Dragons are Coming: The #GOT5DVD Experience

Liam Cunningham

Liam Cunningham, welcoming the fans

By Jefferson Carberry (occasionally seen around WotW parts as Kilgore Tully)

The information was rather vague, consisting mostly of tweets about dragons and free stuff. It was enough.

Game of Thrones fans started milling about Union Square as early as 7AM. By 8, the dragon landing was built, an awkwardly small patch of applied destruction that drew a light crowd throughout the day, but perhaps not what constitutes a spectacle in New York City. Police came early to haggle over the appropriate smoke machine levels and many from the gathered crowd were more puzzled than not, but the signage and staff had the message out soon enough: Game of Thrones season 5 is out on DVD and Blu-ray. And dragons were coming.

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Photo: Jefferson Carberry

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Photo: Jefferson Carberry

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Photo: Jefferson Carberry

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Photo: Jefferson Carberry

All of the ads and signs pointed twenty blocks north, to Herald Square, the small plaza in front of Macy’s. A stage and screen were set up directly under the giant billboard claiming “World’s Largest Store!”

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Margie Callow, first fan in line! Photo: Jefferson Carberry

Margie Callow was one of those who had stopped by Union Square early, and her dedication was rewarded by being the very first person in line at Herald Square, at 9AM. The crowd grew, some who traveled across state lines just for the smallest chance of Game of Thrones swag or a cast sighting, but also others who were simply snared by the signage.

Some fans from the #GOT5DVD event:

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Orrin Pridgen, from Spring Valley, NY Photo: Jefferson Carberry

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Christine Marquet from Harlem. Photo: Jefferson Carberry

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By 5PM, the line had grown long enough to wrap around the entire seating pen. Only the first 200 would get seats (and a free copy of the Blu-ray), and many stayed in line for hours only to barely miss the cut-off.

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The screening was open to anyone on the sidewalk who could see and hear though, and the sitting audience was easily doubled by the crowds on the sides pressing into the police barriers. Cosplay was in full effect in the crowd, and even media members touted their nerd cred through Targaryen t-shirts and Star Wars bow ties.

Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill. Photo: Jefferson Carberry

Game of Thrones writer Dave Hill. Photo: Jefferson Carberry

At 6PM, the line was let into the seating area, and at 7:45, the screening started. Series writer Dave Hill got on stage to introduce the event, and he had the honor of revealing the evening’s biggest surprise: Liam Cunningham!

Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

Cunningham, posing with a Pop! Ghost at the event. Photo: Twitter.com/GameofThrones

Cunningham, posing with a Pop! Ghost at the event. Photo: Twitter.com/GameofThrones

The crowd ooh’ed and awed at everyone’s favorite bannerman/pseudo father figure as he introduced the video: “The Dance of Dragons,” a twenty minute featurette from the new Histories and Lore. The video itself was censored for the public crowd, notably leaving out Blood and Cheese’s murder switcharoo and a joke about the other thing Nettles was famous for mounting.

Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

“The Dance of Dragons.” Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

At the conclusion, Cunningham got back on stage to quip that the dragons were dead, but now they’re back with Daenerys Targaryen!

With a turn and flourish, he pointed the audience to the buildings overhanging the square. A comical beat later a huge golden dragon (Sunfyre!?) was projected onto the walls. The crowd chuckled at the projection and slowly dispersed. VIP fans were led to the greenroom tent to meet Liam and get their Blu-rays signed. Crews tore down the seats and signage.

By 9,  we were all back to waiting… for Game of Thrones season 6!

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Photo: Jefferson Carberry

The dragon attacks the New York Public Library. Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

The dragon attacks the New York Public Library. Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

Photo: HBO/Ray Stubblebine

27 responses

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    1. Almost got a Hodor!

      Gotta say the dragon projections are disappointing. They’ve used the same ones from last year that I saw at the Tower of London premiere. Come on HBO…We were led to believe there’d be a 3D projection across the sky!

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    2. Nice to see Liam there. He’s been doing a lot of promoting lately, which makes me think Davos’ role will get expanded. I hope Davos gets his own funko pop one day (hopefully next year).

      A bit disappointed in the dragon projections. I wish the direwolves got more attention tbh. I’m kind of bored by the dragons at this point.

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    3. Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      I could not agree with more on this point; the wolves are equally important to the story but they get relegated to occaisonally being in the corner of a shot chewing on a bone. I get they’re expensive but they seem to spare no expense on the dragons, but filming a wolf then enlargening and slightly slowing the footage down has got to be cheaper than creating a dragon from scratch?!

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    4. My pictures sucked, so I’m very glad better picture takers were present to document the event. Re: the featurette; I preferred the previous style of animation, this was too “cartoony” (if that makes any sense) for the dramatic story it was telling (Dance of Dragons) Not terrible, just not my preference. The voiceovers, however, were fantastic. The actors, as before, stayed in character. Harry Lloyd and Jack Gleeson were the standouts. The dragon animation was fun and *nice*, but I had expected the animation to “fly across the sky” as promised (like the Bat signal, for example), and that wasn’t the case. That was a bit disappointing, but overall, the whole experience was a nice treat for fans. It sated, for the moment, the absolute desire to have Season 6 start now. But that was yesterday. Today, I’m back to wanting Season 6 now!

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    5. Jaemi:
      Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      I could not agree with more on this point; the wolves are equally important to the story but they get relegated to occaisonally being in the corner of a shot chewing on a bone. I get they’re expensive but they seem to spare no expense on the dragons, but filming a wolf then enlargening and slightly slowing the footage down has got to be cheaper than creating a dragon from scratch?!

      Exactly! There’s that Drogon scene last season on top of a pyramid that I could have done without tbh (if they wanted to save money). They should have used it for Ghost instead, since the other direwolves were MIA then. Ghost and Jon’s bond is just as important. If I don’t see Ghost, (and hopefully Summer and Shaggydog) kicking ass next season, I’ll be very disappointed.

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    6. Jaemi,

      perhaps this is really about negative attitudes towards wolves who chose to be our dogs by the way, chose to be our companion animals

      and got’s wolves are perhaps avatars of those original wolves who chose us.

      cats did the same by the way, just much, much later, so they have more wild in them although cats have been proven to act more like humans than dogs, i.e. show them affection and they reciprocate whereas dogs will show us affection no matter what.

      I love both by the way and dragons too.

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    7. Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      I totally hear you and I love the Direwolves as well, however the relationship between Jon and Ghost does not seem to be as problematic as the relationship between Daeny and her dragons. How to deal with what are basically uncontrollable weapons of mass distraction was and is an integral part of Daeny’s character development and moral education, I’d say. So the interaction on TV has higher stakes.

      But I think the Direwolves may have a comeback come winter. There should be some sweet dwolf action in the latter half of the season.

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    8. Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      What’s the big deal about direwolfs ,they are just big dogs,of course they are boring and people prefer to see dragons especially well made ones like GOT. You see dogs and wolves in every run off the mill show they are nothing special.

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    9. Pablo Escobar,

      I don’t know how anyone can say with such definiteness that “people prefer to see dragons” because “wolves are boring”. That’s like….your opinion not fact. I doubt there’s any way to know what the entire double digit in the millions who watch the show think.

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    10. Wylie,

      All the Stark kids have a bond with their direwolves and it’s pretty important to the story (not just Jon; I was giving him as an example, since he was the only one who still had his direwolf with him in season 5). Also, many were asking where Ghost was in the season finale. I’m hoping Bran wargs into Summer more to explore and gain some WW insight.

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    11. Thanks for the report Kilgore! Was wondering what fans thought who were there! Was glad to see a lot of fans turned out!! Would have loved to have been there just to interact with other fans and talk about the excitement for Season 6!!! Was a little disappointed with the production from what I saw! Probably made the experience much more satisfying when Liam Cunningham surprised everyone!! Would have been worth it for me!

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    12. Jon Snow’s Curling Iron,

      In the books the bond is more central to the characters also because we can read about the internal life of the Stark PoV‘s, but I’m not talking about the books.

      How was Ghost integral to Jon’s S5 arc? Daeny’s dragons were integral to her S5 arc. I’m not arguing against direwolves, I just think that the dragons created more drama, because of their difficult relationship with their mother, so that’s probably why we saw more of them.

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    13. Thanks for the report!

      The photo of Liam and the Ghost Funko is an interesting choice for HBO to post…the way Liam’s holding Ghost makes it look like Ghost has dragon wings!

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    14. Speaking of dragons, found a very cool series of videos from Rhythm & Hues CGI VFX about the making of episode 9 from season 5, haven’t seen this video featured here before or anywhere else for that matter, thought I’d share

      Part 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1OFPnxIwvM

      Part 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uGk_wPj3II4

      Part 3: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HJzq-Od920

      Part 4: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSnmDniAdo0

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    15. Wolves are boring, Dragons are not. There’s not much novelty in slightly larger wolves, whearas dragons are fantastic and do not exist. It’s pretty simple folks.

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    16. It looks like HBO is blowing this promo tour. They made a big deal out of the dragon thing and it’s so lousy that Philly booed it. It seems kinda pointless to put even this much effort in promoting dvd sets for a previous season.

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