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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!

 

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:

Discussing the Children

As we’ve done for the previous episodes this season, Linda and I have filmed a video of our discussing the episode, focusing on various aspects including providing insights into the history and background of various details, as well as our views on various aspects of the episode. We’ve placed the video in our episode guide, but you can find it below:

For those of you in the UK, you can also see our appearance in the final Thronecast episode of the season—as well as Iwan Rheon (aka Ramsay) and Natalia Tena (Osha) with her band Molotov Jukebox—over at Sky’s website.

The Children Episode Guide

The preliminary parts of our episode guide for “The Children”, the season finale of Game of Thrones, are now up. Besides the analysis and the book-to-screen breakdown, we’ve linked the post-episode videos HBO has released.

Unfortunately, the recap may be somewhat delayed this time around due to other commitments! And we’ll see if we can manage to get the video discussion/review out as well.

Season 4 Interview: Isaac Hempstead-Wright & Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Concluding our interviews from February, I had the chance to meet and talk with Isaac Hempstead-Wright—the adorable Bran Stark, who I had last met years ago during the first season filming—and Thomas Brodie-Sangster whose portrayal of Jojen Reed has been a study in maturity and understated performance.

When Isaac saw me, his genuine pleasure at meeting again reminded me of the cheerful, enthusiastic child I’d met years earlier. He’s grown up in a lot of ways—I remarked that Kristian Nairn has mentioned how glad he is that he hasn’t had to carry Isaac on his back any longer thanks to that!—and he (and Thomas) both gave some very thoughtful answers to the questions posed.

Interview

So, what can you say of any visions you have this season?

Isaac: Over the series, we’ve seen Bran explore his mystical elements more and more. By season 3, with the arrival of Jojen, he definitely starts to understand it better and what this higher calling is. Season 4 continues this, and aiming at the pinnacle—at this supernatural force desperately pulling Bran towards it.

In the books, Jojen knows the date of his death and what happens to him. Is this something present in the show?

Thomas: I believe he doesn’t think the future is set, as such, but he gets senses and feelings. He just knows something, but without knowing it in its entirety. It’s a general feeling that he can’t really change and just has to accept. He’s aware of his own mortality, but this makes him calmer, more upstanding, clearer. Everyone dies, of course, but knowing when or where—or both—must ... Well, I wouldn’t want to know, but Jojen is quite cool about it. He’s accepting of it. That helps him have clarity.
Season 4 Interview: Sibel Kekilli

This past February, I had the opportunity to interview a number of actors in London. One of the ones I was most eager to meet—because she had been rather difficult to get an interview with previously!—was Sibel Kekilli, who plays Shae. Although given the early date of the interview it was difficult to approach anything discussing her big turn this season, it was a good chance to catch up with the actress.

An award-winner in her native Germany for her powerful work in films such as Head-On and When We Leave, Kekilli proves to be a very enthusiastic interview subject—a lot of exclaimations, a lot of smiles, and not a little laughter.

Interview

What was it like, when you first got involved in Game of Thrones?

It was my first significant work in English, and for HBO as well. The first season, when I was auditioning in June 2010, we started filming not long after that. People didn’t know how long the show would last, that it may not even go to a second season, that I may just have a few episodes to do. So I was, okay, I liked the character, and I didn’t know where the journey goes so that’s interesting. I was very naive, I thought perhaps I’d die in the second season.
But then it got a second season, and I said, “Oh, I don’t want to die! I want to be on it as long as I can!” I was so proud to be part of this big show.
Watchers on the Wall Episode Guide

The first parts of our episode guide for “The Watchers on the Wall” are now live, including our analysis of the episode (TL;DR: it’s really, really good) and our book-to-screen breakdown. We’ll see if we can get the recap done in the next hours. Also included in the guide are the videos HBO has posted up, including a 2 minute piece focusing on the fight scene. Look at the opening of that one, folks, and you’ll see a lot of why we were so baffled by the duel in “The Mountain and the Viper”.

Neil Marshall delivers, and so do the writers, the production, and more. However, after the cut, a very brief commentary on a controversy that seems to be rearing its head on the forums and online—one that I hope is just a tempest in a tea cup…

The Mountain and the Viper Episode Guide

We’ve worked overtime on this one, and are pleased to note that we have our review and detailed recap available at the episode guide for “The Mountain and the Viper”. Usually we have the book-to-screen up at the same time as well, but trying to squeeze out the recap (it’s a long one) took too much time; we’ll tackle that tomorrow, for those eagerly awaiting it.

We hope to record our video discussion tomorrow, but in the interim,  we welcome viewers to drop by the A Song of Ice and Fire forum and its Game of Thrones discussion pages. A great deal of discussion going on in the community, with a lot of useful insights!

Interviewing Aidan Gillen

One of the actors who has been most elusive among the regular cast has been Aidan Gillen. We’ve hoped to interview him for a number of years, but could never make it work… until, that is, earlier this year when I traveled to London to take part in a round of interviews with Gillen, as well as a number of actors.

I recall back when the show was announced that all sorts of names flew about for various roles, but Gillen’s name was easily the most common fan suggestion for Petyr Baelish. Those suggestions were largely based on his role as Carcetti in HBO’s groundbreaking The Wire, I suspect, but I admit at the time I hadn’t gotten past the show’s first season so didn’t know him from there. But we here at Westeros.org also latched onto the name when it was suggested, because of his charming, fearless, devilish performance as Stuart Russel T. Davies’s Queer as Folk.

With many notable roles under his belt, in film, television, and theater, the Dublin-born actor proves a very knowledgeable, extremely thoughtful interview subject. He takes his time with all his responses, thinking them through. And, as you’ll see, he’s more familiar than most of the actors with the source material….

Interview

Without being too spoilery, what sort of character does Littlefinger takes this season?

Literally a journey. At the end of season 3, I got a ship and sailed off. So I go to the Eyrie, and I don’t think that’s a secret. In terms of character development, what’s starting to happen is that I’m taking my surrogate parental responsibilities a bit more seriously, taking Sansa under my wings a bit and making sure Robin Arryn is okay. That’s mainly it.
The Eyrie’s a big destination. Robin needs guidance—he’s only 10 years old—and there’s an interesting dynamic with Sansa as well.

How much do you know about what lies ahead for your character? You’ve read the books, I know, but do you know what lies beyond that?

I know as much as anyone whose read the books, or we’re about to. Anything after that… I don’t know, really.

(For the rest of the interview, head over to the Features page!)

Mockingbird Episode Guide

Our episode guide for “Mockingbird” is now updated with the first of our content: the book-to-scene breakdown and our review analyzing various scenes, as well as a number of HBO’s post-episode videos (including an interesting one from GRRM discussing Littlefinger’s feelings towards Sansa). Besides that, HBO has placed the trailer for episode 8 on-line, which we’ve placed over in the episode guide for “The Mountain and the Viper”. Remember, that episode won’t be airing until two weeks from now, as the show takes a break for Memorial Day (replacing it in its time slot is the HBO original movie, The Normal Heart, starring Mark Ruffalo and Julia Roberts; heard some good things about this harrowing look at the early days of the AIDS crisis in New York City, so it’s worth checking out).

We hope to get our detailed recap of the episode posted tomorrow evening, but for those who want to discuss the episode, rate it, and more, the A Song of Ice and Fire forum is full of like-minded individuals, so give it a try!

Season 4 Interview: Bryan Cogman

With Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Bryan Cogman’s been the member of the Game of Thrones production we’ve had most opportunities to interview, and as always it’s been a pleasure as we range around various behind-the-scenes aspects of the production, as well as some in-depth discussion of Bryan’s work as a writer for this season in regards to “Oathkeeper” and “The Laws of Gods and Men”>.  See below for the full interview, as we discuss filming in Iceland, the growth of the scale of the production since the early days, who Bryan’s idol is, and more!

Interview

All right, welcome back to what’s turning into an annual chat, Bryan. I think Nikolaj’s the only person we’ve interviewed as often at this point.

I’ll beat his record, dammit! Thinks he’s so special…

Hah. As I recall, this season included your first trip to Iceland for filming—usually none of your material was shot there, is that right?

Trying to think… ah, there was one bit from “Kissed By Fire”—the encounter with Jon and Orell just before he and Ygritte go into the cave.  That was Iceland.  But, then again, D&D wrote most of that bit…  And, of course, the interior of the cave was a soundstage in Belfast.  So, yeah!  Got to do Iceland.  Funnily enough, though, apart from one scene, all the season four Iceland stuff features in D&D’s episodes.  But I had the huge honor of being the sole writer covering the Iceland unit this year (apart from the Tormund/Styr scene in 401—D&D flew in to direct that).
The one scene shot in Iceland from my episodes is the dragon popping out of that gorge. But, then again, I wasn’t on set for that!  I was with Michelle on the other unit shooting the Arya/Hound water dancing scene. That location with all the waterfalls is maybe the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. Iceland just looks like another world.  The landscapes, they’re just a bit different, a bit fantastical, so it fit what we’re doing perfectly.

Iceland really looks stunning. This time around the shooting was in the summer. Lots of sunlight, relatively warm weather?

(Click here for the rest of the interview in our Features section!)

Laws of Gods and Men Episode Guide

Our analysis and book-to-screen breakdown for “The Laws of Gods and Men” are now live at the episode guide.  As with last week’s episode, this week’s recap will have to wait—hopefully we’ll have it up tomorrow, or Tuesday at the latest.

Besides our material, HBO has released three post-episode videos which are linked in the Extras section of the guide.

Reviewing the First of His Name

The episode’s done, and our episode guide for “First of His Name” has gone live with our initial analysis of the episode, as well as our book-to-screen breakdown and a number of HBO’s post-episode videos. Our own video—as well as our exhaustive recap—will have to wait until tomorrow this time around, as neither of us can stay up much longer out here!

But to tide you over, there’s always the forum, and HBO has also released the preview to the next episode, which you can find at the guide for “The Laws of Gods and Men”.