As promised, here’s the first fifteen minutes of the first episode of Game of Thrones, “Winter is Coming”:
Visit the forum to discuss it. The series will premiere April 17 at 9PM ET. Be there!
As we’ve noted, HBO very kindly sent us the six episode screeners that critics received earlier last week, and we’ve rather devoured them all. Linda and I have spent a good deal of time considering and discussing them, and we’ve written an article sharing—in a non-spoiler way—our first impressions. It’s very long, so for those who haven’t the time, here’s our final paragraph that sums things up:
From the point of view of extremely invested fans such as ourselves, the things that we wish were there that aren’t give us a pang, but there’s so much to be joyful about, the gracenotes, the acting, the visuals, the direction, and the writing [or, to put it more clearly, Linda and I loved it even while feeling that some things had to be sacrificed that we’re sorry to not have on the screen]. But we need to emphasize that we don’t believe that viewers unfamiliar with the books will have the same concern. There’s enough meat in the show, there’s enough depth, that those who are entirely new to it will find something to enjoy. It is really well done fantasy, unlike anything ever produced for television. It is a quality drama, a rewarding one, and we think those who stick through the dizzying number of characters, plotlines, and locations in the first two episodes will be appropriately hooked. If you want the full depth and complexity of the world, all the nuances and subtleties, there’s always the books to turn to.
If you want more, read out first impressions.
To add to the media coverage, here’s the U.K.‘s Evening Standard magazine feature on Game of Thrones, interviewing three of the younger stars of the show: Harry Lloyd (who proves the anecdotes we had about geeking out over the books), Richard Madden, and Emilia Clarke. Some excellent material, from the fact that Richard insisted on carrying his “hero” sword (the one out of actual steel) as much as possible rather than the lighter cast resin or aluminum weapons, to Emilia’s efforts to write a movie script of her own.
HBO has unveiled Win the Throne, a social networking game featuring minigames, intrigues, and various rewards. Grand prize? A cool $10,000, plus there’s an additional prize for Comcast subscribers only of $10,000 (only one grand prize per winner). Plus a number of lesser prizes, like gift cards, T-shirts, and so on.
The game sounds fun. The only downside? It’s U.S. only, at least as far as prizes go. Ah, well. The minigames sound like they may be fun to play all on their own, even if you don’t play the game of thrones…
We’re not going to review the show just yet after the episodes we saw, although we hope we might give some vague first impressions soon, but we feel compelled to make a special note to highlight just how amazing the opening titles for the show are. Gorgeously produced, innovative, and best of all completely acknowledging the breadth and scale of the setting. And for our money, it’s much cooler than what the pilot script allegedly described, which was simply a raven flying over a map of Westeros from point to point; that was a good idea, but this ... this is inspired.
Via MSN.com, we now have the episode titles for episodes 5 through 7. Episode 5 is “The Wolf and the Lion”, episode 6 is “A Golden Crown”, and episode 7 (this is a new one for Linda and I) is, “You Win or You Die”. With GRRM’s episode 8 title of “The Pointy End” already known, this just leaves the final two episodes to be titled.
Entertainment Weekly is leading the way among the major media, being what can be considered the first US media out of the gate with major coverage of Game of Thrones, with a featured article in this week’s issue, an open call for fans to submit questions for the cast and crew, and an exclusive gallery of ten new photos. We expect a lot more content is coming in short order.
On top of that, it seems the embargo on reviews is going up in the U.K., because Den of Geek has the very first, spoiler-free review of the first episode and interviews with Alfie Allen and Emilia Clarke, while back in the states the Grand Old Lady of newspapers, the New York Times, features an interview with George R.R. Martin about the series.
Finally, on a very different note, here’s this fascinating article on Mixonline—a website for audio industry professionals—regarding the sound mixing and editing on Game of Thrones. We do love these behind-the-scenes pieces.
Now, as for ourselves, we have something to watch...
Bryan Cogman (Twitter) probably needs very little introduction to the inner core of fans who’ve been hanging on every word of the show, but in brief, Bryan is the right-hand man of the executive producers of Game of Thrones, beginning as an assistant in the early stages of first season’s preparations and moving on to work as a script editor (sort of) and eventually a writer (episode 4) for the first season.
Perhaps his most important capacity, however, has been the “keeper of the mythos”, or as he puts it, “the reference guy,” for the show. That makes him near and dear to fans, and we suspect all the more so when you learn that his fandom predated his involvement with the show…
Read the interview, and let us know what you think!
Not a sneak preview, but something potentially just as cool. The Studio Booth, a company specializing in “multidisciplinary event photography company specializing in customized interactive photo experiences”, has tweeted that they’re going to be at Wondercon in San Francisco from April 1st to April 3rd, and they’re clearly going there on behalf of HBO to promote Game of Thrones.
Looking at the Exhibitor’s List at the Wondercon site, we notice HBO is listed as having booth #341, so we’re guessing where that’s going to be. In the S.F. area, or planning to be at Wondercon? Go check it out and report back!
Edited to add: Someone working at Wondercon—probably in getting it set up for tomorrow—has spotted the Iron Throne!
HBO has been giving fans a lot of new things to look at! First up are these house wallpapers, featuring the Great Houses that figure in some significant fashion in the first season—no Tyrells or Martells… yet. We rather love the Arryn, as it gives us a less stylized design. There’s no moon, of course, where there ought to be, but that’s pretty good; now, if only they’d just do it as George intended…
And besides that, there’s a number of videos at the GameOfThrones Youtube/ that appear to either have been quietly updated or uploaded. Arya and Sansa can now be seen in their full, 720p glory, and most significantly of all, an 8+ minute video on the costumes that’s very insightful regarding the thinking behind Michele Clapton’s approach.
Videos that were earlier Comcast exclusive are now starting to appear on the official Youtube channel, including profiles for Jon Snow, Queen Cersei, and King Robert, plus a 3.5 minute long “Invitation to Westeros” piece. For those who’ve had trouble seeing the profiles on HBO’s own site, this is an excellent option for seeing them! Unfortunately, some of the latest videos are not in the 720p we’re accustomed to; those are probably exclusive to Comcast Xfinity for the time being.
HBO has heeded the call, and have now placed the main one-sheet plus the additional character posters up for sale at the HBO Store. Want Ned, Dany, Jon, Robert, or Cersei on your wall? This is an excellent way to make it happen. I’d suggest figuring out some order of precedence so that no one’s at anyone else’s throat… which is probably a tall order, all considered. Or is it?
One supposes Dany, Ned, Robert, Jon, Cersei would be relatively uneventful…
Yeah, okay, that was geeky.
Back in September, Northern Ireland Screen, who played a leading role in bringing Game of Thrones to Northern Ireland, had a board meeting where it was revealed that a “2nd series for Game of Thrones was already under strong consideration.” It went on to state that “securing” that season to be produced in Northern Ireland could well depend on the NI Screen hurrying along the process of expanding studio space by Summer 2011.
The fifth and final puzzle of the Maester’s Path has now gone live! With each of the previous puzzles having covered four of the five senses, this one deals with the last sense left: taste. And it ties in, thematically at least, with HBO’s taste experience that’ll be playing out in New York City and Los Angeles over the next couple of weeks, as award-winning chef Tom Cochillio of Top Chef has planned out the menu.
And just in time for that, today happens to be the first evening for the food truck in New York City. At last report, it will be somewhere in the vicinity of Union Square at 6PM. The menu for today is inspired by King’s Landing and features trout, rabbit, and (of course) lemon cakes, a brief video describing it that we’ve embed below, plus the full menus for all five days of the experience… which are necessary to solving the puzzle!
ETA: Steve Coulson of Campfire says to read the clue very carefully. And then he noted that “before the fold” was very important. Which leads one to folding… and look, each menu has fruits, some of which are sliced and some of which are not. And the slices line up pretty well, as if directing you how to fold… Once you have the answer, type it in after the test starts and you should see quite a nice scene!
We had it as unconfirmed, but it’s now confirmed that the Orbit Showtime Network—leading provider of television and film by satellite to most of North Africa and the Middle East—will be carrying HBO’s Game of Thrones beginning April 20. Notably well ahead of some other markets, including major European markets! According to the release we’re linking to, it will air at 22.00 with what seems to be a repeat in the early morning at around 3.00.
We have updated our International Air Dates listing accordingly.