As most of the world welcomes the first day of spring, “Game of Thrones” got fans excited for winter all over again.
The cast of the hit HBO series walked the red carpet in New York City on Tuesday for the premiere of its fourth season to tease what's coming up when the show returns next month.
Hannah Murray is excited about getting to cross off an item on her “Game of Thrones” wishlist: a fight scene for her character, Gilly. “It’s not necessarily what you might think of as the traditional type of fighting, but there is a sort of moment of self-preservation,” she says. “That was fun for me because I always complain about how I never get weapons, and I did — although it’s quite an unorthodox one.”
Rose Leslie’s wildling, Ygritte, ended last season by putting three arrows into her (possibly former) beloved, Jon Snow. “A lot of people are out for revenge,” she says ominously.
The ruthless Lady Melisandre will reveal "a more human side," says Carice Van Houten, which could be this season’s tallest order. The Red Woman has a lot to answer for in her quest to put Stannis Baratheon on the Iron Throne.
For Emilia Clarke’s Daenerys Targaryen, it’s mo’ dragons, mo’ problems this season. And don’t even ask about her love life — conquering Westeros is a full-time job: “Being a leader, being a queen, doesn’t leave very much time for romance.”
Thomas Brodie-Sangster admits Jojen Reed may not have all the answers he seems to as he continues to lead Bran Stark behind the Wall. “I think he has snippets, thoughts and visions and things, and just has a feeling and knows that he has to get Bran to fulfill his destiny … whatever that is. It’s still fairly hazy.”
Gwendoline Christie dodged queries about what’s in store for Brienne’s relationship with Jamie Lannister, whom she dragged across half of Westeros and possibly developed feelings for in the process last season. She says adjusting to life in King’s Landing will keep Brienne plenty busy: “I can guarantee to you that this season, she is truly tested in a variety of ways, and sometimes with comic consequences.”
But it’s the show’s impact on the real world that she’s grateful for. “People have responded so warmly to the character of Brienne, and I think all the women in ‘Game of Thrones’ are much loved — what brilliant, well-rounded, complex characters with real depth. I hope it leads to greater empowerment for women, and I hope it leads to greater parts for actresses.”
The speed of television production has turned up the heat on series creator George R.R. Martin about his next “A Song of Ice and Fire” novel’s progress. “They’re writing 60-page scripts; I’m writing 1,500-page novels. So if we write the same number of pages per day…” he trails off.
But in the end, “The books are the books, and the show is the show, and they’re the same characters, the same story, but they’re different, too.”
For season four, Martin says fans can look forward to another “enormous battle at the end” directed by Neil Marshall, who handled season two’s Battle of the Blackwater. There is also another wedding — “that’s also a huge scene with a lot of elaborate sets” — but he says the real challenges for the show are the sheer scale of his series and juggling all the storylines.
And when it comes to character deaths, the Red Wedding gave pause to a man otherwise seemingly unafraid to kill his darlings.
"I skipped over it," he said, while writing “Storm of Swords." "It was a lot easier to write Joffrey’s wedding than it was to write the Red Wedding. The Red Wedding was the hardest thing I ever wrote.”
The fourth season of “Game of Thrones” begins Sunday, April 6, at 9 p.m. on HBO.
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