Game of Thrones: News

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New Series High

Last night’s episode, “Oathkeeper”, now takes its place as the highest-rated episode of the series to date, with a tremendous 6.9 rating according to HBO, as reported by EW’s James Hibberd. The premiere and the third episode each tied for the previous highest mark, of 6.6 million viewers, so that’s approximately a 5% increase. Hibberd also adds that across three viewings, the episode reached the 8.4 million mark viewing it on the day.

Oathkeeper Episode Guide

Our episode guide for “Oathkeeper” has been partially completed now, thanks to a mad scrabble of post-episode work. The most time-consuming part, the full recap, shall take awhile longer. HBO has also kindly released a number of post-episode videos, which you can find in our Extras section, while our own video discussion will be up some time tomorrow. It looks like there’ll be a lot to discuss.

HBO has also released the trailer for episode five, which you can find at our “First of His Name” guide.

Breaker of Chains Episode Guide

Our episode guide for Breaker of Chains is now live! Featuring the usual detailed recap, review, and book-to-screen breakdown, we cover all the bases.

One note, though: Youtube’s taking abnormally long to process our video (which was more in-depth than our previous episode-focused videos, in a try at a new format), so it’s not available at the moment. Apologies about that! We’ll try to include as soon as possible… which may be after we wake up, as it’s rather late here and I don’t think we’ll be staying up much longer.

The Lion and the Rose Guide

Another episode of Game of Thrones draws to an end, and we have a full recap, review, and book-to-screen breakdown—plus a bonus video—available over at the “The Lion and the Rose” episode guide!  And if that’s not enough for you? The A Song of Ice and Fire forum is already filled with discussion, so why not join the conversation?

Game of Thrones Gets 2 Year Renewal

In an impressive turn, HBO has skipped the usual “Lets wait 2-3 weeks” to announce renewal following news that Game of Thrones smashed ratings expectations in its debut this yea.

And even more impressively, HBO has confirmed what everyone pretty much knows: this show is good to go for at least 2 years, with season 5 and 6 now locked in place. This follows recent news prior to the premiere that executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss had renewed their contracts with HBO for two more seasons.

The full press release can be found below

Game of Thrones Smashes Ratings Record

EW has the scoop as always: last night’s premiere airing of “Two Swords”  reached the 6.6 million mark, and with repeat airings moved up to 8.2 million. That’s an amazing feat, a rise of over 20% from last year’s 6th episode.

Quite the climb for the show, and it seems quite likely that it could well continue to climb as it proceeds this year.

Two Swords Recap and Analysis

The first episode is done, and our guide to “Two Swords” is now online, with a detailed recap, some thoughts on the qualities of the episode, and a look at the adaptation from the perspective of translating the book to the screens. Still a bit sparse on images from this season—apologies for that, something we hope to correct soon!

Besides our own review, there’s a great deal of discussion over at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum, which we highly recommend for fans (there’s sections for those who have not read the novels at all, but be vigilant about not peeking too much at other threads).

Season 4 Impressions

We’ve been so busy these last weeks—with getting things ready for this new season, arranging the new server setup to handle the traffic load that we expect this season, and so on—that the thought of writing a season 4 early impressions piece, based on our viewing of the first three episodes (courtesy of HBO), never really crossed our minds. It was what we had done in past seasons, certainly, but each season seems to leave us busier and busier.

However, we had enough requests for our impressions that we decided to throw something together… but unlike the previous, written ones, this is a video that we’ve thrown up on Youtube. You can find it over at our Feature page, along with a great deal of other features we’ve done over the years, or you can see it below. These are basically spoiler-free general impressions, where we mull over various things that we felt were worth mulling over. For those who want hardcore spoilers, this will likely just be an exercise in frustration, so beware!

BBC One Looking for Cosplayers

Are you in the area of London? Do you have a great Melisandre, Arya, White Walker, Cersei, or Drogo costume? BBC One needs someone just like you to help them out! They’ll be filming a piece on Game of Thrones, with Charles Dance on board as a guest, and they’d love to have some cosplayers on hand who can dress up and help them convey something of the story.

Would-be cosplayers are needed in London for Monday, March 31st—yep, short notice! If you’re interested, see below for contact details:

Featurettes in HD

We’ve previously reported on exclusive featurettes for season 4 of Game of Thrones that Verizon and Comcast released, but it looks like HBO has now put them up on the official Youtube channel in 720p quality. Definitely worth a look, but beware spoilers (especially in the weapons and fighting video):


UK to Simulcast Game of Thrones

Well, this is a fascinating development: Sky has announced that every episode

the premiere episode of season 4 of Game of Thrones will air simultaneously with the premiere airing in the US. That means diehard fans in the UK will be able to watch it at 2AM, if they feel like it, right at the same time as fans in the US. The usual 9PM Monday airing will also take place, for those who prefer their prime time television at prime time.

[Edit: It’s come to my attention that I was off the mark on this—initial reports that all episodes would be aired at 2 AM appear to be incorrect, only the premiere will be simultaneously aired with the US airing.]

This may be a publicity stunt, or perhaps dipping a toe into the water to see what would happen—and if it works, it’d be a clear response to piracy of the episode in the UK. The economic arguments have been undercut somewhat: streaming packages offering Sky Atlantic, including the £15 monthly Sky Go and the £4.99 (introductory) price on NOW TV, are available without needing a full TV package. The other most common argument after that, however, was the fact that many die-hard fans want to be able to take part in the conversation after a new episode as soon as possible. They may not stay up to 3AM watching an episode, but there are many who’d get up a bit earlier in the morning to watch the show so they could immediately leap on to the forums, or at least be very happy to have the episode waiting for them when they get back from school or from work. Sky Atlantic’s 9PM airings prevented that, however, and the wait was simply too long…

But it may be that the future will invalidate that argument as well. It will be very interesting to see if this makes a dent in illegal downloads of the premiere of Game of Thrones in the UK, which was ranked as the country with the fourth highest illict downloads of the show last year.

Stockholm Premiere Contest

April 2nd will see the first episode of Game of Thrones receive a red carpet premiere in Stockholm, and in collaboration with HBO Nordic we’re offering fans the chance to be a part of it—and besides that, a chance for fans to attend a special fan event planned for the 6th of April. The winner of the competition will receive not one, not two, not four, but ten tickets to bring their friends along with them to the premiere; all other prize winners will receive pairs of tickets to the fan event.

See below for full details (in Swedish!), including instructions for how to enter the competition. Please bear in mind that the subject of the email should be exactly the same as noted below—makes it much easier for us to sort through entries!

A Pop-up Guide to Westeros

Game of Thrones merchandising is burgeoning, to say the least, and this has led to the occasional oddity (like mini football helmets) and things you’d otherwise not expect them to make. Case in point? The newly released Game of Thrones: A Pop-up Guide to Westeros (Order: HBO Store, Amazon UK). I admit, the last pop-up book I owned featured the Transformers—not the new ones from the Michael Bay movies, the old Hasbro Transformers of the 80s. But a look around suggests that pop-up books aimed at fannish culture are certainly a thing, and the designer of this particular book—Matthew Reinhart—has cut a niche for himself bringing his abilities to the world of geek culture with Star Wars, DC comics, and… x80s Transformers, too; it’s a small world!

Benioff and Weiss in Vanity Fair

A lengthy interview with executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss—the longest I think I’ve ever seen—covers a huge range of topics, from the origins of their acquaintance to their current work on the unannounced season 5 (it’s happening, no need to wait for HBO to make it official). It’s insightful. Here’s an excerpt related to working from the template of a published series, and having the author on hand:

I read an interview with John Irving where he said he always knows the ending when he starts a book and he makes a beeline for it. I guess it helps center your brain.

Dan Weiss: It helps lend a sense of constructedness. Martin Amis always talked about the control tower. He talked about the reason he didn’t like William S. Burroughs—who I actually liked a fair bit once upon a time—but Amis didn’t like William S. Burroughs because he would read his books and feel like there was no one in the control tower. One of the things that made Breaking Bad so powerful, for me, was I’d never felt that somebody was more on the job, in the control tower, than on that show. Everything little thing I was seeing was there for a reason and would come back into play in some surprising but retroactively inevitable way, shape, or form.
It’s an advantage to have the books. Even if you stray from them, you have a blueprint. You don’t have to bend to the will of the fans, if they are screaming for something to happen. You’ve got George R. R. Martin.
David Benioff: Well, it’s a little complicated, because we have the five books, but then we don’t have anything beyond that, because he’s still working. It’s sort of an unusual position in terms of adaptation because, you know, we’re catching up. It’ll be interesting to see what happens. And we’ve talked to George. The lucky part is that George works with us and he’s a producer on the show. Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up, and where exactly that would be. As you were saying before, if you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we sat just down with him and literally went through every character and said, “So what’s the destination for Daenerys? And Arya?”
Did you feel like he knew? Or was he figuring it out?
Dan Weiss: In some case he had very definite ideas, and in other cases he had left those story lines more open, for the time being.

There’s more to be found over at Vanity Fair, including a fascinating bit discussing the influence of Anthony Mann, Roman Polanski, Akira Kurosawa, and Andrei Tarkovsky on the visual style of Game of Thrones; getting to watch an original, well-preserved 35mm print of Ran would indeed be something special.

Interview with Rory McCann and Maisie Williams

Last month, I had the opportunity to sit down with a number of the actors involved in Game of Thrones, to talk about the journey so far, and perhaps to draw out a few hints about what’s to come. First up in this interview series—leading up to and into the next season—I had the pleasure to talk with Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Rory McCann (Sandor Clegane), the latter of whom I’ve never had the pleasure of interviewing before. We have a chance to talk the joys of Vine, the pleasures of Iceland, and how their characters get along as season 4 commences.

Interview

Maisie, many people have mentioned you as a very impressive actress. Do you have any method you use, or have you just picked things up since you started the show?

Maisie: When all this started and I was cast as Arya, it was sort of because I “was” Arya and that kind of thing. When you’re that age, you’re not really acting, I guess, so you try to find someone who is similar to the role. Since then, I’ve worked with some fantastic actors and actresses, and I’ve learned so much from them. I’ve watched and learned how people make it more natural. At the beginning, I wasn’t too worried about what I was doing, and I try to keep to that because it worked then, and I hope it works now.

How does it feel not to get to act with Sophie?

Maisie: I still see Sophie all the time when we’re filming. We crossover a lot this season, actually, as we were filming at the same time a lot of the time. It was really great to see her at the hotel and things. I was in New York recently and she was shooting a film there, and we both went to a fashion show together. We still do loads of great things. She’s doing fantastically, and we get on so well. It’s great to also have that escape of hanging out together, because most of the scenes we do on the show are really, really intense so it’s nice to just go home and make stupid vine videos and things like that.

To read the rest of the interview, visit our Features!