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.
Back in August, we shared the news that HBO had teamed up with Nerial to bring its popular mobile game series, Reigns, to the world of Game of Thrones. Today is the launch date for the game, which is available at the iTunes App Store, Google Play Store, and on Steam.
We’ve had the opportunity to play it in beta, and were very impressed by the way it boiled down elements of the series and its characters to its deceptively-simple gameplay. At heart, it’s a strategy game where the player takes on the role of a monarch from the world of Game of Thrones as they’re faced by choices which become increasingly perilous because the player has to strike a balance between the four pillars of their reign—military power, the Faith, the people, and money—so as to avoid a messy and premature end to their reign. And while this is going on, “winter is coming” in the form of the white walkers and their wights.
There’s a fun metatextual narrative, and some interesting quirks to the gameplay. I’ll say we’ve completed the game, but there are character cards and achievements we haven’t yet come across so even when you’re “done” there’ll likely be some things left to explore.
But enough of that. We’ll be live streaming some initial gameplay, and taking questions on the game, the books, the novellas, the TV series, and more for anyone who wants to drop by!
Took awhile for us to get this edited together, but we have our promised 2nd video covering the rest of our trip to Northern Ireland, with a focus on the 2nd annual Winterfell Festival atCastle Ward. Our first post, and video, can be found here.
We’ve one more video from our trip left to share, about 15 more minutes of a second talk with Ian McElhinney. The first talk we edited (and the only complete one) is already online.
HBO and Diaego have announced a partnership to bring Johnnie Walker to Westeros with a collection of nine whiskys. One of the most striking, visually, is the limited-edition White Walker blend best served out of the freezer… and with a special thermochromic ink on the bottle that changes according to temperature. Nikolaj Coster-Waldau had a chance to enjoy it, though normally speaking Jaime Lannister would rather not face a White Walker.
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!
As we’ve previously reported, Linda and I have the pleasure of attending the Winterfell Festival this Sunday at Castle Ward, famed as a shooting location for Winterfell and a number of other places in Game of Thrones. Now, the National Trust has published the full programme, starting with an opening ceremony with Game of Thrones‘s Ian McElhinney who’ll be around for a Q&A and meet and greet.
Besides McElhinney, fans will have the chance to see and meet Mark Addy, visit swordsmith Boyd Rankin who’ll have weapons from Game of Thrones on display, witness the stunt riders of The Devil’s Horsemen joust and perform feats of horsemanship, see dogs used as direwolves on the show, and many more GoT-inspired activities and entertainments. Including archery, as it happens:
Linda and I plan to photo and video across the day, and hope to get in some interviews with performers and visitors alike. If you see us, feel free to say hello!
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:
The popular mobile and PC game, Reigns, a “swipe ‘em up” is releasing it’s third edition—and this one is under license with HBO, meaning that this time players will be able to play as characters from Game of Thrones desperately clinging to power while trying to fend off rebellions, assassins, Others, and more!
We’ve been playing a beta and having great fun with it, but we’re not quite sure how much we can talk about it so we’ll write a follow-up post when that’s clarified.
The game will be released for iOs, Android, and PC (via Steam) this October for $3.99, but pre-orders are available in some countries. An official website for the game, reignsgame.com, is now live, and fans can follow @ReignsGame on Twitter to get a glimpse of some teasers.
More details below:
Via EW, HBO exec Casey Bloys provided some light at the end of the tunnel for eager Game of Thrones fans, indicating that the final season of the show will be airing in the first half of 2019. Given that in general the show has started airing in March or April, it seems odds are good for the final season to follow suit.
Besides that, Bloys has also clarified earlier reports sourced from the Belfast Telegraph which indicated an October date for the production of Jane Goldman’s pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel/successor show. Bloys indicated that in fact a director has not yet been found (which may put paid to the idea that Goldman’s gotten Matthew Vaughn on board) and that in fact they’re hoping to get the pilot into production early next year. How this fits into the Telegraph’s report of trying to find a window to use the Paint Hall studio facilities is unclear.
An interesting set of reports from yesterday touch on HBO’s future and the future of Game of Thrones.
First, the Belfast Telegraph reports that allegedly staff at Paint Hall—the massive studio space used by Game of Thrones as its main base of operations for all of its seasons—have been told that the prequel pilot ordered back in June will begin filming this October.
Suffice it to say, if true, this is a very fast production path by HBO standards. By way of comparison, the original Game of Thrones pilot was ordered in November 2008 but filming did not begin until October 2009—almost a full year after. And Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen show had a pilot order in September, and began filming in May, eight months later.
If the Telegraph’s report is accurate, it’ll just be four months from pilot order to pilot shoot. But it’s important to stress that caveat—it’s entirely possible that October will see the beginnings of pre-production, such as set building, location scouting, and costuming, rather than actual filming. What can it mean, however, if this tight deadline really is true?
We have two thoughts on it.
Reports from over the weekend reveal that the final scenes have been filmed for Game of Thrones season 8, the final season of HBO’s hit fantasy series. It’s been an extraordinarily long shoot, beginning on October 23rd of last year, meaning just over 8 months have gone into filming the last six episodes of the show. Maisie Williams has posted a farewell image on her Instagram which has caused a bit of a stir in and of itself:
Though no air date has been announced, we do know from HBO that the show will not air until 2019.
I’m off to the U.S. for the week to visit family, but ahead of that Linda and I found some time to sit down and (finally) record a video for the Youtube channel where we discuss the news (including comments from George R.R. Martin at Not a Blog) and consider just what the writer and prospective showrunner, Jane Goldman, brings to the table.
Also, wild-eyed musings about whether she could convince her frequent collaborator Matthew Vaughn to direct the pilot…
Big news today, thanks to EW: HBO has ordered a pilot to be filmed of one of the several successor shows that have been in development, and we have a lot of details to go with it.
The pilot will be from Jane Goldman, who has previously given hints about what she was working on. And the new report shows that yes indeed, there’ll be magical creatures of some kind in her work…
Taking place thousands of years before the events of Game of Thrones, the series chronicles the world’s descent from the golden Age of Heroes into its darkest hour. And only one thing is for sure: From the horrifying secrets of Westeros’ history to the true origin of the white walkers, the mysteries of the East, to the Starks of legend… it’s not the story we think we know.
While some fans mused going that far back, we admit, it was something we considered quite unlikely because it’d surely give a vastly different feel to the setting. But HBO seems to have been quite intrigued. And, as the EW article notes, this doesn’t necessarily mean HBO is done with pilot orders, as the article notes, “[s]ources say the other four prequel ideas are still under consideration.”
It should be stressed this is a pilot order, rather than a greenlight straight to series. HBO is known for being careful with productions, and often ordering pilots, many of which never end up being made. But it’s another step closer for there being some sort of Game of Thrones spinoff in 2020 or later.