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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.

 

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.

 

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.
LFCC Diary: Interviews from London

Thanks to the intrepid Marino Santirso, Westeros.org is happy to present his diary from the London Film and Comic Convention. Over the coming days, we’ll be posting interviews with a number of Game of Thrones actors that were present at the convention, and as always they’re quite the charming bunch. Marino has provided an introduction to the diary—and himself—here... and as it happens, we’ve also posted the very first interview as well with actor Finn Jones, who plays the famous Knight of Flowers, Ser Loras Tyrell. Finn was actually one of the first actors we ourselves interviewed way back during the first season, and we’re pleased to say he’s as exuberant as always!

You can read Finn’s interview here. As the week progresses, we’ll add further interviews with the likes of Gethin Anthony (Renly Baratheon), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne), and Kristian Nairn (HODOR) !

Pre-order Season 4 of Game of Thrones

HBO’s just sent out a release noting that today, the season 4 boxed set of Game of Thrones can now be pre-ordered (US Bluray, US DVD, UK Bluray, UK DVD). Here’s the full release concerning the contents, and the differences between the DVD and Bluray editions:

The global cultural phenomenon Game of Thrones returns for its fourth season on Blu-ray and DVD from HBO Home Entertainment on 16th February 2015 and is loaded with exclusive bonus content, including extensive guides and illustrated histories.

This hit HBO series has broken ratings records and topped The Sopranos℠ to become the most popular show in the network’s history. Season four continues this winning streak with 19 Emmy® Awards nominations including Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (Peter Dinklage) and Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series (Lena Headey).

Each year, Game of Thrones continues to be one of the best-selling TV programmes available on Blu-ray and DVD, and Game of Thrones: The Complete Fourth Season is packed with even more exclusive bonus content including roundtable discussions, on-set interviews, audio commentaries, and brand new animated histories giving fans hours of extensive, never-before-seen material.

In Season 4, while the Lannisters’ hold on the Iron Throne remains intact, new and ongoing threats from the south, north and east threaten to tip the scales. As Stannis Baratheon and Daenerys Targaryen continue to grow their respective armies, the arrival of the Lannister-loathing “Red Viper of Dorne” poses a more immediate danger. In the north, the depleted Night’s Watch seems overmatched against the advances of Mance Rayder’s army of wildlings, which in turn is being trailed by an even more formidable foe: the undead White Walkers.

GRRM Not Writing for Season 5

Well, this is an interesting revelation at EW’s interview with yesterday’s panelists. When asked if he’s writing for season 5, George admits that he is not, in fact, doing so. This will be the first time that the show has not had a GRRM-penned episode. Martin cites his work on The Winds of Winter as the primary reason. You can find the full interview below (the question, and Martin’s response, starts at the 1:10 mark):

Casting News from San Diego

The panel’s over, and the big news out of it is that HBO revealed a number of the new cast members via a casting video, seen below (keep reading for HBO’s press release, and a bonus season 4 blooper reel!):

Dark Horse Reveals New Game of Thrones Figure

San Diego Comic Con is in full swing, and today will see the now-traditional Game of Thrones panel featuring a bevy of cast and crew, including GRRM himself, all hosted by Craig Ferguson (if only Geoff Peterson could co-host…!) But there’s a lot more going on at the convention that’s Game of Thrones related as the biggest comic and media convention in the U.S. gets rolling. A number of licensed creators, including Funko, Insight, and more are also present… and so, too, is Dark Horse.

Among the SDCC exclusive premieres taking place from Dark Horse—including a Lannister shield plaque and Bolton map marker (more abou those later), they’re unveiling a new deluxe figure, this time depicting (the late) Tywin Lannister looking as stern and aristocratic as ever. Here’s what Dark Horse has to say about the release:

Tywin Lannister has ruthlessly schemed his way into power in the HBO adaptation of Game of Thrones, and he has not stopped there. Using a behind-the-scenes campaign of intimidation and guile, he has also secured a place in the upcoming group of detailed collectable Game of Thrones figures produced by Dark Horse Comics.

“We just couldn’t say ‘no’ to Tywin,” Dark Horse product development head David Scroggy remarked, “It didn’t seem like a smart idea to deny him.”

Exclusively revealed on social media by HBO on Preview Night of San Diego Comic-Con, the figure prototype is featured at the Dark Horse booth’s upcoming products display.

The Tywin Lannister figure joins on ongoing series of non-articulated deluxe figures of characters from the popular series. Debuting in January 2014, the ongoing range will continue through 2015.

The Tywin Lannister figure measures approximately 8” tall on his base. It will be packaged in a full-color window-box package.

Scheduled on-sale date is March 11, 2015, which will make the figure available in-store just ahead of the new season premiere of Game of Thrones.

A litlte bird tells us that Tywin is just the first in a new series of deluxe figures from Dark Horse, but more on that in weeks to come.

If you’re at SDCC, make sure to drop by Dark Horse’s booth, #2615, and get a closer look at the Tywin figure and everything else they have on display!

 

Season 5 Directors Revealed

Now that filming is soon to commence later this month, EW—as always!—gets the scoop on just who’s directing each episode of season 5. Some interesting new names in this one, and some interesting details:

Episodes 501 and 502: Michael Slovis
Episodes 503 and 504: Mark Mylod
Episodes 505 and 506: Jeremy Podeswa
Episodes 507 and 508: Miguel Sapochnik
Episodes 509 and 510: David Nutter

As James Hibberd points out, David Benioff and Dan Weiss aren’t taking up director duties as they have with the last few seasons, and other than Nutter every one of the directors is brand new to the series…

Well, sort of. Jeremy Podeswa was set to direct  at least one episode of season 2—almost certainly “Blackwater”—when a family situation forced him to drop out. His taking the middle set of episodes may be indicative that there’s some sort of big turn—potentially something action-heavy—taking place in those episodes, given not only the fact that he had been pegged to direct the action-heavy “Blackwater” but has also directed episodes of HBO’s The Pacific, including (with David Nutter) the episode “Iwo Jima” about the Battle of Iwo Jima.

Also of note is the way that every director is directing two episode, contiguous blocks. That may provide some advantages for the scheduling of filming.

Game of Thrones Leads Emmy Field

The Primetime Emmys have announced their nominations for this year’s award, and the ever.popular Game of Thrones leads the field with a total of 20 nominations in 19 categories, including a number in the “major” categories: Best Drama, Supporting Actor (Peter Dinklage), Supporting Actress (Lena Headey), Guest Actress (Diana Rigg), Writing, and Direction (Neil Marshall for Watchers on the Wall). Other nominations are Casting in a Drama, two entries in the Cinematography category (for Anette Haellmigk, who acted as director of photography for a six of last season’s episodes, as well as Jonathan Freeman, also responsible for several episodes), Costuming, Hairstyling, Interactive Program (for HBO’s use of Instagram and Facebook), Makeup, Music Composition, Prosthetic Makeup, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Stunt Coordination, Art Direction, and Visual Effects.

It’s a tough field in the major categories, especially with Breaking Bad‘s final season under consideration, and performances by its supporting cast in Aaron Paul and Anna Gunn, while a HBO sister program True Detective has Cary Fukunaga’s direction and Nic Pizzolatto’s writing to contend with as well. Still, as they say, it’s an honor to be nominated. The Emmy awards will be handed out on August 25th.

Discussing Season 4

Our final video for season 4 became our longest ever, needing to be split up into three parts to keep it managable. Linda and I cover the season from start to finish, reviewing both the best and worst moments, as well as speculating regarding how they’ll bring about the adaptation of the novels to season 5. There’s some spoilers along the way—some of them drawn from information about the show’s adaptation choices, specifically, and some just drawing from the novels—so beware if you’re sensitive to either!

You’ll find the videos below:

HBO Confirms Filming in Sevilla

Yesterday, remarks from James Costos—former HBO executive and now US Ambassador to Spain—were taken out of context (note: in Spanish) suggesting that the ambassador was formally announcing that HBO had settled on Spain as a shooting location; in fact, in full the comments merely said what was already widely known, that Spain’s Andalusian region was in the running as a shooting location. The hysteria in the news media in Spain, and social media, led this to transform into some sort of official announcement.

However, this morning HBO has gone ahead and confirmed wide speculation that an actual announcement was imminent. The key point of the press release:

HBO is pleased to confirm that a portion of season five of GAME OF THRONES will be shot on several natural locations in the Province of Sevilla.  Specifics on the locations will be announced closer to the time of production.

The rest of the press release can be found below: