By R.J. Huneke
Well the Game Of Thrones EPIC Fan Experience of March 20, 2014 at the Barclay's Arena in Brooklyn, NY was truly amazing!
I did not dream I'd be sitting atop the Iron Throne, seeing George R.R. Martin in person talking about how he wrote Game of Thrones and playfully joking that he's "working on it!" (finishing the next book) while bantering with surprise guests from the cast.
The magical night included free T-shirts for all (tasteful), drawings for a custom Xbox One painted up in G.O.T. style (and a free credit card holder phone slip for entering), and yes you even got to sit on the Iron Throne and have your picture taken (no charge either), and I must say I felt quite at home atop there once the magnitude of the situation became apparent to me (see my picture).
All I had really wanted to see when I arrived was the Season 4 premiere, which was screened for 7000 lucky fans in Brooklyn two weeks before the actual show was to air on HBO. The long 9-minute trailer/documentary "A Prelude" that I had avoided watching for months for fear of spoilers was aired and got me pumped for the event.
The crowd murmured impatiently (have to love my fellow New Yorkers) and then a large marching band proceeded to the stage area before the gargantuan screen. With a tumble of drums and then a roaring of horns the entire theme song was played; I thought to myself: that's a cool introduction to this, but they had not even gotten started.
To the crowd's surprise and glee, the loquacious Hodor himself (played by Kristian Nairn) appeared with a microphone on stage to thank all of the fans for helping to make the magic! Many chants of "HODOR!" continued throughout the night.
I turned to my betrothed and shared the excited delight. But there was more . . . this was, after all, an EPIC fan experience and not to be outdone.
Hodor announced that the show's executive producer and writer of the books that it is adapted from wanted to say a few words - I immediately looked up, expecting to see a pre-recorded video of the great story-teller, but lo and behold a short, barrel-chested older gentleman with a big beard and a fisherman's cap walked onto stage . . . GEORGE R.R. MARTIN!
His voice was kindly and a bit shrill and the thousands bearing witness collectively lost their minds (with many a "HODOR!" thrown in for the giant actor standing beside the author). Mr. Martin thanked the great fans and appeared very pleased, although a little shy on the big stage.
Hodor attempted to ask the creator a question, and was immediately met with a: “I’m working on it!” reply from George, referring of course to his finishing of the years in the making next book in the series.
Well I could have died happy right then, but he announced that there were some more guests and fan favorites to come out: Arya Stark (played by Maisie Williams), Samwell Tarly (played by John Bradley), and Shae (played by Sibel Kekilli)!
Using questions taken from social media, Hodor asked all about the cast’s experiences. We learned that Arya would like Joffrey to die most of all (no surprise there), but also that Mr. Martin based his characters and plot elements not on people and experiences he has met (like many writers), but on historical figures and combinations of weird twisted ways to torture or upset the enemy throughout the Dark Ages and beyond, including the infamous Red Wedding event.
WOW! As a writer and aspiring story-teller, I was floored.
George R.R. Martin: “If you steal from one person they call it plagiarism, but if you still from may people they call it research. And I do a lot of research.”
As Hodor asked all of the actors what it was like to work on location, George spoke up and said that he was an actor too; he had been in the original pilot with beard extensions, a huge hat, and giant brass balls (this was hilarious to hear), but they “left me on the cutting room floor.”
Next, one lucky fan’s seat was chosen by Mr. Martin’s envelope, and the lucky winner was brought on stage to shake hands and sit in the Iron Throne, which they gave to him to take home (or at least they would after the show)!
The episode started after many cheers and the lights going out completely and the crowd went crazy as each of their favorite characters (Tyrion, anyone?) showed on screen. The story was awesome and built up a tremendous amount of tension that ended in an all-out great scene that included lots of blood and revenge.
But alas, I will say no more, for fear of spoiling it for you. This will be aired in two weeks, after all.
I have turned the tide and started on my journey. Words and Worlds hang in the balance and I am writing it all down before the RJ Tower! Read about my newest novel on CyberwarSeries.com