By Rebecca Black and Michael McHugh
A central character of fantasy drama Game Of Thrones admitted suffering sleepless nights ahead of the final series.
Kit Harington plays Jon Snow, who has become one of the most influential figures in the fictional world of Westeros where the HBO programme is set.
Much of the show was shot in Northern Ireland and the eighth series had its UK premiere in Belfast on Friday evening.
“I am having sleepless nights about the whole thing, I really am,” Harington said.
“The last two nights I have slept really badly because I am just a worrier. I really hope we have done something that most of the people that follow this show, you cannot please everyone, that people will love. So I am nervous, but I am excited for people to see it.”
Sophie Turner, who plays the character Sansa Stark, wore a striking white Louis Vuitton gown on the red carpet.
She described saying goodbye to Game Of Thrones, which she has been a central star in for 10 years, as sad but also liberating.
“I’ve spent 10 years doing it, we have kind of created and really nurtured these characters and now it is time to fly the nest on to other things and leave that chapter of our lives behind, but of course it is sad,” she said.
Carice van Houten, who acted the controversial priestess Melisandre, had been unwell but made her appearance on the red carpet, describing the premiere in Belfast as the “most important one”.
“This is where the hard work was and this feels like a home show, and it’s with our friends and crew members who are half the show, it’s amazing what they did, so much hard work,” she said.
Responding to a question about a Press Association story which reveals her character had spent the most time nude of all the females on the show, Van Houten said she would be hesitant about doing that much nudity again.
“It was before I had my baby, it’s not my favourite thing in the world, but I think most of the time it helped the scene, and showed that she used her body as a weapon and not as much to do with sexuality,” she said.
“But if we had to shoot it all over again, I’m not sure if I would have been so easy with it.”
Dublin actor Liam Cunningham, who plays the character Davos Seaworth, said the New York premiere last week had been a “dry run” for coming back to Belfast.
“There are lots of cast here and crew we haven’t seen in a while so this is to say thank you to them for being so good to us,” he said.
“I’m trying to not think about it, (the end of Game Of Thrones), it’s a bit like I am emigrating in three days time but I don’t want to look in my mother’s eyes because I’m going, there is a bit of that, but I’ll do my weeping on my own.”
Cunningham hinted the eighth and final season will continue to be as challenging for viewers as the previous seven have been.
“Like life, some things don’t get resolved, some things do, that’s all I’m going to tell you,” he said.
Game Of Thrones has put Northern Ireland’s scenery on small screens in over 200 countries across the world and has proved a boon for the local tourist industry with scores of bus tours shuttling visitors around many of the filming locations on a daily basis.
The HBO show is estimated to be worth £30 million to the economy in the region, while Tourism NI estimates it brought 120,000 visitors to Northern Ireland in 2016.
The eighth season will be shown in the UK at 2am on Monday April 15 on Sky Atlantic, and repeated at 9pm.