Boy, these things are piling up! A quick roundup of the latest reviews, interviews, and other Game of Thrones-related items:
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.
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!
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…
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.
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.
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!)
A quick round-up of some more media coverage as we enter the weekend:
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.
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!
The Wall Street Journal has a great article on the production of HBO’s Game of Thrones, which notes a couple of tidbits likely to make fans salivate. First up, a hint as to where the production may do some filming if it goes forward:
¨Before production began, fans posted renderings online of how they imagined colorful King’s Landing, the lush, chilly Winterfell and the eerie blood-covered Castle Black. “I of course ignored all of that because I wanted to make it my own world,” production designer Gemma Jackson said from Croatia, where she was scouting locations for season two before heading to Turkey.
The new “Making of…” video has been released. Wonderful, wonderful stuff, as always ... especially that opening theme at the 22:38 mark, right? ;)
A brand new interview with David Benioff and Dan Weiss as gone live over at AOL, courtesy of critic (and A Song of Ice and Fire fan—she knows whereof she speaks!) Maureen Ryan. This one’s good ... and that last paragraph is spoilerish, if you haven’t read the books ... but if you have, that should cause a bit of pleasure.
Go over and read it!
The role of Lord Renly Baratheon was one that many fans were interested in seeing cast. Filling the role is Gethin Anthony, who brings his talents to bear on a character whose role in this season culminates in a crucial decision . . . and who may well go on to become one of the chief players of the game of thrones if a second season is commissioned. Below is our interview with the actor, discussing his early career, the auditioning process, his views on Renly and Renly’s family, and more…
The San Francisco State University is holding a special advance screening of the first episode of Game of Thrones today, between 6PM and 7PM. First come, first served seating, though they prefer that those attending have an interest in television as an art form. See the Facebook page for more details.
On top of that, the UK’s BAFTA has a free screening on the 15th which sounds particularly interesting, as there’ll be a Q&A with the “creative talent behind the production”. There are limited free tickets available, which you can request via e-mail.