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Westeros is the premiere fansite for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Discuss the series on the forums, browse our resource collections, read about the TV series from HBO and play the MUSH, to name just a few of the things we offer.

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Collected entries from Westeros: Updates, All Sorts of Weird Stuff: News and Blood of Dragons: Announcements.

2017 A Song of Ice and Calendar Announced

George R.R. Martin’s “Not a Blog” features the announcement of the the anticipated 2017 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar.

As noted by GRRM’s assistant Raya Golden, French SF/F artist Didier Graffet (for those keeping track, that’s the third French artist whose work will grace the calendar series, joining Marc Simonetti and Magali Villeneuve) will be handling art duties this time around. Graffet’s work has been featured in several past editions of Spectrum, and has been a nominee for the World Fantasy Award while also winning the Ravenheart award at the 2013 David Gemell Legend awards.

We’ve known about Graffet’s involvement since last year, but never had a chance to see any of the works in progress so this first look at the cover is quite impressive! Raya’s post also features another, unrelated piece of art to give a taste of what’s to come. Graffet’s website features an extensive gallery of his work, for those who want to see more.

 

Stat Modifiers

We have just completed a modification to the CharGen which means that stat increases and stat decreases are no longer a one-off addition to or reduction from your stat pool. Instead, they are persistent percentages, just like skill increases and decreases. They also apply to single stats rather than stat groups.

To give an example, if a player used to have a Stat Decrease: Physique, they had their pool of Physique points reduced by 5% in CharGen. Now, the flaw will be modified so that their Physique pool is untouched in CharGen but instead they will have a permanent -10% to one of the stats in their Physique pool. This will display the same way on their sheet as skill modifiers do today.

We will start by changing over currently unplayed characters, then we will either approach active players who are affected or ask players to input +jobs with how they want these changes done on their characters.

This change is the first of a few planned CG changes which we hope may make it possible to implement Tier Advancement.

New Season 6 Promos

Today, HBO’s official Game of Thrones Twitter announced the start of a new promotion for the upcoming sixth season of Game of Thrones with this intriguing tweet:

And the masses did just as they asked, flooding the account with their allegiance. What followed were three, individualized tweets whose responses included a very brief teaser video with voice overs from actors Iwan Rheon (Ramsay), Jonathan Pryce (the High Sparrow), and an unidentified actor playing a Dothraki. We’ve embedded these three responses below:

The Staff Situation

As you know from his post, Damphair will stepping back for the foreseeable future. He will remain on Staff, but his active involvement will be highly limited. This has raised the question among players whether we plan to recruit or open applications for new Staff. The short answer is no, we have no such plans at the moment. We’ve never entertained applications for Staff and we don’t feel that is the right way to go about things. We have always kept the possibility open of asking additional players if they are interested, but at the moment we do not have any such candidates in mind. We have a good number of experienced players, but we know from experience on other games that this is not the only important factor in putting together a functioning Staff team.

Now, the reality is that this will mean we are somewhat understaffed, in particular when it comes to GMing scenes, which was something Damphair has been doing a fabulous job of for years. It is an area which neither myself nor Balerion excel at; our MUSH backgrounds involve minimal exposure to GMing, as either players or staff. Given this, that is an area which will see less staff involvement for the moment. Instead, we will be focusing on trying to cut back on the +jobs queue as well as looking at some larger projects that we would like to finish in time for the 10-year anniversary of the beta opening this autumn. These projects include some CharGen changes (how ambitious these can be depends on whether we feel that we can leave existing CGed characters with a different setup than future CGs; not in terms of numbers, but in terms of some of the written parts), the reputation/renown system, further house expansions and maybe (a very big maybe) the combat system. As we are quite unlikely to do the same kind of coverage of Season 6 of Game of Thrones as for past seasons, we won’t be as swamped during the show period as previously, though keeping the website from going down with some regularity will undoubtedly still take extra work.

When it comes to plots, we are working on some long-term timelines for both areas, with the Dornish one being the furthest along so far. For King’s Landing, we have some canon events to build around, but we need to work on some more solid details. Considering the lack of a dedicated GM on Staff, we would certainly like to see more plot proposals from players willing to take the lead on such projects. However, we do have to stress that one reason we’ve been hesitant about this in the past is that we’ve often found that the requisite updates have been very hard to get out of players afterwards; any larger plots need submissions for Tidings and for the Chronicle, Events for any CDB NPCs that are used and so on. But players who are willing to step up and run plots with these requirements in mind are more than welcome to submit proposals.

We’d also like to ask players to help us with the process of getting the +jobs queue shortened; make sure to check your +jobs regularly to see if we’ve submitted notes asking for additional information or any other kind of feedback. Its much easier to get a particular +job finished up if once we start working on it the responses come in fairly quickly. And if you do have any outdated +jobs that should be closed, do add a note letting us know that this is the case.

If you have any questions or comments, do let us know. For example, is there anything really major we’ve missed in our list of potential projects for the year? And should we put out a guide/rulebook for GMing on the game and what should it contain?

Game of Thrones Premiere Date, Renewal News

The TCA’s winter press tour is in full swing, an as usual it’s proved a bounty of information concerning Game of Thrones as executive Michael Lombardo spoke with press. As expected, the sixth season of the series will premiere on April 24th, starting at its usual 9PM Eastern time, to be followed by the premiere’s of the comedies Veep and Silicon Valley.The Hollywood Reporter provides further news of note, as well: HBO’s negotiating for two more seasons of the series, taking it through its 8th season.

As James Hibberd notes, this is news from Lombardo was hinted at last year when he said showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss saw the show running “two more years after six”. However, Lombardo apparently went a step further when discussing these plans when he indicated a full 7th season was not expected. Last year, following the remarks, both EW and we ourselves speculated that this could mean Benioff and Weiss were perhaps allowing for an extended, split 7th season,  to take the show through its 8th year. After all, this has been a common solution at networks to keep a popular show on the air for as long as possible. Now there’s the spectre of the 8th season being a full season in turn, or perhaps it, too, might be split across two years to take the show into 2019.

And it must be said, though we do fully expect the 8th season (whether it’s season 8 in 2018 or season 8a followed by by 8b in 2019) will be the show’s last, it’s worth noting that none of these reports indicate that Lombardo named it the final season. What to make of that? It doesn’t really mean anything, given negotiations are still in the work. but HBO’s executives have previously made it sound like they’d be happy to see the show run for ten years, so perhaps they’re keeping their hopes alive. It will be interesting if the official announcement of two more seasons makes any statement about the end of the series.

Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Limited Edition

Subterranean Press, one of the premiere small publishers in the SF/F world, has been noted for their handsome limited editions of George R.R. Martin’s works—not just A Song of Ice and Fire, but also books such as Dying of the Light and Fevre Dream—has stepped once more into the breach by producing a limited edition of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. Featuring Gary Gianni’s gorgeous artwork from the wide release—but augmented by new end-papers, richer paper and binding, and eight of the interior illustrations presented in color (as shown here)—the lettered edition sold out immediately (doubtless fueled in part by the fact that the books would be custom bound, a first for Subterranean), while the limited edition of 750—priced at $295—is still available.

For the die-hard fans of GRRM, the Dunk and Egg novellas, or Gary Gianni’s work, this seems like a genuine must-have!

GRRM Updates Status of The Winds of Winter

As George sometimes does at the close of a year, he set to writing a long, contemplative post listing down notable personal events for the previous year. Unlike these other times, however, that long post was lost to the ether thanks to an apparent glitch with Livejournal. Dispirited, GRRM said he’d try to give a “Cliff’s Notes” version of his post afterward, and over the past day he’s done so. For many fans, of course, the primary topic of interest was the status of the highly anticipated sixth novel in the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, The Winds of Winter.

George’s final post in his “Cliff’s Notes” round up of the past year was indeed on The Winds of Winter, and it was a long and frank discussion of what’s happened in the novel. The brief version is that while GRRM aimed to finish by the end of the year, the deadlines for getting the book out in time for the sixth season of Game of Thrones have come and gone. He believed at the start of the year he could finish by Halloween, and that was incorrect; he also believed in August that he could finish by January, and that too was incorrect.

GRRM describes in some detail why the progress has been fitful at best, and admits that the pressure of a specific deadline (something he eschewed with his novels prior to “A Song of Ice and Fire”) proved a particular burden, and so going forward he intends to write without a specific deadline in mind—it will be finished when it is finished, and not before. He notes there are dozens of chapters completed, and hundreds of pages done, but “there’s also a lot still left to write. I am months away still… and that’s if the writing goes well.”

At the end, Martin tackles the elephant in the room, whether season 6 of Game of Thrones will “spoil” the novel. The answer? “Yes and no.” He explains in some detail that the show’s many divergences will mean that there’ll be events and characters depicted that will be very different—perhaps entirely different—from his own plans, and he includes a lengthy list of characters who are dead in the show who live on in the novels, and another lengthy list of characters who have never appeared on the show, all of whom may have important roles to play in the novels. It seems clear that the novels and shows will continue the trend of diverging significantly from one another.

The post closes (besides a small post-script confirming that this was his last “Cliff’s Notes” post), with the following:

“Meanwhile, I’ll keep writing. Chapter at a time. Page at a time. Word at a time. That’s all I know how to do.”
The Dance of the Dragons Animated

Well, this is a surprise: one of the features on the Game of Thrones Season 5 Bluray will be a 20 minute animated feature on the Dance of the Dragons (or, as the show would have it, the Dance of Dragons), the brutal civil war two Targaryens over the Iron Throne following the death of Viserys I. Recounted in detail in our own The World of Ice and Fire, as well as in part in GRRM’s “The Princess and the Queen”, it’s an event full of murder, battles, betrayals, scheming, and (of course) dragons.

IGN has the exclusive first look at the feature, with a section narrated by Pedro Pascal (aka Oberyn Martell) describing the Battle Above the Gods Eye between Prince Daemon Targaryen and his nephew Prince Aemond. And beyond his participation, IGN notes a number of other departed actors pitch in:

“Also contributing their voice work are Kerry Ingram, who played Shireen Barathon; Harry Lloyd, who played Viserys Targaryen; Mark Addy, who plays Robert Baratheon; Michelle Fairley, who played Catelyn Stark; and Jack Gleeson, who played Joffrey Baratheon.”

That certainly sounds like something to look forward to. The bluray set hits shelves on March 15th.

Holiday Gift Guide

With the holidays fast approaching, we thought that there might be some who are scrambling for last-minute gift suggestions. And what better way to give some suggestions, than to share what we’d give to various characters from A Song of Ice and Fire?

Arya

Far away from home, Arya could use something to help her find her way back to Westeros… so how about The Lands of Ice and Fire map collection?

 

LEGO for Adults: McFarlane Iron Throne set

While I’m still a fan of comics in general, I stopped collecting years ago. But back in the day, I remember some particular moments from those days (we’re talking—gulp—25 years ago now), as a kid in middle school trading comics with friends (we’d gather on a hillside besides the athletic field and swap comics around; got to the point that a teacher volunteered to run an after-school comics club), going to Adventure Comics in Monterey (right near the Monterey Bay Aquarium!) with my brother and father to get the weekly fix. One significant name in that time, among many significant creators who I admired, was Todd McFarlane. His fame initially came from his artwork, especially on Spider-Man. Then he was a founder of Image comics, championing creator-owned mainstream comics (and, eventually, non-mainstream stuff, giving a home to, most notably, The Walking Dead).

McFarlane would go on to diversify his interests, and one of those would be McFarlane Toys. When word came out earlier this year that McFarlane’s company had received a license to produce Game of Thrones products, it was not a surprise: McFarlane Toys has often been on the cutting edge of pop culture properties; the aforementioned The Walking Dead has been a big success for them, by all accounts. Dark Horse and Funko and threeZero hold licenses for various figures… but McFarlane Toys has had real success with its construction sets, basically thematic “LEGO for adults” that helps fans recreate in miniature places and scenes from their favorite shows.

This is all a long-winded way to saying that courtesy of McFarlane Toys, we received a copy of the Iron Throne Room Construction Set, and below we’ll be discussing some of its particulars!

Discussing The Mystery Knight

After a long delay in continuing our series of videos discussing the Dunk & Egg novellas collected in A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms. This episode discusses “The Mystery Knight” in detail:

One big note of apology: as we started filming rather spur-of-the-moment, and as I’ve gotten a little bit rusty, forgot to check that the focus was absolutely perfect ... and so half the video is, alas, a bit fuzzy. Won’t happen again, but for those who find it problematic, feel free to consider it a podcast while you browse the web!

 

 

Season 6 Teaser

HBO’s now released a teaser for the next season, although it’s made up of material from previous seasons… except for voice overs at start and at the end, I believe:

The first lines are obviously Max von Sydow as the last greenseer… and we’re quite sure that’s Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran at the end.
Dark Horse’s Brienne and the Hound

Our friends at Dark Horse occasionally send us some of their Game of Thrones-licensed products for review, and we’ve had the pleasure of highlighting them over the last few years. The most recent arrival was particularly apropos, though, because in the package we had not one but two figures: 8 inch figures of Brienne of Tarth and the Hound. These are just two entries in what must be well over a dozen figures now in these series of high-quality sculpted figures, but I admit to being always particularly drawn to the armored figurines because… well, I’m fond of most of the show’s armoring!

After the grim, ugly duel between the characters in “The Children, it’s hard not to think about that scene when I placed these figures together. The detail of their armor and even their weapons—Oathkeeper’s hilt is particularly intricate—is excellent, and the Hound’s posture captures quite a lot about them. I’m particularly fond of the way that these figures use a sort of rubber for flexible details like the lower half of the Hound’s brigadine or Brienne’s gambeson.

Also quite impressed with the fact that the Hound’s visor can actually pivot up and down; it’s a very nice touch. If there’s any criticism to be made, I’ll admit that find Brienne’s face not terribly reminiscent of Gwendoline Christie. It’s a bit too lean—Christie’s she’s rounder-cheeked and the outfits she wears on the show deliberately pushes under her chin to give her a heavier appearance than she has in reality. The hair could have stood to be rather messier, as well, I think, to capture the often-unkempt appearance she has on the show. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t quite match some of the other figures in facial representation, such as the remarkably good Hodor and Bran which is a great representation of Nairn and Hampstead-Wright as those characters.

The Brienne and Hound figures are already available, with a new wave of figures coming this month, including Jorah Mormont, another example of Dark Horse’s fantastic way with the armor on the series.

Game of Thrones Returns in April

Despite speculation that HBO’s schedule has pushed season 6 of Game of Thrones into early May, brand new billboards put out by HBO in Los Angeles and New York reveal that the show will air in “April”. Given that the new Martin Scorsese show, Vinyl, will run into April as well, it looks like the sixth season will begin airing on the final Sunday in April, April 24th.

See below for a couple of images of the billboard, along with the tweets from those who shared them on the social media website:

Osuna Hosts Game of Thrones Museum

The town of Osuna, Spain, which Linda and I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year for the official release of the translation of The World of Ice and Fire, featured in last year’s filming when its bullring served as Daznak’s Pit.

While there’s no sign the show filmed there again this year, the town is quite proud of its involvement in the series and has decided to dedicate two rooms in the Museum of Osuna to a collection of Game of Thrones materials. This permanent exhibit will officially open on November 28th, and will contain a unique assemblage of materials. Of particular note is a collection of photographic and video footage related to the behind-the-scenes experience of filming at the bullring, providing a glimpse at the role of the town and its people in facilitating the production which lasted seventeen days.

Below, we’ve provided a translation of Osuna’s press release regarding the museum:

Following intense preparation and collection of material related to Game of Thrones, which filmed part of its fifth season just over a year ago in the bullring of Osuna, on November 28th the Museum of Osuna will inaugurate two permanent rooms dedicated to Game of Thrones and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, encapsulating just what filming of such a production has meant for the Ducal town of Osuna and its international recognition.

 

The Ice Dragon Lands Next Week

The grand finale to Telltale Games’s first Game of Thrones game, an episode titled “The Ice Dragon”, is due to hit PC, leading consoles, and leading mobile devices simultaneously on November 17th. This simultaneous release is a first for Telltale, and as we noted previously they made the very first episode available for free on the iOs platform to mark the occasion.

At the same time, Telltale has now released a bevy of new images from the final episode—images which in some cases may be a bit spoilery. In fact, in their official post about the release, they indicate that the decisions in this final episode will be momentous enough that users are likely going to want to replay the finale to try out different decisions and see the ultimate results.  We’ll place the screenshots below, below the cut, to avoid spoilers!


A Look at the Noble Houses of Westeros

Running Press, a publisher specializing in gift books and associated collectible “kits”, has turned its attention once again to the Seven Kingdoms with its latest book:Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros.

A small but handsome, well-made volume using heavy paper stock, the 160 pages within it are devoted to a very brief overview of eleven significant noble families that have featured in the series since its inception, from the Starks and Lannisters and Targaryens all the way to more recent notable such as the Boltons and Freys. This is not really intended as a very informative book, of course: each house section gives a glimpse at the family’s seat, a brief family tree with some remarks on the fates of members living and dead, and photographs of the performers (most of them Helen Sloan’s fine work, but also stills from Macall Polay, Paul Schiraldi, and more.)

 

Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Video Series

After a very long absence from recording new videos at our Youtube channel, we’ve finally mustered time to resume! We’ve decided to start off with a series of videos discussing A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, and intend to have about four videos in total. The first video we released a couple of weeks ago, and it focuses on the first of the Dunk & Egg stories, “The Hedge Knight”:

And after a bit of a delay, we’ve just published our latest video, focused on “The Sworn Sword”:

Reviewing the Game of Thrones Steelbook Set

Courtesy of HBO and HBO UK, we’ve received copies of the new Steelbook collections of Season 1 Season 2 of Game of Thrones.

Besides a lovely new packaging inspired by the famed opening credits of the series (the first two sets feature a Stark-themed Winterfell and a Lannister-themed King’s Landing, and the next two sets will feature the Twins and the Wall when they are released; it’s worth noting that the central sigils also double as refrigerator magnets!), the chief draw is that the set will feature a brand new audio mix utilizing Dolby’s Atmos techology. This is an evolution from things like Dolby TrueHD, taking the audio experience in some very interesting directions. Although Atmos is quite new, and it may take awhile for there to be wide use of Atmos-capable speakers (particularly upwards-firing speakers designed to bounce sound off a ceiling to help create verticality, which spare home theater enthusiasts the cost and difficulty of mounting speakers on the ceiling), it’s worth noting that the Bluray of course also works with TrueHD and will play just fine on non-Atmos 5.1 or 7.1 audio systems.

 

World of Ice and Fire App Goes Global

At last, the Android version of the A World of Ice and Fire app, published by Random House as the official reference app for the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series, is finally available in all international Google Play stores! Linda and I have worked with Random House, filling it with much of its content (besides our entries, there’s also a good deal of art!). And on top of all that, the app contains a number of the chapters from The Winds of Winter which George R.R. Martin has previously revealed to the public.

The Android version of the app is named “Game of Thrones Guide” for search engine reasons, but it’s the same app as the iOs A World of Ice and Fire, simply on a different platform. Downloading it is free, and includes the TWoW samples, but additional content covering all the books in the series are an in-app purchase. Do give it a look!

UPDATE: Despite our understanding that it is rolling out globally, and not just in the U.S. and a few other areas, it seems it’s not actually out everywhere just yet. At least one report from India of it being unavailable there. We’re checking with Random House about the timeline to see it rolled out everywhere, but we will say we were reminded of this fact because it was now available in Sweden where it hadn’t been before.

Telltale’s Game of Thrones Finale Due November 17th

Telltale Games has announced a November 17th release date for the final episode in their Game of Thrones adventure series, and to mark the occasion Telltales has made the first episode free on the iOs platform, as well as Android, XBox, and Playstation platforms. Telltale Games notes on their official blog that this final episode, titled “The Ice Dragon”, will be the first Telltale Games episodic installment recieving a same-day release on all available platforms; previous installments tended to role out over two or three days.

Finally, Telltale has put together a video featuring some of the Game of Thrones cast members—specifically Emilia Clarke, Natalie Dormer, and Iwan Rheon—who’ve lent their voices to the game:

Westeros on BBC Radio 4

For those interested in the wider topic of fictional universes and the fans that adore them, we’d be remiss not to note that BBC Radio 4’s Ben Hammersley leads a program on that very topic. Among the universes? That of “A Song of Ice and Fire”, of course, and Linda and I are quoted therein. For those who’d prefer to read the gist of it all, however, the BBC Magazine has a brief piece drawn from the radio program.

We’re told that a somewhat longer version of the program may appear down the road, as it was made up of a number of long interviews (I believe ours ran for about an hour in total).

Skin Trade Optioned

As revealed by George R.R. Martin at his “Not a Blog” site, his award-winning novella “The Skin Trade” has been optioned by Cinemax—sister company of HBO—and a pilot script is being written by writer and producer Kalinda Vazquez. Vazquez’s experience includes working as a staff writer on Prison Break, and as a producer on shows such as Nikita and Once Upon a Time. “The Skin Trade” is a well-regarded horror novella by Martin, featuring a cowardly werewolf and a no-nonsense detective who are drawn into a supernatural investigation. As Martin remarks, there always seemed to be potential for a TV series in the basic concept, and he notes that the creation of his Doorways pilot was an unexpected result of his pitching “The Skin Trade” as a TV show back when he was a screenwriter for television.

Also noteworthy is the fact that this deal with Cinemax is cited as being partly due to the efforts of Mike the Pike Producttions, who optioned the novella almost six years ago. Sometimes it’s a very long road forward for literary properties. As GRRM indicates, it’s no certainty that it will go into production at this time, but it’s a big step forward.

Game of Thrones at New York Comic Con

New York Comic Con is presently under way, and it has featured a bevy of notable Game of Thrones content—not least a panel with actors Natalie Dormer, Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Finn Jones where they dicussed their roles on their show and offered some hints of what was yet to come. Here’s a video of the proceedings, courtesy of Emergency Awesome:

The convention was also filled with Game of Thrones-licensed memorabilia, figures, and more. Our friends at Dark Horse Comics revealed a number of their upcoming releases, including a resin statue of the Night’s King, a Varys figure, and this extremely impressive limited edition depicting Daenerys and Drogon from season 4. We have a review sample of that particular piece, and the size of Drogon crouched on its base is quite remarkable!

Also featured at the convention were McFarlane Toys, who will be releasing their mini-figure sets next year. These will come in “Blind bags”, meaning that collectors will buy bags containing random figures (or, if they’re really dedicated, they can go for whole cases of figures)—not unlike the Funko blind bags of mini-Pop! figures. However, McFarlane Toys is going beyond this to also create suitabel dioramas where one can display these figures, as with the Iron Throne set, or special add-on sets like the Stark and Lannister banner construction kit. Or this upcoming “Attack on the Wall” diorama, featuring a giant:

 

The Hedge Knight Approaches

A little over a week ago, we had the pleasure of revealing some exclusive artwork from the forthcoming
A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
collection compiling the three Dunk & Egg novellas set in the past of Westeros. That book is now set to be released exactly one week from now, on October 6th.

However, we thought we’d note that it’s not just the book-proper that will be available: an audio book is also waiting in the wings. What’s particularly interesting about this one is that the book features a narrator who we believe has never read any of the ASoIaF material previously, the actor Harry Lloyd. Best remembered by Game of Thrones fans for his first season role as Prince Viserys, Lloyd’s a talented actor who has appeared in a number of film and television projects, including Wolf Hall, Manhattan, The Theory of Everything, and more. Linda and I had the pleasure of meeting him and joining him for dinner last year in Stockholm, and we can only say that we know he’ll provide a fantastic performance. Certainly, the preview at Amazon sounds excellent!

Game of Thrones Popular at the Emmys

This Sunday, the Emmy Awards were handed out, and Game of Thrones (and HBO in general) proved very popular. The show tallied up a total of 12 wins this year at the Emmys, handily breaking the 9 win record set by The West Wing set in 2000. While eight of those awards were in the Creative Arts categories, the show carried four major awards at the Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor for a visibly-surprised Peter Dinklage,  Outstanding Director for David Nutter and “Mother’s Mercy”, Outstanding Writing for David Benioff & Dan Weiss for the same episode, and the big one, Outstanding Drama. Coincidentally, Sunday was also George R.R. Martin’s 67th birthday, so it was quite the present.

Critics and pundits would weigh in on the results, such as Alan Sepinwall for HitFix, James Poniewozik for the NY Times, and Andy Greenwald for Grantland.

Exclusive: The Art of A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms

Courtesy of Random House, we’re happy to present a few never-before-published examples of Gary Gianni’s artwork for the forthcoming A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, a collection of the three “Dunk & Egg” novellas which introduced fans of A Song of Ice and Fire to the eponymous characters and their adventures in the Targaryen-ruled Seven Kingdoms almost a century prior to the events of the novels.

Gary Gianni needs very little introduction for anyone familiar with comics or SF/F illustration, but suffice it to say he’s one of the great illustrators working today, famous for his renditions of characters such as Solomon Kane and Conan the Barbarian from the oeuvre of Robert E. Howard, as well as his well-known eight-year run on the venerable Prince Valiant comic strip. He also provided the art the 2014 A Song of Ice and Fire Calendar. For A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, Gianni actually insisted on producing a tremendous number of illustrations rather than just doing one or two per story, with the end result being over 160 new pieces of art. By way of comparison, our own The World of Ice and Fire had over 170 images! You can see a selection of the art for the book below:

Game of Thrones at the Creative Emmys

For those keeping track, Game of Thrones has added to its bevy of Creative Arts Emmys: nominated fo 16 awards, it took home 8 of them. Bear in mind, in some of those categories there were several Game of Thrones entries, most notably the Cinematography in a Single-Camera Series category which featured six nominees, four of which were from Game of Thrones (HBO sister show Boardwalk Empire‘s season 5 premiere actually won there, however).

This continues the show’s tremendous run in creative arts and production categories, which is understandable given both the expense, the complexity, and the terrific amount of talent involved behind-the-scenes in producing the visuals, effects, stunts, and more. With the 2015 Emmys, the show has been nominated for 88 awards so far, of which it has won 19 so far. More Emmys are pending for the Primetime Emmy awards airing on the 20th, while FXX will broadcast last week’s Creative Arts Emmys on the 19th.

For the full list of Emmy nominees, see here.

Spanish Publisher on Winds of Winter

The publisher of the A Song of Ice and Fire series in Spain, Alejo Cuervo (who is also an editor, bookseller, and a genuine lynchpin of SF/F fandom in that country) caused a bit of a stir when remarks he made in an interview made the rounds. In brief, the news reports indicated he had “confirmed” the publication of The Winds of Winter in 2016. However, it bears noting that his actual words indicate something different: that the intention or plan is to publish it in 2016, but then he admits that there’s the possibility that something unexpected (a meteorite, in his example) could happen to prevent it from happening.
This is not, exactly, news: George R.R. Martin’s reduction of his touring schedule and various statements he has made indicate that he, too, is hoping to finish the book for release next year. It’s no shock that plans at publishing houses the world over are being formulated with this aim in mind. But it bears repeating that while optimism is a good thing, the fact is that until the book is actually finished, no one can give a confirmed publication date for the book. When will we know it’s done? GRRM will tell us so.

Until then, stay optimistic, but don’t take a 2016 date as being set in stone. The book needs to be done first, and right now it isn’t done.

On a related note, Alejo invited us to Barcelona to present The World of Ice and Fire in the Gigamesh store (one of the finest SF/F bookstores in Europe) and is Osuna, and we had some terrific conversations with him. Frankly, if the Locus Awards were genuinely a global award, Alejo and his Gigamesh publishing company could well be considered among the best genre publishers around. We were amazingly impressed by the genuine devotion to producing (or bringing into translation) the best science fiction and fantasy available, and the stories of Alejo Cuervo’s efforts to forward fandom and the genre in Spain were eye-opening. We’ve been swamped of late, but one of the first videos we plan to make when we get back into it will be about our journies this past year promotiong The World of Ice and Fire, and we’ll have a lot to say about Alejo, Gigamesh, Barcelona, and Osuna.

Max Von Sydow Joins the Cast

As Variety reports, the venerable Swedish actor Max von Sydow—the list of credits for the actor is very long indeed—is taking over the “three-eyed raven” role originated in the fourth season by Struan Rodger. As Variety notes, much like the Ian McShane casting, this role is relatively brief in screen time, but it will be important—in his case, Sydow’s role will be described as a “major” one.

Given that Isaac Hempstead Wright has admitted he’d be back for season 6 after a 1 season hiatus, it looks like we’ll be seeing how Bran has gotten along beneath the weirwood with his new mentor.