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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

Fans react to Game of Thrones S7

Fans globally are celebrating the return of the swords and sanguine series

Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark and Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister

Game of Thrones fans in Dubai joined in with millions of others around the world in celebrating the much-anticipated launch of Season 7, which debuted on OSN on Monday (July 17).

Dubai fans gathered in Festival City a few hours before the evening television premiere for a GoT themed show at the venue’s Imagine water projection screen attraction, which saw favourite characters and scenes projected on a huge scale on aquatic screens alongside pyrotechnics and a laser show.

“Not quite a Song of Fire and Ice, but close,” quipped Andy Roberts, one of those who attended the show before rushing home to catch the latest adventures, and misadventures, of the Lannisters, Starks et al.

Other global celebrations included an army of white walkers rampaging through London, the Iron Throne randomly popping up on various Canadian television shows in the days leading up to Season 7, and the Irish creation of a Bayeux-style tapestry telling the story of the show so far.

Elsewhere, reactions to the show itself were generally positive – 2.4 million tweets during the premiere itself made it the most tweeted-about Game of Thrones ever, and in terms of viewers, the show also smashed its own records domestically – its 16.1 million US viewers were up around 50 per cent on the Season 6 premiere. At the time of writing, the show had also achieved an elusive 100 per cent fresh score on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.

Fans weren’t left hanging around for the action to start – in the show’s opening moments, Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) slaughtered the whole of House Frey in a mass revenge poisoning, and straight away things were back to their blood-curdling best, and with outgiving too much away for those who haven’t caught up yet, things continued for the next hour or so in a similarly GoT-esque vein.

It wasn’t all positive however – Ed Sheeran’s much-discussed cameo (as some kind of minstrel, perhaps predictably) delighted some fans, but had the opposite effect on many.. Arya’s direwolf hopefully eating him in a future episode was a popular theme on Twitter.

Local fans we spoke to weren’t quite so negative, though his appearance did jar with some: “It just kind of didn’t fit in,” says Bella Biad, a Dubai-based school teacher. “You kind of invest all this time in the show and convince yourself these are real people over the series, then for a big pop star to just pop up, it just kind of ruins all that imagination.”

Pop star cameos are not new in the world of GoT. Previous seasons have included cameos from members of Coldplay, Dr Feelgood, Snow Patrol, and metal band Mastadon, but perhaps it’s the sheer scale of Sheeran’s current fame that made this appearance grate with fans compared to the relative anonymity of the previous ones (Coldplay are admittedly on a similar level of fame to Sheeran, but it was drummer Will Champion that appeared back in Season 3, rather than the instantly recognisable Chris Martin).

With episode one of the seven done, it’s a pretty safe bet fans will be flocking back to their screens for Episode 2 next Monday on either OSN Play and On Demand (5am) or at 11pm on OSN First HD – Home of HBO.