Game of Thrones: News

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R.I.P Margaret John

Very sadly, we must share the news from the BBC that Margaret John has passed away at the age of 84, after a short illness. The Welsh actress was much beloved, being called a national treasure by BBC documentary makers. Her casting as Old Nan was met with excitement by fans who were quickly endeared to her after watching her teach viewers how to make Welsh cakes for St. David’s Day on a BBC Wales video.

Her voice over for the extended teaser is a memorable one, and cemented the opinion of many fans that she would make an excellent Old Nan. Our condolences to her family and he friends, especially all of those who had the honor and the pleasure to meet and work with her during the filming of HBO’s Game of Thrones:

Screencap Gallery Updated

We’ve updated our Behind the Scenes gallery with 44 new images (starting here), taken from the Buster Reeves Artisan’s video released at Making Game of Thrones a couple of weeks ago. Lots of details of fight scenes, but the image we’re highlighting here depicts a character from the books that has not previously been named: Dareon, the singer’s apprentice sent to the Wall for allegedly raping Lord Rowan’s daughter. He’s the fellow on the left.

The actor is probably more along the lines of a featured extra, and may not even have any lines, but I saw him being addressed as Dareon while I was watching some of the filming at Magheramorne (if anyone knows the actor’s full name, do let us know!. I suspect some of the other Night’s Watch recruits in the background may also be given names after some of the other recruits from the novel, such as Cuger and Halder.

In other news, expect our exclusive set reports from my visit to Belfast in October—which we started but then had to postpone to hash out some details—to resume later this month, with some exclusive pictures and details that we haven’t yet had the opportunity to report.

Game of Thrones in Sweden

Although we’ve previously reported information on when Game of Thrones will premiere in Sweden via pay-cabler Canal+ (April/May is as specific as we’ve been able to get so far), we haven’t been able to remark on public broadcasts because there was very little information. Until now, that is, after Göran Danasten (SVT’s head of fiction acquisition) tweeted that he was going to be see the show (presumably its first episode or episodes) next week.

This seemed a tip-off that SVT had acquired or was in the process of acquiring the program, and further conversation with Mr. Danasten confirmed this—SVT will be airing Game of Thrones in Sweden. As to when, there are no exact dates as of yet, but we’ve been told that Canal+ has an exclusivity period, so probably no earlier than the end of 2011.

Making Game of Thrones: Arya’s Needlework

Oh, this is an excellent entry in the fantastic series of Artisan’s videos from Making Game of Thrones, as we get a great introduction to Maisie Williams, the young actress playing Arya and learn something of what it was like for her to learn how to fight with a sword for the role. Also, a few glimpses of Syrio, and what certainly looks like some rehearsal of a major scene for both characters…

 

Game of Thrones on Saturdays in UK?

An article focusing on Sky’s upcoming plans provides a tidbit of information which I believe narrows down when Game of Thrones is likely to premiere on Sky Atlantic (which begins to air tomorrow, February 1st, and will be free to all Sky customers through August). This paragraph seems to be a giveaway:

“Sky Atlantic will screen its best shows at 9pm on Saturdays, attempting to win the sort of reputation that HBO enjoys in America for its Sunday night schedule. “I’m not pretending we will take millions of viewers away from The X Factor but it’s a brilliant high quality alternative for people who are a bit bored of the current offering on Saturday nights,” says Murphy, who argues that the cost of Sky is no more than many British HBO fans pay for boxsets.”

If that holds, and Sky doesn’t run any special “preview” airings of the premiere closer to the U.S. air date, I’ll go out on a limb and predict April 23rd as the launch of the series on Sky Atlantic. April 30th is the only other Saturday in April that’s available, but with almost two weeks between it and the U.S. premiere, it seems to us that Sky will recognize that for the error that it is. Of course, there are fans who’ll be hoping for an airing on the Monday following the U.S. airing, much as HBO Central Europe seems to be getting, and so this may be disappointing. Still, it’s only speculative right now, as Sky Atlantic has not confirmed an air date for the series as of yet.

L.A. Times Predicts Success

Game of Thrones has just gotten something of a stamp of approval (or at least of very positive anticipation) from the L.A. Times in its Hero Complex pop culture blog, as blogger Amy Ratcliffe gives five reasons why HBO’s new series may be a big success. Some excellent points in there, although in the comments I did suggest one of them could use a little clarification.

Five reasons is all well-and-good, but we imagine we could come up with a few more. What would you suggest, if we wanted to make a list with ten reasons?

Making Game of Thrones: More Dothraki

David J. Peterson continues the Dothraki lessons over at Game of Thrones, providing some insight into the Dothraki culture while he’s doing it. An additional PDF download is included at the end, providing an excellent beginner’s overview of the vocabulary and grammar covered so far. We look forward to it being expanded over time! Until then, the unofficial Dothraki fansite is a good repository of what’s known so far.

Around the Web

Here’s a quick round-up of some items from the last few days that we thinks fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones might find of interest. We’ve tweeted them, but haven’t yet had an opportunity to post them up:

 

MTV Interviews David and Dan

Wrapping up, we think, MTV’s initial spate of interview videos from TCA is a brief interview piece with Game of Thrones executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. The interviewer, fellow ASoIaF-fan Kara Warner, tells us there’ll be much more to come when we come nearer to the April 17th premiere date. Until then, enjoy the interview as David and Dan explain how they would describe the show to people who might be turned off by the fantasy label:

Additional Roles Revealed

Thanks to a tweet from Sainou, a talent agency, we’ve discovered that the role of Lord Bracken in Game of Thrones was played by Gerry O’Brien, an Irish actor with quite a few credits to his name. He lists Alan Taylor as the director of his episode(s), and we know from Bryan Cogman that Taylor directed the ninth and tenth episodes.

AdWeek Interview with Benioff & Weiss

This is a fun one from TCA, as the opening of the interview begins with some geeky discussion as to whether Westeros really counts as a single kingdom, and whether there’s actually seven or eight kingdoms within it. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss reiterate that a chief reason for producing the show “the HBO way” is that it allows them to be very faithful to the source material. They recognize they won’t make 100% of the fans happy, but they’re confident most of them will be:

(The answer to the question, by the by, is that Westeros is one kingdom, made up of the seven former kingdoms which existed at the time of Aegon’s conquest. We assume the reference to eight refers to the Iron Islands, but at the time of the Conquest the kingdom of the Iron Isles and the Trident was unified.)

Thanks to mediawill for the pointer!

More Game of Thones Coverage

First off, a pleasant surprise today was seeing Adam Serwer of The American Prospect, a leading liberal editorial magazine in the United States, sharing a blog post enthusing about A Song of Ice and Fire and HBO’s upcoming Game of Thrones. Serwer touches on the aspects of the series that most appeal to him, particularly the moral ambiguities in the characters and conflicts in the setting as compared to that ur-text of epic fantasy, The Lord of the Rings.

Combined with Alyssa Rosenberg’s blog posts for The Atlantic about the series, and Pat W. Caldwell’s tweet about Serwer’s piece, is Game of Thrones appealing enough to wonks and pundits to become a cultural artefact worth using as a wobbly jumping-off point for thoughtful political commentary? I’ll believe it once Matthew Yglesias starting talking about it. (I would have said Brad DeLong, but he’s already read the series!)

Also, as promised yesterday, MTV has released another video interview, this one with George R.R. Martin himself, as he discusses his approach to writing A Song of Ice and Fire:

Peter Dinklage Video Interview

More TCA-recorded goodness from MTV, as they now share their interview with Peter Dinklage. He seems to be one of those actors a bit hesitant about calling the series fantasy, and to be fair, his part of the story is mostly without any fantastical elements to it. And compared to Narnia (in which he acted in Prince Caspian), it’s practically mundane:

After Elton Interviews GRRM & Weiss

We’re guessing this is from the TCA winter press tour, as no date is provided. After Elton, a pop culture site with a focus on topics of interest to gay men, has comments from executive producer D.B. Weiss and creator George R.R. Martin concerning the sexuality of characters in Game of Thrones. Read the extended text for possible spoilers.

Sean Bean Interviewed

MTV has shared its latest interview segment during the TCA Winter press tour, following their Emilia Clarke interview. This time, Sean Bean discusses the series, including his propensity for medieval-fantasy work. Notably, he seems to imply that he wasn’t initially very interested until he researched the series and discovered how well-regarded and popular it was, and then executive producer David Benioff (who had written Troy, in which Bean had played Odysseys) spoke with him to convince him the rest of the way: