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

Rogues Takes Locus Award

While we were away to Archipelacon, the 2015 Locus Award winners were announced in Seattle. Our many congratulations to George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois for Rogues taking Best Anthology, and to Joe Abercrombie whose story in that same anthology, “Tough Times All Over”, won Best Novellette. And of course a tip of the hat to the great John Picacio who won Best Artist—very well-deserved!

Upcoming Appearances—GRRM and Westeros

For those in Europe, here’s some news regarding George R.R. Martin’s appearances starting this weekend, as well as our own!

First up, George will be in Hamburg for the Harbourfront Literature Festival, where he’ll be reading a chapter from The Winds of Winter, and likely to be answering questions as well. Despite early reports that this event would be livestreamed, this event is apparently not being streamed at all. It’s not impossible there’ll be an after-the-fact video from the event (as there have been with a number of GRRM’s public speaking events), but we’ve no information as yet whether that will be the case.

From there, George is off to Stockholm—and so are we! On Tuesday, the SF Bokhandeln bookstore has invited George to speak at the Royal Armoury. Although this event is sold-out, it’s worth noting that SF Bokhandeln’s three branches—Stockholm, Malmö, and our own Göteborg—will all offer livestreams to customers who could not attend the event. So far as we know, there will be no internet-wide stream, but again, there may be post-event videos. And for those in Stockholm, prior to the event—at 5PM—Linda and I will be at the bookshop to sign copies of The World of Ice and Fire, for those who want us defacing their copies!

After that, we’re all off to Åland for Archipelacon, the SF/F convention (sold out, alas!) where George is Guest of Honor, and his partner Parris is the Fan Guest of Honor. The convention has posted its schedule, and there’s a deal of interest for fans—we’ll share the highlights below:

Reactions from London Screening

HBO UK teamed up to invite fans, media, and more to a special screening of the final episode of season 5, “”. Sounds like a deal of fun was had by those who attended. In the video below, you’ll see and hear some of the reactions as the episode rolled and its shocking turns came onto the screen:

The season is now available for download in Digital HD in the UK, which is part of the reason for the event. Fans can download individual episodes or the entire season through retailers such as iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Instant Video, blinkbox, Wauki.tv, and XBox Video. BT TV and Talk Talk TV can also buy and watch through their set-top boxes.

11 Reasons to Read the Books

With season 5 completed (see our episode guide on the final episode for some of our thoughts), there’s a lot of discussion about what the show did right or wrong this season, interviews with various members of cast and crew, and more. But Random House—publishers, through their subsidiary Bantam, of all things A Song of Ice and Fire—asked us to provide a list of 11 reasons why fans of the show might want to give the books a try if they haven’t already!

You can find the article here.

Mother’s Mercy Episode Guide

An initial update on the finale to season 5 can be found at our episode guide for “Mother’s Mercy”. As usual, we’ve run through the book-to-screen adaptation, and have included the post-episode extra videos that HBO usually releases. However, we haven’t watched them and can’t vouch for whether there may be spoilers in those videos, so view them at your own risk.

We’ll have a video review up some time tomorrow, and perhaps the written review as well.

Game of Thrones Season 5 Sweepstakes

Our friends over at Dark Horse have launched a special sweepstakes ahead of the finale of Game of Thrones, and you can read about all the details here!

The new Game of Thrones RT to Win Sweepstakes has arrived! Join in the celebration of Sunday's Season 5 finale with a…

Posted by Dark Horse Comics on Friday, June 12, 2015

A bevy of terrific Game of Thrones items - including figurines, busts, Bluray sets, and more—can be unlocked if enough fans retweet this tweet. With each unlocked level, there’s an additional chance for participants to win one of the prize packages! At present count, the contest already has 425 retweets, so well on its way to unlocking the last level.

The sweepstakes are open only to residents of the U.S., and certain other strictures apply, so bear that in mind! Full details, including all applicable rules and limitations, can be found here.

Coloring Book in the Works

Apparently, coloring books aimed not at 5-year-olds but at adults are actually a thing. Who knew? While the idea may sound a little odd to some, the Los Angeles Times reports that Bantam (publishers of A Song of Ice and Fire, The World of Ice and Fire, and the forthcoming A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, as well as the A Song of Ice and Fire calendars and other related works) has commissioned artists to create a book containing “45 original black and white illustrations, inspired by characters, scenes, locations and other iconic images” from A Song of Ice and Fire.

The book, which can be pre-ordered, will feature art from an impressive list of names: Yvonne Gilbert, John Howe, Tomislav Tomić, Adam Stower and Levi Pinfold. Though the book is named George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones Coloring Book, we clarified with Bantam and they indicated that the art will solely be based on the A Song of Ice and Fire series.

The book is tentatively scheduled for release on October 27th of this year.

The Dance of Dragons Episode Guide

We’ve posted our episode guide for the latest episode, “The Dance of Dragons”, as quickly as we could. Lots of controversy over the depiction of Stannis Baratheon in this episode, to say the least! Our episode guide currently only contains our book-to-screen breakdown, and video extras from HBO. Suffice it to say, we’re going to try and get a review video out ASAP.

HBO has also provided its usual preview, this time for the season finale, “Mother’s Mercy”. You can see it below:

Own the Game of Thrones Astrolabe
Astrolabe

Over the five seasons of the show, the title sequence has surely become one of the most recognizable on TV, and not just because of the theme music. The visuals, too, have taken on a life of their own and several homages have been created over the years. A key feature of the visuals is the astrolabe and this summer a replica of that will be available from Insight Collectibles as part of a collector’s edition package with the popular pop-up book Game of Thrones: A Pop-Up Guide to Westeros. The astrolabe is described as follows :

“The astrolabe stands over 13 inches high and is fully articulated, with moving rings that dynamically replicate the oscillating movement of the astrolabe seen in the Game of Thrones intro sequence. The astrolabe is supported by a stand that features the sigils associated with the four Great Houses of Westeros, Stark, Lannister, Targaryen and Baratheon. Each sigil is highly detailed, from the coat of the Stark direwolf to the talons of the Targaryen dragon.”

In addition to the astrolabe and the new edition of the pop-up book, Insight Collectibles is also releasing a set of Deluxe Stationery Sets for Houses Stark, Targaryen and Lannister and a set of Hardcover Journals for Houses Baratheon, Lannister, Stark and Targaryen.

Edited to add: We don’t yet have a specific release date for any of these products beyond “this summer”. The astrolabe (with the pop-up book included) will retail for $495.00 and the stationary sets for $34.95.

Martin and Waldrop Story on Starship Sofa

A pleasant surprise here, as podcast Starship Sofa proudly reveals that its 389th episode features “The Men of Greywater Station”, a science fiction novelette by George R.R. Martin and Howard Waldrop.  As host Tony C. Smith notes, the novelette has never appeared on-line before, so it’s quite the coup for the Hugo Award-winning podcast.

And yes, it’s no coincidence that “Greywater” appears in the title. GRRM is well-known for certain words, phrases, and names cropping up in a multitude in his works.

Season 6 Filming Locations in Spain Confirmed

As brought to our attention by Spanish fansite Los Siete Reinos, at least two new locations in Spain are lining up for filming in season 6, which starts filming this July but the Spanish segment appears set for September and October. According to Barcelonan paper La Vanguardia, HBO has apparently confirmed that the Catalonian city of Girona will be used in filming—its famous cathedral being cited as one location of particular interest—as well as the Valencian medieval town of Peñsicola which is known for retaining many medieval and Renaissance buildings and structures. James Hibberd of EW adds that other locations may be used in Spain, though those have as yet to be confirmed (in particular, James Hibberd notes that there’s no word whether Seville, the main site for filming Dornish scenes, has not been confirmed as a filming location at this time).

Both Los Siete Reinos and La Vanguardia speculate that Girona would serve very well for Oldtown and the Citadel, citing the narrow streets of the Jewish quarter, the edifice of the cathedral, and so on. Peñsicola is more of a mystery, although Spanish fans are tentatively suggesting it could serve for Casterly Rock. In support of this, note that the Wikipedia article notes that Peñsicola is sometimes known as the “Gibraltar of Valencia”, thanks to being a prominent fortified peninsula, and George R.R. Martin has often likened Casterly Rock to the actual Gibraltar, while at the same time he has noted that Casterly Rock will appear in future A Song of Ice and Fire novels.

It’s certainly as good a guess as any.

Hardhome Episode Guide

We’ve gone and updated our episode guide for “Hardhome” with our book-to-screen breakdown—the analysis and video review, as well as the recap, will take a day or two more to get out. We’ve also added HBO’s videos (just two, this time around; usually it’s been four videos) for the episode in the Extras section.

Also, HBO’s released the trailer for episode 9, “The Dance of Dragons”. It’s worth watching, to say the least!

Finale Title, Details Released

HBO has been sitting tight on releasing information on the finale of season 5, but it has now sent out a press release. See the details below, including the brief logline regarding the events of the episode:

Episode #50: “Mother’s Mercy” (season finale)

        Debut: SUNDAY, JUNE 14 (9:00-10:00 p.m.)

        Other HBO playdates: June 14 (11:30 p.m., 2:00 a.m.), 15 (10:30 p.m.), 16 (9:00 p.m., 1:50 a.m.), 17 (2:25 a.m.), 18 (10:00 p.m.), 19 (9:00 p.m.), 20 (10:30 p.m.) and 26 (8:00 p.m.)

        HBO2 playdates: June 15 (9:00 p.m.), 19 (2:30 a.m.), 20 (2:45 p.m.) and 21 (8:00 p.m.)

  Stannis marches. Dany is surrounded by strangers. Cersei (Lena Headey) seeks forgiveness. Jon is challenged.

        Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss; directed by David Nutter.

 

Reviewing The Gift

Following the airing of “The Gift”, we managed to get up the book-to-screen breakdown in our episode guide.

Since then, we’ve released two other parts of the guide. First up is our video review, which you can see below:

Last night, we also provided our written analysis of the episode, which touches some points that we didn’t cover in the video. You can find that here. The primary thing left is now our complete recap, which we’ll definitely do, but that particular part of our regular episode guide raises a question.

Sons of Winter Released

Just a few days ago, we posted about the trailer being released for the fourth entry in Telltales Games’ Game of Thrones adventure, titled “Sons of Winter”. Now that episode’s available on Steam. We’ll be playing through it and giving it a review—as well as a brief look back at episode 3, which we weren’t able to review due to time constraints—in the coming days.

The Gift Episode Guide

Another episode done, just three to go to wrap up the fifth season of Game of Thrones. We’ve now updated our episode guide for “The Gift” with our book-to-screen breakdown of the episode, as well as HBO’s post-episode videos which include an appearance from GRRM discussing the poisoner’s art as depicted by Oberyn Martell and his bastard daughter Tyene Sand.

Our video, written analysis, and detailed recap of the episode will follow in the next few days; we currently hope to get the video out first, this time around.

HBO has also released the preview for the next episode, “Hardhome”, which you can see below:

Red Nose Day Mockumentary Released

We posted about  the Coldplay/Game of Thrones Red Nose Day special “mockumentary” that aired last night, and now today Coldplay’s official Youtube channel as released the full piece. Filled with actors from the show and quite a bit of humor (some quite broad, some razor-sharp), it’s a fine way to spend slightly less than a quarter of an hour:

Highlights include Emilia Clarke going all out on a reggae piece, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau crooning the first romantic ballad concerning incest in Coldplay’s career, a creepy trio in Ewan Rheon, Charlotte Hope, and Alfie Allen, and of course Liam Neeson (yes, him) providing narration. Definitely a must-see!

Sons of Winter Trailer

Telltale Games has released a teaser trailer for the fourth episode in their Game of Thrones

Looks like it’ll be fun!

Coldplay and the Game of Thrones Musical Mockumentary

Today sees the airing of Red Nose Day, NBC’s charity event that will run from 8PM to 11PM eastern time. Packed with celebrities, the reason it has some special relevance to fans of Game of Thrones is the fact that a dozen members of the show’s cast will be on hand to take part in Game of Thrones: The Musical, a mockumentary-style spoof in collaboration with Coldplay. The internet near exploded with humor when Peter Dinklage first appeared in a teaser singing about all those who’ve died and the few who’ve survived, as seen below:

This was promptly followed by Nikolaj Coster-Waldau performing “Closer to Home”, Jaime’s ode to Cersei, which you can see below:

 

Talking The World of Ice and Fire in Spain

We’ve not yet had time to fully write up our wonderful visit to Spain to promote the Spanish-language release of The World of Ice and Fire by Gigamesh, but at least we thought we should share some of the interviews and photos from our events in Barcelona and Osuna.

In Barcelona, we had the great pleasure of speaking before a packed room of fans at Gigamesh’s amazing bookstore (easily one of the finest SF/F bookstores—with added attention to games and comics besides—we’ve ever visited, right up there with Sweden’s own SF Bokhandeln). This was live streamed, and you can see it below:

But before that happened, we managed an interview with the extremely amiable Javi Marcos of the Podcast de Hielo y Fuego.  The interview was done on behalf of Spanish fan site Los Siete Reinos, who’ve released the first part of the interview in written form (in Spanish). But they’ve gone the extra mile. Not only have they released the original, English-language audio of the interview, but they’ve released a dubbed version as well! Javi “dubs” himself (hah), while his partner-in-podcast Carlos handles dubbing me and the fan we know as Lady Ashara (who gave us a lovely necklace and bracelet featuring the arms of our mutual favorite house, the Daynes of Starfall) handling dubbing Linda.

Fans curious about some of the details we cut from the world book due to space constraints may find this one particularly interesting, as we drop a few tidbits of information.

Our other visit was to Osuna, and though I’m not sure our presentation of the book or the separate interview we did for it have been released, Gigamesh has released some terrific photos of the visit we and their team had there. More about Osuna in particular later, when we’ve some more time!

All in all, it was a fantastic visit and a terrific opportunity to meet some of the world’s most dedicated A Song of Ice and Fire fans, and Linda and I are already trying to figure out when we’ll be able to make another visit to Spain.

Debating Sansa

The closing event of “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” has stirred huge amounts of controversy among the viewership, as a lead character is subjected to a chilling, horrifying act of sexual violence.

For my part, this led to about 3 hours worth of discussion on Twitter with fellow fans of the novels who responded much more negatively than I did. It was AngryGOTFan who suggested we each do short videos discussing our respective views. And so Linda and I have a short video, not so much praising and defending the scene, because we had and still have issues with how it actually came about, but rather responding to some particular critiques which we took issue with.

Rather than linking the videos here, I’d recommend fans go visit AngryGOTFan’s website and watch both of the videos.

For those who want more in-depth, written discussions of the topic that share something of our view on the issue, see Amanda Marcotte’s piece at Raw Story, and Laura Bradley’s article at Slate.

And for those who missed it, we have posted our video review of the episode, which you’ll find in the episode guide, but we’ll embed it below at the point where we discuss the final segment of the episode:

Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken Episode Guide

After much tiring work at a late hour, the book-to-screen breakdown—as well as HBO’s video extras for the episode—are now live on the “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken” episode guide. The rest—the written analysis and the video review, will come out in the next day or two.

We’ve also included the short preview for episode 7, “The Gift”, courtesy of HBO.

Kill the Boy Episode Guide

While we’re traveling in Spain, it doesn’t stop us from trying to start off our episode guide!

To begin with the “Kill the Boy” guide features our book-to-screen breakdown, going into detail of some of the differences between the show and the novels (differences which are, it goes without saying, increasingly major; this show features a few very significant deviations or compressions). We also have HBO’s post-episode videos included in the Extras section.

Hopefully we’ll have the episode review up some time Monday, and the recap some time after. The video review, alas, will have to wait until later in the week, but until then, enjoy!

Episode 9 Title Revealed

While Linda and I have been touring Barcelona and now the town of Osuna courtesy of the Spanish publisher of The World of Ice and Fire, Gigamesh, news concerning the title of the 9th episode—the penultimate episode of the season, in fact—came out thanks to HBO’s online schedule.

According to that schedule, the episode will be titled “The Dance of Dragons”. A very portentous title, that, and especially after the equally ominous “Hardhome”.

As it happens, because of our current state of travel, we’re uncertain how much review material we’ll be able to publish following the episode. We may just manage the Book-to-Screen breakdown on Monday, with the written review having to wait until Wednesday, and the video review after that. Our apologies!

Westeros Comes to Spain

Linda and I are very soon off to our very first book tour ever, invited by Spanish publisher Gigamesh to tour for the release of El Mundo de Hielo y Fuego, the Spanish translation of The World of Ice and Fire. We’ll be there for the better part of a week, and very much look forward to meeting fellow ASoIaF fans.

Below is our current schedule of public events:

  • Barcelona
    • May 9: 5PM to 6PM, presentation of the book for fans at the Librería Gigamesh bookstore (Carrer de Bailèn 8), followed by signing from 6:30PM to 8PM.
  • Osuna

    • May 10: 5PM, present at the public opening of the exhibition of the great Enrique Corominas’ Song of Ice and Fire painting collection at Museo de Osuna, followed by the 6PM presentation of the book in the auditorium of the University of Osuna
Sons of the Harpy Episode Guide

One of the more divergent episodes of the season has concluded, and Westeros.org’s episode guide for “The Sons of the Harpy” is now live! Our usual detailed recap, book-to-screen breakdown, and analysis—plus extras from HBO —are all now available for your reading pleasure. We also just managed to get our review video up on Youtube, which means it’s still processing the higher definition options. For those who can’t wait, you’ll find the video below:

May Episode Details

HBO has released details on May’s upcoming episodes of Game of Thrones, and while these have largely leaked out earlier, their press release includes details on the 8th episode. The title itself might be considered a spoiler by some, so we’re putting full details below the cut:

High Sparrow Episode Guide

And finally we’ve managed to actually complete all of our commentary, analysis, and the like before the episode aired! This means that the “High Sparrow” episode guide is ready to be looked at, with our usual examination of the episode, its place as an adaptation, and more. And as a bonus, here’s our Youtube review of the video, which you can find with the rest of our videos at our channel:

Upcoming Appearance in Second Life

Back in 2006, GRRM did an appearance in Second Life (he posted about it here and there’s a brief video of it as well). He did a reading and there was a surprise appearance by David Benioff and Dan Weiss, as the event followed not too long after the announcement that HBO would be producing Game of Thrones. Elio and I both created avatars to attend the event and as it happened, we stuck around. Since then, Second Life has developed enormously—not the least visually—and today the MMO is home to a wide array of thriving communities, from fashionistas to fantasy fans. One activity that brings many of its avatars together are events that raise money for various causes. In particular, several events are hosted each year that are part of the Relay for Life and one of these is the Fantasy Faire.

This year, the Fantasy Faire includes a Literary Festival and on Sunday the 26th of April at 6am to 8am Pacific time I will be making an appearance to speak about (and perhaps read from) The World of Ice and Fire.

House of Black and White Episode Guide

Due to the server issues last week (which—knock on wood—are now more or less sorted out thanks to our amazing host) , we were quite delayed with our “The Wars to Come” coverage, but we’ve more or less corrected that for “The House of Black and White”. The guide includes an exhaustive summary of the episode, our usual book-to-screen breakdown, and of course our review of the episode, plus a number of extras—namely HBO’s post-episode videos, including a nice look at the Water Gardens as represented by the Real Alcazár of Seville.

Our own video review will be along in a day or three, depending on our schedules. Until then, enjoy the episode guide!