My girlfriend is awesome. Why? Well, for starters, she grabbed up some tickets for this event! We're both huge (nerds) fans of the books and the show - so we were beyond excited to go to this. I have to say - HBO and company did not let us down.
First off, they had all the costumes and stuff on display in the lobby (sorry - the GEICO ATRIUM). They also had a few Iron Throne replicas that you could sit on and have your picture taken. Since no recording devices were allowed inside, they just gave you a hard copy of the picture. You could also head over to one of their iPad kiosks and email/text the picture to yourself. So, that was cool. They also gave everyone a t-shirt - that was unexpected, but again - very cool.
While we were on line for the Throne pictures I started talking to one of the ushers. He gave us the heads up to be inside around 7:15, as that's when all the "cool stuff" was going to start to happen. The actual airing of episode 1 was at 8:30. I figured GRRM was going to come out on stage, but my girlfriend and the people on line around us doubted me. FOOLS! I knew the premiere had happened in Manhattan the night before so I figured some of the cast might still be around.
Anyway, we got to our seats right around 7:15. I noticed a drum set on the stage, which I thought was weird. Then the lights went off and the latest trailer played on the screen. When it finished, a spotlight shone down on the stage to reveal the Iron Throne - with Common sitting in it! He got up and ripped through a few songs that I guess are on that "Catch the Throne" LP they just put out. I'm not a huge Common fan, but he got the crowd excited and the people around us were into it. I do love this song, though:
Then, out came HODOR (aka Kristian Nairn)!!! He was going to be our MC for the evening - and yes, he said more than just "Hodor". Then he introduced a few more guests - Jon Bradley (Sam Tarley), Sibel Kikelli (Shae), Maisie Williams (Arya) aaaaaaaaand George R.R. Martin himself! A pretty lively and funny Q&A followed - Jon Bradley is a very funny dude. People from the crowd were yelling things, they were responding, and they all seemed to be enjoying themselves. Sibel Kikelli and Kristain Nairn in particular seemed very psyched to be sitting in front of 7,000 fans.
Funny moment - when Mr. Nairn was like "Ok, the first question is for George..." - GRRM immediately yelled out "I'M WORKING ON IT!!! I'M WORKING ON IT!!!". Good stuff. They also gave the replica Iron Throne away to some guy in the crowd. He came up on stage and apparently encouraged GRRM to write faster. Again, good stuff. Not sure how that dude got the Throne home, though.
Then - the moment we were all waiting for: EPISODE 1. Dude...sooooooooooooooooo good. I read an article in the New York Daily News the other day that said something like "The episode moves at a snail's pace" or whatever. That dude is tripping balls - this was the best season opener since season 1.
I'm not going to spoil anything - but I'll give you a few small notes.
- Pedro Pascal is AMAZING as Oberyn Martell. I mean...DAMN. He gives us one of the most badass lines in the series to date when he tells Tyrion - "Tell your father I'm here...and tell him that the Lannisters are not the only ones who pay their debts". Hell yes.
- A surprising amount of people cheered when Ser Duncan the Tall was mentioned. It warmed my heart.
- The opening scene - damn. I mean, I hate the guy - but this scene was pretty moving...and I mean moving in a way where I wanted to punch his face in and just scream something like "You're not going to win, you motherf%$#er!!!"
- When Arya and the Hound appear - IT'S ON. Seriously - strap yourself in for one of the more satisfying scenes on the show to date.
- The Magnar of Thenn looks insanely awesome - like, if you saw this dude coming at you, you'd want to move the hell out of the way and just pray he didn't see you.