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Fans fill ‘Game of Thrones’ series finale watch parties in Las Vegas

Updated May 19, 2019 - 10:28 pm

Dozens ventured to a “Game of Thrones” watch party Sunday night near downtown Las Vegas, as millions watched worldwide, to see who would claim the Iron Throne in the show’s finale.

People dressed as Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow flocked to the Millennium Fandom Bar, 900 Las Vegas Blvd. South, to catch the series ending with other fans of the show. Other bars in the Las Vegas Valley hosted similar parties to celebrate the global phenomenon.

The series finale was broadcast simultaneously in more than 170 countries, and fan reaction on the internet was divided over the show’s conclusion.

Rotten Tomatoes, in a tweet, said the finale was rotten at 57 percent on its site Sunday night.

According to Vulture.com, the final season of “Game of Thrones” will be the series’ most-watched. The Season 8 premiere had 17.4 million viewers in the U.S. on the first day, including same-day streaming.

Observer.com reported that Season 8 was averaging 11.6 million live viewers per episode, a jump from Season 7’s 10.2 million mark.

HBO says the show averages a gross U.S. audience of 43 million viewers per episode. That’s a jump of more than 10 million viewers over the previous record of roughly 33 million viewers in Season 7, Vulture reported.

Millennium Fandom has hosted watch parties for each episode for the last three seasons of the show, said the bar’s owner, Alex Pusineri. Typically, at least 200 people arrive for the 6 p.m. showing and between 150 to 200 people show up for the 9 p.m. start time, he said.

A lot of people show up in cosplay, said Pusineri, who wore a shirt with the text, “That’s what I do. I drink and I know things,” a quote from fan-favorite character Tyrion Lannister.

JB Bustamante, 50, of Las Vegas, wore the black regalia and long black hair of Jon Snow. The outfit took him about an hour to put together, and there was nowhere else he’d rather watch the finale than among other fans of the show at the cosplay friendly bar.

Bustamante praised the show’s acting and writing, and was hopeful for a good ending. A fake sword on his hip, Bustamante was happy to see the show would have closure, even if he wished there were another few seasons to watch.

“I know that some folks are not too happy with this last season, you know, but I think with ‘Game of Thrones’ it’s always the unexpected,” he said.

It was a bittersweet occasion for Efrain Rodriguez and Terry Flores. Flores, who has watched the show since it premiered in 2011, isn’t sure what she’s going to watch now that the show was coming to an end after its eighth season.

“I wanna see who wins — who sits on the Iron Throne,” said Flores, predicting the victor would be Jon Snow or Daenerys Targaryen.

A friend of Rodriguez’s who had read the books had recommended he get into the franchise, Rodriguez said.

“I was like, ‘Sure, bro, I’ll get to it. I’ll get to it.’ Eventually I got around to it at the end of Season 1. Hooked immediately,” Rodriguez said.

Those who attend the parties take their viewings quite seriously, Pusineri said, adding that he would kick out those who talk too much. When Rodriguez attended a previous watch party at the bar, people were quick to shush someone trying to crack jokes during the episode, he said.

But it was all part of the appeal of watching it with fellow fans of the show.

“Just to gauge the reaction from other people to know that you’re not the only one in it as much as you are,” Rodriguez said.

Contact Mike Shoro at mshoro@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-5290. Follow @mike_shoro on Twitter.

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