Game of Thrones

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

News

Production

Ratings and Shooting Locations

After last weeks very small drop in the ratings—which was strange, coming off of episode 5—the ratings for this Memorial Day weekend looked unlikely to sustain growth. And that, we suppose, is true enough: as reported by James Hibberd for EW, the show held steady at 2.4 million viewers, with 3.2 million in total after the repeat that evening. However, as Hibberd notes, this particular Sundy evening was down 21% overall in viewership, so holding steady isn’t bad at all.

Hibberd predicts a rise this Sunday, but we’re not so sure: game 3 of the NBA Finals are taking place at the same time, and that’s bound to draw a few eyeballs, especially if the Mavericks and Heat (Go, Heat! BTW) are 1-1 going into that game.

Inside “A Golden Crown” and More

So, that was a pretty good episode, wasn’t it? HBO has gone and posted an inside-look at the latest Game of Thrones episode with director Daniel Minahan and executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as posted an interview with actor Harry Lloyd, who certainly had a memorable turn as Viserys. Keep an eyes open for our own interview with Lloyd, later this evening!

On top of that, there’s a preview for episode 7, “You Win or You Die”, which includes our introduction to the Lord of Casterly Rock, Tywin Lannister!

A Look at Malta and Some Interviews

Over the last couple of days, some more interviews have been trickling out from the production. We’ve already shared a look at BlueBolt’s VFX work for the production, but there’s also a brand new Emilia Clarke interview as well as a fun (but very spoilerish) interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau at The Vulture.

On top of that, the Times of Malta has an excellent article looking at the production’s presence in Malta, with some nice factoids at the end regarding the length of the shoot, the number of extras and local production crew involved, and some of the filming locations. A good read for those interested in a behind-the-scenes look at the production.

Visual Effects Details Revealed

Now that the show is at its half way point, it looks like Bluebolt—the chief VFX vendor for HBO’s Game of Thrones—is starting to be interviewed, revealing some great details about their work. This profile at Below the Line News is an excellent read…

And also a spoilerish one, especially regarding some work that’ll close out the season. If you’ve not read the books, we suggest skipping it. Here’s a couple of the coolest tidbits, however:

Art of the Title Interview

Art of the Title, a rather cool website focused on the art of main title design, has a terrific interview with creative designer Angus Wall, an Emmy-award winning title designer and recent recipient of the Academy Award for film editing. They go over the Game of Thrones title sequence in some detail.

Best of all, the article is heavily illustrated with concept art and high-resolution stills from the sequence. Plus, the highest resolution glimpse at the map that includes Essos ... including Essos’s eastern coast, on the opposite side of the Sunset Sea. This one’s so cool that we’ve added it to our Gallery, with some comments.

Late July Start for Game of Thrones

An article in the U.K. film and television industry trade website, Broadcast Now, notes that Northern Irish companies are gearing up for the return of Game of Thrones to production. While a representative of HBO has indicated that it’s premature to say that any locations have been set in stone, I think we can say that odds are extremely good for Northern Ireland again being the headquarters for the production.

And of note? A “late July” start has been stated by the production. This fits with what we’ve heard elsewhere. Some may find it a bit surprising that they’ll start that long after the greenlight, especially with the difficulties this past autumn and winter caused for them due to weather, but it seems like the production is very comfortable with this date.

Late July causes another question, though. That’s when San Diego Comic Con takes place. Is HBO skipping out on it? We find that incredibly unlikely, and just as unlikely is their giving the show a presence there but not having key cast members on hand for the inevitable, massive panel. So we’re going to have to suppose that “late July” could mean some time after July 24th (the final day of the convention).

Renewal Follow-up

James Hibberd on EW had a chat about the renewal with HBO executives Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler, in which they discuss their happiness with the viewership. They note that its numbers are stronger than True Blood‘s were in its first season, and they predict it’s a “slow build” show that will win over more viewers as more episodes air and they decide that it’s worth watching even if they don’t consider themselves a fan of the genre.

On the other hand, they note that Benioff and Weiss are largely writing this on their own, without help of staff (except the odd free-lanced episode), and they think 10 episodes would be best to keep quality high. Which is, one supposes, an imminently reasonable reason to stick to 10 episodes. But the next season, if we are so lucky (*knock on wood*)? This may be why Benioff and Weiss have suggested that they wouldn’t mind splitting the third book into two seasons.

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.