We were in the midst of writing up our post about yesterday’s big casting news that the splendid Naomi Watts had been cast for the pilot of the Game of Thrones successor/prequel, tenatively titled The Long Night, when news broke of a second lead actor being announced: Josh Whitehouse, a British actor that fans of Poldark (as we are) will recognize as the romantic, tragic Hugh Armitage.
There’s no information to speak of of Whitehouse’s role in the series, but the EW piece by James Hibberd did share this about Watts’ character:
“Socialite” has raised eyebrows among fans, as the sort of society that has a “fashionable” or “high” society doesn’t seem like it would fit a Bronze Age-like era as described in the novels. Some interesting thoughts have been put forward, such as her character actually being from Essos and one of the more advanced civilizations that existed there while Westeros was near to barbaric. For my part, I’m guessing that the term is being used very loosely to indicate a character who has made many alliances through personal connections, a “peace-weaver” if you will, after the fashion of the Anglo-Saxon conception of noblewomen binding feuding tribes together through marriage and through their conduct as hostesses and advisors. But we’ll have to wait and see.
Responding to the news, George R.R. Martin weighed in with the expectation that there’d be more announcements soon (as there has been) and the fact that “a couple” of the pitched projects are still being developed, one or more of which may relate to Fire and Blood and its history of the Targaryens from Aegon I to the regency of Aegon III. The word “couple” might well suggest that of the four or five pitches made to HBO, a couple have now fallen by the wayside. Whether this includes Bryan Cogman’s pitch, which we know involved GRRM closely, we do not know but his recently announced overall deal with Amazon does suggest it.
By some fortuitous timing, HBO went ahead and announced some big news yesterday, namely that they’re establishing Game of Thrones Legacy attracations which will place key sets in place at relevant filming locations in Northern Ireland. This means sets used for Castle Black, Winterfell, and King’s Landing, and perhaps others, will become official attractions. We’ll include the full press release below… but first, our first video from our visit to Northern Ireland the weekend before last, with a couple of Game of Thrones filming locations and some other notable sites along the way. If you have headphones on, beware there’s some noise from water and wind that may need you to turn things down a bit:
Next video will be on the Winterfell Festival itself! And if you missed it, here’s a taste of that, a Q&A with Ian McElhinney.
Now, on to the press release:
As part of our weekened getaway to Northern Ireland, Linda and I attended the Winterfell Festival held at Castle Ward. Among the events and activities were Q&As and interviews with Mark Addy (King Robert) and Ian McElhinney (Ser Barristan). Below is a video of one of the two public events Mr. McElhinney attended, discussing his career, horsemanship, and of course Game of Thrones.
We’re back from having spent the weekend in Northern Ireland, looking at the sites and enjoying the Winterfell Festival. We have a lot of photographs and video from the trip, including a Q&A with Barristan Selmy himself, Ian McElhinney. For some sneak previews, make sure to check our social pages at Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Of course, while we were away, there was some Game of Thrones-related news of note that we thought we should quickly cover, including some remarks from George from the red carpet at last night’s Emmy awards. See below for the quick news roundup!
On September 16th, Castle Ward—a National Trust site in Northern Ireland which has famously served as a location for Game of Thrones—will be hosting a Winterfell 2018 event which will feature a number of entertainments, including displays by the Devil’s Horsemen who’ve worked on the show’s horse stunts for years, a display of weapons from the show made by Boyd Rankin, and more.
And among that more is the newly-announced inclusion of Mark Addy—King Robert Baratheon himself!—to be part of a Q&A session.
(Atop of all that, Linda and I will also be present to report on the event, but we’ll have pens handy if anyone wants to lug their copy of The World of Ice and Fire over there to get our autographs.)
See below for the full details in the press release, explaining how to get a ticket to attend the Q&A with Addy, and providing more information about the event:
To benefit Whale and Dolphin Conservation, the leading charity to protect whales and dolphins around the world, Jerome Flynn—everyone’s favorite mercenary sellsword, Bronn—will join a lucky winner on a trip to Iceland to tour various of the locations featured in Game of Thrones... as well as some extra treats.
The fundraiser, hosted at Prizeo, is a sweepstakes where every $1 donated gets one entry in a draw (minimum donation is $10).
Read Jerome’s message to supporters explaining the details:
I want you to join me “Beyond the Wall” to get a sneak peek and visit famous filming locations from the series, beyond the Seven Kingdoms.
I’ll fly you and a friend to Iceland, and will take you on a tour of some of the most breath-taking Game of Thrones locations including the ‘First of the First Men’ and the ‘mountain that looks like an arrowhead’ from Season 7.
Your flights and hotel accommodation will be covered, and we’ll even go on a private whale watching trip at one of the world’s best whale watching spots, where you’ll have the chance to see orcas, humpbacks, dolphins, and sperm whales wild and free in their natural habitat.
And better yet - if you spot an orca during the trip who doesn’t yet have a name in the Icelandic orca catalogue, you’ll be able to choose a name for him or her, which will be used by the whale watchers and scientists forevermore!
It only takes a $10 minimum donation to enter to win this amazing trip of a lifetime! Your donation supports Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s vital work protecting these amazing creatures from the many threats they face.
Thank you so much for your support. I can’t wait to meet one of you in Iceland!
The WDC fundraiser ends on April 23rd.
Straight from HBO, the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience will be hitting Europe with numerous dates from May to June, and then a resumption of North American touring in September and October. All concerts are set to be overseen personally by award-winning composer Ramin Djawadi. See below for more information and dates:
LOS ANGELES (September 26, 2017) - The critically acclaimed Game of Thrones® Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi will bring the world of Westeros to arenas across Europe starting in May of 2018. Additionally, due to popular demand, a second North American leg of the tour has been added for the autumn of 2018, giving fans the opportunity to watch in wonder as famed composer Ramin Djawadi leads an orchestra and choir performing music from all seven seasons of the iconic, Emmy® Award-winning HBO series. The new dates for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Featuring Ramin Djawadi will include new music and footage from Season 7, as well a new custom stage design and mesmerising visuals courtesy of state of the art video technology.
HBO has just announced that long-time series writer and producer Bryan Cogman is the fifth writer behind on the successors. EW’s James Hibberd has what details there are to be had, but understandably HBO are tight-lipped about just what ideas are being developed. A couple of months ago, Linda and I recorded videos discussing some of the areas of Martin’s world and its history that might be of interest.
Of all the writers involved in developing these successor shows, Cogman is unique in being the only one to have worked on the series, and has done so from the start—even back to the original pilot, when he was assistant to David Benioff and D.B. Weiss.
HBO has sent out a press release discussing the imminent arrival of Game of Thrones on July 16th, including loglines and titles for the first three episodes. You can read them below, but naturally if you consider episode titles spoilers… well, these are spoilers:
HBO has blasted out fifteen new images from the forthcoming 7th season of Game of Thrones, covering a range of the show’s key characters, many of them in their new, black-is-back fashions ahead of what’s likely to be a dark season. You can see the images in our gallery, but here’s a couple of examples to whet the appetite:
Game of Thrones returns to screens on July 16 in the US, July 17 in Europe.
The most notable items, in my view, are that Benioff and Weiss have indicated that the final season of the series will be only 6 episodes long (although one wonders what odds one or more of those episodes will run long), and that they have no plans of being involved in any Game of Thrones spin-off or prequel project HBO may come up with. Also, this upcoming season will feature a cameo from musician Ed Sheeran, who happens to be a huge fan of the show as you can see in the video below.
Liam Cunningham—who’s always a fantastic interview subject, speaking from personal experience—turned in a game, amusing interview on Conan last night. He revealed he was informed by GRRM of a secret on their first meeting that he’s kept to himself (jokingly suggesting HBO has someone ready to “take care” of him if he fails to do that). That’s then followed by a brief excerpt from a Davos scene in season 6, one which sheds new light on things glimpsed in the official trailer. Naturally, there are spoilers.
You can see the video below:
There’s a brand new Game of Thrones video over at Making Game of Thrones, the official production blog for the show. Perhaps it’s because of the subject matter, but this struck me as one of the most visually beautiful of HBO’s behind-the-scenes videos looking into season 6. Also, while it’s not a trailer, it actually features a handful of pretty noteworthy details that we’ll discuss briefly below the video:
Here’s an interesting scoop from Entertaintment Weekly: Finn Jones, best known to Game of Thrones fans as Ser Loras Tyrell, has landed the lead role in the Marvel-Netflix series, Iron Fist. The role of Danny Rand has had a lot of debate surrounding it in various corners of the media, but it looks like the studio has pushed back against that.
For those who don’t know, the character of Iron Fist was created in the 1970s when there was a fad for martial arts in pop culture—Bruce Lee, Kung-Fu, and the like—and Marvel dutifully looked to provide what people wanted. In the comics, Iron Fist is Danny Rand, an American who ends up becoming the pupil of a mystical martial artist in the hidden city of K’un-L’un. There he learned martial arts and gained supernatural powers by placing his fists in the heart of a dragon. Born to a wealthy family, Rand is a businessman by day, hero by night, who has long associations with Luke Cage (recently seen in Jessica Jones, and soon appearing in his own series) and other heroes such as Daredevil (notably, the first season of Daredevil featured easter eggs pointing to K’un-L’un and Iron Fist), the heroic group The Defenders (the ultimate goal of Netflix being a series featuring this group), the Avengers, and more.
The town of Osuna, Spain, which Linda and I had the pleasure of visiting earlier this year for the official release of the translation of The World of Ice and Fire, featured in last year’s filming when its bullring served as Daznak’s Pit.
While there’s no sign the show filmed there again this year, the town is quite proud of its involvement in the series and has decided to dedicate two rooms in the Museum of Osuna to a collection of Game of Thrones materials. This permanent exhibit will officially open on November 28th, and will contain a unique assemblage of materials. Of particular note is a collection of photographic and video footage related to the behind-the-scenes experience of filming at the bullring, providing a glimpse at the role of the town and its people in facilitating the production which lasted seventeen days.
Below, we’ve provided a translation of Osuna’s press release regarding the museum:
Following intense preparation and collection of material related to Game of Thrones, which filmed part of its fifth season just over a year ago in the bullring of Osuna, on November 28th the Museum of Osuna will inaugurate two permanent rooms dedicated to Game of Thrones and the “A Song of Ice and Fire” book series, encapsulating just what filming of such a production has meant for the Ducal town of Osuna and its international recognition.