Game of Thrones’ season six premiere kicks off in Los Angeles

We take you to the after-party, complete with cast members dragons, three-eyed ravens and pinball, but no George R.R. Martin

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2016, 1:18pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 12 April, 2016, 1:24pm

Winter finally came to Los Angeles … by way of Westeros.

The creators and cast of Game of Thrones, HBO’s fantasy epic, descended on Hollywood for the season six premiere bash. The TCL Chinese Theatre served as host for the unveiling before attendees ignited a glamorous stampede that headed across the street towards the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for the after-party.

Season six of Game of Thrones comes with a heavy helping of curiosity because readers of the Game of Thrones books no longer have an advantage when it comes to how things unfold. In case you’ve been living under a rock, George R.R. Martin, the author behind the books the drama is based on, did not complete The Winds of Winter ahead of the season six premiere – so the TV series will now be carrying some spoilers.

Fans of the fantasy will find out how things play out when Game of Thrones returns on April 24.

But until then, we take you inside the premiere. Here were our takeaways – the ones I managed to hurriedly type, because when the lights dimmed, Lena Headey’s Cersei Lannister threatened the audience about mobile phone use: “Those who violate these rules will be boiled alive.” (That would not be a good office look, so I didn’t risk it.)

1. It was a star-studded affair

In addition to the players of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros and beyond – Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and several others – there were other noticeable attendees. The guest list included Robert Kirkman (creator of AMC’s The Walking Dead), Damon Lindelof (creator of HBO’s The Leftovers); Regina King (The Leftovers, American Crime), Thomas Middleditch (HBO’s Silicon Valley), Faye Dunaway, and Kristen Bell (The Boss) and her husband Dax Shepard.

2. George R.R. Martin

The man in the signature black fisherman’s cap was noticeably absent at Sunday’s premiere – likely to avoid any nagging questions from curious fans about The Winds of Winter.

3. Jon or Jon?

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo took the stage at 8pm – half an hour after the proposed start time – and addressed the question he said he’s been fielding for more than a year. Or so we thought. “Everyone asks, ‘Is Jon coming back? Will we see him this year? Is he alive?’ Let me use this moment to set the record straight,” Lombardo said, before quipping: “Jon Stewart will be coming soon to HBO. He is alive and well.” Lombardo, of course, was playing off last year’s news that Stewart had signed a four-year production deal with the premium cable network.

No sign of Jon Snow as Game of Thrones stars ramp up the glamour for season six premiere

4. By the numbers

When Game of Thrones co-creator David Benioff addressed attendees, he said what a “beast” season six turned into. Benioff noted: There were more than 680 hours of dailies – unedited footage – which translates to 1.1 million metres of film. The show was shot in Croatia, Iceland, Canada, Northern Ireland and Spain. The show employed 900 crew members in Belfast, and 400 in Spain. There were 140 script revisions.

5. HBO didn’t leave a raven unturned

A dragon flew on the side of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Granted, it was an animated dragon. A small, quiet affair this was not. Banners from the noble houses of Westeros, including House Tyrell and House Greyjoy, hung at the Chinese Theatre. The centrepiece was a massive three-eyed raven, the mystical creature that recurs in the series. At the after-party, there was a towering iron throne inside the blue-lit main room. There were various stations tucked in corners where guests could get henna tattoos, a reading from a “three-eyed raven soothsayer” and tote bags with Game of Thrones insignia. When they weren’t dining on fattoush salad or short ribs with crispy onions, some revellers hit up Game of Thrones pinball machines, others posed at the Hall of Faces photo booth. There was even Game of Thrones honeydew ale at the Game of Thrones Inn and Alehouse.

6. Spoiler-free spoilers

Since I don’t want to spoil the season six premiere, this should help you get your emotions in check: I noted two instances of full-on cheering, one gasp-worthy moment and about three occasions that incited laughter. “It felt great to hear how people reacted,” Benioff told me after the screening. “People freaked out when they were supposed to freak out. People seemed into it. To hear them cheer was awesome.” Clarke said she hoped the audience response in the theatre would be the same reaction as viewers at home. This season has our fans sort of wondering what’s going to happen,” she said. “That’s how we, the actors, went into it. We were like, ‘What is going to happen?’”

Los Angeles Times