Westeros

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain

Digest

Collected entries from Westeros: News, Game of Thrones: News and Blood of Dragons: Announcements.

A Game of Thrones Enhanced Digital Edition

Random House have just announced that the first in a series of digital, enhanced editions of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series has been released exclusively for Apple’s iBooks.

Featuring new cover art, numerous illustrations, enhanced maps, sigils, a glossary, and detailed annotations to provide a richer experienced for readers, and to help guide new readers through the dizzying number of characters and locations in the novels. As it happens, Linda and I have known all about this for awhile, since we’ve worked with Random House and Apple on the project—it’s been a really interesting, often very complicated, project!

There’s a lot more information, so here’s Random House’s press release. A tip, however, for those who simply can’t wait and read through it all: if you have iTunes installed, make sure to visit Apple’s launch site for an exclusive video interview with GRRM about the novels and the project, which features some really cool animation:

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Thrones at the Emmys
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This year’s Emmy Awards have concluded and the results featured a few surprises in the acting categories, but the overall picture was as expected for Game of Thrones as it secured a total of 12 Emmys, tying last year’s record. Besides repeating for Best Dramatic Series, the show received direction and writing awards for “The Battle of the Bastards”. The shut out in the acting categories goes against prevailing opinions among entertainment pundits and journalists, but it seems that while the voting constituency (rule changes in 2015 are a big part of why Game of Thrones is now dominant in the drama category) loves Peter Dinklage, his puzzled reaction to last year’s victory moved the voters away from him and instead saw them return to an old stand by (Maggie Smith) and a long-time veteran (Ben Mendelsohn) over the remaining Game of Thrones nominees.

Some notable remarks followed the Emmys when interviewers asked the showrunners about the future of the series and the possibility of sequels. According to the Hollywood Reporter:

“You might want to ask George about that. It’s a great world George created and a very rich world,” said Benoiff. “I’m sure there will be other series set in Westeros, but for us this is it.”

Martin quickly stepped up to the mic: “I do have thousands of pages of fake history of everything that led up to Game of Thrones, so there’s a wealth of material there and I’m still writing more. But at the moment I still have this show to finish and two books to finish, so that’s all speculation for now.”

Benioff’s remark reiterates that he and Weiss are done with showrunning for the forseeable future when Game of Thrones wraps up, which is no surprise, but it seems that discussions at HBO are at the point where he seems to have no doubt that some sort of follow-on project is likely. On the other hand, as GRRM says, it all remains speculation until HBO is ready to lock something in. We suspect it’ll be a year or two before we hear of any firm plans for a spin-off series drawing from The World of Ice and Fire or A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms.

Westeros.org Redesign & Restructuring

We are currently in the process of a long overdue website update. You have undoubtedly noticed that the layout has changed (and continues to fluctuate somewhat) and we are also reorganising the site somewhat. For our regulars, we wanted to provide a brief overview of what we’ve done so far and what we plan to do within the coming weeks.

We have more or less completed a transition to a more responsive design. There are still elements that do not work on mobile, such as the fixed navigation at the top of the screen and various images, but we’re working to try and sort these problems out. We have also removed the All Sorts of Weird Stuff section of the site; you will now find news at http://www.westeros.org/News/ instead.

Relating to the removal of All Sorts of Weird Stuff we are working on creating a new Gallery at http://www.westeros.org/Gallery/ which will merge the contents from All Sorts of Weird Stuff and the Citadel. We are also creating a new home for the book reviews at http://www.westeros.org/Books/. While we are setting up these new sections and moving data around, you may run into broken links and other problems, but hopefully this won’t take us too long.

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Illustrated Edition Preview

Vanity Fair has a brand new interview with series editor Anne Groell regarding the soon-to-be-released A Game of Thrones: The Illustrated Edition due to hit shelves next month. The interview also includes a gallery of ten images from the book—some which fans will have seen before, but also a number of new pieces by Magali Villenueve, Levi Pinfold, and Arantza Sestayo. The interview goes into some detail of how Groell and Martin have each worked with artists to develop the artwork Random House has commissioned over the years… and of course also touches on the as-yet-unknown release date of The Winds of Winter.

Check out the interview, and let us know what you think of the featured artwork!

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Game of Thrones Election Results
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HBO’s fun Game of Thrones promotion, pitting a number of characters as candidates in a fictional presidential election, concluded with over 1.6 million votes cast… 35% of which went to Jon Snow and his very popular running mate, Lyanna Mormont (there appear to be no minimum age requirements for the presidency of the Seven Kingdoms). To honor the occasion, an official campaign song from the band Valyrian Steel (fictional moniker of Kyle Gass, John Spiker, and John Konesky of Tenacious D), has been released on Soundcloud:

The GoT Party website has all the details of the results, as well as links to various videos made as part of the promotion.

Daario’s Ladies are Coming

Valyrian Steel, who have created a range of officially licensed replica swords and other items based on both the books and the TV show, have announced a new replica weapon—or two of them, rather—based on the A Song of Ice and Fire books. Daario’s Ladies are a recreation of the notorious arakh & stiletto set worn by the equally notorious Daario Naharis. Designed with input from George R.R. Martin—meaning that we now know what an arakh is supposed to look like—the swords come with a certificate of authenticity personally autographed by GRRM. The set will be produced as a limited edition of 5000 pieces where each item will be engraved with the edition number.

  • Blades: Stainless Steel
  • Lady Parts: 24k gold plating, matte finish, antique wash.
  • Hilt: Cast metal, antique brass plating
  • Plaque: Silkscreened fiber board. Includes mounting hardware.
  • Arakh Blade Length: 33 1/8 inches.
  • Stiletto Blade Length: 12 1/4 inches.
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Preorders for Daario’s Ladies open on the 27th of August and the estimated shipping date is late Winter or early Spring 2017. The price for the set will be $350.

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Game of Thrones Concert Tour
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The recently-announced Game of Thrones concert has expanded to a full-on tour across North America, and we have the full details—including all 28 locations (including 3 Canadian concerts)—in the press release below the cut. We can provide fans who are interested a special pre-sale code thanks to HBO and Live Nation, as well, for those who want to get their tickets sorted out as early as possible! If you’re interested, just follow this link, select the venue you’re interested in, go through the seating and ordering process, select the “HBO Fans and Family” option and use the code GOTTOUR when prompted for the promo code. This will get you access to the tickets now rather than waiting for the general sale date on Saturday!

See the full details on the concerts below, and don’t forget you can order the Season 6 soundtrack!

Wild Cards Series in Development

Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has some exciting news for fans of the Wild Cards series: Universal Cable Productions (the studio behind shows like Mr. Robot, The Magicians, Battlestar Galactica, and more) has acquired the rights to adapting the series to television. Development work begins immediately, with Melinda M. Snodgrass (an originator of the Wild Cards series, and GRRM’s right-hand so to speak) attached to executive produce alongside Gregory Noveck.

Interestingly, GRRM notes that due to his development deal with HBO, he will not be working on the series.Of course, he cautions that as with all things, development is never certain to produce a series. Finally, Martin notes that he’s pretty sure that no matter when the series takes place, if it goes forward Croyd Crenson (“The Sleeper”, a beloved character created by the late, great Roger Zelazny) will almost certainly make an appearance.

Finally, it seems that there’s some fluidity in what the potential series will draw on from the many, many novels spanning decades. Martin asks fans to share their thoughts of which characters they’d like to see on the screen in the comments section of his post.

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Happy Birthday, "A Game of Thrones"

20 years ago today, the first book in a new fantasy epic was released. Its rather striking-looking hardcover, with a silver-foil wrapper embossed with a throne, made a decent but hardly spectacular debut. Two decades later, it is a different story altogether.

When the anniversary edition of A Game of Thrones is released this autumn (October 18), it is likely to sell as well as everything else does these days that is connected to A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones.

GRRM has posted about the book’s long journey on his livejournal and in the post he also gives some information about the upcoming anniversary edition. To quote:

An anniversary like this requires something special, something more than just a reprint and a new novel. This new edition will be very special, I think. Same story, of course. But we’ve added an introduction by the World Famous Nebula Toastmaster John Hodgman… and a truly astonishing amount of artwork… a total of seventy-three (73) black and white interior illustrations, and eight (8) spectacular full color plates. Some of the artwork is drawn from the Ice & Fire calendars, from The World of Ice and Fire, and from the card and board games and RPGs… but forty-eight (48) of these pieces are completely new, never-before-seen artwork.

Make sure to check out the rest of GRRM’s post, not the least as he includes two of the art pieces, one of them a brand new image of Bran and Hodor.

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HBO Confirms Eighth Season as Last
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The TCA press tour is taking place, where network executives talk with reporters about their programming, and of course new HBO programming head Casey Bloys has fielded questions regarding Game of Thrones. As Variety’s live blog notes, there’s two major take aways.

First, Bloys confirmed that the 8th season of the show would be its last, although like other HBO executives he says he would be happy to get 10 more seasons. Many fans have assumed the 8th would be the last, given statements from Benioff and Weiss, but this is the first direct and explicit confirmation.

Second, Bloys remarked on the possibility of a “spin-off” so long as it “makes sense creatively.” What that means, exactly, is anyone’s guess, but certainly many HBO watchers and commentators have noted that it would be very logical for HBO to commission some sort of spin-off to hold on to at least some part of the show’s audience (averaging 25 million viewers per episode across all delivery methods) at a time when HBO’s upcoming programming has a lot of question marks floating around it.

Other, smaller details to note are that the late airing of season 7 (as we’ve previously reported) will mean that that season will not be in contention for the Emmys, and because of that late start it seems likely that The Leftovers will be scheduled to fill in that Spring-early Summer period.

T-Shirts from the HBO Store
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We’ve gone through the HBO Store’s current selection of Game of Thrones t-shirts and picked out a few of the newer releases for your perusal. After all, who doesn’t need a set of t-shirts for summer (even one that reads “Winter is Here”)?

We particularly like some of the new designs incorporating house sigils, such as this Stark, Targaryen and Lannister shirt, and of course everyone needs a Hodor shirt.

Comic Con Exclusives at the HBO Store
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Don’t fancy fighting through the hordes of fans at Comic Con to get a look at some of the exclusive Game of Thrones merchandise launched there? Don’t worry, the HBO store has limited quantities of the exclusive products on sale.

If you want to take home your very own giant, albeit in a more portable format, the Mag the MightyFunko Pop might be just the thing. Or, if you prefer a smaller trio, there’s an exclusive Funko Dorbz 3-Pack featuring a White Walker, Joffrey Baratheon and the Hound.

Should you like something more substantial there’s also the metallic silver Night King bust. Just keep it hidden in case you play the Game of Thrones: Clue with the exclusive Expansion Set and someone is a sore loser.

Blu-ray and DVD Details Released
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The Game of Thrones Season 6 Blu-ray and DVD set is due to hit shelves on November 15th (with digital HD available sooner on August 1st). HBO has finally revealed the contents of the the sets, and there’s quite a lot of interest—particularly a great deal of matter relating to the Tourney at Harrenhal. Quite interesting!

Here’s the full details below:

New York, N.Y., July 18, 2016 – Last year’s Emmy® Award winner for Outstanding Drama Series and currently nominated for 23 2016 Emmy® Awards including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Writing, Outstanding Directing Outstanding Supporting Actress (Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams) and Outstanding Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington), Game of Thrones is bigger than ever delivering “the power and pathos fans have come to expect” (Los Angeles Times).  The HBO drama has consistently been the top selling TV on DVD/BD for the past five years and now fans can get the most recent season earlier than ever when Game of Thrones: The Complete Sixth Season debuts from HBO Home Entertainment on Digital HD on August 1, 2016 and on Blu-ray™ with Digital HD and DVD November 15, 2016. The set features all 10 episodes, plus extensive bonus content:

 

Game of Thrones Filming This Summer
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HBO has sent out a press release concerning the 7th season of Game of Thrones, confirming several details—most notably the total number of episodes for the season, seven—that have come out over the last weeks. The press release is below:

The Emmy®- and Golden Globe-winning series GAME OF THRONES will begin shooting its next season later this summer, it was announced today by Casey Bloys, president, HBO programming. Production of the seven-episode seventh season will be based in Northern Ireland, while additional portions will be filmed in Spain and Iceland, with debut slated for summer 2017 on HBO.

        “Now that winter has arrived on GAME OF THRONES, executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss felt that the storylines of the next season would be better served by starting production a little later than usual, when the weather is changing,” said Bloys. “Instead of the show’s traditional spring debut, we’re moving the debut to summer to accommodate the shooting schedule.”

        Season seven directors will include Mark Mylod, Jeremy Podeswa, Matt Shakman and Alan Taylor.

        Locations for shooting in Spain will include Sevilla, Caceres, Almodovar del Rio, Santiponce, Zumaia and Bermeo.

        Last week, GAME OF THRONES received 23 Primetime Emmy® nominations, the most of any nominee for the third year in a row. This year’s nominations include Outstanding Drama Series, 2 for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington), 3 for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Maisie Williams), Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Max von Sydow), 2 for Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series (Miguel Sapochnik, Jack Bender) and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss).

        Season seven credits: The executive producers of GAME OF THRONES are David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Carolyn Strauss, Frank Doelger and Bernadette Caulfield; co-executive producers, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis, George R.R. Martin and Bryan Cogman; producers, Chris Newman, Greg Spence and Lisa McAtackney.

Game of Thrones: The Scavenger Hunt
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NOTE: Due to the overwhelming interest in the Game of Thrones Comic Con Scavenger Hunt announced earlier today, the process of selecting winners is being modified. Fans will now have until 5pm on Saturday, July 23, to complete all of the Twitter photo challenges. Once completed, they can go to USAopoly’s CLUE: Game of Thrones Experience Booth #1017 between 9:30am-5pm PT on Saturday to enter their name, contact info and Twitter handle into a raffle for a chance to win one of 15 prize packs valued at approximately $200.

HBO‘s Game of Thrones is going to have a big presence at San Diego Comic Con, as it has done in previous years. This year, they’ve added something new: a scavenger hunt for attendees, hunting around licensee booths for photo opportunities with some of the many licensed Game of Thrones products for a chance to win a nifty prize pack including games, toys, and more!

Full details in the press release below:

Planning our 10th Anniversary
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On October 1st this year, Blood of Dragons will have been open for 10 years since its beta opening in 2006. Of course, the game was founded much, much earlier than that and the full opening followed after about a year of beta, but we still consider this to be our anniversary date as it was the start of IC time on the game (Year 158, Month 1, Day 1).

We would like to mark the occasion in some fashion and we thought that we’d start off by saying that we’d love to see suggestions from our player base for what it might involve. We can’t promise that we’ll be able to use any of them, but we will certainly give them consideration. If you would like to contribute, use +mail in-game addressed to Nymeria and Balerion and with the subject “Anniversary Suggestions”.

The Doors of Northern Ireland
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This week, Linda and I will be featuring our visit to Northern Ireland last week as we toured the locations of the ten Game of Thrones themed doors that are scattered around the country, many of them in close association with noteworthy filming locations from the HBO series. We’ve already made our first post, introducing the series and the first of the two doors—you’ll find it here! We had a wonderful time, as can be expected—everyone was incredibly friendly, and we met some real characters along the way! The only thing more fantastic than some of the meals we had were the scenic landscapes, especially the coast of Antrim which is very justly renowned.

But more on all that in the days to come!

The Winds of Winter Episode Guide and Death Poll Result
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While Elio & I are enjoying the sights and flavors of Northern Ireland (courtesy of Discover NI)—we’ll be posting some of the adventure as we go along on our Twitter and Facebook page—those who watched the last episode of Game of Thrones can watch my review of “The Winds of Winter” in our episode guide. Here’s the review embedded below for the impatient!

As to the tenth and final death poll, we had many, many entries indeed. Lots of fans had a lot of correct guesses, but in the end among those we randomly selected one of our Twitter followers, @MidnightAnswers. Many thanks for all who participated! Maybe we’ll do this again next season, assuming there’s enough characters left alive to make it an actual challenge!

Game of Thrones Season 6 Soundtrack
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HBO is sneaking out the Game of Thrones Season 6 Soundtrack, which is due to hit shelves on June 24th for digital downloads, June 29th on CD, and as a 3-disc vinyl set on July 1st. This, despite a few days ago there being no sign of it on Amazon or other retailers. Quite the surprise!


But, notably, HBO and Pandora have teamed up to give a free preview of the album from June 21st (that’d be today) through June 24th. You can hear it yourself as an Exclusive Album Preview (provided you’re in one of the countries Pandora can stream to!)

Here’s the full track listing:

1) Main Titles
2) Blood of My Blood
3) Light of the Seven
4) Needle
5) Coronation
6) Feed the Hounds
7) My Watch has Ended
8) The Red Woman
9) Hold the Door
10) Khaleesi
11) Maester
12) A Painless Death
13) Reign
14) Let’s Play a Game
15) Bastard
16) Trust Each Other
17) Winter Has Come
18) Hear Me Roar
19) The Winds of Winter

Battle of the Bastards Guide and Death Poll Finale
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The episode guide for “The Battle of the Bastards” now includes Linda’s video review of the episode, plus HBO’s various video extras and more. We’ll embed the review below:

And as has been tradition this season, we’ve had a result (quite a lot of correct guesses, as you can guess) for our death poll on the forum for the episode! Congratulations to board member “Elaena Targaryen” who was one of the many to guess one of the major deaths!

This now leads us to the final poll for the season, for “The Winds of Winter”. This one’s special because we’ll open it to all three venues: our Facebook Page, our Twitter, and of course the ASoIaF Forum. And yes, this means you can enter three times, with three different guesses if you want, though only one guess per venue.

To enter, share a guess at a named, recurring character who dies in the season finale (sorry, “Bald Sparrow #4” doesn’t count!) Only one guess per person per venue. Also, no flashback character deaths need apply! To enter on our forum, join the forum and post to the thread about this post in the Game of Thrones News sub-forum. To enter on the Facebook page, follow us and post your guess in the page post about the final poll. Finally, to enter on Twitter, follow us and tweet your guess to @westerosorg while adding the hash tag #gotdeathpoll10. We’ll collate all the guesses and choose one random winner from those who guessed correctly!

Oh, and the prizes? Besides a choice between the A Game of Thrones 20th Annviersary Illustrated edition (note: not yet published) and the A Game of Thrones: The Board Game 2nd Edition from Fantasy Flight Games, Linda and I will also send a signed copy of The World of Ice and Fire.

Good luck!

No One Episode Guide and Death Poll Results
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Our episode guide for “No One” has now been updated with Linda’s review of the episode—including an amusing bit which we decided to leave in, when our dog Breeze decided to wander by and it wasnt’ clear whether he was going to demand some attention or not!—which we’ll embed below:

Besides that, we also had results with our 8th Death Poll, and have contacted the two randomly-selected winners who correctly guessed if any characters would die this episode, and named one of them correctly. This means we’re now launching a pentultimate ninth Death Poll for “The Battle of the Bastards, and this one returns to being exclusive to the A Song of Ice and Fire Forum.

Game of Thrones Steelbook Season 3 & 4 Released
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HBO has released Season 3 and Season 4 of its limited edition Steelbook Game of Thrones blu-rays, and they’ve kindly given us a look at these particularly interesting editions.

The primary difference between these and the regular Blu-ray sets are in the packaging, first, which was designed by Elastic (the same guys who brought us the famous Game of Thrones intro). This packaging echoes that introduction, but gives it a bit of style to transfer to this very 2D medium. Oh, and each one features a collectible magnet (the Frey sigil and a Night’s Watch emblem referencing a raven and Longclaw), which is a nice touch.

The other, and perhaps bigger difference, is the actual content of the Bluray. It has all the same material as the previous Bluray set in terms of featurettes and commentaries, but for those who are audiophiles it has a special treat: the episodes have been remixed to use Dolby’s Atmos system. For those who have an Atmos-compliant sound system, that means that when a dragon breaths a gout of flame, the Atmos decoder will be able to process that sound and place it spatially in a way that makes sense. Instead of a simple decision about “left”, “right”, “center”, Atmos speakers can direct the sound to “move” appropriately. It’s a bit hard to explain, but our review of the S1 and S2 Steelbooks may help give more of an idea. We didn’t have a chance to test these Blu-rays on an Atmos system this time around, but we’re going to guess an episode like “The Rains of Castamere” or “The Watchers on the Wall” are going to benefit quite a lot from the Atmos technology.

The Season 3 and Season 4 Steelbook Blu-rays are now out, both online and in retail stores!

The Broken Man Episode Guide and Death Poll Results
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Our episode guide for The Broken Man is now updated not only with a book-to-screen analysis but also HBO’s video extras for the episode as well as a rather earlier-than-usual written review of the episode. Unfortunately, the illness that hit me last week and prevented our mid-week A Song of Ice and Fire video has now hit Linda, leaving her without a voice and not feeling too well. So, no video review today, and maybe not for a couple more days. Our apologies!

In the mean time, we also had a fun result with the Game of Thrones death poll, as a few people correctly guessed whether anyone would die this episode. We’ve picked a winner—@mackarillo—and are now on to Death Poll #8! This is the Facebook edition of the contest. To enter, simply like Westeros on Facebook and make your guess as a comment on our post on the page about the contest. Acceptable guesses include a single, non-flashback named and recurring character, or simply “no one”. Multiple guesses will be discarded. Because the last Facebook contest failed to turn up any winners, we’ll select two winners if possible from a random draw of all those who offer correct guesses.

As to the prizes? Winners can choose either the Iron Throne Construction Set from McFarlane Toys or A Feast for Ice and Fire.

Good luck!

Fair Game Released
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After a number of delays and travails, the documentary Fair Game which examines the critical and media landscape surrounding HBO’s Game of Thrones has now been released on Vimeo. It’s not free—there’s a $1 digital rental fee—but if you’ve time (it’s just shy of 90 minutes) and are interested in the topic as discussed by interview and journalist Miodrag Zarkovic with a number of commentators including Newsday’s TV reviewer Verne Gay, Salon.com co-founder Laura Miller, NYU Professor Dana Polan, and more (including Elio García of Westeros.org and Stefan Stasse of the Boiled Leather Audio Hour), it’s well worth the time.

You can find out more at the website Internet Remembers!

Blood of My Blood Episode Guide and Death Poll Continues
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The episode guide for the latest episode, “Blood of My Blood”, has now been updated with the book-to-screen breakdown, video review from Linda, and more! We’ll embed the video below, for those interested—go on through to our Youtube channel for a breakdown of the segments.

Death Poll #6 managed to find a winner on our forum, Ruben de Coninck! This leads to Death Poll #7, and back to Twitter. The prize this time are either the Iron Throne Construction Set from McFarlane Toys, or a copy of A Feast of Ice and Fire! To enter, follow us on Twitter, and then tweet us your guess, including (this is VERY important) the hashtag #gotdeathpoll7. Acceptable guesses include a single, non-flashback named and recurring character, or simply “no one”. Multiple guesses will be discarded.

Happy guessing!

Balticon Reading Features New Winds of Winter Chapter

At Balticon, George R.R. Martin finished his highly anticipated reading where he offered fans one of three chapters to read: the “Sons of the Dragon” material from The World of Ice and Fire, and two chapters from The Winds of Winter . . . but one of those George has released previously, while the other was one that he had offered to read only once before and fans had turned it down. This time, they chose otherwise.

For those who are concerned about spoilers, won’t say anything more here, but you’ll find the discussion thread—with links to various reports—on the A Song of Ice and Fire forum. It even inspired some speculation from us!

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The Door Episode Guide and Death Poll Results
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The episode guide for “The Door” now contains HBO’s post-episode extras, as well as our book-to-screen breakdown and a video review of the episode. This particular episode proved extremely popular, looking at our traffic… and that likely has to do a bit with some of its major revelations. The video, which we’ll embed below, discusses those revelations in detail and considers what implications they have for the A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

In related news, we closed the death poll somewhat early due to the leak that took place earlier yesterday… and so, as it happens, absolutely no one correctly guessed whether anyone died and/or who died in the episode. This is the second death poll to have that happen! This means that the next time we do a Facebook poll (that would be for episode 8), there’ll be two winners chosen.

But on to Death Poll #6! This round of the Death Poll—which will be about guessing deaths for the third episode—will be open to our Forum members, so if you’re not already signed up you will need to get that sorted out to have another chance at winning. The prizes on offer will be the same as for the Twitter & Facebook rounds— will be a choice between the Dark Horse Deluxe Hodor & Bran figure and The Lands of Ice and Fire poster map collection. To enter, just find this post in the Game of Thrones News subforum and post your guess. Acceptable guesses include a single, non-flashback named and recurring character, or simply “no one”. Multiple guesses will be discarded.

Good luck!

Birth Control
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In light of the circumstances of Baelor’s reign, we feel that the game needs a clear policy in regards to the availability and effectiveness of birth control.

The primary form of birth control available is moon tea, which is a herbal remedy consisting of various plants such as tansy and pennyroyal. Properly speaking—as in, looking at historical examples—such a remedy is an abortifacient rather than a form of birth control. That is, it can cause a fertilized egg to be expelled but it cannot prevent the fertilization in the first place or affect ovulation. It is not strictly clear whether GRRM intends moon tea to function purely as an abortifacient or if he also imagines that in Westeros it can also prevent impregnation in the first place, but for the purpose of the game it is not strictly necessary to know. It does seem as if the most common usage is to drink moon tea after one suspects a risk of pregnancy, rather than to prevent one.

Baelor, of course, does not look kindly upon moon tea. Not only does it potentially allow for inappropriate behaviour but it also kills babies. Given this, selling moon tea or the ingredients needed for moon tea is not acceptable in King’s Landing. Anyone doing so risks fines or even expulsion from the city. Nobles will in some cases have access to maesters (though far from all houses will have maesters present in King’s Landing), but keep in mind that maesters serve a house and answer to the lord of that house. If the lord’s wife is trying to prevent pregnancy without telling her husband, she’s as unlikely to get moon tea from their maester as an unmarried daughter who is having an illicit affair.

The result of this is that if your character needs access to moon tea, you need to clear that access with staff as you cannot simply assume that it can be obtained. You will need to put in a +job, explain what you need the moon tea for and propose a way to obtain it. This holds true for characters in Dorne as well, even though it will be easier to propose an acceptable way of obtaining moon tea there as there are no strictures like those in King’s Landing imposed on Sunspear.

Furthermore, characters using moon tea will agree to use a random roll (exact format being worked on) on a monthly basis to determine whether it has been working or not. While we see that some characters put great trust in moon tea in the books, it is clear that it cannot be 100% effective since there are a good many bastards in the setting and far from all of them wanted.

Book of the Stranger Guide and Death Poll Results
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The episode guide for “Book of the Stranger” has been updated with Linda’s video review of the episode, as well as a book-to-screen analysis and a few of HBO’s extras such as the “Inside the Episode”. More content to come, and keep an eye out later this week when Linda and I will return to discussing A Song of Ice and Fire in a video that will be at least tangentially related to the events of the episode.

In related news, our fourth Death Poll received a result as well, as our Twitter followers made some shrewd guesses. Congratulations to @marisaog, as well as to @aimieyig since the first death poll had no winners.

This leads to the next poll, for “The Door”, which is once again for our Facebook followers once again. To enter, simply like Westeros on Facebook and make your guess as a comment on this post. One chosen winner will have a choice between the Dark Horse Deluxe Hodor & Bran figure and The Lands of Ice and Fire poster map collection.

New Sample Chapters

Over at his “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has reminded fans that his official website, georgerrmartin.com, is alive and kicking… and if it hasn’t been as updated as it could be, well, he’s been busy. That said, there’s a significant update today as George shares two new sample chapters. The first excerpt is from the 23rd Wild Cards novel, High Stakes. The excerpt comes from Ian Tregillis, who wrote the excellent Bitter Seeds (a dark take on superheroes during WWII) and whose latest book The Mechanical has received rave reviews as the start of a new trilogy in a world where alchemy works and where automatons are nearly human.

The other excerpt, of course, is a chapter from The Winds of Winter. It’s one he’s read before, so there have been scattered reports, but he’s never posted it directly to his website. Here’s how George describes its contents:

“You want to know what the Sand Snakes, Prince Doran, Areo Hotah, Ellaria Sand, Darkstar, and the rest will be up to in WINDS OF WINTER? Quite a lot, actually. The sample will give you a taste. For the rest, you will need to wait.”

(Coincidentally, Linda and I have returned to doing A Song of Ice and Fire videos between episodes of Game of Thrones, and we just happened to have made our first video a question of the political situation in Dorne in the novels, including information from the two relevant chapters from The Winds of Winter that George released. We’ll embed that video below. Specific discussion relevant to The Winds of Winter, and this excerpt, starts at the 32 minute mark)

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