Inside the "Game of Thrones" Epic Fan Experience

The highly anticipated debut of the new season of "Game of Thrones" is still almost two weeks away, but for 7,000 lucky fans last week, the world of Westeros was only a subway ride away.

On March 20, fans flooded into the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., for an early preview of the first episode from the fourth season, which will air on HBO April 6.

It was billed as the Epic Fan Experience, and many came dressed as their favorite characters from the HBO show.

One fan, Jeffrey Duke, dressed up as Robert Baratheon, the former king of Westeros. "The Baratheons in general are my favorite family," he said, "but being a larger guy, Robert's the one that I fit the appearance for. So had to go with the king."

Inside the Barclays Center, the fans got to see the actual costumes used in the show itself. Sarah Parker, who came dressed as Ygritte -- Jon Snow's love interest -- enjoyed gazing at the original costume right in front of her. "I absolutely love that I have the opportunity here to see these costumes," she said. "I mean, I love costumes and the show is just perfect for that."

For some fans, the show's appeal has a deeper meaning. Hannah Freiman explained, "As a fantasy-lover for a long time, it's always great to have a book with strong female characters." She attended the event dressed as Melisandre, who makes her first appearance in the second season of the show. Frieman believes that while Melisandre is "evil," she is still a strong female character and someone "exciting for nerd girls to have to look up to."

Kristian Nairn, the actor who plays Hodor, believes that this is one of the main reasons people love the show. Backstage he said that "Everyone loves fantasy and medieval hijinks but I think with 'Game of Thrones' it's not too outlandish. I mean they can see it happening in history, it mirrors some historical events, so it's kind of relatable for people."

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Author George R. R. Martin at the "Game of Thrones" Epic Fan Experience event, March 20, 2014.
Martin Couch
Also in attendance was George R. R. Martin, the author of the book series, "A Song of Ice and Fire," on which the show is based. He said he knew that he had a lot of fans, but was blown away seeing so many together in one place.

"It's pretty special. It's pretty amazing," Martin said. "Walking out there and having 7,000 people screaming is quite a rush."

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