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):
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!
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.
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.
From a report on EW, HBO has revealed the directors of the final six episodes of Game of Thrones. They’re all familiar names: Miguel Sapochnik, David Nutter, and David Benioff & D.B. Weiss. The showrunners, who are also writing four of the final six episodes, will be directing the finale.
James Hibberd goes into more detail, and in particular provides speculation as to how episodes will be divyed up, with rumors suggesting Sapochnik may direct three of the episodes.
HBO has just announced that long-time series writer and producer Bryan Cogman is the fifth writer behind on the successors. EW’s James Hibberd has what details there are to be had, but understandably HBO are tight-lipped about just what ideas are being developed. A couple of months ago, Linda and I recorded videos discussing some of the areas of Martin’s world and its history that might be of interest.
Of all the writers involved in developing these successor shows, Cogman is unique in being the only one to have worked on the series, and has done so from the start—even back to the original pilot, when he was assistant to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
HBO has announced that you can now preorder the Season 7 Blu-ray and DVD, and revealed a bunch of new details while also sharing an exclusive clip featuring Harry Lloyd (Viserys) narrating the history of House Targaryen from the Fall of Valyria to Aegon the Conqueror turning his eyes to the Seven Kingdoms. Nice art, I have to say!
Here’s the full list of detaisl from HBO:
New York, N.Y., September 14, 2017 – The record-breaking phenomenon is back with a season that proved to be well worth the wait! Action-packed from start to finish with the series’ most epic battles yet, the HBO® drama series Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season will be available for Digital Download September 25th and on Blu-Ray™ and DVD December 12th. The latest season of Game of Thrones featured the most-watched premiere and finale episodes in HBO history, and the series remains the most-awarded drama series in Emmy® history, with 109 nominations to date and winning the 2015 and 2016 trophy for Best Drama Series.
Available December 12th, The Blu-ray™ and DVD sets are packed with exclusive new bonus content including audio commentaries on every episode, two new behind-the-scenes featurettes, and, for a limited time only, a bonus disc containing Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms, a 45-minute, never-before-seen extension of the Clio Award-winning History & Lore features included on previous individual Blu-ray™ season releases. Narrated by some of the series’ biggest stars including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), the companion piece to season 7 reveals the fascinating story of how the world of Westeros as we know it came to be– including what happened the last time a Targaryen invaded the realm!
Available September 25th, the Digital Download release for Game of Thrones: The Complete Seventh Season includes an exclusive new “Creating the North and Beyond” featurette that takes fans behind the scenes of Jon Snow’s epic trek north of The Wall and his latest battle with the Night King’s army.
Blu-ray™ & DVD Exclusive Bonus Features Include:
Conquest & Rebellion: An Animated History of the Seven Kingdoms- From the Game of Thrones realm comes the never-before-seen story of the tumultuous events that shaped the world of Westeros for thousands of years before the series start. Cast members Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Aidan Gillen (Littlefinger), Conleth Hill (Varys), Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) team up to narrate the animated telling of Aegon Targaryen’s attempts to conquer the Seven Kingdoms, written by show writer Dave Hill.
From Imagination to Reality: Inside the Art Department- Extensive two-part featurette detailing the astonishing work of Production Designer Deborah Riley and her Art Department, dissecting the process behind the creation of this season’s incredible new sets, including Dragonstone, Casterly Rock, Highgarden, the Dragonpit, and more.
Fire & Steel: Creating the Invasion of Westeros- Revisit this season’s most pivotal moments with this behind-the-scenes featurette, including interviews with key cast and crew breaking down how fans’ favorite moments were created.
Audio Commentaries- Commentaries on every episode with cast and crew including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, Jacob Anderson, Gwendoline Christie, Liam Cunningham, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, and more.
Blu-ray™ Exclusive Bonus Features Include:
Histories and Lore- 7 new animated pieces that give the history and background of notable season 7 locations and storylines including The Dragonpit, Highgarden, Prophecies of the Known World, the Rains of Castamere and more all narrated by cast members including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen and more.
In-Episode Guides- In-feature resource that provides background information about on-screen characters and locations.
Digital Download Exclusive Bonus Features Include:
Creating the North and Beyond- Behind-the-scenes featurette delving into the massive undertaking of creating and filming the battle in Episode 6 of Season 7.
In Season 7, Daenerys Targaryen has finally set sail for Westeros with her armies, dragons and new Hand of the Queen, Tyrion Lannister. Jon Snow has been named King in the North after defeating Ramsay Bolton in the Battle of the Bastards and returning Winterfell to House Stark. In King’s Landing, Cersei Lannister has seized the Iron Throne by incinerating the High Sparrow, his followers and her rivals in the Sept of Baelor. But as old alliances fracture and new ones emerge, an army of dead men marches on the Wall, threatening to end the game of thrones forever.
Based on the popular book series “A Song of Ice and Fire,” by George R.R. Martin, the seventh season of this hit Emmy®-winning fantasy features returning series regulars Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Emmy® and Golden Globe® winner Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Aidan Gillen (Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Diana Rigg (Lady Olenna Tyrell), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark).
Additional returning series regulars this season include: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Pilou Asbaek (Euron Greyjoy), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Conleth Hill (Varys), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane), Rory McCann (Sandor “The Hound” Clegane), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Carice van Houten (Melisandre), and Indira Varma (Ellaria Sand).
New cast members for the seventh season include: Jim Broadbent, Tom Hopper, and Megan Parkinson. Ed Sheeran guest stars in one episode.
After some down time, HBO’s arrangement with global events provider GES—announced in July—has come to fruition with the announcement of the first date for the re-vamped, expanded exhibition. From October 28th, a “limited engagement” (no precise details, but the exhibition website allows tickets to be ordered as far in advance as January 7) will be taking place in Barcelona’s Museu Marítim.
Other locations and dates will be announced in the weeks and months to come. One big difference from prior exhibitions: there’ll be a fee for entry, but this fits with the idea that it’s also on a much larger scale than previous exhibitions.
Full press release below:
News spread last night of a talk Casey Bloys, HBO’s president of programming, held at Moravian College. According to reports, Bloys indicated that in a bid to mitigate the leaks that have plagued the show the last few seasons, the producers had decided to write and film multiple endings to attempt to hide the real ending. According to the report at EW, the showrunners have previously indicated that they’re going to new heights to attempt to prevent leaks for the final season, and this seems to be just one of a number of techniques they’ll be using.
Alternate endings created to prevent leaks is not new to television, with shows as varied as 24, Lost, The Simpsons, and fellow HBO show Sex and the City having used the stratagem. As to whether these efforts will be successful when it comes to Game of Thrones? Only time will tell.
Last week, Linda provided a review of the very handsome Stark fountain pen from Italian pen maker Montegrappa. That pen was one we bought ourselves, as we do admire fountain pens, but shortly after we did our review we were pleasantly surprised to receive a package straight from HBO: Montegrappa's Targaryen ballpoint pen. Naturally, we just had to review it, and I provide the honors this time around:
Yes, my handwriting is nothing to write home about! But I think that should give those interested in a pen like this a sense of what they're getting. All in all, the Montegrappa series of pens has been one of the unique and interesting Game of Thrones-licensed products. The pens are widely available, especially at HBO's own store:
We've posted a video review of one of Montegrappa's officially-licensed Game of Thrones pens. Montegrappa is a famous name in Italy, a maker of fine pens and other luxury items, and their licensing Game of Thrones has led to four (now five) beautiful pens.
The Stark pen featured above -- a fountain pen with a medium nib; other options include fine and broad nibs, or rollerball or ballpoint versions -- is one of the initial four pens which each take their inspiration from a different Great House. The fifth, and newest pen, is a high-end limited edition in solid sterling silver or even 18 karat gold, but those run anywhere from 3,200 to 52,000(!) euros.
This pen came to us by way of Amazon.com, via a Madrid-based authorized dealer named Iguana Sell (noting them down because they did an amazing job with prompt shipping and really good packaging), but you'll find most of the varieties of the pens available from a number of sellers besides them, some at even lower prices:
Of course, the HBO Store (both the US and EU varieties) also carries the pens as well, and sometimes you'll find special deals on all their Game of Thrones products.
The episode guide for “The Dragon and the Wolf” is now mostly up-to-date, including Linda’s video review of the episode (which we’ll embed below) as well as a book-to-screen consideration trying to piece out what’s inspired by the novels to date, what’s likely to happen in future novels, and what’s definitely not something that fits within the scopes of the books.
As Linda says in her video, there may or may not be a Season 7 overview video from her—stay tuned!
HBO has released details for the final episode of Game of Thrones season 7: “The Dragon and the Wolf”—good title—will have a 79 minute, 43 second running time, making it the longest episode of the series to date. There are rumors that season 8’s episodes will potentially run even longer as a matter of course, but we’ll have to wait and see if that holds true.
“The Dragon and the Wolf” airs at 9PM on August 27th.
The penultimate episode of Game of Thrones season 7, “Beyond the Wall, is out, and Linda has gotten the episode guide filled with thoughts on what’s inspired by the books and what may be related to what’s to come and what definitely isn’t happening, as well as an analysis of the episode which we’re embedding below:
Thanks to all of our travel lately, some of the previous episode guides did not get their Book-to-Screen sections, but those have now been filled: “The Spoils of War” and “Eastwatch”. The latter also contains a second video in the Analysis section, looking more closely at a particular bit of information revealed in “Eastwatch”.
IGN has an interesting interview with Jane Goldman, one of the four (or five) writers working on ideas for a successor series to HBO’s Game of Thrones. In the course of the interview, Goldman’s quite cagey, but she does share just a little bit of information that provides some additional parameters for what her pitch is.