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Banners proclaim Beirut's support for Jon Snow.

Summary: With grand armies set to converge in battle in Westeros, a group of friends in Beirut is not standing silent.

BEIRUT: With grand armies set to converge in battle in Westeros, a group of friends in Beirut is not standing silent. "The people of Beirut support Jon Snow in his battle against the White Walkers," a banner atop an overpass Monday night proclaimed. "May God protect you, Jon Snow," another read.

Snow is set to ride into his last battles in the final season of "Game of Thrones," HBO's wildly popular fantasy series, which premiers April 15 at 4 a.m. Beirut time.

Along with the king in the north will be his aunt-cum-lover, Daenerys Targaryen, the mother of dragons. The two joined forces - among other things - in the show's previous season.

One major question surrounds the choices of the posh Cersei Lannister. She received a public plea on a third banner in Beirut: "Cersei Lannister, be smart; our strength is in our unity." The banners say they were put up by "Friends of Faysal Timrawi," a Lebanese architect.

"It's only for fun," says Timrawi, whom The Daily Star reached by phone minutes before he jetted off to Jordan. "We've been waiting for two years for the final season."

The show, a new episode of which aired last on Aug. 27, 2017, has tortured fans who are used to a quicker production schedule for the TV series than for its book version, which author J.R.R. Martin is still toiling away on more than 20 years after he started. "I'm not alone. It's the best series ever," boasts Timrawi, who says he and three friends had put up the banners.

The messages of public support for Snow echo a similar show of solidarity as four years ago, when (spoiler alert) the hunky hero was killed off in a breathtaking moment of betrayal.

A picture of Snow, accompanied by lit candles, appeared in Martyrs' Square, paying homage to the departed. The reason for the grief was short-lived, however, as Snow sprung back to life in the next season.

This year's displays of Beiruti affection for Snow have not been universally welcomed. At least one of Timrawi's banners was taken down by unknown assailants shortly after being put up.

Timrawi and Co. subsequently put up another poster: "The White Walkers took down the banners ... but we will not be silenced."

"What I meant by the White Walkers is the regime," Timrawi says. "I don't understand why they removed it."

Interior Minister Raya El Hassan did not respond to a question about whether anyone under her ministry had taken down the banners.

She also did not respond to an inquiry into whether the state had taken a position on the battle between Snow's forces and the army of the dead. For his part, Timrawi says his group has not given up the good fight. "We will decide Thursday what's the next step," he vows.

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Publication:The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)
Geographic Code:7LEBA
Date:Apr 10, 2019
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