Westeros

The 'A Song of Ice and Fire' Domain

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Before the Dance: New Video Has George R.R. Martin Narrating

A pleasant surprise today, as the official Game of Thrones channels dropped a new video, this time a rather unique one as it had George R.R. Martin narrating the history of the Targaryens (as well as the Hightowers and Velaryons) that leads up to the time of The House of the Dragons, with animated graphics from none other than artist Doug Wheatley, the illustrator of Fire and Blood.

Very interesting that the Hightowers get a little bit of focus in this video. The Velaryons are to be expected, of course, although an interesting thing we noticed about this video is that it only mentions the marriage of Corlys to Rhaenys as one of the ties the families have to one another, when of course Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters had a Velaryon mother. It’s a short video, but since Aegon and the Conquest was mentioned, it seemed like a detail they could have slipped in there if they wanted to.

House of the Dragon Flood Gates Open

The last few days have been jam-packed with House of the Dragon information, all of it leading to the big panel a San Diego Comic-Con, and the August 21st premiere of the show beyond that. The latest? A video from HBO giving us a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the show in production, with brief comments from show runners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik, and creator George R.R. Martin:

But what really kicked it of was Entertainment Weekly and its exclusive article from Nick Romano, who visited the sit and spoke extensively with the cast and crew of the show. Since that initial release, EW has been releasing more articles and photos on a daily basis, again leading up to the big SDCC premiere.

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House of the Dragon at SDCC, AR Dragons Coming

HBO has announced which members of the House of the Dragon cast and crew will be present for the panel at Main Hall H during San Diego Comic-Con... and have now unveiled their plans for both an at-event special interactive experience for attendees and the release of an Augmented Reality game called House of the Dragon:DracARys (see what they did there?) for Android and iOs devices. See below for more information!

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New Book Gives Insights on HBO’s Game of Thrones

A new book released today, James Andrew Miller’s Tinderbox: HBO’s Ruthless Pursuit of New Frontiers, is a massive 1,000 page tome that looks at the rise of HBO as the destination for prestige television from the past and all the way to the present. In the course of it, of course, the book can’t but help touch on Game of Thrones. While it covers ground already revealed in past interviews and books (such as James Hibberd’s Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon), there’s a few new details… particularly from a voice fans have not heard before, George R.R. Martin’s long-time entertainment agent, Paul Haas, concerning the final season and its relation to GRRM’s plans for A Song of Ice and Fire.

[Note: This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links.]

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George R.R. Martin in the Eyrie on the set of Game of Thrones.

Happy Birthday, GRRM!

Today marks the 73rd birthday of one George Raymond Richard Martin, known and beloved as George R. R. Martin, or GRRM for short. George has posted a brief remark on this happy occasion at “Not a Blog”, quoting from T. S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”.

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Elden Ring Release Date and Trailer

Elden Ring, a game from Dark Souls-developer FromSoftware whose world and story was created in collaboration with George R. R. Martin, now has a release date: January 21st, 2022.  A trailer was also revealed showing some of the gameplay and the amazing environment and character design that FromSoftware is famous for:

The game was first announced this month two years ago, and Hidetaka Miyazaki sat for an interview that discussed just how and why GRRM got involved (TL;DR: he’s a fan of his work from well before A Song of Ice and Fire).

GRRM Signs New Overall Deal with HBO

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, George R.R. Martin has renewed his overall deal with HBO, this time for a reported “mid-eight figure” contract that spans five years. An overall deal is one in which any new ideas or pitches a creator generates will belong to the studio. George first signed an overall deal with HBO back in 2013, which was then renewed in 2016. The article proceeds to run through the five projects in various stages of development, as well as House of the Dragon which begins filming next month if all goes to plan. We did like the speculation on the animated project:

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GRRM on Sandkings, Winds of Winter, and More

It’s one of those days again, it seems. Shortly after we shared news on the status of the Wild Cards TV adaptation, George R.R. Martin posted his own update. The first was an item we had forgotten to post an update about, namely that just after we revealed that Sandkings was in development at Netflix, by sheer coincidence Collider had learned in an interview that director Gore Verbinski (Rango, Pirates of the Caribbean) was set to direct it, with screenwriter Dennis Kelly (Utopia) writing the script for the high-budget film adaptation of the famous, award-winning science fiction horror story.

George goes on to fill in some details on some other projects, some of which touch on things we recently revealed.

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Screenshot from the 1995 Outer Limits adaptation of “Sandkings”. The “castle” features the face of Dr. Simon Kress, played by Beau Bridges in the episode.

GRRM On 2020

In a brief post at “Not a Blog”, George R.R. Martin shares some thoughts on the previous year. A dark time, as he notes, with the global pandemic, and the loss of a number of friends such as Susan Ellison, Kay McCauley, Ben Bova, and Phyllis Eisenstein, while other friends are in poor health. Still, he is hopeful for the future, especially as one of the more positive developments last year was the best writing streak he’s ever had on The Winds of Winter.

In his own words:

“I wrote hundreds and hundreds of pages of THE WINDS OF WINTER in 2020.  The best year I’ve had on WOW since I began it.  Why?  I don’t know.  Maybe the isolation.  Or maybe I just got on a roll.  Sometimes I do get on a roll.

“I need to keep rolling, though.  I still have hundreds of more pages to write to bring the novel to a satisfactory conclusion.

“That’s what 2021 is for, I hope.”

New Details Revealed About the Failed Original Pilot

We’ve reported previously that James Hibberd will be publishing an in-depth oral history of Game of Thrones—filled with new interviews and never-before-heard anecdotes from behind the scenes—titled Fire Cannot Kill a Dragon. Over at EW, a lengthy excerpt has been posted sharing a wide-array of comments from producers (Benioff and Weiss first and foremost, as well as Bryan Cogman), actors (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Lena Headey, Jason Momoa, Mark Addy, Iain Glen), and executives (most notable Michael Lombardo and Richard Plepler) concerning the original pilot which was heavily reshot by Tim van Patten, including recasting of several key roles. There’s some decidedly new details just in this short excerpt, which bodes well for the rest of the book’s insights. Below are a couple of quotes from GRRM himself that are interesting.

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GRRM on Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

George R.R. Martin has posted a new entry to his Not a Blog, titled “Back in Westeros”, which discusses the self-imposed isolation he’s been in for much of the year. In a mountain cabin somewhere in the mountains of New Mexico, George has been making progress on The Winds of Winter, and reflects on how the periods in his career where he’s been the most isolated have also been among his most productive.

Towards the end, he gets a little more specific about what he has been working on lately in terms of point of view characters, and one of the one he names is a bit of new information as their presence as a POV had not been confirmed until now.

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(No, this is not actually his cabin!)

GRRM on Mice, TV, and Writing The Winds of Winter

In a new Not a Blog post titled “Writing, Reading, Writing”, GRRM has written from his cabin hideaway about his isolation during the global pandemic. In the course of being up there, his assistant captured two mice that they’ve now made into pets named Timmy and TomTom, and George notes they have not been too helpful in advising him on The Winds of Winter...

... but he actually has a deal to say about the progress he has made, even if he thinks he won’t be able to recapture the blazing rate of speed in which he wrote A Storm of Swords (which peaked at about 150 manuscript pages a month).

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Here’s what he has to say:

“If nothing else, the enforced isolation has helped me write.  I am spending long hours every day on THE WINDS OF WINTER, and making steady progress.  I finished a new chapter yesterday, another one three days ago, another one the previous week.  But no, this does not mean that the book will be finished tomorrow or published next week.  It’s going to be a huge book, and I still have a long way to go.  Please do not give any credence to any of the click-bait websites that like to parse every word of my posts as if they were papal encyclicals to divine hidden meanings.”

And below the fold, here’s some additional details that are slightly spoilerish in nature:

GRRM Updates on Writing in the Time of Coronavirus

George R.R. Martin has updated his “Not a Blog” page with a long post discussing the current state of affairs in the world, a number of which impact businesses and initaitives he is involved in: Meow Wolf has closed its doors for now, and GRRM has followed suit by temporarialy shuttering the Jean Cocteau Cinema as well as the Stage Coach Foundation (however, he notes employees of both organizations will be paid for the forseeable future). However, in the interim, the Beastly Books store that shares a location with the Jean Cocteau does remain open for the time being for those looking to take some comfort in the familiar act of browsing shelves and picking up something to read.

In the course of writing on this, however, George does touch on those who are concerned about his own well-being. Never fear, he says:

For those of you who may be concerned for me personally… yes, I am aware that I am very much in the most vulnerable population, given my age and physical condition.  But I feel fine at the moment, and we are taking all sensible precautions.  I am off by myself in a remote isolated location, attended by one of my staff, and I’m not going in to town or seeing anyone.  Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day.  Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here.

That certainly does sound foreboding.

Dance of the Dragons Pilot Nears Order

Exclusive word from Entertainment Weekly, who has the scoop that HBO is “nearing a pilot order” for a second prequel, this one with a script written by Ryan Condal (who is noted to be one of several writers who have worked on it). And the subject of that prequel? The Dance of the Dragons, first described in detail in The World of Ice and Fire and then expanded upon in even greater detail in Fire & Blood.

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Worldcon and Eurocon Wrap Up

After a whirlwind of travel to Ireland from Sweden, then back for two days before going to Northern Ireland, I’m sufficiently recovered to try to (briefly) cover the amazing time Linda and I had at Dublin 2019 and that I then had at Titancon, the 2019 Eurocon. I probably spent more time chatting with George since ... hmm, maybe 2015 when George visited Sweden and Åland. Much to report, but I really, really want to try to be succinct. So as a general overview, I’ll just say it was fantastic, filled with meeting old friends from the Brotherhood without Banners fan group and making new acquaintances from the ASoIaF/GoT sphere. Many discussions were had—on the SF/F genre, on the Hugo awards past and present, on Worldcon bids, and of course on various matters related to ASoIaF.

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(Photo courtesy of Joey Yu, the inaugural winner of George’s Terran Prize writer’s scholarship.)

The first significant event with GRRM was the Wild Cards trivia panel with a host of writers: Walter Jon Williams from the original writers and roleplayers was teamed with Carrie Vaughn, the much-in-demand Wild Cards trivia guru and writer Kevin Andrew Murphy was teamed with Charles Stross and Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Peadar Ó Guilín was joined by Paul Cornell. It was very amusing!