The new season of “Game of Thrones” already had its British premiere at the Tower of London and will have its North American premiere starting at 6 p.m. Pacific time on Monday at the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco. You can watch coverage from the red carpet below.
For the rest of us, the show doesn’t return on HBO until April 12. To those jonesing for some more dragon action, that can seem like a lifetime away — especially in terms of brutally short Westerosi lives.
But just because you can’t see the new season early, doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to prepare. If past seasons have taught us anything, it’s that the narrative of this HBO series is so densely packed and richly layered that any amount of additional information will allow the story to pass through us like a poison-tipped dagger of Valyrian steel.
Here are five ways fans can prepare for the coming of Season 5.
Play the “Game of Thrones” video game: Two episodes of this point-and-click adventure from Telltale Games have already been released, with the third to come this week. Rather than a re-creation of events depicted on screen in the series, this game follows the adventures of a member of the obscure House Forrester through an adventure that takes place concurrently with the events of “Game of Thrones'” third and fourth seasons. The first two episodes received high marks from game critics and provide a look at happenings in some other parts of the vast Seven Kingdoms.
Drink the beers: Brewery Ommegang out of Cooperstown, N.Y., has been creating special “Game of Thrones” beers since early 2013. With names like “Take the Black Stout” and “Valar Morghulis Dubbel Ale,” the beers provide a cheeky, but delicious, accompaniment to the action on screen. But after downing a couple, don’t expect to be the person to eloquently explain the difference between a Tully and a Walder-Frey to any of your viewing companions.
Don’t read the books: Seriously. At this point, they will only serve to confuse you. At an event last month, author George R.R. Martin revealed that this season, several characters would die in the series who did not die in the books. Conversely, he pointed out that several characters are alive in the series who died in the books. Either way, the television show is increasingly veering away from the plots of the book series. And with Book 6 nowhere on the horizon, it’s been stated by the series’ show runners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss that the TV show would actually start to spoil events not yet revealed in the books. With this kind of parallel timelines and uncertainty, why put yourself out? In the beginning, the books were great to flesh out the intricate family trees and alliances. But now, maybe it’s better to let the show stand on its own two feet. (Four, for the dragons, horses and Direwolves).
With one exception: On-screen events may change between the novels and the TV series, but the history of the Seven Kingdoms is essentially the same. And Martin’s extensive reference volume, “The World of Ice and Fire,” published last year, provides a wealth of maps, timelines, histories and family trees to peruse. It’s not about who lives and who dies with this book — most of the characters written about here are long dead.
Follow The Times’ coverage of the premiere: Don’t expect any spoilers from the red carpet chatter, which will also be live-streamed on Facebook. But it’s always fun to see the generally filthy denizens of Westeros and Essos cleaned up in their “street clothes” for a modern event. Times reporter Yvonne Villarreal is at the event; you can follow her updates here.
RECENT AND RELATED