Game of Thrones: News

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Bryan Cogman on Food Trucks… and Shakespeare

Bryan Cogman has a new post at Making Game of Thrones, describing a bit of post-production life, his visit to the food trucks in Los Angeles, and an update on what he’s currently doing (extras for the season 1 Blu-rays [and, presumably, DVDs, though really, you’ll want this show in Blu-ray we suspect…])

But, as it happens, that’s not all that features Bryan out there. As he mentioned in our interview with him, he’s a trained actor. A trained actor with a focus on Shakespeare. Yes, ladies and gentleman… he’s a Shakespeare guy. As he proves in this short webisode of Tiny Apartment, a comedy created by some friends of his:

Meet Jon Snow

As the premiere of Game of Thrones barrels along, we have an exclusive interview with Kit Harington, who plays one of the most significant of the young leads in the series, Jon Snow. We discuss his early career and how he got into acting, the audition process, his interactions with some of the other actors, and his views and hopes for the second season if it goes forward.

Read our interview!

The Throne Has Landed

If you’re in New York City, you may see the Iron Throne whizzing by… on pedicabs, offering complimentary rides through the city streets. And that’s not the only place where you’ll find them it, as HBO reveals that you can sit in a replica of the throne at various locations, not just in New York City, but in several major cities in the United States: Philadelphia, San Francisco, and Los Angeles join NYC as seats of kings. It’s all part of an incredible campaign to make sure everyone knows that Game of Thrones will be premiering this Sunday, April 17th at 9PM.

And just to whet the appetite further, there’s a massive billboard featuring the Wall, the towering structure that defends the realms of men from whatever lives in the frozen heart of winter beyond, at Hollywood and Highland in Los Angeles. Every evening through the 16th, the Wall and Westeros is brought to life using architectural projection and audio. Learn more details about time and locations below!

Ryan and Ryan Podcast and Reviews

Ryan McGee and Maureen Ryan invited Linda and I to a special, Game of Thrones-centric podcast, along with Phil of Winter is Coming. It was a good discussion of the series, including the voicing of some questions from Ryan and thoughts from Maureen Ryan that both have since expanded on on their reviews (McGee at his site, Boobtube Dude, and Mo at AOL’s TV Squad). The reviews are worth reading carefully—they’re not unmitigated praise, and because they want the show to be a great success, they discuss the flaws in detail in a way that may be helpful to the showrunners going forward if there’s another season of the series; but on the whole, both like it, and both see a great deal of potential.

To listen to the podcast, go here!

The Iron Throne

The latest (and last before the premiere?) Artisans is now up, featuring the production designer Gemma Jackson as she gives viewers a detailed look at the throne room in the Red Keep… and, of course, the Iron Throne:

Reviews and Interviews Galore

Boy, these things are piling up! A quick roundup of the latest reviews, interviews, and other Game of Thrones-related items:

  • One of the biggest pieces of news is HBO’s innovative plans for airing the first episode of the series. After the initial airing at 9PM, two follow up airings will take place back-to-back. More amazingly, however, on Monday HBO will air the series on six of its channels simultaneously at 9PM. The cumulative viewership numbers should be quite remarkable, if everything goes to plan. More information can be found at The Hollywood Reporter.
  • George R.R. Martin shares his Top 10 Fantasy Films over at the Daily Beast.
  • A quick look at some reviews: Slice of Sci-Fi, On the Stick, Variety blogger Jon Weisman, The Phoenix
  • And a particular pointer to this podcast discussion from Daniel Feinberg and Alan Sepinwall, where they spend 20 minutes(!) discussing the show, and that with a great deal of praise.
  • The Radio Times in the UK has an exclusive gallery of photos, a number of which we’ve not seen before.
  • Interviews and profiles galore: remarks from Mark Addy, Alfie Allen and Emilia Clarke, Richard Madden, executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss, Kit Harington, and piece with Sean Bean.
  • The Atlantic has begun a series of five posts with takes on the series. First up, Alyssa Rosenberg, followed by Adam Serwer. These are particularly thoughtful pieces, written by writers more generally involved in cultural and political commentary than television criticism.
  • David J. Peterson, creator of the Dothraki language for the show, attended a screening in Los Angeles and wrote a report.

 

An Unexpected Death

Just finished a great conference call with George R.R. Martin regarding HBO’s Game of Thrones, with a full write up later in the week. But there was one very interesting piece of information that we thought fans would want to know now, rather than later:

According to GRRM, a character is killed in this 1st season of the series who does not die until the 3rd novel. Because of spoilers, he chose not to discuss it further (I tried!), but he did indicate it was a male character.

Benioff and Weiss deliberately made the change, which has interesting implications all of its own… such as already looking to find ways to trim down a potential third season by closing out or greatly compressing elements of A Storm of Swords.

And now, let the speculation begin! For our part, we’ll note that we’re quite certain it’s not a “POV” or “major” character, but someone who might be considered on the second or even third tier.

Maester’s Path Final Reward

The final reward in the Maester’s Path promotion from HBO (created by Campfire) is now available! It’s meant for those users who managed to gain five “novices” (people who completed at least one puzzle after following your custom link to the game), and includes a video message from George R.R. Martin himself, plus some excellent “sigil packs” from which you can choose your allegiance as a maester!

Hat’s off to HBO and Campfire, as this was great fun!

Game of Thrones Airing Early on HBO GO

For those HBO subscribers lucky enough to have access to HBO GO through their cable provider, the Wall Street Journal has revealed very interesting news: some episodes of the series will air on HBO GO even before they air on television! No specific details of this initative, such as how much earlier (an hour? a day?), are provided in the article. However, it does have a lot of very interesting things to say about the prospects of the show…

GRRM Interviews, Reviews, and a Guide

This Friday, George surprised fans by appearing at the last of the Game of Thrones food trucks (a great hit—thanks, Campfire, Chef Tom Colicchio, and HBO)—and trying some of the venison and lemon cake, plus chatting a bit with those going up to the truck. It was also a great publicity occasion, with several interviews being conducted both with fans and George.

Two of them featuring GRRM were conducted by HitFix and another fun one—with video and pictures!—can be found at Think Hero. Some interesting remarks in there, including George’s reminder of Faulkner’s quotation, “the human heart in conflict with itself”, is a central tenet of his writing. We expect to see more videos and photos in the next few days.

As to guides, Andrew Leonard of Salon.com has published an essential guide to the series which is, admittedly, rather spoilerish. But as it happens, Leonard also seems to make his feelings on the episodes he’s seen quite clear:

“A Song of Ice And Fire” is to normal fantasy what “The Wire” was to typical cops-and-robbers drama, packed with grit, complexity and flawed human beings making their way through a corrupt and intimidating world… HBO’s treatment of the text is scrupulously faithful—and terrifically entertaining in the best HBO high drama tradition…

That sounds promising. As does, Variety’s very positive review from Brian Lowry:

Although “Mad Men’s” Don Draper partially scratched the itch, premium TV has been actively seeking its next Tony Soprano. While Showtime’s medieval “The Borgias” directly promoted that analogy, HBO comes much closer with “Game of Thrones,” which reaches even farther afield—to Westeros, a mythical land of seven kingdoms where dragons once lived—to deliver a mob boss (OK, king) beset by plotting, intrigue and fractious families on all sides. Massive in scope and cinematic in detail, this dense piece of storytelling should resonate beyond just fans of George R.R. Martin’s novels, providing HBO its own formidable seat of power.

Interestingly, Lowry felt the pacing uneven in the later episodes, while Linda and I preferred the greater room for scenes to breathe in in those late episodes; it was the earliest episodes where we felt that the pacing was not utterly ideal as they raced to cover a great number of pages). Finally, Matt Fowler of IGN has some glowing words for the show:

As with any book adaptation, fans will worry and wonder as to what will be left out and what will be kept in, but the premiere episode, “Winter is Coming,” not only effortlessly takes us along, faithfully, through the book, but it also manages to capture the majestically morbid spirit of Martin’s pages and turn them into thrilling television.

Not all the reviews have been unanimous in their praise, unfortunately, but in some cases some of the remarks may appear aimed more at the story’s genre than the story itself: Wall Street Journal, IndieWire, and Zap2It. If you feel like remarking on these reviews in their comments, please be respectful, no matter how much you might disagree with them or believe them to be unfair.

Critiquing the Critics

This is probably not what you’re expecting—someone fisking the bare handful of negatives reviews, pointing out how awful they are. Instead, this is largely about the impulse to indulge in that sort of meta-criticism in the first place. Myles McNutt—who’s quickly becoming our favorite commentator on the intersection between media and culture—has a terrific piece that examines and ultimately calls into question the reactionary response of some fans towards negative criticism, especially when there’s a danger of that response being characterized in some unsavory ways.

If you’re the sort of fan who can’t help but respond to reviews you disagree with, McNutt’s post is one you really ought to read.

Poison Trailer

A brand new promotional trailer for the show, perhaps the very last full trailer before the premiere on April 17th. Titled “Poison”, it has a handful of shots we’ve never seen before, including some moments late in the series (Rugen!)

Media Coverage Continues

A quick round-up of some more media coverage as we enter the weekend:

  • The New York Times discusses the adaptation from book to screen with GRRM, the executive producers, and HBO executives. There’s some interesting details here, such as the fact that reshooting in Malta for Pentos was partially driven by the fact that their Moroccan location was landlocked and didn’t work as well for the coastal Free City.
  • io9 reports on a recent conference call with the executive producers (more from us on that call next week), including a hint about direwolves…
  • TV Guide follows up the “controversy” with Damon Lindelof following GRRM’s remarks on the ending of Lost. The executive producers say quite a bit about the fact that they know, through Martin, the broad outline of what the final season and final episode will be like. They add that they’ve read the first 600 pages of A Dance with Dragons, as well.
  • Finally, Dorkshelf has a great interview with Kit Harington about working on the show, with some interesting tidbits (and some small spoilers for the potential second season) along the way.
The Decency of Ned Stark

Beginning a new series of features, essayist and writer Pearson Moore has joined with Westeros.org to provide in-depth looks at the series, its characters, and the rich, dramatic themes at the heart of George R.R. Martin’s creation. Moore, perhaps best known for his insightful essays into the TV show Lost, is the author of 63 essays about that show, as well as two thought-provoking novels, including the Amazon bestselling Lost Humanity and Lost Identity.

Our first featured essay from Mr. Moore is “Instinctive Honour: The Decency of Eddard Stark in Game of Thrones”, a detailed look into the central figure of A Game of Thrones.

I Want My MTV

You heard right: we’ve teamed up with MTV Geek, MTV’s destination for news of all things cool, wonderful, and otherwise downright geeky! What this means is that MTV Geek will be highlighting HBO’s Game of Thrones, giving Westeros a broader platform to review each episode as it airs, while MTV Geek’s Tom Akel and Daniel Craft will be joining us for a weekly podcast about the show. And who knows, there may be some other tidbits here and there…

Keep your eyes peeled for our first, in-depth review at MTV Geek starting from the 18th!