The Maester’s Path publicity campaign has led to quite a few remarks from people who suggest they’d love to own something like the maester’s kit and the scents it includes. While we’re fairly sure selling these packages to the mass market isn’t in the cards, we have had a report from someone visiting the HBO Shop which promises some more Game of Thrones goodness to come.
According to TigerLily1276, while there to pick up some Tru Blood a salesperson at the store excitedly told her about merchandise due in mid-March for the TV series. She reports that unisex t-shirts featuring each of the Great Houses (he apparently said seven, but I am unsure whether they’d highlight houses such as Tully, Tyrell, and Martell this firt season) as well as mugs or statues featuring sigils of each of the great houses. He gave a mid-March date, so if that pans out, we’ll have some interesting new things to oogle in a couple of weeks.
By sheer happenstance, a visit to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website for other reasons led me to check if there was anything new on the Game of Thrones front… and as it happens, there was. A brand new trademark application, dated February 11th, has been entered into the system raising the total marks related to the series to 18. This trademark is IC class 24, and covers, “Bed sheets, pillowcases, comforters, bedspreads, quilts, pillow shams, bed dust ruffles, bed skirts, duvet covers, comforter covers, bed throws, blanket throws, mattress pads, bed blankets, bed sheets; towels, bath towels, kitchen towels, washcloths; textile wall hangings; fabric banners; handkerchiefs; tablecloths, napkins and placemats.”
We admit that we’ve zeroed-in on the fabric banners and wall hangings part of this, because .... well, this is Westeros; banners and wall-hangings are common. And, as it happens, over the years of “A Song of Ice and Fire” fan-activity, banner have been one of the things most-requested from the fan base, leading fans to making their own for various occasions. Official banners featuring the gorgeous heraldry from the series would be just what a lot of fans might be hoping for.
Now, a comment from C.C. Chapman—a stakeholder in Campfire who used to work with them—noted that knowing how these things works, there may be hidden details or secrets inside of the package. Suffice it to say, we’ve looked over everything as closely as we could—no secret compartments, no mysterious inscriptions, and so on—but there are a few little details that spring to mind as possible clues in case future parts of the Maester’s Path present puzzles or other mysteries. For example, why is there no House Arryn moon-and-falcon sigil in the Vale, while there’s a Greyjoy kraken? Why is there no Riverrun, despite the Tully fish? Why does the Eyrie get marked out, but not Pyke? These could have no real rhyme or reason at all to them beyond clarity and space, of course… but maybe this is a hint we’ll be learning more about the Vale, the riverlands, and the Iron Islands in future installments?
Of course, it seems like we won’t actually see Riverrun in the first season, and the Iron Islands is only briefly mentioned, and that’s largely because of Theon Greyjoy, so it’d be odd to focus part of the experience on regions that don’t figure heavily in the first season’s story. But the Eyrie… that one does figure, so we’re going to keep an eye out for it.
The other thing that leapt out at us are the colors and symbols associated with each place. The Dothraki sea has orange blocks of color, The Inn at the Crossroads has purple, King’s Landing has green, Pentos is red, and Winterfell is blue. You can also see the descriptions and the symbols associated with each scent as well. These may be nothing more than a pleasant visual detail, to give the scrolls a bit of extra visual impact, but… but… Something makes us think that if there are any secrets to be found in the Maester’s Path, these symbols are going to be keys to unlocking them. In the Citadel, the archmaester’s test the knowledge of novices in their respective areas of expertise, and the novice who shows enough knowledge can earn one of the links in his maester’s chain. Will these symbols (and the colors associated with them, perhaps) become part of a puzzle?
We’ve no idea. But just in case, we’ve collected the symbols. If there is a puzzle in the end, we suspect it’ll be at The Maester’s Path, a mysterious website set up by HBO that promises, “Winter is coming”. We suspect there’ll be more information in coming weeks, just as more parts of the maester’s path are going to be unveiled.
A couple of months back, Linda and I were asked to get in touch with HBO’s marketing team on something cool they were working on, which was our first hint that… well, something cool was up that wasn’t just Game of Thrones. It was all very mysterious, but two months later, here we are, the honored recipients of “the first link in the Maester’s Path”. In the jargon of the marketing industry, this is apparently called an interactive multi.part marketing initiative, but we just call it awesome. Although a snafu on our end led to a day’s delay in receiving the package, we came to it quite fresh. See below for video and images as we discuss the package, as well as links to other reactions from across the web (and from some unexpected quarters).
Variety has an article discussing the year-to-year increase of sales of George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” novels, thanks to the upcoming Game of Thrones TV series from HBO. A key quote from the article:
Assuming they’re talking about percentages, the series has nearly doubled in sales year-on-year ... and this is likely to explode when the show airs. Charlaine Harris’s novels all hit the bestseller list when the series took off, and though it’s unclear whether Game of Thrones can capture the same wave of new readers, it certainly aims to try. We’ve heard that Harris’s publishers noted that some of her novels increased sales many times over (I believe 4000% was noted for some of her backlist). A buyer for Barnes & Noble is quoted indicating that he certainly believed the TV show would do for GRRM’s series what True Blood did for Harris’s.
March 22nd will see the release of A Game of Thrones with brand new cover art, using an image from the TV series. 250,000 copies of the paperback will be put out in bookstores in the U.S., and Voyager in the U.K. plans to do the same sometime in mid-March according to reports. Winter is coming ... but it looks like Christmas is already here for the publishers of the series!
Back on the 11th, we reported that representatives of various foreign broadcasters—both those who had secured the rights to Game of Thrones and those who were still undecided—had had the first two episodes screened to them. The word from HBO was that the response was “VERY positive”, and they expected to see more foreign rights deals to be secured on the strength of it.
Now we can report a summary of some remarks from one of the representatives who was in attendance. Göran Danasten, head of fiction acquisitions for Swedish broadcaster Sweden, had some thoughtful commentary on what he saw and what his thoughts were about it. His remarks (in Swedish) can be found starting here
After a bit of a delay, our gallery has been caught up to date with the latest videos. Most over-due are screencaps of the Maisie Williams Artisans’ video. Not too much commentary on these, but there’s some great shots of Arya with Syrio. More significantly, we’ve now completed screencapping and annotating the “Invitation to Westeros” promo, with quite a few observations mixed in that fans might be interested in.
The first image of that can be found from that series, featuring Daenerys, can be found here.
Via The Guardian, Sky Atlantic has just announced that Game of Thrones will premiere in the U.K. on April 18th, the day after the U.S. premiere on HBO! This was very much hoped for by British fans, and it looks like Sky and HBO agreed with them that this. And just to head off those questions, we asked clarification as to whether it’d be just for the premiere or not. Here’s what Sky Atlantichad to say:
A brand new behind-the-scenes video from Making Game of Thrones, as they show us glimpses of each of the major areas that are the focus of the story. Lots of good stuff to be seen ... and it looks, from some tweets, that they actually aired it just now, too!
James Cosmo, who plays Lord Commander Jeor Mormont, paid a visit to an old acquaintance to wish them happy birthday. The Beaver County Times provides a report, and it’s what you’d largely expect from a local paper… but we do have a couple of remarks concerning Game of Thrones:
The 62-year-old actor already has moved on to a new HBO medieval-fantasy drama, “Game of Thrones” where he’ll play the lord in charge of an army of knights that guard a protective ice wall in a land where winters last 10 years. Cosmo is confident “Game of Thrones” will be a hit.
“It’s pretty violent, and pretty sexy, with lots of political intrigue,” Cosmo said. “They conjure up a wonderful world. It’s got a ‘Lord of the Rings’ mythical quality to it, but there’s horror elements and zombies and lots of swords and horses.”
It looks like its official: CANAL+ Sweden and Finland (well, they’re one of the Nordic countries—close enough!) have moved from “late spring” to May for its airing of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which means that CANAL+ Norway and CANAL+ Denmark will be following suit as the premier for CANAL+ shows is always the same in these four countries. No exact word on air date, but CANAL+ Sweden informs us that beginning of May is their target and they hope to soon to be able to announce a firmer date. CANAL+ has an official page for the series, which we expect will be updated when the official airdate is decided.
You can read the press release either translated into English or in Swedish as part of a new feature to the site where we will give news particularly relevant to Sweden and Scandinavia in Swedish. Simply look for the links to the Swedish version at the bottom of the article.
The Making Game of Thrones site has a new article, by way of Bryan Cogman, which is essentially the official pronunciation guide for the first season.
There’s been a few items of note this last week, though on the whole it’s been a bit quieter. Here’s a round-up of some of the more recent news items that may be of interest of fans of the series:
Maureen Ryan has broken the news that Stephen Warbeck, the Academy Award-winning composer who we reported was selected to score Game of Thrones, parted ways with the production. His replacement has already been selected, and according to Ryan’s exclusive, it’s film composer Ramin Djawadi.
A protégé of Hans Zimmer who contributed music to a number of Zimmer-scored films, including Batman Begins and Pirates of the Carribean: Curse of the Black Pearl, he has since gone on to score a few Hollywood blockbusters in his own right, including Iron Man and Clash of the Titans, while also working in television. A look at his IMDB award pages notes no really notable wins, but he has been nominated for the Emmy and Grammy awards in the recent past.
We’ve put together a playlist of some of his work, including a suite from Clash of the Titans, as well as a short interview. A German-born composer of Persian descent, his mention of a love for Iranian and Middle Eastern music is interesting, as well as his preference for the Romantic composers such as Brahms, Schumann, and Tchaikovsky. A cursory glance at commentary on his work suggests the he has been, at least up to recently, very much in the Hans Zimmer mold, which might suggest that the inclusion of tracks from Gladiator in the 15 minute reel was not purely coincidental—a sign that the Game of Thrones score will be aiming at an epic, cinematic quality?
Following this morning’s sad news that Margaret John, the actress who played Old Nan, had passed away, we have received a statement from executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss regarding the actress:
Very sadly, we must share the news from the BBC that Margaret John has passed away at the age of 84, after a short illness. The Welsh actress was much beloved, being called a national treasure by BBC documentary makers. Her casting as Old Nan was met with excitement by fans who were quickly endeared to her after watching her teach viewers how to make Welsh cakes for St. David’s Day on a BBC Wales video.
Her voice over for the extended teaser is a memorable one, and cemented the opinion of many fans that she would make an excellent Old Nan. Our condolences to her family and he friends, especially all of those who had the honor and the pleasure to meet and work with her during the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones: