‘Game of Thrones’ season premiere crashes HBO Go, prompts Twitter fervor

April 07, 2014 | 2:25 p.m.

“Game of Thrones” returned to HBO last night and the 8th kingdom of Twitter took notice.

Arya (Maisie Williams) turns pottery into a lethal weapon. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

Arya (Maisie Williams) turns pottery into a lethal weapon. (Helen Sloan/HBO)

The fourth season premiere of the sprawling fantasy series adapted from George R.R. Martin’s bestselling novels delivered blood, guts and Valyrian steel to its devoted fan following — an average of 6.6. million total viewers turned in to watch the episode, according to Nielsen, giving HBO its biggest audience since 11.9 million viewers watched the finale of the mob drama “The Sopranos.”

There was so much demand to watch the premiere online that the network’s online streaming service, HBO GO, crashed. Technical difficulties aside, it was a sweet homecoming that included a number of memorable moments — anyone who has not yet seen the episode might want to stop reading now.

Among the highlights? Arya proved herself in battle alongside the Hound; Daario (now played by “Nashville” actor Michiel Huisman) continued his overt flirtation with Daenerys even as the Mother of Dragons faced the fact that her children are lethal and possibly beyond her control; and Shae, angry at Tyrion for his rebuffs and for wedding Sansa Stark, confronts her former lover in a heated moment. As for the other Lannister siblings, Jamie and Cersei, they might now be reunited, but the prospects of a rekindled romance seem slim.

Meanwhile, Jon Snow, standing before a disciplinary counsel at Castle Black, admits to laying with a Wildling girl, at which point blind sage Aemon Targaryen deadpans that if the Night’s Watch “no sex” rule was enforced, the Wall would be protected by lots of headless bodies. Also, Pedro Pascal’s Red Viper made his debut with a tawdry sequence in a brothel.

Among the more interesting reactions to Sunday’s episode was the support that seems to have cropped up around Jack Gleeson’s sadistic lad-king in the form of a #TeamJoffrey hashtag.

Some people are rooting for him (Maybe ironically? It’s hard to tell.) while others long for his death.

One thing is certain, more carnage will be coming to “Game of Thrones.”

“Characters will get killed off, characters who have never met before start to come together, and this massive world that George Martin created in his books is now going to start to become slightly less massive,” said David Benioff, who along with D.B. Weiss created “Game of Thrones” and serves as an executive producer, in an interview with Hero Complex.

Daario (Michiel Huisman) talks strategy with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Daario (Michiel Huisman) talks strategy with Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke). (Macall B. Polay/HBO)

Think you know who will be next to die? Leave your thoughts in the comments section and check out what other fans had to say in the collection of tweets below:

— Margaret Wappler | @MargaretWappler

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