with 7,000 other people who are just as excited about it as you are.


Note: If you want a more in-depth review of the first episode, FULL OF SPOILERS, click over to International Business Times.



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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)

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