While I’m still a fan of comics in general, I stopped collecting years ago. But back in the day, I remember some particular moments from those days (we’re talking—gulp—25 years ago now), as a kid in middle school trading comics with friends (we’d gather on a hillside besides the athletic field and swap comics around; got to the point that a teacher volunteered to run an after-school comics club), going to Adventure Comics in Monterey (right near the Monterey Bay Aquarium!) with my brother and father to get the weekly fix. One significant name in that time, among many significant creators who I admired, was Todd McFarlane. His fame initially came from his artwork, especially on Spider-Man. Then he was a founder of Image comics, championing creator-owned mainstream comics (and, eventually, non-mainstream stuff, giving a home to, most notably, The Walking Dead).
McFarlane would go on to diversify his interests, and one of those would be McFarlane Toys. When word came out earlier this year that McFarlane’s company had received a license to produce Game of Thrones products, it was not a surprise: McFarlane Toys has often been on the cutting edge of pop culture properties; the aforementioned The Walking Dead has been a big success for them, by all accounts. Dark Horse and Funko and threeZero hold licenses for various figures… but McFarlane Toys has had real success with its construction sets, basically thematic “LEGO for adults” that helps fans recreate in miniature places and scenes from their favorite shows.
This is all a long-winded way to saying that courtesy of McFarlane Toys, we received a copy of the Iron Throne Room Construction Set, and below we’ll be discussing some of its particulars!
HBO’s now released a teaser for the next season, although it’s made up of material from previous seasons… except for voice overs at start and at the end, I believe:
Our friends at Dark Horse occasionally send us some of their Game of Thrones-licensed products for review, and we’ve had the pleasure of highlighting them over the last few years. The most recent arrival was particularly apropos, though, because in the package we had not one but two figures: 8 inch figures of Brienne of Tarth and the Hound. These are just two entries in what must be well over a dozen figures now in these series of high-quality sculpted figures, but I admit to being always particularly drawn to the armored figurines because… well, I’m fond of most of the show’s armoring!
After the grim, ugly duel between the characters in “The Children, it’s hard not to think about that scene when I placed these figures together. The detail of their armor and even their weapons—Oathkeeper’s hilt is particularly intricate—is excellent, and the Hound’s posture captures quite a lot about them. I’m particularly fond of the way that these figures use a sort of rubber for flexible details like the lower half of the Hound’s brigadine or Brienne’s gambeson.
Also quite impressed with the fact that the Hound’s visor can actually pivot up and down; it’s a very nice touch. If there’s any criticism to be made, I’ll admit that find Brienne’s face not terribly reminiscent of Gwendoline Christie. It’s a bit too lean—Christie’s she’s rounder-cheeked and the outfits she wears on the show deliberately pushes under her chin to give her a heavier appearance than she has in reality. The hair could have stood to be rather messier, as well, I think, to capture the often-unkempt appearance she has on the show. It’s unfortunate that it doesn’t quite match some of the other figures in facial representation, such as the remarkably good Hodor and Bran which is a great representation of Nairn and Hampstead-Wright as those characters.
The Brienne and Hound figures are already available, with a new wave of figures coming this month, including Jorah Mormont, another example of Dark Horse’s fantastic way with the armor on the series.
Despite speculation that HBO’s schedule has pushed season 6 of Game of Thrones into early May, brand new billboards put out by HBO in Los Angeles and New York reveal that the show will air in “April”. Given that the new Martin Scorsese show, Vinyl, will run into April as well, it looks like the sixth season will begin airing on the final Sunday in April, April 24th.
See below for a couple of images of the billboard, along with the tweets from those who shared them on the social media website:
The town of Osuna, Spain, which Linda and I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year for the official release of the translation of The World of Ice and Fire, featured in last year’s filming when its bullring served as Daznak’s Pit.
While there’s no sign the show filmed there again this year, the town is quite proud of its involvement in the series and has decided to dedicate two rooms in the Museum of Osuna to a collection of Game of Thrones materials. This permanent exhibit will officially open on November 28th, and will contain a unique assemblage of materials. Of particular note is a collection of photographic and video footage related to the behind-the-scenes experience of filming at the bullring, providing a glimpse at the role of the town and its people in facilitating the production which lasted seventeen days.
Below, we’ve provided a translation of Osuna’s press release regarding the museum:
Following intense preparation and collection of material related to Game of Thrones, which filmed part of its fifth season just over a year ago in the bullring of Osuna, on November 28th the Museum of Osuna will inaugurate two permanent rooms dedicated to Game of Thrones and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, encapsulating just what filming of such a production has meant for the Ducal town of Osuna and its international recognition.
The grand finale to Telltale Games’s first Game of Thrones game, an episode titled “The Ice Dragon”, is due to hit PC, leading consoles, and leading mobile devices simultaneously on November 17th. This simultaneous release is a first for Telltale, and as we noted previously they made the very first episode available for free on the iOs platform to mark the occasion.
At the same time, Telltale has now released a bevy of new images from the final episode—images which in some cases may be a bit spoilery. In fact, in their official post about the release, they indicate that the decisions in this final episode will be momentous enough that users are likely going to want to replay the finale to try out different decisions and see the ultimate results. We’ll place the screenshots below, below the cut, to avoid spoilers!
Running Press, a publisher specializing in gift books and associated collectible “kits”, has turned its attention once again to the Seven Kingdoms with its latest book:Game of Thrones: The Noble Houses of Westeros.
A small but handsome, well-made volume using heavy paper stock, the 160 pages within it are devoted to a very brief overview of eleven significant noble families that have featured in the series since its inception, from the Starks and Lannisters and Targaryens all the way to more recent notable such as the Boltons and Freys. This is not really intended as a very informative book, of course: each house section gives a glimpse at the family’s seat, a brief family tree with some remarks on the fates of members living and dead, and photographs of the performers (most of them Helen Sloan’s fine work, but also stills from Macall Polay, Paul Schiraldi, and more.)
Besides a lovely new packaging inspired by the famed opening credits of the series (the first two sets feature a Stark-themed Winterfell and a Lannister-themed King’s Landing, and the next two sets will feature the Twins and the Wall when they are released; it’s worth noting that the central sigils also double as refrigerator magnets!), the chief draw is that the set will feature a brand new audio mix utilizing Dolby’s Atmos techology. This is an evolution from things like Dolby TrueHD, taking the audio experience in some very interesting directions. Although Atmos is quite new, and it may take awhile for there to be wide use of Atmos-capable speakers (particularly upwards-firing speakers designed to bounce sound off a ceiling to help create verticality, which spare home theater enthusiasts the cost and difficulty of mounting speakers on the ceiling), it’s worth noting that the Bluray of course also works with TrueHD and will play just fine on non-Atmos 5.1 or 7.1 audio systems.
Telltale Games has announced a November 17th release date for the final episode in their Game of Thrones adventure series, and to mark the occasion Telltales has made the first episode free on the iOs platform, as well as Android, XBox, and Playstation platforms. Telltale Games notes on their official blog that this final episode, titled “The Ice Dragon”, will be the first Telltale Games episodic installment recieving a same-day release on all available platforms; previous installments tended to role out over two or three days.
Finally, Telltale has put together a video featuring some of the Game of Thrones cast members—specifically Emilia Clarke, Natalie Dormer, and Iwan Rheon—who’ve lent their voices to the game:
New York Comic Con is presently under way, and it has featured a bevy of notable Game of Thrones content—not least a panel with actors Natalie Dormer, Keisha Castle-Hughes, and Finn Jones where they dicussed their roles on their show and offered some hints of what was yet to come. Here’s a video of the proceedings, courtesy of Emergency Awesome:
The convention was also filled with Game of Thrones-licensed memorabilia, figures, and more. Our friends at Dark Horse Comics revealed a number of their upcoming releases, including a resin statue of the Night’s King, a Varys figure, and this extremely impressive limited edition depicting Daenerys and Drogon from season 4. We have a review sample of that particular piece, and the size of Drogon crouched on its base is quite remarkable!
Also featured at the convention were McFarlane Toys, who will be releasing their mini-figure sets next year. These will come in “Blind bags”, meaning that collectors will buy bags containing random figures (or, if they’re really dedicated, they can go for whole cases of figures)—not unlike the Funko blind bags of mini-Pop! figures. However, McFarlane Toys is going beyond this to also create suitabel dioramas where one can display these figures, as with the Iron Throne set, or special add-on sets like the Stark and Lannister banner construction kit. Or this upcoming “Attack on the Wall” diorama, featuring a giant:
These McFarlane sets are bananas pic.twitter.com/VzRZkHLR7I— The Robot's Voice (@TheRobotsVoice) October 9, 2015
This Sunday, the Emmy Awards were handed out, and Game of Thrones (and HBO in general) proved very popular. The show tallied up a total of 12 wins this year at the Emmys, handily breaking the 9 win record set by The West Wing set in 2000. While eight of those awards were in the Creative Arts categories, the show carried four major awards at the Primetime Emmys: Outstanding Supporting Actor for a visibly-surprised Peter Dinklage, Outstanding Director for David Nutter and “Mother’s Mercy”, Outstanding Writing for David Benioff & Dan Weiss for the same episode, and the big one, Outstanding Drama. Coincidentally, Sunday was also George R.R. Martin’s 67th birthday, so it was quite the present.
For those keeping track, Game of Thrones has added to its bevy of Creative Arts Emmys: nominated fo 16 awards, it took home 8 of them. Bear in mind, in some of those categories there were several Game of Thrones entries, most notably the Cinematography in a Single-Camera Series category which featured six nominees, four of which were from Game of Thrones (HBO sister show Boardwalk Empire‘s season 5 premiere actually won there, however).
This continues the show’s tremendous run in creative arts and production categories, which is understandable given both the expense, the complexity, and the terrific amount of talent involved behind-the-scenes in producing the visuals, effects, stunts, and more. With the 2015 Emmys, the show has been nominated for 88 awards so far, of which it has won 19 so far. More Emmys are pending for the Primetime Emmy awards airing on the 20th, while FXX will broadcast last week’s Creative Arts Emmys on the 19th.
For the full list of Emmy nominees, see here.
As Variety reports, the venerable Swedish actor Max von Sydow—the list of credits for the actor is very long indeed—is taking over the “three-eyed raven” role originated in the fourth season by Struan Rodger. As Variety notes, much like the Ian McShane casting, this role is relatively brief in screen time, but it will be important—in his case, Sydow’s role will be described as a “major” one.
Given that Isaac Hempstead Wright has admitted he’d be back for season 6 after a 1 season hiatus, it looks like we’ll be seeing how Bran has gotten along beneath the weirwood with his new mentor.
Like the title says, EW has the exclusive revealing that Ian McShane—best known for his role as Al Swearengen in Deadwood (one of the finest TV shows ever made, by the by)—will be joining the cast for season 6 in a role described by EW as having a “relatively small amount of screen-time during the season” but that the ” character is of key importance.”
Let the speculation begin.
The news ran wild last night with the report from the Television Critics’ Association summer session panel where HBO executive Michael Lombardo spoke about Game of Thrones and remarked the following:
“Seven-seasons-and-out has never been the [internal] conversation. The question is: How much beyond seven are we going to do? Obviously we’re shooting six now, hopefully discussing seven. [David & Dan] feel like there’s two more years after six. I would always love for them to change their minds, but that’s what we’re looking at right now.”
On top of that, when asked about potential prequels, Lombardo expressed strong willingness to further delve into the Game of Thrones story once the main series was done.