'Game of Thrones' screening draws throngs of fans to Brooklyn

Fri Mar 21, 2014 1:22am EDT
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By David Gaffen

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Spring may finally be in the air, but the "Game of Thrones" fans who descended on New York's Barclays Center on Thursday evening know different: winter is coming.

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 soundtrack.

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.   Continued...

Cast members Maisie Williams and Sophie Turner arrive for the season four premiere of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" in New York March 18, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson