8 things we learned about the new 'Game of Thrones' season from its premiere screening

Arya Game of Thrones Season 6Helen Sloan/HBOArya Stark (Maisie Williams) will have to fight blindness when season six arrives.

HBO threw a star-studded premiere screening for the sixth season of “Game of Thrones” in LA on Sunday.

It was the only chance for press to see the premiere episode ahead of its airing, as the network decided not to release early screeners to press, presumably to avoid spoilers and pirated copies.

Press at the screening were asked to hold their reviews and plot-point revelations until the episode premieres on HBO, according to Entertainment Weekly. But reporters and critics were still able to divulge their “general impressions.”

The main cast was present, but there were two obvious no-shows: Kit Harington, who plays Jon Snow, and writer George R.R. Martin, who wrote the novels the series is based on but which it has now surpassed in plot.

Here’s what we learned from the coverage that came out of the screening:

'Game of Thrones' shot an insane amount of footage for the new season.

Melisandre (Carice van Houten) is expected to play a large role on season six.

'We shot 680 hours of dailies, which translates to 3.7 million feet of film,' co-showrunner David Benioff said. 'We shot in five different countries -- Northern Ireland, Spain, Croatia, Iceland, and Canada. We employed 900 crew members in Belfast; 400 in Spain. We issued 140 script revisions. We two shot units a day for 22 weeks straight, three units a day for 10 weeks straight, four units for two weeks straight. And none of that would be possible without the greatest producing team on the planet.'

Source: EW

The story jumps right back into what happened at the end of season five.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) died on 'Game of Thrones,' but his story isn't over.

The action picks up right away, without any kind of time-jump. And the first episode is more fast-paced than usual.

Source: EW

Not every main character makes an appearance on the premiere.

Members of the Night's Watch at Castle Black on 'Game of Thrones.'

The episode does spend a lot of time at Castle Black, the primary headquarters of the Night's Watch. Jon Snow theorists certainly have a hunch about why that is.

Source: EW

That exciting season-six trailer is made up of scenes primarily from the first and second episodes.

This guy, a white walker, is expected to pose a major threat on season six of 'Game of Thrones.'

So, basically, this season is going to be as epic as you'd hoped.

Source: EW

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) has her new situation handled.

Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) finds herself among Dothraki strangers.

'She's still the Khaleesi, so she's going to trump anyone,' Clarke said at the event.

Source: USA Today

While Daenerys is managing Dothraki, who's holding her subjects together?

Helen Sloan/HBO
Varys (Conleth Hill) and Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) on 'Game of Thrones' season six.

'This season, Grey Worm has to learn the intricacies of politics and it's a different kind of leadership, other than fighting,' Jacob Anderson, who plays the head of Daenarys' army, told USA Today. 'There is a lot of tension in Meereen. The place is a mess. There's a lot to clean up and, at the moment, they don't have a queen.'

There are some truly unexpected things that happen in the premiere episode.

Helen Sloan/HBO

'Game of Thrones' is possibly the most analysed and discussed show on television right now, so it's hard to believe fans haven't imagined or predicted all the possible ways the show could zig and zag. But apparently, 'even hardcore fans full of speculation about the new season won't see some twists coming' in the season opener, according to EW.

The Hollywood Reporter said that 'numerous moments throughout the episode elicited gasps of shock, unexpected (and uncomfortable) laughter, and long moments of stunned silence' among the audience.

The Boltons are on top for now...

Helen Sloan/HBO

Although they lost Sansa Stark (Sophie Turner), they beat Stannis Baratheon and his army. But the reality of the situation is they have to look for stability.

'We need an heir,' Michael McElhatton, who plays Roose Bolton, told USA Today
. 'The main thing is the longevity of the house, above all.'

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