Spring technically arrived on Thursday, but in New York winter is coming.
To promote the Season 4 launch of “Game of Thrones” on April 6, HBO has staged a takeover of New York City the likes of which have not been seen since the Siege of Storm’s End. The Westerosi invasion began Tuesday with a splashy premiere at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall. As they trickled into the event, which was also live-streamed on Facebook, cast members -- and at least one starstruck cop -- posed with a giant dragon perched in front of the venue’s famous fountain.
Inside, members of the New York Philharmonic performed the show’s main title theme and “The Rains of Castamere,” the Lannister family’s chiling anthem -- the sounds of which will forever haunt anyone who’s seen last season’s Red Wedding episode. Ramin Djawadi, who writes the music for “Game of Thrones,” conducted.
Introducing the premiere episode, “Two Swords,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo boasted that the series had “defied any attempt to pigeonhole it as a genre show” and promised that Season 4 would prove “Game of Thrones” to be the “best-written, best-acted” show on television. Series creators and show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss introduced the many members of the show’s sprawling cast who were in attendance, including Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey and Jack Gleeson. (In a twisted tribute, the audience greeted Gleeson, who plays the sadistic King Joffrey, with a hearty round of boos.)
Later, at an afterparty at the American Museum of Natural History, the Stark sisters, Arya and Sansa -- otherwise known as Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner -- giggled together as guests, including Alfie Allen, who plays the traitorous Theon Greyjoy, posed in a replica of the Iron Throne. (In case you were wondering: For a seat that’s so coveted, the throne is actually very uncomfortable. Whoever finally wins it should consider an upgrade to something a bit more ergonomic.)
The “Game of Thrones” takeover continued Thursday across the Narrow Sea -- excuse me, the East River -- in downtown Brooklyn, where 7,000 fans, many of them in costume, attended an advanced screening of the premiere episode at Barclays Center. The “Epic Fan Experience,” as it was dubbed, featured a high school marching band performing the theme song and a set by Common, who played his song “The Ladder” from the “Game of Thrones” mixtape. In a surprise twist, author George R.R. Martin and cast members Williams, Kristian Nairn, Sibel Kekilli and John Bradley also stopped by for a short Q&A.
At the end of the evening, one lucky fan took home his very own Iron Throne -- and to think, all he needed to do was win a raffle. Someone tell that to Daenerys Targaryen.