What went down inside the 'Game of Thrones' final season premiere

Photo: HBO

It may be springtime according to the calendar, but a wintery wind descended on New York’s Radio City Music Hall last night. The Big Apple landmark served as the launchpad for the eighth and final season of HBO’s blockbuster series, Game of Thrones.

Crowds started gathering early to catch a glimpse of the red carpet, where Yahoo Entertainment captured all the comings and goings of cast members like Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner and Peter Dinklage.

Daniel Portman stopped to chat with us for a few moments about his fan favourite character, Podrick Payne.

In addition to current cast members, the premiere guest list included a few faces that haven’t been seen in Westeros in some time—like the beloved door-holder, Hodor.

Other returning favourites included Jason Momoa, Natalie Dormer and, best of all, Sean Bean. That’s right: Ned Stark may be gone, but the North fondly remembers Bean’s service.

Inside Radio City, the super-sized auditorium was bathed in fiery reds, and ushers handed out buttons to excited audience members reminding them that even the slightest whisper of spoilers would earn them the wrath of the Master of Whisperers.

And if Varys doesn’t scare you, the sister act of Sansa and Arya Stark definitely will. Right as the lights dimmed, Sophie Turner and Maisie Williams jumped on the P.A. system and warned that the punishment for leaking any plot points—or, even worse, using your cell phone during the episode—would result in your face being removed and nailed to Arya’s wall at Winterfell. Once a Faceless Assassin, always a Faceless Assassin.

Game of Thrones showrunners, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, didn’t make any threats in their opening remarks. Instead, they reflected on the show’s extremely humble beginnings. “It wasn’t very good,” Weiss said of their original version of the Thrones pilot, which was famously re-tooled, re-cast and re-shot. Once the show found its creative footing, any behind-the-scenes drama was supplanted by the rich onscreen drama. Weiss and Benioff— who are moving on from Westeros to a galaxy far, far away —praised the dedication of the cast and crew for embracing the demands of adapting George R.R. Martin’s sprawling fantasy novels. The duo didn’t write or direct the season opener; instead that task fell to scribe, Dave Hill, and director, David Nutter, who filmed half of the show’s six-episode final run. But they are in complete creative control of the feature-length finale, which will air on 19 May.

The season premiere, in contrast, is only an hour, but it’s an hour that delighted the Radio City audience, who weren’t shy about cheering their favourite characters, and applauding moments die-hard fans had been wanting to see for years. It’s clear that Benioff and Weiss are holding nothing back as Game of Thrones races towards the finish line. All shows must die, but this one is sure to go out in a blaze of glory.

You can watch every episode of Game of Thrones seasons 1-7 with Sky’s Ultimate On Demand TV pack, and on NOW TV, and the final season is coming to Sky Atlantic on the 15 April.

Reporting by Ethan Alter, Yahoo TV