Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Game of Premiers

Being a teenager pretty much sucks for almost everyone. That's why Janis Ian's song "At Seventeen" resonates. Last night was another in my series of "things I wish I could tell my fourteen year old self so she would know it gets really great, not just better."

Last evening, we attended a genuine Hollywood premier for the third season of Game of Thrones. Because of our long-standing friendship with George R.R. Martin, we scored tickets. The first hour of the season, which will be on HBO on Easter Sunday, was screened at the famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. Here are some of the red carpet arrivals. Then about 1100 people slowly crossed the street to go to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel for food, music, and other things in the theme of a Dothraki market as an after-party. I got home about 1 a.m., a very late night for the work week. I would not have missed it for anything.
I spent a good portion of the evening just hanging out at the table with George, because everybody came to pay respects to the Godfather. At least that's what it looked like to me. Len was with us for only a short while, since he had to go off to dialysis. After he left, I did wander around and went up to the balcony, from which I took the photograph of the musicians playing in the ante-area of the ballroom. I wish I had packed an actual camera, instead of only the iPhone, but some premiers will take away any cameras and it is a pain to wait to get them back later. In spite of the language in the invitation, this was not one of them.

I shot at a torso with a cross-bow and easily hit it. I did not find the actual archery set up, but Melinda Snodgrass said she did well at it. Like her, I actually took it as a class in college and I'm really got at it as well. So I am sorry I missed it. I passed up having my photographed taken with a sword and having a soothsayer give me a fortune never appeals to me. But, much as I hate needles and pain, I am perfectly happy to get temporary tattoos by airbrush or henna, so I got one of the House Stark dire wolf sigil.

I got to chat with a number of the actors and some of the producers as well. I had met Nikolaj Coster-Walau at Comic-con two summers ago (we were huge fans of the short-lived "New Amsterdam,") so it was Melinda who was excited to meet him. I didn't see Jason Mamoa, but I had met him in the elevator when they moved the cast from the panel room to the private Warner Bros. balcony in the dealers' room at Comic-con. He was very funny and had undergone two hours of make-up so he could thrill the audience when he took off his sunglasses to reveal the Khal Drogo look.

Kit Harington, the heart throb Jon Snow, came by the table for a few words and could not have been nicer. George took Melinda and I over to meet Gwendoline Christie, the actress who plays Brienne of Tarth. Reports are she's only 6'3" but she was wearing heels and towered over everyone in an amazing minidress--if you've got it, flaunt it. I crossed paths with Natalie Tena on a stair case and told her that our friend Dani had named her car after Tonks. She got a big kick out of that and gave me a huge hug. Utterly delightful.

I spoke briefly with Charles Dance, who appeared to be in attendance by himself. I loved him in The Jewel in the Crown on PBS back in the 1980s. He is formidable as Tywin, and has quite a scene with the wonderful Peter Dinklage in the first episode of the new season.

Tyrion's lover Shae, the delicate Sibel Kikilli, was charming. I noticed that Kit Harington and Richard Madden (Rob Stark) looked enough in face and build to actually be brothers, or the putative half-brothers they play in the series. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) is taller than Richard. And Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran) has had a tremendous growth spurt. It's a good thing he isn't supposed to be able to walk any more, because it would be hard to hide how tall he has gotten.

I was especially pleased to get a few minutes to talk to Maisie Williams, who becomes the character to watch in every scene she has. Arya is my favorite character in the book. Arya and Brienne are the two characters who set this whole series apart in my mind from any other epic fantasy I have read, especially my beloved "Lord of the Rings."

As a friend of mine, Pat Murphy, has written, girls love these kinds of books as much as boys do, but usually they are put in the position of having to choose a male character to re-imagine as female in any kind of role-playing for Mary-sue fantasy. For all of the crap George has gotten for writing these books that are full of the ugly truth about women in feudal societies, he has created these two wonderful, adventurous, and gutsy females. The American Tolkien has done the Original Tolkien one better. Or maybe two. When Arya tells her perplexed father "that's not me," I just wanted to shout YES. George had gushed about Maisie from the time the show started running, and she is just an amazing young actress. Her prior training in dance has served her well in her training a swordswoman and I cannot wait to see how she handles Arya's growth in the next books.

A few minutes from now (Tuesday, March 19, 7:40 PM), the Television Academy will be streaming "An Evening with A Game of Thrones" live from the Chinese Theatre. Watch it here. [The introduction of the show indicated that the Q & A will be available for watching after the actual event. It was a very funny evening, and if you are a fan of the show, I recommend setting aside the 90 or so minutes to watch it.]

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