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HBO’s release of the teaser and their opening of the official site for the series—an unprecedented move for a series almost a year out from airing! Straight from the sight are a number of high-resolution images of Ned Stark, perfectly suitable for a widescreen desktop or mobile phone:

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They’ve also released a Quicktime version of the teaser which is slightly higher quality, which can be downloaded here. Thanks to paulo at WICblog for digging these out.

What Didn’t We See?

So, the teaser and the still of Sean Bean as Eddard has drawn a mountain of attention. We’ve sliced and diced the teaser, dissecting it to point out what it shows.

But what didn’t we see that we would have expected to see? I’m not talking Daenerys Targaryen or Catelyn Stark—roles that have since been recast and which will have to be reshot. But roles that, at least to our knowledge, haven’t been recast?

Well, the Stark children are missing, but in 20 seconds you can’t really touch on them. We don’t see Jason Momoa as Drogo directly, but that’s probably because his scenes would have been with Tamzin Merchant, the former Daenerys Targaryen. But it’s perhaps a little surprising that we don’t see the direwolf dead in the snow, and it’s very surprising that there’s no clear look at the Lannisters (though we hint that there’s a rather unclear look in our teaser dissection), who are the primary antagonists (kinda-sorta) in the first book(s). Especially when they’re led by three recognizable actors in pop culture circles: Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, and Peter Dinklage. Why weren’t they featured, at least briefly? If not all three—since Ned was the sole Stark representative, basically—then why not Dinklage as Tyrion? And for that matter, how about Mark Addy as Robert? Though the laughter may have been him…

A press for time is probably the answer, but we have to say, we’d have foregone some of those repeated shots of the rangers or the Dothraki for a split-second look at Dinklage as Tyrion. Perhaps the next teaser, HBO? ;)

UPDATED: Dissecting the Teaser (with images!)

So, now that the huge explosion of amazement has happened ... just what did we see in that ultra-fast 20 second trailer?

What follows is our best attempt to look at it frame-by-frame to identify some of the key scenes, now with images thanks to A Song of Ice and Fire forum member thersites (all images © HBO). Suffice it to say, this is probably spoilerish, so read below:

New Still of Sean Bean as Ned

And a special little present… straight to us from HBO, we’ve a second promotional image to compliment the first still!

Second Game of Thrones Promotional Image

Photo by Helen Sloan/HBO. Used with permission.

Stunning! HBO has now gone the full court press, with a full website including a web forum. Amazingly exciting.

Watch Game of Thrones Teaser

Here it is, for your viewing pleasure:

Oh, what a tease! What did you think?

HBO Gives a Taste of Game of Thrones

Rumors started late last night when HBO tweeted a reminder for viewers to tune into the 8:45 PM pre-show ... and added an unexplained #GOT hash tag. Now they’ve confirmed it via Facebook: our very first aired promotion for Game of Thrones will be among the featured dramas during the pre-show! So, if you have HBO, make sure to tune in to the pre-show preceeding True Blood‘s third season premiere.

Casting Shae

According to George R.R. Martin’s latest “Not a Blog” post, the role of Shae’s still being cast for. He’s reviewed twelve audition tapes so far—perhaps the top choices to come out of casting?—and according to his stated reaction, it seems likely that they’re all quite capable of playing of the saucy, vixenish prostitute who’ll become well acquainted with Tyrion Lannister (played by Peter Dinklage). He notes that auditions are continuing in Belfast, Dublin, and London for many parts, both minor and major.

No Game of Thrones at Comic-Con

According to James Hibberd at The Live Feed, HBO’s Game of Thrones is “not expected” to have a presence at this summer’s San Diego Comic-Con, which falls in line with what we’ve heard over here at Westeros.org. This seems to be supported by the lack of reference to the series among the announced panels from HBO (who are certainly featuring True Blood). It also makes some sense, due to the fact that it’s almost a year before the show premieres, and the filming starts very close to the time of the convention—not an ideal time to drag cast and crew from Northern Ireland and North Africa for a whirlwind press junket.

That said, the possibility that teasers or promotional posters might first see the light of day at San Diego Comic-Con certainly exists. If you’re attending the convention next month, we’d certainly suggest visits to HBO’s booth (they’re almost certainly exhibiting), asking some questions, and expressing your enthusiasm for the show.

UPDATE: Maureen Ryan also confirms that HBO’s not holding a panel for the series, given the logistics of having production starting in Northern Ireland at the same time.

Dinklage and the Knights of Badassdom

An interview with True Blood‘s Ryan Kwanten brought to our attention that Peter Dinklage, (perfectly) cast as Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s adaption of Game of Thrones, is starring in a comedic fantasy adventure film titled Knights of Badassdom. Kwanten will be co-starring.

The most interesting detail, however, is that this project is filming in the first part of the summer, by the sounds of it. Director Joe Lynch has begun to post the first of a promised series of photos taken from the production, though it’s not clear that filming has actually yet begun. When I dug further, I discovered that the film was originally set to film in April.

Could the delay in this project have contributed to Game of Thrones‘s pilot being pushed back to late July, to accommodate Dinklage’s commitment to the film? Anything’s possible, though the extra lead time for casting and pre-production certainly seems to have been a bigger factor.

Bronson Webb on The Tudors

For those who’ve missed him in Robin Hood and have access to Showtime, Bronson Webb—cast in the role of the ranger of the Night’s Watch, Will, in the pilot for Game of Thrones—can be seen in a brief speaking role in the first five minutes of Showtime’s costume drama, The Tudors, in the episode that aired on Sunday and should be available streaming for Showtime subscribers. Credited as “Forager”, Webb trades a few lines with the Earl of Surrey regarding a foraging party’s failure to find any food in the vicinity of a siege.

Closing in on Samwell

According to George R.R. Martin’s latest post, it seems that the casting for the role of Samwell Tarly is starting to narrow down. In his post, he remarks that, “We’re casting Sam right now for the TV show. Two excellent young actors stand out above the rest. A damned hard choice.” It’s always good to know that they have several top-notch options in a role, and we’re certainly joining all the fans in expectation of some casting announcements in the next few weeks.

Director to Helm Two Episodes

Via Twitter, it’s apparently been revealed that an Irish television director, Brian Kirk—whose credits include episodes of The Tudors, Dexter, and HBO’s Boardwalk Empire—is set to direct two episodes of Game of Thrones. In recent years, Kirk has been a regular nominee in the Irish Film and Television Awards for direction and for best single dramatic episode. This item of news comes from a tweet by Daragh Carville, a fellow native of Armagh in Ireland, who wrote Middletown, a 2006 film directed by Kirk.

Carville later tweeted that Kirk would begin work next week, presumably for pre-production. At a guess, the earliness at which he’s working suggests to us he may be directing some of the earliest episodes ... or he may, in fact, have as his first task the reshooting of the pilot.

This is the first director publicly attached to the series since Thomas McCarthy directed the pilot, although it’s been suggested that McCarthy may return to helm one or more episodes going forward.

UPDATE: HBO has confirmed to us that Brian Kirk is attached to the production as a director.

Dothraki Creator Responds

We’ve previously reported the fact that Scientific American published a guest blogger’s letter to HBO, George R.R. Martin, and David J. Peterson regarding the Dothraki language and what role it could have in helping to move linguistic science forward. Now David J. Peterson, along with Language Creation Society president Sai Emrys, has posted a thorough response. Among other things, it seems to include a few, previously unpublished snippets of the Dothraki language, and some examples of its morphology.

The response also goes into great detail regarding the general premise of the original letter, pointing out that the linguistic universals that have been cataloged are not quite so universal as they appear at first blush, as well as the fact that it’s currently too late for them to change the Dothraki language but that Peterson will certainly keep these issues in mind should he be called upon to create other languages for the series or to expand Dothraki.

First Outside Word on the Pilot

Jace Lacob of Televisionary is the first person we’ve seen outside of the production who’s seen the whole of the pilot, and probably one of the last who shall do so in that form as a number of scenes will be reshot to accomadate the new actresses in leading roles, Michaelle Fairley as Catelyn Stark and Emilie Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen.

What’d he think? “I was blown away,” he writes, and has been effusive in his praise for the pilot as being one the strongest pilots he’s seen in the current pilot cycle. Over at Twitter, I decided to ask if he had read the series before, as a number of supportive critics have done. He replied that he had not read the books, wanting to go in fresh, though he had read the pilot script earlier and also loved it. He’s looking forward to seeing how the reshot pilot will look.

The fact that he went in fairly “cold” to the series is a great sign—Lacob probably fairly well represents where your average HBO viewer will be when confronted with this new HBO series. If it works for him, as well as for the producers and executives, then it seems to stand fair odds of working for the general subscriber base.

Jack Gleeson Film Clip

We have a short clip from a new film, All Good Children, which stars Jack Gleeson, the 17-year-old actor cast as Joffrey Baratheon in HBO’s Game of Thrones. The film has received some strong reviews with Variety particularly praising Gleeson, who played a 12-year-old in the film, stating that “Gleeson, with his massive blue eyes and anxious, ever-hopeful expression, is the pic’s big discovery.”

The clip from Vimeo below features a key scene mentioned in the review:

Thanks to Winter is Coming for pointing the clip out on Twitter.