Game of Thrones

HBO's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' TV Show

News

Production

GRRM Reveals S2 Script Duties

Via Variety (and, actually, a recent interview or two), George R.R. Martin has revealed what section of the second series he’ll be writing. A bit of spoiler protection is in order…

Reviews, Commentary, and Interviews

So, for the last several days I’d been compiling links to every review, for one great big review post… but, forget it, check out Metacritic instead, it’ll have some of the highlights (however, listen to Myles McNutt when he tells you to ignore the arbitrary metascore). Of particular note are this long review from James Poniewozik, a fan of the novels, and this one from Alan Sepinwall, who hasn’t read the novels.

On the other hand, we should probably highlight the controversy that Game of Thrones sparked, when two critics spent far more time complaining about the genre and its fans (including implying that there can’t possibly be many women interested in watching or reading something like the series) than they did actually reviewing the series itself. Tony Patterson at Slate and Ginia Bellafante New York Times win plaudits for stirring up controversy, if nothing else. Ms. Bellafante’s sexist attitude was especially enraging to most “geek girls”, and I can attest to Twitter being absolutely filled with dialog about it. Geek Femme and Geek Mom gave two excellent responses to Ms. Bellanfate, while today we have Daniel Abraham at Orbit and Matt Zoeller Seitz remarking on both reviewers in terms of their allowing genre bias to get in the way of their job as rviewers.

So, we’ll leave that for reviews, except that we must absolutely plug Todd VanDerWerff and Libby Hill’s podcast, “Television on the Internet”. The last half hour of Episode 59 is dedicated to Game of Thrones. It’s very good, with a nice casual style and some excellent back-and-forth. Both like it, and both have worthwhile things to say about it.


Below are links to interviews and some interesting articles related to the series, which premieres tomorrow:

Visual Guide to Westeros

HBO has unveiled a Visual Guide to the new Game of Thrones. Featuring interactive maps—including an excellent look at the coast of Essos and the placement of most (but not all) of the Free Cities, apparently based on GRRM’s own maps—and details on various characters, organization, and history, it’s a great guide to the TV show’s version of the novels. There are little changes, here and there, and it’ll be fun spotting some of the departures from the setting’s history in particular.

Making Game of Thrones: Heraldry and Maps

Ah-ha, this is the last Artisans featurette before the premiere on the 17th. Graphic artist Jim Stanes discusses a subject near and dear to our hearts: Heraldry and Maps. This video’s full of some of the heraldic images I had a sneak peek at when I visited the production in Belfast, and now everyone else can see them too!

The Iron Throne

The latest (and last before the premiere?) Artisans is now up, featuring the production designer Gemma Jackson as she gives viewers a detailed look at the throne room in the Red Keep… and, of course, the Iron Throne:

Reviews and Interviews Galore

Boy, these things are piling up! A quick roundup of the latest reviews, interviews, and other Game of Thrones-related items:

  • One of the biggest pieces of news is HBO’s innovative plans for airing the first episode of the series. After the initial airing at 9PM, two follow up airings will take place back-to-back. More amazingly, however, on Monday HBO will air the series on six of its channels simultaneously at 9PM. The cumulative viewership numbers should be quite remarkable, if everything goes to plan. More information can be found at The Hollywood Reporter.
  • George R.R. Martin shares his Top 10 Fantasy Films over at the Daily Beast.
  • A quick look at some reviews: Slice of Sci-Fi, On the Stick, Variety blogger Jon Weisman, The Phoenix
  • And a particular pointer to this podcast discussion from Daniel Feinberg and Alan Sepinwall, where they spend 20 minutes(!) discussing the show, and that with a great deal of praise.
  • The Radio Times in the UK has an exclusive gallery of photos, a number of which we’ve not seen before.
  • Interviews and profiles galore: remarks from Mark Addy, Alfie Allen and Emilia Clarke, Richard Madden, executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, Kit Harington, and piece with Sean Bean.
  • The Atlantic has begun a series of five posts with takes on the series. First up, Alyssa Rosenberg, followed by Adam Serwer. These are particularly thoughtful pieces, written by writers more generally involved in cultural and political commentary than television criticism.
  • David J. Peterson, creator of the Dothraki language for the show, attended a screening in Los Angeles and wrote a report.

 

Game of Thrones Airing Early on HBO GO

For those HBO subscribers lucky enough to have access to HBO GO through their cable provider, the Wall Street Journal has revealed very interesting news: some episodes of the series will air on HBO GO even before they air on television! No specific details of this initative, such as how much earlier (an hour? a day?), are provided in the article. However, it does have a lot of very interesting things to say about the prospects of the show…

Wall Street Journal and Harington Interview

The Wall Street Journal has a great article on the production of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which notes a couple of tidbits likely to make fans salivate. First up, a hint as to where the production may do some filming if it goes forward:

¨Before production began, fans posted renderings online of how they imagined colorful King’s Landing, the lush, chilly Winterfell and the eerie blood-covered Castle Black. “I of course ignored all of that because I wanted to make it my own world,” production designer Gemma Jackson said from Croatia, where she was scouting locations for season two before heading to Turkey.

Making Of Video

The new “Making of…” video has been released. Wonderful, wonderful stuff, as always ... especially that opening theme at the 22:38 mark, right? ;)

International Interest High

According to a short piece in Variety, HBO’s Game of Thrones is likely to be HBO’s biggest seller in international markets! Citing that Boardwalk Empire, which was HBO’s best-selling series to international markets (with licenses sold to some 160 countries), the article notes:

Bidding wars broke out among European webs determined to licence the show… Schreger, said, “We knew we had a pair of hot properties in ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and ‘Game of Thrones,’ but buyers’ interest in ‘Thrones’ is phenomenal.”

The article goes on to note some new international market sales that have been eagerly awaited: TNT Serie will air the show in Germany, while Telenet will broadcast it in Belgium. Showtime in Australia is now fully confirmed, as well. The article adds that deals are in the works for Italian, Japanese, and Russian market sales.

We’ve updated our international air dates listing accordingly.

The Title Sequence

We’re not going to review the show just yet after the episodes we saw, although we hope we might give some vague first impressions soon, but we feel compelled to make a special note to highlight just how amazing the opening titles for the show are. Gorgeously produced, innovative, and best of all completely acknowledging the breadth and scale of the setting. And for our money, it’s much cooler than what the pilot script allegedly described, which was simply a raven flying over a map of Westeros from point to point; that was a good idea, but this ... this is inspired.

Episode Titles through Episode 7

Via MSN.com, we now have the episode titles for episodes 5 through 7. Episode 5 is “The Wolf and the Lion”, episode 6 is “A Golden Crown”, and episode 7 (this is a new one for Linda and I) is, “You Win or You Die”. With GRRM’s episode 8 title of “The Pointy End” already known, this just leaves the final two episodes to be titled.

Media Covers Game of Thrones

Entertainment Weekly is leading the way among the major media, being what can be considered the first US media out of the gate with major coverage of Game of Thrones, with a featured article in this week’s issue, an open call for fans to submit questions for the cast and crew, and an exclusive gallery of ten new photos. We expect a lot more content is coming in short order.

On top of that, it seems the embargo on reviews is going up in the U.K., because Den of Geek has the very first, spoiler-free review of the first episode and interviews with Alfie Allen and Emilia Clarke, while back in the states the Grand Old Lady of newspapers, the New York Times, features an interview with George R.R. Martin about the series.

Finally, on a very different note, here’s this fascinating article on Mixonline—a website for audio industry professionals—regarding the sound mixing and editing on Game of Thrones. We do love these behind-the-scenes pieces.

Now, as for ourselves, we have something to watch...

Northern Ireland Locked-In?

Back in September, Northern Ireland Screen, who played a leading role in bringing Game of Thrones to Northern Ireland, had a board meeting where it was revealed that a “2nd series for Game of Thrones was already under strong consideration.” It went on to state that “securing” that season to be produced in Northern Ireland could well depend on the NI Screen hurrying along the process of expanding studio space by Summer 2011.

Northern Ireland and Game of Thrones

Variety has a very interesting report on film and television production in Northern Ireland which touches on HBO’s Game of Thrones, and includes some interesting facts and figures. As we’ve previously discussed, the show’s budget has always been impressive, probably in the top quintile of all of HBO’s regular hour-long dramas (Rome certainly being at the very top end), but it seems it may have been even bigger than we were led to believe.