Before the episode, though, we were treated to a drumline rendition of the show’s theme song and a performance by Common, one of the artists on Catch the Throne, who attempted to hype the crowd by ordering us to chant “Game of Thrones!” Then came the surprise guests of the night: actors Kristian Nairn, Maisie Williams, Sibel Kekilli, John Bradley, and creator George R. R. Martin. They did a short Q&A (all I really gathered from it is that everyone wants someone named Joffrey to die) and a surprise raffle of the giant Iron Thone — Martin joked that it was perfect for a NYC apartment.
I couldn’t spoil the Season 4 premiere if I tried — the only notes I took during it read “the GOT title screen looks like a WWE belt” and “Chris from Skins???” — but it’s fair to say that everyone around me loved it. It was a weird experience, this rapt attention of people watching a fantasy drama about dragons in a giant venue usually used for basketball games and Beyoncé concerts. (It was a little jarring to see Game of Thrones merch being sold under Nets logos.) It was also the darkest venue I’ve ever been to, thanks to the complete absence of phones/cameras (it wasn’t that hard to sneak one in, but it was clearly grounds for immediate removal so no one wanted to take a chance).
The premiere was surprisingly enjoyable considering I had no idea what was going on (though the spontaneous cheers helped me figure out who I should be rooting for), and I did find myself getting wrapped up in everything that was happening on screen, though I doubt I’ll rush to watch the series anytime soon. But the event clearly delivered what it promised to its fans: a few hours of immersing themselves in this Game of Thrones world with like-minded people — and one impostor.