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‘Game of Thrones’ director to headline fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston

Author: Ernest Luning - August 9, 2017 - Updated: August 9, 2017

This image released by HBO shows Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in the fourth episode of the seventh season of “Game of Thrones,” which aired Sunday, Aug. 6. (Macall B. Polay/HBO via AP)

The director of the most recent episode of “Game of Thrones”is set to appear next week via a remote video connection at a fundraiser for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston, the candidate announced Tuesday.

Matt Shakman, a college buddy of Johnston’s, is slated to answer questions from the former state senator’s supporters and fans of the HBO fantasy series at Parkside Mansion in Denver’s City Park neighborhood at 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, the day after the premiere of another episode Shakman directed.

Johnston raved about Sunday’s installment — called “The Spoils of War,” it’s the fourth episode of the show’s seventh season — in a Facebook post packed with exclamation points. Johnston pointed to a spoiler-filled review of the episode on the Vice website that called it “one of the greatest episodes in television history,” adding a “Wow!!” for emphasis.

“If you haven’t watched it yet, buy a Red Bull and watch it tonight,” Johnston enthused. “If you don’t watch Game of Thrones then call in sick for two days and watch all 6 seasons to give you context for tonight’s masterpiece.”

To top that off, Johnston noted, his close friend had also directed the next episode “so you will likely get to see the top two episodes in television history back to back.”

“I’ve been friends with Matt since we did one-man shows together in a 40-seat college theater, and he is clearly now one of the most talented directors working today,” Johnston said in a release announcing the fundraiser. (Johnston and Shakman both attended Yale University in the 1990s.) Adding that he and his wife, Courtney, are huge “Game of Thrones” fans, Johnson said the chance to talk about the show with supporters and one of its directors “was too great to pass up.”

Shakman is also known for directing dozens of episodes of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” as well as episodes of “The Good Wife,” “Mad Men” and “House.” His IMDB page says he also had a career as a child actor in the 1980s, capped with a starring role as Graham “J.R.” Lubbock, Jr., for two seasons in “Just the Ten of Us,” a spin-off of “Growing Pains.”

Tickets to Johnston’s fundraiser are $20 and are available on the candidate’s website.

He’s one of four Democrats running for governor in next year’s election, along with U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy and businessman and civic leader Noel Ginsburg. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne said last week she’s deciding whether to launch a campaign.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. For nearly a decade, he was a senior political reporter and occasional editor at The Colorado Statesman before the 119-year-old publication merged with Colorado Politics in 2017.