“Valar Dohaeris” – the first episode of Game Of Thrones ’ third season had its UK premiere at London’s supremely swanky One Marylebone on Tuesday evening. As SFX entered the former church, we were greeted by the imposing sight of the Iron Throne – and a jovial Charles Dance wandering around signing autographs.
We’re sworn not to reveal any of the episode’s secrets, but suffice to say it was another typically excellent instalment of the series. Remarkably, the show looks even bigger than before, with the King’s Landing and beyond-the-Wall sequences looking simply beautiful. There’s a great scene on a boat (some of which you may have seen in the recent trailer), and one moment of (relatively) minor violence that will definitely have you wincing. While several of the main characters don’t appear in this episode, it’s always entertaining – and you finally find out what has happened to a couple of characters who had gone AWOL in previous instalments. There’s also a sense that Dany and Jon’s storylines have both had a boot up the arse to make them more gripping.
Some of the stars we spotted in attendance that night included the aforementioned Charles Dance (Tywin Lannister), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Finn Jones (Loras Tyrell) Gemma Whelan (Yara Greyjoy), Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Thomas Brodie-Sangster (Jojen Reed) and Isaac Hempstead-Wright (Bran Stark). Rumour has it that Jonathan Ross and Jane Goldman were in the audience, though we didn’t spot ‘em.
After the screening, Dance, Christie, Fairley and Hempstead-Wright took part in a Q&A hosted by journalist Grace Dent. When asked by a member of the audience who should win the Iron Throne, the ever-quotable Dance replied with “me”. Michelle Fairley stuck up for her on-screen son and chose Robb Stark, while Christie picked Daenerys and Hempstead-Wright plumped for Hodor. On why there are so many British actors in the show, Dance quipped, “We’re cheap”. Michelle Fairley revealed that she has a “no-nudity” clause in her contract, while Christie teased about having kidnapped Finn Jones.
The party afterwards took place in the basement vaults – a large crypt-like space atmospherically lit, and decorated with character images from the new season. Guests and actors milled about drinking and eating. Dothraki blood-pie was promised… We didn’t see any of that – but did take advantage of the sea-bass and mushroom risotto, before bumping into Gemma Whelan and Finn Jones. All in all, a top night.
Our sincere thanks to Sky Atlantic for arranging it. Game Of Thrones season three airs at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, from Monday 1 April. And on shelves right now: SFX 's brand new 180-page guide to the Game Of Thrones phenomenon .