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

Hints of Season 5 in HBO’s Year-End Video

As is traditional, at the end of each year HBO releases a year-in-review video which also then looks ahead to what’s coming next year. This year is no different, as at the 1:38 mark we get four quick glimpses of four of the show’s central characters: Cersei, Jon, Tyrion, and Arya. These are so swift that I’m not sure we’d consider them spoilerish… but just in case, lets just say there are spoilers:

EW on Arya’s New Costume

Over at EW, James Hibberd reveals a design for Arya Stark’s brand new costume for the upcoming season of Game of Thrones. With quotes from Maisie Williams, the article notes it’s a radical new design for Arya who has spent most of the past four seasons in androgynous clothing, and now has something a bit more feminine with which to blend in in the Free City of Braavos.

She also teases an upcoming scene, one that has to do with her previous clothing, which sounds like it may be drawn from a sequence in A Feast for Crows.

Gifts for the Holidays

With the holidays here, it’s time to start considering gifts for friends and family. And what better gift for a fan of George R.R. Martin’s work than something that appeals to their fandom? There’s many options out there, from books to toys to jewelry and more!

To help with some ideas, here’s a curated list of items we think any fan might enjoy:

  • House Plaques: They’re only available in the UK right now, but these house crest plaques from the Noble Collection look amazing: Stark, Lannister, Targaryen.

 

Talking the Art of the World of Ice and Fire

Over at Deviant Art, Aesara and Thelma—two fans of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels and the artwork that they’ve inspired— have begun a regular series, Illustrating Westeros, in which they talk with artists about their work in the setting. In a very special edition, however, they chose to talk to Linda and I about the artwork in The World of Ice and Fire. It’s a wide-ranging interview, discussing the history of the artwork in the book, the areas where George R.R. Martin was particularly heavily involved in making sure things were as close to his imagination as possible, and our own personal favorite works. It’s a lengthy read, richly illustrated with examples of the art from the world book. You can find it here.

Game of Thrones Episodic Game Released

Today marks the release of Telltale Games‘s Game of Thrones game, featuring the company’s well-known focus on story and character combined with the Game of Thrones license and participation from several of the actors from the TV series. We’re looking at getting a review of our own out in the coming days, but here’s a few from the gaming media across the web:

  • IGN gives it an 8.0.: “Tough decisions, well-acted original characters in interesting situations, and a strong, provocative ending kick off Telltale’s new Game of Thrones series in a great way. Its nature as a side-story to the HBO show means we won’t get to decide the fate of Westeros, but this introduction is convincing evidence that the future of House Forrester puts enough at stake to make choices matter.”
  • Polygon gives it a 6.5: “Which is the problem with “Iron from Ice”: We have no idea how these decisions will pay off or punish us down the road. It feels like a slow episode of the show, and although the story could go into a few interesting directions, as it stands it often feels like you’re simply standing on the periphery of much greater struggles.”
  • Total Biscuit shows the first few minutes of the game as he discusses it’s pluses and minuses. He notes that the play time is 2-2.5 hours for this first entry in the episodic series.

 

Holiday Sales Are Here

The end of Thanksgiving tonight will mark the beginning of “Black Friday” in the U.S. (and anywhere else that has decided to follow American consumer mania)... but a few locales have, of course, jumped the gun and started their sales now. And as it happens, The World of Ice and Fire has been chosen by the powers that be to be a loss-leader for a couple of major players in the U.S. retail market.

First off, The World of Ice and Fire has been deeply discounted in its Kindle edition at Amazon US (here), bringing it down to $7.81, while Google Play has the book down to under $ (here). Perfect opportunity for those who own the hardcover to add an e-book edition to carry around on heir phone or tablet, right?

And Amazon’s gone a step further with a 30% reduction on its current, already-reduced price by using the special promotion code “HOLIDAY30” (valid on any physical book, by the way, not just TWoIaF) at checkout (here). That code is one-use only, by the by, and the offer runs out on November 30th. Just in time for sorting out gifts for the holidays…

HBO Teases Season 5 With Three-eyed Raven

An interesting viral marketing campaign from HBO for next year’s Game of Thrones has hit the web: Three-eyed Raven is a new site that allows users to sign up for Twitter or (in select countries) SMS notifications of “the sight”, short (and by short, we mean very short) teaser videos that provide a brief glimpse at the upcoming season. The first video—which you’ll receive a link to after signing up—features Arya and a hint of a location she’ll be spending a great deal of time at.

Doubtless more teasers will drop in the coming months.

First Trailer for Telltales’ Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice

As the title says, Telltales Games has released the first teaser trailer for Game of Thrones: Iron from Ice, an episodic adventure following the lives of members of the northern House Forrester of Ironrath in a sort of side-story that fits along with the continuity of HBO’s Game of Thrones. The game promises to have appearances from notable characters from the series—including Cersei and Tyrion Lannister, and Ramsay Snow—and it seems the actors will be voicing their characters. Here’s the trailer below:

Alongside this, Telltales has sent character images and brief details to a number of gaming and media sites, which have been very helpfully compiled over at IGN. These short profiles reveal thirteen original characters who’ll appear in the game, although there’s no sign which of these will be among the five playable characters.

The first episode is set to release before the end of the year.

The World of Ice and Fire “AMA”

Following the release of The World of Ice and Fire, we hosted an “AMA” on the game, allowing players to ask questions about the book. We have now posted the transcript of this session. And now that the book is out, we will be making some further updates to “Blood of Dragons 2.0”, for example to make a few more family tree additions that we felt were too spoilery to add in advance. We also hope that players will take the opportunity to dig through the book and come up with some plot hooks from the new material - we will of course do so ourselves as well, but sometimes you’re too close to your own material to see its potential.

Dangerous Women Wins World Fantasy Award

The Dangerous Women anthology (US, UK) edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois and containing (among other things) George’s “The Princess and the Queen”, has just been announced as the winning anthology at this year’s World Fantasy Awards. The awards are determined by a jury, drawing from a selection of nominees drawn in part from the jury’s own selections for consideration and by nomination from attendees. With a strong field, including entries by perennial favorites Ellen Datlow (recipient of a Lifetime Achievent Award at the convention) and Terri Windling, Jonathan Strahan, and more, this is a particularly noteworthy win for the anthology.

Many hearty congratulations to George and Gardner, as well as to all the contributors to the anthology!

Aftermath: Appearances and Interviews

It’s been a hectic three days since the release of The World of Ice and Fire, and Linda and I are only just now getting a chance to catch our breaths. Below, we’re going to give a run down of what we—and George—have been up to in terms of appearances, interviews, and more that have been released surrounding the book.

First, the morning on the 28th opened for Linda and I with the realization that the book was #1 on Amazon.com—that was pretty amazing in and of itself. But we couldn’t sit and marvel at it because that was the morning of our marriage, as well. For those who knew about it, many thanks for your felicitations and support! We’ve been engaged *ahem*sixteen*ahem* years and for various reasons we never quite pulled the trigger on it… so lets just say we’re glad it’s done, once and for all.

No honeymoon for us, however: later that day we had our very first signing of the book, at Gothenburg’s own SF Bokhandlen. A good time was had, as we answered questions and chatted with fans. We signed a few additional copies that should be on the shelves, for anyone looking for a copy with our scrawls in it. Linda will be appearing tomorrow at Comic Con Gameex outside of Stockholm tomorrow to sign more books at SF Bokhandlen’s booth, between 2PM and 4PM.

We’ve done various interviews as well: a two part Reddit AMA (part 1, part 2) was the first big thing we did, although it was just prior to the release of the book so stays more general. A post-release interview followed shortly after, however, at the Podcast of Ice and Fire where we discuss certain new details offered up in the book with host Amin Javadi. We’ve been guests on the podcast several times before, and it’s always been great fun.

More interviews are forthcoming, but in the interim, there’s of course all the things George R.R. Martin has been up to in the run up and following the release. George appeared at Brown University with Tor publisher Tom Doherty to recieve the Harris Literary Award; there they talked about a variety of things, from Robert Jordan to The World of Ice and Fire, the future of publishing, and more. Then George appeared at the 92Y where he spoke at length about the book, followed by an appearance two days later on Late Night with Seth Meyers (where Meyers was knighted in the fine tradition of the Brotherhood without Banners fan group).

With our editor Anne Groell, George discussed the world book further for a promotional video, as he did for HarperCollins Voyager. Most recently, George appeared at the WSJ Cafe for a private appearance where interviewer Christopher Farley asked a number of very interesting questions about George’s career. George notes at his Livejournal that more interviews are to come, and we’ll be sure to share them at the So Spake Martin collection when they’re published.

Telltale Aims for Late 2014 for Game of Thrones

It’s been going around the gaming press that a community manager at Telltale Games has revealed that they intend to have the officially-licensed Game of Thrones adventure game titled Iron from Ice out by the end of the year. A little less than a year ago, Telltale’s acquisition of the license from HBO became big news among gamers, as Telltale’s recent adventure games—their Walking Dead game in particular—have been popularly and critically acclaimed for their storytelling and characters.

Last month, Telltale released a very short teaser hinting at a North-based storyline, mentioning some of the minor houses in the wolfswood:

92Y Livestream of GRRM This Sunday

The 92Y, which will be hosting George R.R. Martin in a public discussion on October 26 at 8PM EST, is offering a livestream of the event over at its Tumblr page. Journalist Laura Miller, who has previously profiled George, will be joining him on stage and interviewing him as he discusses his work on A Song of Ice and Fire, the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire that hits shelves on Tuesday (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK).

Speaking of the 28th, George will also be appearing on the Seth Myers show that day (or at least, he’ll be filming his appearance, we’re not sure if it means it’ll air that same day or not).

World of Ice and Fire Excerpt in App

The A World of Ice and Fire app (as it’s called on iTunes; it’s called the A Game of Thrones Guide on Android, although we’re uncertain if the update has reached that platform yet) has been updated with an excerpt from the forthcoming The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US Amazon UK). The excerpt is drawn from the section of the book devoted to the ancient history of the Vale up to the point in which the conflict between the Andals and the First Men culminated in the Battle of Seven Stars, where the last First Man king fell and the Arryns came to rule the Kingdom of Mountain and Vale.

The app is free to download, and with the latest update includes all the offiically released excerpts from The Winds of Winter, as well as the World of Ice and Fire excerpt.

New Casting Revealed

Here’s a pleasant surprise: the Hollywood Reporter reveals that Adewal Akinnuoye-Agbaje (known to fans of television from his roles as Adebisi on Oz and Mr. Eko on Lost) has joined the cast of Game of Thrones. The role? It’s described as such:

‘...  a character not in the books with the name “Malko.”’

We’re guessing he has something to do with Meereen. Akinnuoye-Agbaje’s roles as Adebisi and Eko were very memorable, and hopefully this role will give him some room to leave a mark with his presence.

GRRM on The World of Ice and Fire

Day by day, the release of The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US Amazon UK) draws nearer. It’s currently hit #14 on Amazon’s Top 100 Books, which is just sort of mind-boggling for us.

To help promote the release of the novel in the UK, Harper Voyager sat down with George back in August for a brief promotional video discussing his thoughts on the importance of setting in a fantasy, the interest fans have in learning about the world, and our collaboration with him on the book:

The book hits shelves in the US and UK (and, I’m told, Italy and Germany; possibly some other countries as well) on October 28th.

Facts of Ice and Fire

Ahead of the publication of The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US Amazon UK) in the US, UK, and (apparently) Italy on October 28th, our UK publisher HarperCollins Voyager has gone to its twitter feed to share #FactsOfIceAndFire. These are small details culled from the world book—some of them familiar to readers of the novels, and some of them brand new. Here’s a small sampling:

  • “Maegor the Cruel killed his wife Tyanna, cut out her heart w/ Blackfyre and threw it to the dogs!”
  • “Queen Rhaenyra possessed 15 dragons, including one named The Cannibal”
  • “Ellyn Reyne tried to seduce Tytos Lannister but was so intimidated, he couldn’t perform & fled”>

For more in the coming days, follow @HarperVoyagerUK on Twitter!

One Month to the World of Ice and Fire

Just 29 days to go before the publication of The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), and we admit, we’re getting excited as well by the flurry of activity that’ll follow on the forum and elsewhere concerning all the new setting information (and a few little details relevant to various mysteries in A Song of Ice and Fire).

Contrary to what Amazon UK says at the moment, by the by, it will be out on October 28th in the UK—HarperCollins Voyager is sorting that error out with Amazon. We can say that a number of publishers around the world will be bringing out translated editions, including our native Sweden, as well as Brazil, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Russia, and more—but those will be released at various points in time as they complete their translations and print their editions. In total, a dozen countries will be publishing it so far, with negotiations ongoing in a number of others.









Not really sure what The World of Ice and Fire is? Earlier this year, Linda and I did a video about it that can help with that:

Westeros.org at Royal Armory Exhibition

Back in March, Linda and I were invited to the grand opening of the Power Games (Maktspel) exhibit in Stockholm’s Royal Armory, featuring a replica of the Iron Throne as well as numerous costumes from Game of Thrones alongside with historical costumes from Sweden’s royal history as well as costumes from the award-winning Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age. It was a fine occasion, and the quality of the exhibit itself was exceptional.

Now, we’ve been invited back on October 4th for a special event built around the exhibit. Beginning at 11AM, with a chance to have a photo taken by a professional photographer as attendees sit on the Iron Throne, the event will include guided tours of the exhibit, as well as a couple of seminars which begin at 3:00PM. One will focus on on the burgeoning popularity of fantasy, featuring the founder of Sweden’s excellent SF Bokhandlen SF/F bookstore… and the other will be all about The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order:US, UK), Westeros.org, and history in A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones, featuring Linda andme as well as genre experts from SF Bokhandlen.

Tickets for the seminars can be booked by mailing .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or calling 08-402 30 30 (Monday-Friday between 9-12). The seminar ticket cost is 100 kr, including entry to the museum, and our panel, at least, will be in English.

Hope to see some fellow A Song of Ice and Fire fans there!

Inside Game of Thrones Preview: Giants and Mammoths

Courtesy of HBO, we have an exclusive excerpt from Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones: Seasons 3 and 4, written by Cat Taylor, assistant and official “keeper of scrolls” for Game of Thrones, as well as the lead writer on HBO’s Making Game of Thrones production blog. The first book in the series, covering the first two seasons, was written by writer and co-producer Bryan Cogman, and was a fantastic look behind the scenes, filled with photographs, interviews, VFX renderings, and concept art that showed the massive scale and complexity of the production, as well as the amount of talent involved in making it the visual splendor that it is.

This excerpt suggests that the second volume in the series will do the same, as it gives us an inside look at the appearance of the giants and the mammoths in “The Watchers on the Wall”:

To GRRM, on His 66th Nameday

Fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones—or of Wild Cards, Fevre Dream, The Armageddon Rag, Tuf Voyaging, The Dying of the Light, Beauty and the Beast, or dozens of short stories, novellettes, and novellas—should feel free to lift a glass to celebrate George R.R. Martin’s 66th birthday.  May there be many more birthdays to come!

(Also on this day in history: the aftermath of the Battle of Poitiers during the Hundred Years War, which has a bit of influence on the A Song of Ice and Fire series. Curious coincidence!)

German News Covers Westeros

Deutsche Welle—a German broadcaster that was among the first to have a web presence way back in 1994—celebrates the 20th anniversary of that presence by doing something… rather unique. See their press release below to learn just what they’re up to:

Deutsche Welle reporting live from Westeros

Deutsche Welle (DW) Director General Peter Limbourg sees the need for reliable information on the current conflicts in “Game of Thrones”. Users worldwide have also been called out to help DW develop “Valyrian” and “Dothraki” as official DW languages.

In celebration of the 20th anniversary of DW’s first website, Germany’s international broadcaster has expanded its online reporting to include the continents Westeros and Essos. The focus should specifically deal with the current conflicts that have been made public on the series “Game of Thrones”. Limbourg sees DW’s role as being a reliable source of information: “The international bestseller from George R.R. Martin presents a multifaceted albeit notoriously subjective view of the events. The TV series from HBO is a global phenomena – but the standard of reporting leaves a lot to be desired.”

DW has been a trusted source of news and information for more than 60 years. It has become a tradition at DW to use extraordinary anniversaries to provide a tongue-in-cheek look at what “worldwide” actually means. To celebrate 10 years online in 2004, DW expanded its range of online content to include the Klingon language.

Starting today, the new online special answers the most pressing questions from “Game of Thrones” at www.dw.de/game-of-thrones. Like what qualifies the Night’s Watch to be the arctic special forces? And what secrets are lost in a raven-based communications system?

In order to provide information among new target audiences requires certain linguistic skills. In the world of “Game of Thrones”, the most used languages are “Valyrian” and “Dothraki”. But these have just recently been made public here. New words are discovered and deciphered each day, with new rules and dialects that are discussed by fans.

“It’s that type of diversity that we want to highlight here,” says Limbourg. “That’s why you won’t find any complete articles in Valyrian and Dothraki, but rather interactive translation pages. Piece for piece, we will be completing a new version of the website and everyone can take part.”

DW has been online since 1994. It was the first German public broadcaster to go online and even outpaced international competitors like the BBC by three years. Today, dw.de is available in 30 languages – not including Valyrian and Dothraki – and has 33 million unique visitors per month.

Win a Stark from Dark Horse

Thanks to our friends over at Dark Horse—purveyors of fine comics and excellent collectibles—we’re happy to present a chance for two fans to win one of two Dark Horse Deluxe Game of Thrones figures. This contest is open world-wide—if a postal service can reach you, you can enter (yes, even if you’re in Antarctica!)

The latest entries in the deluxe figure series from Dark Horse, the Robb Stark and Arya Stark figures are to-scale renditions of the two characters. Though not posable, they’re larger in size than your typical action figures, and feature quite a lot of detail.

To enter, just post in our comments thread below—sorry, Facebook required—by naming which of the two Stark siblings is your favorite, and why. We’ll select two winners somewhere around the middle of next week, before I head off to Titancon.

 

Westeros.org at Titancon

For those who follow us here at Westeros.org—whether it’s at our own site, or on Sky’s Thronecast—you may be interested to know that Elio (that would be me) will be a guest at this year’s Titancon in Belfast, which takes place next week at the Wellington Park Hotel. Other guests of the convention include Game of Thrones actors Kerry Ingram, Aimee Richardson, and Eugene Simon.

There’ll be panel discussions, book readings, and more. In my case, I’ll be reading short excerpts from the upcoming The World of Ice and Fire (Pre-order: Amazon US, Amazon UK), taking part in a couple of Game of Thrones panel, and will discuss the making of The World of Ice and Fire on stage with Irish writer Peadar Ó Guilín.

Should be fun!

Game of Thrones Enters the Record Book

... the Guinness Book of World Records, that is. The 2015 edition of the perennial guide to records great, small, and even exceedingly trivial will be hitting retailer bookshelves next week, and among the new records recorded is “Most Pirated TV Program”.

Citing TorrentFreak’s report, the book states that the 5.9 million illicit downloads of the the third season’s finale, “Mhysa”, make it the most pirated TV program in the world. It will also note that executives at HBO have in the past said that the wide-spread piracy is “better than an Emmy.”

Actor Supports 550 Challenge

We’ve spoken previously of the ALS ice bucket challenge finding a number of Game of Thrones actors and crew members (since that post, Emilia Clarke has joined in the fun), but it’s not the only effort out there to raise awareness for a serious issue. Actor Joe Dempsie, who has played Gendry on Game of Thrones, has stepped up with a video in support of the 550 challenge. In brief, Scope is a UK-based organization that attempts to raise awareness on issues related to disability in Britain.

Here’s Dempsie and a group of fellow supporters of Scope, performing their challenge and discussing what it’s all about:

 

Tycho Nestoris Returns

Once again, James Hibberd has the scoop, revealing that Mark Gatiss—writer and actor on Sherlock, among many other pop favorite shows—will be returning on season 5 to reprise his role as Tycho Nestoris of the Iron Bank of Braavos. Last seen negotiating with Stannis Baratheon over the Bank’s financial support, his appearance in season 5 certainly heralds more use of Braavos and the Iron Bank for this season.

Hibberd also adds that Gatiss will be filming in Croatia next week.

Game of Thrones at the Awards

Although HBO’s Game of Thrones was blanked at the Primetime Emmys, the number of nominations the show received was among the most any regular drama series received this year…. and when you factor the Creative Arts Emmys (of which the show won four), it was the most nominated drama of the year with a total of 19. The show’s cast and crew were out in force in support, and thanks to so many people being around Los Angeles it certainly helped get some involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge as GRRM, Sibel Kekilli, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, and Kit Harington all took the challenge for the cause. Others who have participated from the cast: Pedro Pascal, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, and Joe Dempsie.

Besides the Emmys, we were present at Loncon where “The Rains of Castamere received the Best Dramatic Presentation (Short Form) Hugo Award. David Benioff and Dan Weiss were both in the crowd, and seemed very pleased to be at their first ever Worldcon for such an occasion. Both of them have spoken in the past of their mutual love of genre literature when they were younger, when they read the likes of Fritz Leiber, Le Guin, and Tolkien, and speaking with them afterward they certainly seemed over the moon at winning the most well-known genre award around.

This is the third consecutive win for Game of Thrones at the Hugos, and this one in particular was noteworthy for winning despite being in the UK, with an outsized UK-based membership who rallied around Doctor Who. “The Rains of Castamere” had a substantial lead in first selections, but as episodes were eliminated “The Day of the Doctor” began to gather more and more steam until coming within passing distance… only for Orphan Black being dropped from the list, and votes for it redistributed, giving the episode a surge that led to its victory.

 

Win Tickets to an Evening with GRRM and Robin Hobb

We have two pairs of tickets to see George R.R. Martin and Robin Hobb on Tuesday 19th August at the Freemasons Hall in London! This event is a once in a lifetime chance to see to two of the world’s greatest storytellers discuss how they build their fictional universes, create their characters and balance fantasy and reality,  their influences and inspirations, their struggles and successes. A must-attend for all fantasy fans. To enter the competition, just answer two simple questions:

* The Stark children aren’t the only people in the fantasy genre who have a close association with a wolf. In fact, Robin Hobb has a particularly notable example of this in her Farseer trilogy. What’s the name of Fitz’s wolf in that series?

* Which of the Stark direwolves is your favorite, and why?

You can leave your answer in comments below. The contest closes Thursday evening, so be quick ... and be ready to keep an eye on your Facebook messages in case you’re a winner as we’ll need your contact information!

If you would like to hear more about HarperVoyager’s authors including George and Robin, why not subscribe to their newsletter http://harpervoyagerbooks.co.uk/subscribe/ “>here.

And tickets for the event, which includes a signed copy of Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb, are available

J.J. Murphy Passes Away (Updated)

According to the Belfast Telegraph, veteran Northern Irish actor J.J. Murphy passed away mere days after filming his first scene for season 5 of Game of Thrones. Heretofore an unpublicized member of the cast, the Telegraph reports that Murphy was cast in the role of Ser Denys Mallister, a senior man of the Night’s Watch who in the novels was the commander of the Shadow Tower and a leading candidate to succeed Lord Commander Mormont. The Telegraph notes he was due to film more scenes, and speculates as to whether the role will be removed from the show or if another actor will be cast to fill it.

Murphy, 86 years old at the time of his death, had decades of theatre experience. According to the Telegraph, he was best known for his work at the Lyric Theatre in Belfast, where actors such as Liam Neeson and Ciaran Hinds cut their teeth and learned their craft alongside him. Our condolences to his friends and family.

UPDATE: HBO’s publicity twitter has released the following statement from David Benioff and Dan Weiss:

We will not be recasting J.J. Murphy. He was a lovely man, and the best Denys Mallister we could have hoped for. And now his watch is ended.