Maisie Williams and Jack Gleeson continue Game of Thrones stars’ love affair with the UAE

Maisie Williams as Arya Stark in Game of Thrones. Courtesy OSN
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One-by-one, the cast of hit TV show Game of Thrones are dropping in on the UAE for high-profile public appearances.

The fantasy drama continues to be one of the hottest offerings on the small screen and its stars are happy to spread the love in the UAE.

Two of the stars are making glitzy media appearances in the country this week alone.

Tonight (October 12), Maisie Williams, who plays Arya Stark in the blockbuster HBO series, will walk the red carpet at OSN’s season-launch bash, hosted at Dubai’s MusicHall on Palm Jumeirah, after attending a press conference for the event earlier in the day.

And this weekend Irish actor Jack Gleeson – best known as villain Joffrey Baratheon – will appear at the IGN Convention Abu Dhabi, the capital’s first pop-culture and gaming convention, which is at Du Forum on Friday (October 16) and Saturday (October 17).

Next month, celebrity strongman Hafthór Björnsson will follow suit. Known for playing Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in Game of Thrones, the 2.06 metre-tall Icelandic athlete has reportedly been booked as the star attraction at the forthcoming Etisalat Fitness Fest, which will take place at Dubai Autodrome from November 5 to 7.

These latest appearances follow the visit of another fellow cast member, Miltos Yerolemou, known to Game of Thrones fans as sword master Syrio Forel, to the Middle East Film and Comic Con in April.

While his character only appeared in season one of the show, the Greek-Cypriot actor is known for teaching Williams’ character some serious swordsmanship – the same skills Yerolemou shared with fans during the event at Dubai World Trade Centre.

Since its premiere in 2011, Game of Thrones – based on the best-selling series of novels by George R R Martin – has grown into one of the world's most-popular TV dramas, attracting an internationally devoted fan base. The UAE, where it screens on OSN, is no exception. The fifth season ended in June and season 6 is expected to begin in April next year.

Williams will be joined in Dubai tonight on the red carpet (October 12) by The Mask of Zorro star Antonio Banderas, as well as regional celebrities including Arabs Got Talent judge Ahmed Helmy, Saudi YouTube sensation Omar Hussein, and actors Hayat Al Fahad and Abdulmohsin Al Nimer. The event will be hosted by popular Egyptian satirical comedian Bassem Youssef.

This weekend (October 16-17) Gleeson will be joined during the IGN Convention at Du Forum by video game and animation voice-over artists Adam Harrington (Bigby Wolf in The Wolf Among Us video game) and Dave Fennoy (Lee Everett in The Walking Dead game).

This flurry of Game of Thrones activity tops an action-packed week for the UAE's film and TV industry, which is currently enjoying the heady buzz of the continuing Dubai shoots for upcoming blockbuster Star Trek Beyond, and the Jackie Chan movie Kung Fu Yoga. Brad Pitt is also expected this month for filming on his latest movie, War Machine.

The IGN Convention, which runs from 2pm to 10pm on Friday and Saturday (October 16-17), also feature gaming tournaments, a cosplay contest, regional artist showcases, workshops and concerts.

For tickets and more information on the IGN Convention visit ignconvention.com/ad

rgarratt@thenational.ae