Entertainment & Arts

Game of Thrones premiere: Cast 'emotional' as they head for finale

Sophie Turner and Kit Harington Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sophie Turner and Kit Harington were among the stars attending the premiere

Stars including Sophie Turner and Kit Harington traded Westeros for LA, as the seventh season of Game of Thrones received a gala premiere on Wednesday.

Phones were banned as the first episode of the penultimate series was screened at the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, said the cast felt "very emotional" at the prospect of the show ending.

"It feels like a death in the family [but] it's also exciting, and liberating," said the British star.

(Scroll down to see newly-released photographs from the seventh season)

Sophie Turner Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sophie Turner said the rest of the cast felt "like family" after seven series
Gwendoline Christie Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gwendoline Christie, who plays the warrior Brienne of Tarth, gave off ice queen vibes on the blue carpet

Emilia Clarke - who was absent from the premiere, due to filming commitments on the forthcoming Han Solo film - has also talked about the stress of concluding the series.

"I get sleepless nights over it," she recently told Elle Magazine. "The higher everyone places the mantle, the bigger the fall. I don't want to disappoint anyone."

Among the other stars walking the blue carpet on Wednesday night were Alfie Allen, Conleth Hill, Liam Cunningham, Gwendoline Christie and Maisie Williams.

There was also a surprise appearance from British actor Joe Dempsie, who has been absent from the series since since 2013.

It has not yet been confirmed whether his character Gendry, the illegitimate son of King Robert Baratheon, will return to the show this year.

Joe Dempsie Image copyright Rex Features / Shutterstock
Image caption Joe Dempsie was a surprise addition to the guestlist - but it has not been confirmed whether he is returning to the show
Kit Harington and Rose Leslie Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Real-life couple Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Rose Leslie (Ygritte) walked the blue carpet together

The forthcoming season, which adds Jim Broadbent to the cast, returns on 16 July.

It is airing later than its usual springtime slot, after production was delayed to shoot more scenes in the snow.

The cast, who are already used to hardships on set, said they had had to endure bitterly cold conditions for this series.

"Belfast is never not cold," Isaac Hempstead Wright, who plays Bran Stark, told The Hollywood Reporter. "That's the first thing I learned when I arrived, my first day on set - my first day ever on a film set.

"It was a beautiful day in a forest, but it rained all day, and it was muddy, and I remember coming home and telling my mum that I didn't think I could do it. But we've grown accustomed to the chill."

Alfie Allen Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Alfie Allen smiled a lot more than his character Theon Greyjoy does
Jacob Anderson and Maisie Williams Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Jacob Anderson and Maisie Williams were there to drink in the first episode
Richard Dormer Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Richard Dormer, who plays Beric Dondarrion, had fun at the show's after-party

The seventh series of Game of Thrones fulfills the prophecy that "Winter is coming" - and with it, the Night King's army of the undead, and the promise of all-out war.

As the premiere took place, HBO released new images from the show, providing a few clues about the storyline - including Daenerys's return to Dragonstone, and Meera Reed meeting up with the Night's Watch.

The pictures also offer a look at the large painted map of Westeros that featured prominently in a trailer for the season.

"Enemies to the east, enemies to the west, enemies to the south, enemies to the north," said Lena Headey's character, Cersei, during the video. "Whatever stands in our way, we will defeat it."

An eighth and final season is planned for either 2018 or 2019 - but there are already talks of spin-offs and prequels.

Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption What is the purpose of the map?
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Brienne of Tarth (Gwendoline Christie)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Lyanna Mormont (Bella Ramsey)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Meera Reed (Ellie Kendrick)
Game of Thrones season 7 Image copyright Helen Sloan / HBO
Image caption Eddison Tollett (Ben Crompton)

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on 16 July and will be simulcast at 02:00 BST on Sky Atlantic. It will be repeated the following evening (17 July) on Sky Atlantic and Now TV.

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