Westeros: Updates

Westeros is the premiere fansite for George R.R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire. Discuss the series on the forums, browse our resource collections, read about the TV series from HBO and play the MUSH, to name just a few of the things we offer.

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Introducing the Barrow

Occasionally, our running of Westeros.org leads to opportunities only tangentially related to A Song of Ice and Fire, but they can lead to some very interesting things (such as the contest we’ll be announcing further below…)

In the past, I’ve made some noise about an independent comic book series, Artesia, written and illustrated by Mark Smylie. Inspired by, among other things, A Song of Ice and Fire, Smylie set out to create an epic fantasy following the eponymous character and the world-changing events around her. His “Known World” setting grew to enormous proportions, spanning continents, containing dozens of gods and recounting events over thousands of years (and multiple dating systems, while he was at it). The scope of it was on par with what one sees in literary epic fantasy, but in comic book form? Pretty much unheard of in the English-language market. Smylie’s terrific watercolor artwork was paired with a formal, Shakespearian sort of prose and an extremely earthy, gritty setting. There’s high magic, there’s ghouls and demons and vampires, there’s incredibly-realized battles between armored knights, there’s intrigue and murder, there’s sex and sexual politics—it has it all.

A Flipboard of Ice and Fire

As it’s now been running live for a week without incident, we thought we’d share the news that those of you with mobile devices—Android or iOs (and soon Windows Mobile)—who’ve enjoyed the Flipboard app’s presentation of personalized magazines filled with the latest content from around the web now have one more magazine they can add to their collection: The World of Ice and Fire, curated by none other than… well, me. Launched in collaboration with Random House (publisher of the A Song of Ice and Fire series) and Flipboard, I’ll be currating content, leading fans of ASoIaF and Game of Thrones to the latest news and tidbits that might be of interest, as well as some of the more wonderfully interesting fan writing, artwork, and more.

Feel free to subscribe, share, and comment

Fundraiser Completed

Last week we posted about our fundraiser. Happily, the fundraiser is now complete! We met our goal in just a couple of days, and decided to keep it open after requests from users who would be able to contribute later in the week. The fundraiser is now done, with a hair over $2500 raised—a terrific amount! Many, many thanks to one and all, both those who contributed and those who’ve made Westeros.org their destination for all things A Song of Ice and Fire related!

Westeros.org Fundraising, 2013 Edition

After a pretty hair-raising Game of Thrones season, with traffic levels that blew away what we saw last year, the server actually handled itself pretty well—certainly, better than last year! The new server’s much more capable than our prior, two-server situation, and thanks to hard work from our friendly host Sparks, it became much more stable. And we’re not resting on our laurels: we hope that next year’s traffic will be a relative breeze, as we look into solutions involving leveraging the cloud to help take some of the load off the server when the traffic spikes.

But of course, all this costs money, so we bring you once again to our annual fundraiser to help cover the yearly costs of having the server about:

This will cover a part of the yearly cost, the rest of which Linda and I will cover ourselves.

Many thanks for visiting the site, making it the #1 site for A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones discussion and commentary, and (we hope) for your donation!

Westeros in the Big Issue

Very recently, Linda and I were interviewed by Andrew Burns for the UK’s The Big Issue, a widely-circulated magazine that will likely be familiar to many in the UK.

Not sold on newstands, it’s only sold by homeless men and women who are given a means to work and an opportunity to improve their lives. You’ll find it being sold in many of the UK’s cities.

We’d been told that they needed a picture of us for the feature they’re writing on Game of Thrones... ... but it was quite the surprise to discover that we’re on the cover! The magazine will be on sale this week, and besides our interview, it also features a broader look at the series and show, and an editorial piece on fantasy literature and its appeal in the current economic climate.

If you’re in a UK, definitely give it a look if you’ve the opportunity. And if you see it, let us know what you think!







 

Westeros on Swedish National Radio

This morning, Linda was on Swedish national radio station P3, on the PP3 program, to discuss Game of Thrones. For Swedes—and Scandinavians and others who can understand Swedish—you can listen in to the program here. Linda’s appearance starts 18 minutes into the program.

A Brief Rolling Stone Profile

Well, hot on the heels of our NewNowNext Award nomination, we can reveal that the latest issue of Rolling Stone has a brief profile of yours truly (aka Elio). Yes, rather a surprise when they contacted us! It was nice to discuss our involvement with the website and the fandom and so on, although I do see that the hour-long conversation lost some things in translation when it was boiled down to the smaller article…

Westeros.org a NewNowNext Award Nominee

We learned this news last week, and it looks like we can finally share it with all and sundry: Westeros.org has been nominated in the “Superfan Site” category of LOGO’s televisied NewNowNext Awards.  To say the least, it’s an honor to be recognized by those who selected the nominees! For those wondering, LOGO is an LGBT-geared entertainment channel,a sister channel to MTV. The NewNowNext Awards have been running since 2008, and have seen the likes of Lady Gaga on their stage. The awards show don’t take themselves too seriously, suffice it to say!

Linda and I were invited to the award show, but alas, we won’t be able to make it (and we’re quite gutted—not often one gets invited to a red carpet event!) That said, since we’re in the running, it’s up to the fans and visitors to the site to take the time and vote for us! You can vote in one of two ways:

Go through this here image ....

Superfan Site: westeros.org,

Or if you’re on Twitter, just tweet a message containing the hastags #NNNAWesteros and #NNNAwards (must include both) and they’ll automatically register your vote.

 

Westeros CMS Upgraded

Just a quick note that the last week or so of our time has been taken up by the extensive work needed to upgrade Westeros.org’s content management system—Expression Engine—from the 1.x we’ve been using since around 2004, to 2.x—and we’ve finally brought up the site live.

Following Westeros on Facebook

You likely already know that we have a Facebook page, but you may have found that notifications of new items there have become rarer… or, worse still, that when you investigate the page directly, you find a lot more content being posted than you’ve seen in your news feed.

The reason for this are certain changes Facebook has made to how updates are sent along to those who like your page. Where before 100% of all updates were shared, now only 10 to 20% of followers see any particular update at any particular time. There is, however, a way around this that Facebook has made available: interests.

To add Westeros to your Interests, and get all updates in your stream, you can either create and populate an interest list as per the linked instructions. A more direct and immediate way to do it, however, is to go to the page in question,  , or alternatively you can visit the page, hover over the liked buttons, and select “Interests..” Name your interest list, add the site, and you’re done—you’ll get all of our updates, at least for as long as Facebook allows interested followers to see them all via this method.

Westeros.org Profiled by NY Mag’s Vulture

We’ve already noted that NY Mag’s Vulture entertainment site placed fans of A Song of Ice and Fire and Game of Thrones at the pinnacle of their mosted devoted fans list.

But a pleasant surprise was when Linda and I were contacted to be included in part of a series of posts on devoted fans. This past Friday, a short profile of us went up, touching on several subjects connected to our involvement in the fandom, from its earliest days to the present.

For those who might want to know a little more about the people behind the website, this is not a bad place to start.

(And for those who wonder, the statues in the background of our photo, those are from Valyrian Resin. They’re officially licensed, and I’m told a limited quantity remains. I should also add that though they can ship internationally, the web shop does not necessarily give an accurate estimate for shipping overseas, so consider contacting them for a quote.)

Westeros’s New Server

The last days, you may have noticed that Westeros.org has been down quite often. That’s because the server just couldn’t handle the amount of load being placed on it. Well, that’s a thing of the past (unless we see exponential levels of growth): the whole of Westeros.org and all of its parts (the Wiki of Ice and Fire, the Forum of Ice and Fire, Blood of Dragons MUSH) is now housed on the same, very capable server. This should mean that the extensive downtimes and great amounts of lag should be a thing of the past (*knocks on wood*).

Many thanks to the community who contributed to help make it possible, and of course to our amazing host, Sparks, who did all the heavy-lifting of getting things together!

Fundraiser Completed - Thank You!

We set the fundraiser for Westeros.org at what I thought was a not-very-modest goal—about twice as much as we ever really asked for before—and it turns out, I very much undervalued how much the site means to the community of users! After less than a week, the fundraising has come to a close… and we raised something north of $3000! An amazing job, one and all, and we truly appreciate it. Many, many thanks to everyone who contributed, to those who would if they could, and everyone who’s contributed to make it such a terrific community site.

Westeros Fundraiser

It’s that time of year again, folks, to support the Westeros.org community. It’s not just the forums and website, that have seen far more activity and membership than they ever have, but it’s also the Wiki of Ice and Fire (the premiere ASoIaF wiki on the web) which is one of the most visited parts of the site—well over a million unique visitors per month, coming by to look up all the details that you, the community, have put up there to share your knowledge and love of the series.

If you’ve ever used the resources of Westeros.org, discussed a theory on the forum, browsed the wiki—please consider chipping in a bit of money for the fundraiser! The funds raised will go directly to our wonderful server admin Sparks to defray the costs of hosting , and allow us to start looking into upgrades that might further improve the speed and stability of the servers.

Many thanks for your time, consideration, and (we hope) your donation! ChipIn allows payments through credit card or Paypal; sorry, we can’t take money orders, cheques, or cash, but we do appreciate the thought!

New Store Items

HBO has quietly been adding a few new items to its store in the run-up to season 2. Besides getting more of the Cersei Lannister posters in stock from season 1, there’s some brand new shirts that are rather cool (including a Westeros map shirt), plus some knick-knacks such as house sigil and character magnet sets. You can find these, and much, much more, over at the Westeros Store.