Westeros

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain

Digest

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

Helgeland on his Successor Show
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In an interview with The Indian Express, award-winning writer and director Brian Helgeland shared some thoughts on his work on one of five (or perhaps four) possible successors to Game of Thrones following its final season. This makes the second screenwriter attached to the successors to talk publicly about their work, following Jane Goldman‘s comments in an IGN interview last year.

The first take away: fan speculation that Helgeland had moved on, due to his being attached to write and direct a new film, seems to have been mistaken.

Dark Sword Reveals 18 New GRRM Masterworks

A big, but very pleasant, surprise for fans of Dark Sword Miniatures and their GRRM Masterworks line of officially-licensed A Song of Ice and Fire miniatures: DSM and the legendary sculptor Tom Meier have put together a 15th Anniversary package of eighteen new miniatures. There’s an amazing gallery of images of the figures at Dark Sword’s order page that we highly recommend fans checking out.

Among the characters depicted? Maester Aemon, Darkstar, Grey Worm, Jon Snow as Lord Commander of the Night’s Watch, Dunk & Egg, Rhaegar at the Ruby Ford, Syrio Forel, the Blackfish, and ... well, more, including a spectacular Cersei Lannister piece. Plus, on top of that, Dark Sword has thrown in five additional figures to the bundle, also sculpted by Meier, to help fill out the cast of a tavern or inn where some of the most memorable scenes in the novels have taken place.

Supplies are limited, according to Dark Sword, so don’t delay on ordering if you’re a fan of miniatures or a collector of ASoIaF memorabilia—these are really amazing works of art, as Tom Meier is one of the very best miniaure sculptors in the world.

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An Evening with GRRM in San Francisco

Worldcon 76 is coming to San Jose in August, but a couple of days prior to this the SF in SF organization has put together a special event: an evening with George R.R. Martin and award-winning artist John Picacio.

Organized as a benefit for Locus Magazine, the chief trade magazine of SF/F publishing, the event promises to feature “a discussion on literature, art, and life” between the famed writer and artist. Signed copies of their works will be available for purchase.

The event takes place at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on August 14, the Tuesday before Worldcon. For more information, see the event site.

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Game of Thrones 4K Available for Pre-order
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Amazon is now listing the Game of Thrones season 1 4K, Ultra HD, HDR Blu-ray set.  It was announced earlier this month.

See our post at the time for more details, including commentary on the resolution the show was shot at across different seasons to have a better understanding of the source they’ll be working with. Of course, a 4K release will mean one big advantage: a higher bitrate, which will mean a lot more detail perserved even in the case when they’re upscaling from 1080p.

Culturefly Box, Round 2
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Culturefly has unveiled their second subscription box in their Game of Thrones series, as well as its theme: the North and the Lands Beyond the Wall.

You can glimpse hints of what exclusive items the box will contain at ”>their page, which seem to include the inevitable Stark-branded item, as well as what we’re guessing are artworks depicting giants and wights, and what may be a sculpted weirwood.

A couple of months ago we had the pleasure of unboxing their first entry in the series, which you can see below:

Fire and Blood Delivered

Over at the new “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin has announced the completion of Fire and Blood.

One of the details that we learned not long ago—but couldn’t share—is that the book was going to be illustrated throughout by a single artist, Doug Wheatley, who had contributed some of the art of The World of Ice and Fire.

As fans will notice, this book is big—listed as 640 pages on Amazon! George goes into some detail on what will be contained, largely expanded material that had been initially written for our book, but a great deal is brand new in the form of material concerning Jaehaerys I the Conciliator. Having read it through, we can say there’s a deal of very interesting details revealed therein. (And, yes, we’ve helped George sort out a few inconsistencies that had appeared in “The Sons of the Dragon”, “The Princess and the Queen”, and so on!)

The book is due to launch in the U.S. and U.K. on November 20th, and will likely see simultaneous release in some other regions.

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Game of Thrones Season 1 in Ultra HD 4K
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A press release from HBO announces that for the first time ever, Game of Thrones will get the 4k treatment. Available from June 5th, the first season of Game of Thrones will be available to be purchased as 4K Ultra HD Bluray or 4K digital download. Bonus features all sound like the same from the original season 1 DVD release.

We’ll have the full text below, but it’s worth noting that the first season was recorded to HDCAM-SR tapes in high bitrate 1080p. The next two seasons were also shot at 1080p, and only the fourth and following seasons were shot at the 2880p resolution. So far as we know, VFX for at least the first four seasons were all done at 1080P as well, and it’s unclear if that has ever changed.

Long and short of it, this and any future 4K Ultra HD Blurays are going to be upscaled to 4K rather than be native resolution, although they should gain substantially from the higher bitrates the media allows.

Here’s the press release below:

The Gremlin Returns
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In his latest “Not a Blog” post, George R.R. Martin has posted a cryptic message featuring Froggy the Gremlin, which means he’s having fun presenting a puzzle to fans. Given the television tag in the post, and the reference to the dragon having three heads, thoughts certainly turn to his presenting some new information regarding HBO’s follow-ups to Game of Thrones.

As we know, originally four concepts were being developed by Max Borenstein, Jane Goldman, Carly Wray, and Brian Helgeland—but early on George hinted at a 5th pitch, which came to pass when HBO announced that Game of Thrones writer and producer Bryan Cogman was also working on a proposal with George.

That seems to easily explain the first two sets of images: Four series became five. As to the rest?

Nightflyers First Look

SyFy has released the first look video for their forthcoming Nightflyers science-fiction horror series, based on George R.R. Martin’s novella “Nightflyers”. Watch it below, including comments from GRRM himself about the story:

Certainly seems like the producers have gone for a very cinematic look, and have spared no expense in terms of the sets they’ve built to represent the ship.

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HBO Exec on Final Season and Prequel Budget
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Reports in the entertainment press have brought attention to remarks from HBO executives at the INTV Conference that have touched on Game of Thrones. Variety reports that Francesca Orsi—the HBO’s senior VP for Drama—promised that the final season of the show will be a satisfying climax, including the anecdote that cast members at the table read of the six scripts openly wept and that there were “15 or 20 minutes” of applause when the last page was read.

Jerome Flynn Whale Fundraiser
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To benefit Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the leading charity to protect whales and dolphins around the world, Jerome Flynn—everyone’s favorite mercenary sellsword, Bronn—will join a lucky winner on a trip to Iceland to tour various of the locations featured in Game of Thrones... as well as some extra treats.

The fundraiser, hosted at Prizeo, is a sweepstakes where every $1 donated gets one entry in a draw (minimum donation is $10).

Read Jerome’s message to supporters explaining the details:

I want you to join me “Beyond the Wall” to get a sneak peek and visit famous filming locations from the series, beyond the Seven Kingdoms.

I’ll fly you and a friend to Iceland, and will take you on a tour of some of the most breath-taking Game of Thrones locations including the ‘First of the First Men’ and the ‘mountain that looks like an arrowhead’ from Season 7.

Your flights and hotel accommodation will be covered, and we’ll even go on a private whale watching trip at one of the world’s best whale watching spots, where you’ll have the chance to see orcas, humpbacks, dolphins, and sperm whales wild and free in their natural habitat.

And better yet - if you spot an orca during the trip who doesn’t yet have a name in the Icelandic orca catalogue, you’ll be able to choose a name for him or her, which will be used by the whale watchers and scientists forevermore!

It only takes a $10 minimum donation to enter to win this amazing trip of a lifetime! Your donation supports Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s vital work protecting these amazing creatures from the many threats they face.

Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to meet one of you in Iceland!

The WDC fundraiser ends on April 23rd.

Nightflyers Incoming

As previously reported, SyFy has moved forward on a series order for Nightflyers, based on George R.R. Martin’s award-winning science fiction horror novel focused on a scientific mission to explore a mysterious, space-faring object. Last week, Irish press shard the news that production had begun at Troy Studios in Limerick shortly. Casting calls for extras—an interesting detail in and of itself, as the original novella only features a limited number of characters—went out late last month.

Thanks to the forthcoming show, the Nightflyers novella that started it all is being republished—not once, but twice. On May 29th, Tor will be publishing the Nightlyers & Other Stories collection that was first published in 1985. The five other stories are “Override” (the second of “Corpse Handler trilogy” of stories), “Weekend in a War Zone”, “Nor the Many-Colored Fires of a Star Ring” (the 2nd of two “Star Ring” stories), “And Seven Times Never Kill Man”, and “A Song for Lya” (these last, with “Nightflyers”, fall within the Thousand Worlds setting, the most substantial future history Martin created).

And then, most surprisingly, Bantam will be publishing Nightflyers: The Illustrated Edition on May 29th as well, which (per GRRM) will be expanded version of the novella (which has a complicated history) with 15 interior illustrations and 2 endpapers from artist David Palumbo. Palumbo has recently come into Martin’s orbit as an artist, providing the cover for the reprint of the Wild Cards book One-Eyed Jacks.

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Benioff and Weiss to Create New Star Wars Series
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Big news out of Lucasfilm, as their official Star Wars site announces that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are planning to go to a galaxy far, far away. Per the announcement:

It was announced today that Benioff and Weiss, creators of the smash-hit, Emmy Award-winning television series Game of Thrones, will write and produce a new series of Star Wars films.

These new films will be separate from both the episodic Skywalker saga and the recently-announced trilogy being developed by Rian Johnson, writer-director of Star Wars: The Last Jedi.

From Benioff and Weiss’s statement, they plan to jump into this as soon as Game of Thrones is done, meaning they’re keeping themselves quite busy as they’re also supposed to be executive producing the controversial HBO project Confederate.

Unboxing the CultureFly Game of Thrones Box
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After a long trip through Swedish customs, CultureFly’s Game of Thrones Box has arrived for Linda to unbox. The very first entry in a quarterly series of boxes, which can be bought individually or subscribed to annually, is inspired by the noble houses of Westeros and features a number of exclusive items that will only be found in this limited edition box. See the video for the unboxing!

Intrigued? Put in WESTEROS20 when ordering—yes, they do ship internationally, though bear in mind import fees may apply—and get a 20% discount!

More videos to come…

2019 Ice and Fire Calendar Details

Over at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin’s assistant has revealed the cover of the A Song of Ice and Fire 2019 Calendar, with art from the great John Jude Palencar. This continues the trend of award-winning artists gracing the calendar series, making it one of the most vividly illustrated literary universes since Tolkien’s Middle-earth.

Interestingly, Palencar seems to have not done much SF/F genre work for the last four or five years—we’re going to guess he’s done personal projects and private commissions in the interim—so this calendar will mark an exciting return for the artist.

According to Amazon, the calendar has a July 17, 2018 release date.

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HBO Confirms 2019 for Final Season
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A brief press release from HBO has confirmed what has long been understood: the final, 6-episode season of Game of Thrones will not air until 2019.

Here’s the press release in full:

Your readers may be interested to know that the hit HBO series GAME OF THRONES will return for its six-episode, eighth and final season in 2019.

Directors for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, David Nutter and Miguel Sapochnik. Writers for the new season are: David Benioff & D.B. Weiss, Bryan Cogman and Dave Hill.

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, Bryan Cogman, Guymon Casady, Vince Gerardis and George R.R. Martin.

Royal Mail Issues Game of Thrones Stamps
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Back during the 6th season, the UK’s Royal Mail and Tourism NI collaborated on a series of 10, limited edition Game of Thrones stamps. Now to start off the New Year, the Royal Mail has announced a brand new series of Game of Thrones stamps featuring characters and notable creatures and items from the series:

The ten set of individual stamps feature popular characters such as Arya Stark, Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, and Cersei Lannister, while an additional sheet of stamps feature “the Night King and White Walkers; Giants; Direwolves and Dragons, as well as a stamp of the contested Iron Throne.”

The stamps can now be pre-ordered at the Royal Mail shop, ahead of the January 23rd release date; fans in the UK can visit any one of 7,000 Post Office branches across the UK to purchase them directly, or they can call the Royal Mail at 03457 641 641 and order stamps over the phone.

There’s a dizzying variety of options to choose from for collectors and fans, including some collectable covers and other items that are apparently limited editions with no more than 1,500 copies to be made.

Exclusive Dragonpit Featurette
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Thanks to HBO, we have an exclusive from the forthcoming Season 7 Blu-ray/DVD set. This animated featurette, one of many included with the set (more on that below), gives fans a look at the Dragonpit’s dark history with narration from Conleth Hill (Varys) and Anton Lesser (Qyburn). Using details from the “A Song of Ice and Fire” series as well as our own The World of Ice and Fire, it’s a fun piece that covers its creation to its final fate:


HBO has also sent out some expanded/revised details on the the full compliment of extras included with the season set. You can read that below!

State of Play in Sunspear Updated
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Following the update of the Recent History and the State of Play in King’s Landing, we have now updated the State of Play in Sunspear. We hope to be able to keep these more regularly updated this time around. The Chronicle still remains well behind, unfortunately, and we will probably have to prioritise other projects over updating that one.

State of Play in King’s Landing Updated
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The “state of play” article for King’s Landing has been updated to give players a sense of the current situation at court and in the city. An similar update for Sunspear will be coming soon. The article can be read here.

Bluray Premiere Event Announced
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As usual, HBO is making sure that the release of the Game of Thrones Season 7 set makes a big splash. This time, there’s three screening events featuring some iconic thrones and more. The episode “Spoils of War” will be screened, followed by the full 45 minute Conquest and Rebellion animated feature detailing the history of the Targaryens. Earlier this year we shared a clip from the feature:

Fans can pre-register and attend provided they have proof of purchase of one of the sets. Here’s the full details of the events below:

 

UK Cinema Marathon
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Ahead of the release of the Game of Thrones Season 7 box set (which includes one of the more elaborate set of extras to date, as previously reported), HBO UK and London’s Prince Charles Cinema have teamed up for an ambitious marathon of the entire Game of Thrones series, non-stop save for evening dinner breaks which will feature food from MOD Pizza.

For those in London, this sounds like it could be an excellent opportunity to see some of the best episodes of the show on the big screen with an audience. Here’s the full details below:

Recent History Updated
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The Recent History articles, which in broad strokes summarises the history of the game (as well as VERY briefly touches upon the history preceding the opening of the game), has finally been brought up to date. You can find it under Articles, at http://www.westeros.org/BoD/Articles/Entry/Recent_History

The State of Play in King’s Landing and State of Play in Sunspear articles will soon be updated as well, picking up from where the Recent History leaves off to give a sense of the current status of the game’s two open areas.

Server Move
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The MUSH has been moved from our oldest server that is due to be retired to one of the two that will be splitting the traffic over the next year and (hopefully) handling the show traffic as well once that comes around. The DNS has changed with this move, so if you were connecting via DNS you will need to update that to use 184.172.26.162 (or bod.westeros.org). The port remains the same.

If you notice anything odd in the wake of this move, do let us know.

Game of Halloween
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The HBO store is promoting a number of fun items ahead of Halloween. There’s a terrific mask for the Wun-Wun fans, a foam sword, a Night’s Watch shirt, and more. While browsing the store to see what other goodies had appeared, we also came across these pretty neat looking decorative masks inspired by the great houses of Stark, Targaryen, and Lannister (and, curiously, House White Walker):

 

RIP Roy Dotrice

We’re sad to share the news that actor Roy Dotrice, whose collaborations with George R.R. Martin began with Beauty and the Beast and continued right through providing his voice to the audiobook of The World of Ice and Fire, has passed away at the age of 94. Dotrice was well known on stage and screen, and genre fans will have seen him in a host of notable shows such as Babylon 5, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and (of course) as the pyromancer Hallyne in Game of Thrones.

Linda and I corresponded with him briefly, years ago, and remember him as a perfectly gracious, charming person who seemed amazed and pleased with the enthusiasm for his recordings of the novels. He’ll be much missed.

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Westeros at QED

For those in the UK, I will be appearing at the QED conference devoted to discussions of skepticism, science, and rational thinking. Specifically, I’ve been invited to take part in a panel on October 15th titled “The Science of Game of Thrones”, inspired by the book of the same name by Helen Keen. Keen will be joining us, as well as a number of other panelists. Here’s the full details from the conference site:

Do dragons actually exist? Is it possible to crush a person’s head with your bare hands? What really happened when royal families interbred? How does wildfire win wars? Can you really kill someone with molten gold?
These burning questions (groan) will be bravely tackled by our crack team of Game of Thrones experts.
Join Maesters Helen Keen, Dr Gerardo García, and Elio García as they discuss the science behind the Seven Kingdoms under the skeptical eye of Grand Maester Deborah Hyde. With luck and careful analysis we may at last discover the airspeed velocity of an unladen Westerosi raven.
QED tickets are still on sale, and you can pick yours up today.

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Game of Thrones Live Concert Sweden Contest
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Tickets for the Game of Thrones live concert, which is now coming to Europe, are becoming available… including in Sweden, where Ramin Djawadi will lead the spectacular concert in Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe on May 31st.

In connection to this, we’re also very pleased to announce that in collaboration with Live Nation, we’ve got two pairs of tickets to give away! Read the press release for the event below, and we’ll follow up with how to win!

Final Season Budget Rumors
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Thanks to an article over at Variety discussing the minutae of high-end television budgets, a new detail regarding the budget for the final six episodes of Game of Thrones is making the rounds. According to the piece, HBO is expecting to spend $15 million per episode, which would be the highest amount spent per-episode on the series to date.

The article goes on to talk about why shows are costing so much, as well as raising the question as to whether a $20 million-per-episode series may eventually happen. This is not really a new situation, though, if one looks at limited series. Most recently, The Pacific from HBO cost some $20 million per episode across its 10 episodes; adjusting for inflation, in fact the price tag is closer to $22.5 million per episode. That was very much an “event” series, from the same people who had put together the exceptional Band of Brothers, but suffice it to say that if HBO was willing to countenance then, it should be no surprise they’re willing to countenance it now.

If anything, the $15 million price tag that Variety talks about feels a little low, since rumors have pegged season 6 episodes at averaging $10 million, while cinematographer Robert McLachlan implied that season 7 had a similar overall budget—i.e., approximately $14.28 million per episode on average. A 5% increase in budget doesn’t seem that noteworthy. On the other hand, it’s always possible that the reporting is mistaken, or that the particular numbers thrown about are merely very conservative estimates. We would not be surprised to hear of a much higher figure after filming is underway or wraps.

Game of Thrones Live Concert Announces European Tour
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Straight from HBO, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will be hitting Europe with numerous dates from May to June, and then a resumption of North American touring in September and October. All concerts are set to be overseen personally by award-winning composer Ramin Djawadi. See below for more information and dates:

LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2017) - The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi will bring the world of Westeros to arenas across Europe starting in May of 2018. Additionally, due to popular demand, a second North American leg of the tour has been added for the autumn of 2018, giving fans the opportunity to watch in wonder as famed composer Ramin Djawadi leads an orchestra and choir performing music from all seven seasons of the iconic, Emmy® Award-winning HBO series. The new dates for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi will include new music and footage from Season 7, as well a new custom stage design and mesmerising visuals courtesy of state of the art video technology.