'Game of Thrones' Takes Over Tower of London for Season 5 World Premiere
Stars Kit Harington, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Natalie Dormer turned out as did HBO CEO Richard Plepler and Jeremy Darroch, CEO of European partner Sky.
Game of Thrones took over the Tower of London on Wednesday night as the popular tourist site hosted the hit drama's season 5 premiere.
It marked the first time that a new season of the HBO fantasy series has gotten its world premiere in Europe.
Sky Atlantic, the network of pan-European pay TV giant Sky, in which Rupert Murdoch's 21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake, hosted the red-carpet gala in the British capital. Sky is HBO's pay TV partner in Western Europe and airs Game of Thrones across its markets in the U.K., Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy.
Among the stars turning out for the world premiere and after-party were Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Natalie Dormer (Margaery Tyrell) and Mark Gattis (Tycho Nestoris) who is also a writer and star of Sherlock. Top executives in attendance were led by HBO CEO Richard Plepler; Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch; Sky's director, entertainment channels, Stuart Murphy; Gary Davey, Sky's managing director of content; and Zai Bennett, director of Sky Atlantic.
Plepler and Darroch spoke before the screening of the season 5 opener, with both touting Game of Thrones as "a global phenomenon."
"For us in the United States, it has become the most watched show in HBO's history," Plepler said. "Its archetypal themes of love, war, power and revenge transcend any particular time or place, which is why I think the show resonates so deeply and engages so many millions of people around the world."
He also lauded the show's "breathtaking" cast, calling it "one of the greatest ensembles in the history of either film or television." He asked the actors in attendance to stand, to much applause, and quipped that "35 extraordinary actors, some of whose characters met an untimely death, but most of whom live to fight another day, are here tonight."
Plepler also lauded "the preternatural talents" of show creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss, explaining that "unfortunately, they couldn't be here tonight because they are working tirelessly to complete this season, but they did want to say a word to all of you."
A video message from the two then unspooled. Benioff said the two were stuck in L.A. but hoped everyone would enjoy the season premiere and the event. Weiss called the Tower of London "the Throniest location" the two could imagine and warned the audience to "keep your hands off the Crown Jewels," which are on display at the Tower.
"Also in absentia, we would be remiss not to pay tribute to the man whose stunning imagination created the world that have given us all so many countless hours of addictive entertainment," Plepler then continued. "The master craftsman, who started it all, Mr. George R.R. Martin."
Darroch had opened by lauding the "huge success" of Sky Atlantic, which Sky launched in the U.K. in 2011. The network is the exclusive home of first-run HBO programs in Britain and Ireland.
Darroch also welcomed colleagues from Sky operations in Ireland, Italy, Germany and Austria after late last year buying Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia from 21st Century Fox. He touted the growth outlook for the enlarged company.
Earlier in the day, the iconic Iron Throne from Game of Thrones arrived in central London and was lowered via a crane into the moat of the Tower of London. It was on display at the premiere for invited guests, who could pose with the throne for pictures.