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Belfast Set Visit Part 3: Armor Galore

The next part of my set visit report is up in the Features section, featuring a great deal of armor geekery, a visit to the throne room, and more. Pictures courtesy of HBO and Parris McBride.

I hope to get the next part out tomorrow… but I am coming down with something and so may have to delay it a day. Fingers crossed.

New Game of Thrones T-Shirts

HBO has released a fantastic new series of T-shirts at their HBO Shop storefront, and suffice it to say, we’re pretty excited (and somewhat sad—U.S.-shipping only right now). Male and female designs cover a range of houses with their mottoes: Lannister, Targaryen, Stark, Baratheon, Arryn, and even Tully and Greyjoy(!)

Our personal favorite is the Targaryen dragon, we think, especially since they have corrected it from their initial filming, possibly because we noted the fact that the dragons are in fact supposed to have two legs.

Belfast Set Visit Report Part 2

As promised, you can find the second part of my set visit report here. This features my visit to the prop store, where I saw a big direwolf, and various other odds-and-ends that may be of interest before I had a close-and-personal look inside a sky cell of the Eyrie. Enjoy! Part 3 is coming tomorrow.

May 4th Premiere on Nordic Canal+

An e-mail from Canal+ Finland has confirmed earlier reports we’ve had, namely that the Canal+ channel in the Nordic countries of Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden will be airing Game of Thrones beginning May 4th, at 9PM. This substantially fills in the picture for much of Europe—April 18 in the U.K. on Sky Atlantic and at least part Central Europe and Eastern Europe served by HBO (Hungary and Czech Republic seem confirmed, although a comment below states that HBO Slovenia is undecided), May 4th in the Nordic countries (no word on Iceland yet), May 9 in Spain, and doubtless more announcements to come in the next few weeks.

MGoT Interview… and Set Visit Report!

Long in the planning, Making Game of Thrones has now published an interview we did shortly after my visit to Belfast back in October—I was quite honored to be considered a worthwhile subject! The genesis of Westeros.org, our involvement in the fandom, and my impressions of the visit are briefly covered. And now that that’s published…

The set visit reports resumes! Shortly after my return from Belfast, I started posting a bit of the experience, but I stopped before I actually got into Paint Hall, instead describing how it came to be that I had this opportunity (an unprecedented one, I’m told) and breakfast with George and Parris. Now, in this first installment, my visit to the Paint Hall-proper, beginning with a lonely tower and a high hall…

More parts to come!

The Maester’s Path Begins

As predicted, HBO has launched The Maester’s Path, a series of interactive puzzles. This is viral marketing at its finest, from what we can see so far… and also as predicted, the symbols that we and others received are the key to the first puzzle. Feel free to look at them here!

Every monday will see a new puzzle, as you work to gain knowledge. We’re guessing that perhaps each week is going to see the “influencers” chosen by HBO possibly receiving a new package with more clues for future puzzles. The site promises “great rewards”... wonder what those might be?

 

New Screen Captures

The new trailer for Game of Thrones has brought new screen caps, with our usual commentary and linking. Some great new images here, and a few lines that haven’t been heard in the promos and teasers as of yet. Personally, we love the glimpses of heraldry in the tourney scene, and the amazing shot of a tourney “accident” which just looks incredible, but others will find much else to love: the godswood of Winterfell (the first screen capture in the series), or Winterfell itself, or perhaps the bloody aftermath of a certain fight in the streets, to name just a few.

Extended Iron Throne Preview

A brand new teaser has come out form HBO tonight… well, more or less. Drawing heavily from some of the other teasers, especially the amazing “Iron Throne” teaser, this new one includes some amazing footage—footage which seems to feature the fully edited, color-graded material we’ll see on screen—and some terrific snippets of dialog from scenes we haven’t generally seen as of yet outside of certain screenings (including the 5 minute reel critics have seen). Enjoy!

A few new screen caps tomorrow in our gallery, but you can find the “Iron Throne” teaser bits largely covered starting here.

Merchandise and Banner Trademarks

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.

Mysteries of the Maester’s Path

We’ve updated our gallery with scans of the various scrolls Linda and I received yesterday.

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.

Maester’s Path Experience from HBO

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).

Game of Thrones Boosts Books

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:

The lengthy tomes by George R. R. Martin are approaching triple-digit growth in year-on-year sales, according to publisher Bantam Books.

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!

Remarks from International Screening

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

Screencap Gallery Updates

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.

April 18th Premiere in the UK

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:

All episodes - the regular #GameofThrones slot will be Mondays.