Fantasy fans hailed Game Of Thrones as “the greatest franchise out there” as they arrived for the first day of an inaugural convention celebrating the show.
thers said they had “not hesitated” in buying tickets for the convention after it was announced earlier this year.
The event is the first Game Of Thrones convention to be officially licensed by HBO, and is taking place at the Los Angeles Convention Centre from December 9-11.
Hundreds of fans, some dressed in cosplay outfits, queued outside the venue for over an hour before doors opened for the first panel on Friday.
The weekend is set to feature memorabilia auctions, costume competitions and panels featuring cast members from both Game Of Thrones and its recent spinoff, House Of The Dragon.
Franchise stars Kit Harington and Paddy Considine are among the famous faces expected to attend the event.
As well as flags from the famous houses, the exhibition centre featured a large model centrepiece of the skull of Balerion the Black Dread.
Ahead of the first panels, fans said they hoped the convention would be “the first of many”.
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Jonathan Rodriguez, 25, told the PA news agency he had fallen in love with the franchise as soon as he had read it.
“It’s absolutely amazing. The storytelling, it can’t be beaten. It’s the best show out there, you’ve got to come and support 1000%,” he said.
“It’s the first one today, hopefully the first of many…it’s going to be awesome.
He continued: “Before this I don’t think I fell in love with any show to the point where I was watching and looking up every single little detail.
“The moment I started watching Game Of Thrones I got enveloped in books, games, YouTube videos – everything humanly possible.
“I watched and read everything I could because the lore of this story is amazing. Better than Marvel, better than DC, better than Lord Of The Rings – I said it and I meant it.
“It’s the greatest franchise out there.”
Mr Rodriguez, dressed as Harington’s character Jon Snow, attended the convention with his girlfriend, Jenna Weir, 23, and their two friends.
For others, the event was a family affair.
Caity Cahalin, 24, attended the convention with her father, John Cahalin, 56, saying she could not believe it was finally happening.
“It’s been really planned out, we’re so excited. We can’t believe this is an actual thing that is happening,” she told PA.
“I bought the tickets the second I saw them on sale, did not hesitate and was like ‘dad we’re going’.”
She continued: “The escapism is a big part of it to me and how fleshed out the universe is and how different it is from every other medieval or fantasy storyline – the morally grey aspect of it.
Mr Cahalin added: “For me it’s just daddy-daughter stuff, this is how we bond.”
“We’re so excited, we’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. It’s here.”
Brennan Kelly said he was glad that HBO was “finally getting on it” by organising the convention.
“I’m excited because this is the first officially licensed one – you had the other knock-off ones but this is the official one so it’s very cool,” he told PA.
“I’m glad HBO is finally getting on it – because the convention scene is huge and when they get it under control it’s going to be ridiculous, it’ll be awesome.”
The first panel of the convention featured an interview with House Of The Dragon star Tom Glynn Carney, who plays King Aegon Targaryen II in the series.
The actor sheepishly admitted that prior to getting the significant role in the spinoff, he had not seen the popular HBO show.
Other panels over the weekend are expected to feature appearances from Jake Gleeson, who played the villainous Joffrey Baratheon, Alfie Allen, who played Theon Greyjoy, and Kristian Nairn, who played Hodor.
Nairn, who aside from his acting career is a popular DJ, will also be hosting a dance party for fans on Saturday evening.
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