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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So Spake Martin Update

George R.R. Martin may be wrapping up his visit to Spain in the next day or so, but he has been busy with interviews and press conferences and Q&A’s. We’ve been collecting them over at the So Spake Martin collection, but we do have too make a particular note about this interview—translated from the Spanish, and sent to us by Jon Nieve of the leading Spanish fan site for A Song of Ice Fire, Asshai.com. It’s heavy on spoilers for A Dance with Dragons, and it touches on quite a few topics that hardcore fans will doubtless find very, very interesting indeed.

Many thanks to Jon and the fans at Asshai for coming up with these great questions and for letting us share the article at the SSM collection!

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!

So Spake Martin Update

We’ve updated the So Spake Martin collection—our archive of correspondence, interviews, and more with George R.R. Martin—with the latest interview we’ve seen from GRRM, with Mark Lawson for the BBC’s Frontrow program.

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!

Forum and Wiki Downtime

Please read for more information about the issues the forum and the wiki have been having lately.

As you probably know, the TV show leads to spike in traffic that lead to intermittent outages. We have slowly been working to reduce the frequency of these. However, last Friday new problem cropped up: msnbot spiders were slamming the server with hundreds of requests per second. If you Google, you’ll see that this is a common problem that other webmasters have had to deal with for their own servers, but it was a new experience for us. We thought we had mostly fixed the problem… only to have something new crop up, which may be connected to potential hardware failure.

The last few days we and our host have been spending a huge amount of time trying to track down what is going wrong, but as of yet we have not found a solution. We’ll keep trying, but right now we do not have an ETA for when the problems may be fixed.

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.

So Spake Martin Updated

Two new interviews have been added to the So Spake Martin collection of correspondence, chats, interviews, and signing reports. The first was brought to our attention by GRRM himself, at the Feather Factor where he discusses his vices, his looking into buying a new car (Gullwing > SuperSports, George!), and more. It’s a nice interview, different than the usual interviews with Martin.

The other one is an audio interview with the gentlemen at Sidequesting, and starts about 8 minutes in. They discuss the series, the world-building, whether GRRM will return to science fiction some day, and football, among other things.

Techie Gear for Game of Thrones

The HBO Store has recently added quite a few new items… in the form of laptop, netbook, tablet, phone, and MP3 player skins featuring the words and heraldry of the various great houses. Have to say, the Baratheon iPhone/iPod

“phone and MP3 player” skin is actually quite striking. We’ve also added links to the heraldic coasters and a mug set in the last few days.

Presently, the store also has a free shipping offer going on if you use the code FREESHIPDAY at check out.

New Game of Thrones Items

Thanks to a tweet from HBO UK, we realized that quite a few things have been added to the HBO Store in the last weeks, items prominently featured on our store page for fans of HBO’s Game of Thrones. Some hoodies have turned up—I guess this is the right season for them—and there’s quite a few collectables, from house posters to shot glasses(!) and now what strikes me as the coolest of them all, a dragon egg paperweight that looks rather cool.

HBO’s finally listing the Bluray and DVD as well, though without any box art or release information. We’ll be keeping an eye on that, to say the least. (And before you ask, the US HBO Store remains US-only so far—sorry!)

Nameserver Change

We’re experimenting with a new nameserver host for all Westeros.org sites. We’ve switched to Cloudflare, which uses its nameservers to cache static content (images, scripts) on its servers distributed across several continents, and to serve that content from the server nearest to the user. This should, in theory, improve site performance and marginally improve server load, as the server will spend less time pushing images and scripts and have more time to churn through the database which powers Westeros-proper, the wiki, and the forum.

For most of you, this change should happen in the background and will require no action from you. However, in some cases your ISP’s domain name server may change in an incorrect fashion, or your own computer may be holding on to outdated information. This may lead to your not being able to reach some Westeros sites but not others.

In this case, we recommend flushing DNS on your computer (if on a Windows PC: Start -> Run -> cmd -> ipconfig /flushdns; for Mac OS X users, please see this.) That should correct the problem in many cases. If your own ISP’s name resolver is at fault, usually they will update their records in anything from 2 to 4 hours. Please be patient and try again after that time (making sure to use ipconfig /flushdns again).

If problems persist, please e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) and we’ll try to help you resolve them.

Spanish Language Interview with Westeros

For Spanish-speaking fans, the Miami-based website Café Fuerte has posted an interview with one half of the Westeros.org duo, Elio (aka me), concerning George R. R. Martin, the fans, and more. Enjoy!

Forum Passwords Reset

Due to a possible bug or exploit, the A Song of Ice and Fire forum has had all passwords reset. No vital data or private information was lost or compromised, but we wanted to make sure that there was no way someone could access accounts despite this.

To get a new password, just use the ‘I forgot my password’ option and have it send a validation e-mail to you, which on response will provide you with the new password.

If you no longer have access to the e-mail with which you registered on the forum, please contact us at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) with your login name and an updated e-mail address.

We should caution that we’re not absolutely sure that the bug/exploit will not be a problem again in the future, but we’re taking steps to make sure that if this happens again, we’ll be able to fix it in a more permanent way.

Online Chat with Patrick Rothfuss

One of the cool things that has developed pretty much from the get-go with the fandom at the A Song of Ice and Fire forum and its predecessors on EESite and EzBoard is a very robust Literature sub-forum, where others works of literature (both in and out of genre) are discussed by passionate readers and fans.

The forum’s won some recognition in this regard, both from fellow fans (Patrick St. Denis of the popular Fantasy Hotlist review site has repeatedly named it his favorite discussion forum on the web) and from authors (a number of whom have joined the forum over the years, either for a few brief words or for a longer period of enagement, such as Richard K. Morgan, R. Scott Bakker, Joe Abercrombie, Jon Sprunk, Daniel Abraham, Brandon Sanderson, Scott Lynch, and ... well, more; not GRRM, though, we should add!)

Now, we’re adding one more author to the list: Patrick Rothfuss, the author of the very popular “Kingkiler Chronicles”, starting with his award-winning The Name of the Wind and this year’s NY Times #1 Bestseller The Wise Man’s Fear. Rothfuss is, suffice it to say, quite a well-regarded author on our forum, and in the general community, and with good reason: a talented writer with a knack with prose, a complicated lead character, and a richly-realized setting, Rothfuss is among a “new” crop of fantasy authors who are pushing fantasy into the mainstream.

Rothfuss will be visiting the forum for our first ever author chat, on August 6 at 4 PM Eastern (that’s 1 PM Pacific, 3 PM Central, 9 PM UK, 10 PM CET), at the forum. The thread where questions can be posted and Patrick will give his responses can be found here, and will open up a few minutes early so as to allow fans to get in a few initial questions for Patrick to work with. The only ground rule for the discussion is that Patrick would prefer not to have spoilers from his series (or GRRM’s, actually!) in the thread, so bear that in mind when posting questions.

Joining the forum is easy, and it supports Facebook and Twitter logins, so please, feel welcome! and start thinking up questions for the chat!

New Interviews in the So Spake Martin Collection

The So Spake Martin  collection of interview links, correspondence, and more has been growing by leaps and bounds of late. Today, we’ve added two new entries: a link to an excellent interview at the Sydney Morning Herald, and a transcript of a Q&A with Martin at the Redwood City signing, led by Tad Williams. The transcript comes by way of his Twitter account and his wife, Deborah Beale.