The fourth season of HBO's increasingly popular medieval
fantasy-drama will premiere on April 6, but 7,000 people who
bought tickets to the Brooklyn event were treated to an advance
screening of the season's first episode, along with a brief
panel discussion with several cast members and author George
R.R. Martin, whose books form the basis for the television show.
The show's plot combines a long war between several noble houses
in Westeros, but with elements of magic and fantasy — including
dragons and the undead — in the mix.
"Winter is coming" is the motto of the Stark House, which saw
several of its members killed in the climax of the third season
that aired in the spring of 2013. That event, known popularly as
the "Red Wedding" among viewers, boosted interest in a show
already known for surprising audiences with the unexpected
demise of important characters.
Fans swarmed the arena for a chance to sit on the Iron Throne,
the king's seat in the fictional world of Westeros, where the
series takes place, see costumes used in the show, and buy
merchandise, including a recently released hip-hop album, "Catch
the Throne," inspired by the series. The rapper Common appeared
at the arena to perform his song "The Ladder," which appears on
The third season averaged 14.2 million viewers across all
viewing platforms, according to HBO parent Time Warner, which
makes it HBO's second-most-popular show of all time, trailing
only "The Sopranos."
With each season composed of just 10 episodes, it's been a long
wait since the previous season's shocking end. Many attendees
said they busied themselves with reading — or re-reading — the
books, or revisiting old episodes.
"I've been rereading, and then really keeping up with what's
going on with the show," said Jillian Tam, 21, who was in line
to take pictures on the Iron Throne.
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Fans cited the show's ability to present nuanced characters that
fall along the moral spectrum, and whose biggest struggles are often
not with other-worldly creatures, but personal relationships with
"Out of a lot of shows and movies, there is a lot more in the way of
complex character-building," said Nadine Fentner, 23, of Queens, New
York. "You can't say a lot of them are totally bad or totally good."
Fentner and her companions were among those who came costumed as
their favorite characters; the most popular costume among fans
seemed to be of Daenerys Targaryen, also known as the "Mother of
Dragons," who is played by Emilia Clarke and is on a long journey to
try to conquer Westeros.
The lines to sit on the thrones — there were four different ones in
the arena concourse — were so long that ushers started cutting off
the lines so fans would not miss the show.
One fan, Mike Ross, 37, of Hoboken, New Jersey, had earlier decided
not to wait in the lengthy queue, but instead found himself the
lucky winner of a full-size replica of the throne itself when Martin
announced his ticket seat during the pre-show.
"I have no idea where I'm going to put it," he said. "We'll make a
little room for it."
(Editing by Eric Walsh)
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