HBO Confirms Bloodmoon, Former Frontrunner for Game of Thrones’ First Spinoff, Is Canned

(10) Courtesy of HBO

Confirming what we have more or less all but already known, HBO is officially announcing that Bloodmoon/The Long Night/The Untitled Game of Thrones Naomi Watts-Led Spinoff, or whatever else you want to call it, is dead in the water. Granted, we’ve known this for a couple days now, as the craziest news week in recent GOT memory was concluded with the announcement that set the Internet ablaze. But for some reason HBO did not officially confirm it, until now…

“After careful consideration, we have decided not to move forward to series with the Untitled Game of Thrones prequel…We thank Jane Goldman, S.J. Clarkson, and the talented cast and crew for all of their hard work and dedication.”

As unsurprising as this news is, it would have been nice if they provided us with a little more detail on the thought process behind all of these decisions. And why did they wait two days to confirm?! George R. R. Martin himself confirmed it in a blog post on Wednesday: “It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her. I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON.”

As for me, I still hold out hope that one day HBO will find a way to revisit the origins of Houses Lannister and Stark. While it remains disappointing, at least we have the Targaryen civil war to look forward to…

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Leading Actor & Best Leading Actress of Season 8

actor actress award banner

Welcome, everyone, to the final round of the 2019 Watchers on the Wall Awards! Every year we celebrate the best of Game of Thrones, as chosen by the fan community. Every year we gather your suggestions for nominees, and after a preliminary round of voting, narrow it down to just five candidates in each category. We’ve finally reached the last step, voting in in the finals, and it’s time to get down to it, choose the biggest winners of season 8!

We’re starting with a pair of important categories- Best Leading Actress and Actor of the year. These are the stars who led the show and their storylines in the last season of Game of Thrones.

The nominees are….

For Best Leading Actor:

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister
Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister
Kit Harington as Jon Snow
Isaac Hempstead Wright as Bran Stark

The nominees for Best Leading Actress are:

Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister
Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark
Maisie Williams as Arya Stark

Final round rules: To choose winners, cast your vote in each category in the polls below. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast in each category. At the end of one week (Friday 11/08/19 at 12PM ET), the performer in each category with the most votes will be the winner! The results of the polls will be revealed during the live Watchers on the Wall Awards ceremony, specific date to be announced in the near future!

Vote for Best Leading Actress:

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Emilia Clarke makes the rounds on late-night and morning shows, talks Daenerys Halloween costumes and the infamous coffee cup


Emilia Clarke does her best impression of Kit Harington’s dance moves on an Oct. 30 appearance on “The Tonight Show.”

Oh, Emilia Clarke…your most famous character may have gotten a lousy death (don’t @ me), but you’re always such a joy to watch in interviews! Fortunately for us, it’s something she’s been doing a lot of lately as she makes the press rounds for her upcoming holiday rom-com, Last Christmas.

On the morning of Oct. 30, Clarke appeared on Good Morning America, where she was asked what it’s like to know that a character she made so famous is still a popular choice for Halloween costumes. Clarke said that since Halloween isn’t celebrated “quite the same way” in the UK as it is in America and she hasn’t seen many Daenerys costumes in person, “if I saw myself on the street, I’d probably run.”


That same night in an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Clarke seemingly solved the mystery of who left the infamous coffee cup on the table during Season 8’s Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks” — a major gaffe that Sophie Turner tried to pin on Clarke on an appearance on Fallon’s show in May. Clarke refuted this, instead placing the blame on none other than the Spider himself, Conleth Hill.

“‘Emilia, I’ve gotta tell you something, love — the coffee cup was mine!’” Clarke told Fallon, relating what Hill apparently told her at an Emmys after-party this year. He apparently confessed to the whole thing, also apologizing for letting everyone think it was hers.

Mystery solved, or at least until Hill disputes this account? He’s already betrayed his queen once, though — who’s to say he won’t throw her under the bus a second time? Later in the interview Clarke also does a wonderfully spot-on imitation of Kit Harington‘s “poncey” (read: somewhat douchey) dance moves and Jason Momoa‘s haka-inspired ones; the whole interview is only about five minutes long and very worth your time.

Lastly, in a interview alongside Last Christmas co-star Henry Golding, Clarke touched on the “epic” Game of Thrones cast reunion at this year’s Emmys, singer Camilla Cabello bending the knee (yes, really) and relating to her Last Christmas character, Kate, and her health issues.


If you’re interested, Last Christmas arrives in theaters on Nov. 8, — and in the meantime, you can amuse yourself with all three of these clips!

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Qyburn Actor Anton Lesser Joins Con of Thrones Special Guest Lineup!

Con of Thrones COT 2020 Anton Lesser Special Guest Qyburn

We honestly can’t think of more Halloween-appropriate news for today: Con of Thrones has just announced today that Games of Thrones actor Anton Lesser, who from season three onwards memorably played Qyburn, disgraced necromantic maester turned Hand of the Queen, will make an appearance at Con of Thrones 2020!

Lesser will be a special guest at the convention on Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18. Con of Thrones, the premier convention for fans of Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire, and the epic worlds of fantasy author George R. R. Martin. Con of Thrones will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center July 17–19, 2020. Tickets are available for purchase now at

Autograph and photograph experiences with Lesser are available for purchase now. Autographs are $30 and photographs are $45.

Con of Thrones will host in-depth discussions about both the television and book series, Special Guest Spotlight interviews, live recordings of fan-favorite podcasts, and much more. Previous guests include Game of Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Joe Dempsie (Gendry), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel), Sibel Kekilli (Shae), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Esmé Bianco (Ros), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), Sam Coleman (Young Hodor), Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), and Emmy Award-winning Sound Designer Paula Fairfield. Con of Thrones also provides opportunities for autographs and photographs with some of the most familiar faces from Game of Thrones.

Con of Thrones is produced by Mischief Management, while Watchers on the Wall is the official programming partner. Special guests and additional details will be announced at a later date!

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George R. R. Martin Answers House of the Dragon Questions & Raises a Few More

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jose Mendez/Epa/REX/Shutterstock (8462326b) Us Writer George R R Martin Attends a Press Conference During the 30th Edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (fil) in Guadalajara Mexico 02 December 2016 Mexico Guadalajara Mexico Literature - Dec 2016 US writer George R.R. Martin attends a press conference during the 30th edition of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL), in Guadalajara, Mexico, 02 December 2016.

Photo by Jose Mendez/Epa/REX/Shutterstock

It’s been a roller coaster few days for Game of Thrones fans, that’s for damn sure. First, it was announced that series creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss were departing their upcoming Star Wars trilogy to devote their attention to their Netflix projects. Then, I broke down in sobs as I learned that Bloodmoon was not being ordered to series. Several hours later, it was announced that a brand new, unannounced show, House of the Dragon, was ordered to SERIES without a pilot. And all this was amidst the reports of an allegedly disastrous interview David and Dan gave at the Austin Film Festival (I want to stress that these were untrue, as Luka attested when dissecting the actual recording). Yes, it’s been a wild week, everyone, and it’s still only Wednesday. So what did the one true god of Westeros and Essos have to say? Join me, and let GRRM lead the way…

“[Miguel] Sapochnik will be directing the pilot… well, maybe it is more precise to call it ‘the first episode’… of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and doubtless a number of other episodes as well. There’s no one better.” I’m not sure how much “doubtless a number of other episodes” suggests, but I’m sure time will tell. There’s no way to predict that far in the future. What is interesting is that, while Miguel Sapochnik was unquestionably one of the strongest directors from the entire ranks of GOT, he was usually brought into handle episodes feature massive battle sequences. So, unless the pilot will start with a bang and a battle (unlikely, I’d venture), it will be nice to see how Miguel handles the smaller stuff. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’d argue that I hope this series focuses less on the fire and the blood and more on the talking and the political machinations. While I of course can’t wait to see the climactic heights of the Targaryen civil war, and the FX that will surely come with it, I long for the smaller, talkier scenes. I can’t wait to see what Miguel does with the lower key stuff now that he’ll (presumably) have the opportunity to do so.

“[Co-showrunner Ryan Condal] tells me that he discovered the series just after A STORM OF SWORDS was published, and ‘I’ve loved the books for 19 years.’ (He is also a huge fan of my Dunk & Egg stories. In fact, that was the show he wanted to do initially, but I’m not prepared to bring Dunk & Egg to television until I’ve written quite a few more stories).” Wow. So it looks like Ser Duncan and his loyal squire won’t be appearing on our TV screens anytime soon. George has often talked about how he has plans to write more about Dunk and Egg’s adventures, so I wonder if he’s now formulating them with a potential series in mind.

George goes on to mention that the writer’s room, budget, and locations are yet to be assembled, but he presumes production will revisit at least some of the many locations GOT frequented. He even suggests that he may get to write some episodes, but before you article in a fiery rage to go send him some hate mail, please read his cautionary reminder:

“…let me make this perfectly clear… I am not taking on any scripts until I have finished and delivered WINDS OF WINTER.  Winter is still coming, and WINDS remains my priority, as much as I’d love to write an episodes of HOUSE.”

Lastly, and most importantly, he weighs in on what happened with Bloodmoon, or as he (and much of the Internet) had been calling it, The Long Night:

It goes without saying that I was saddened to hear the show would not be going to series. Jane Goldman is a terrific screenwriter, and I enjoyed brainstorming with her. I do not know why HBO decided not to go to series on this one, but I do not think it had  to do with HOUSE OF THE DRAGON. This was never an either/or situation. If television has room enough for multiple CSIs and CHICAGO shows… well, Westeros and Essos are a lot bigger, with thousands of years of history and enough tales and legends and characters  for a dozen shows. Heartbreaking as it is to work for years on a pilot, to pour your blood and sweat and tears into it, and have it come to nought, it’s not at all uncommon. I’ve been there myself, more than once. I know Jane and her team are feeling the disappointment just now, and they have all my sympathy… with my thanks for all their hard work, and my good wishes for whatever they do next.

He does have a bit more to say about it, so I’d really recommend checking out his full post. I’m curious why he believes that it had nothing to do with HOTD, but I think he just feels as upset about it as we do, and his sorrow is palpable. And now, like you all, I very much hope the next writing of George’s that I read is not in blog post form…

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What showrunners Benioff & Weiss actually said at Austin Film Festival about writing and producing Game of Thrones

David Benioff, George R. R. Martin and D.B Weiss at Season 8 NYC Premiere.  Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO.

David Benioff, George R. R. Martin and D.B Weiss at Season 8 NYC Premiere.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO.

It’s been a crazy couple of days for Game of Thrones news, hasn’t it? The showrunners jump from Star Wars to Netflix; the prequel pilot is cancelled; and a prequel concept with no pilot is given a full season order instead! During all of this hullabaloo, there was also a controversial talk with showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss at Austin Film Festival, where they discussed their decade-long learning experience as producers and writers on the show. Why should that cause any controversy? Well, let’s find out!

The polemic wasn’t so much due to what Benioff and Weiss said, but more due to what as of a few days ago was the only existing account of the talk: a live-tweeted thread by someone with a rather obvious axe to grind. Personally, even before being able to listen to the original audio, I could tell some of the statements sounded strange coming from Beniof and Weiss; after a thousand interviews, they repeat themselves a lot. Once I got ahold of the audio, it turned out my suspicions were… not wrong.

Essentially, that Twitter thread showed them in the most terrible light possible, often by quote-mining the writing pair or mischaracterizing their jokes as genuine statements; and a few damning times even outright misquoting them. The audio that’s surfaced since isn’t of a great quality, but I’d argue it’s preferable to an erroneous account:

[soundcloud url="" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true" width="100%" height="300" iframe="true" /]

At the start, Benioff and Weiss are asked to explain how they broke the first season as writers and how they approached adapting George R.R. Martin’s books:

“When we were outlining season one, and at that point it was just the two of us and Bryan Cogman, we’d start putting scenes out in index cards on the board, as you do; with different colors for each plotline,” Benioff explained, and Weiss took over: “At one point we had 112 different colors on the board. I remember looking at it and wondering ‘Is this actually going to make sense to anybody? Is this going to be something people can follow?’ When we started, we knew what we were up against; George wrote these books to be unproducible. There’s a long story about why, which we discussed in the last panel we did, but the point is he didn’t write it with television producibility in mind, so we knew we were facing questions about the carrying capacity of the television show; how much can you have happening without losing people.”

“Later, when George’s books continued to grow, there were places where we just had to compress and condense to make it producible for television,” Weiss continues, “just because if we’d included all the characters that were in the books we’d be running up against a situation in which people would be dropping the balls of the Tyrions and the Danys and the Aryas; the characters they care about. At that point we stopped putting pieces on the board for the most part.”

In terms of the show’s faithfulness to the source material, Benioff argues “the first season was actually quite faithful to the first book. The second season maybe 10% less. Every season’s gotten a little bit less faithful, just because the scope of George’s story kept getting so much bigger and bigger.”

“I think Steve Martin said something to the effect of ‘Every adaptation process is like a marriage that ends in divorce.’ Sometimes they’re amicable divorces. Sometimes they’re ugly divorces. You always start with the best intentions, to be faithful forever, and then you start to have some other ideas, you start to stray a little bit. In a way, given the scope of what George created, I think we had with what ended up being a very amicable divorce from the source material; because we ran out of it,” he says jokingly. Weiss, in turn, then adds: “Even before that, the carrying capacity of a television show is not the same as that of a book.”

Regarding the original pilot, which famously had to undergo heavy re-shoots, Dan explained that “as a television show, it was the kind of show that was a film/TV hybrid, in a lot of ways [acting as a film] in terms of the production design, the shooting schedule, all of that stuff; but it needed to be done in a TV budget and timeframe. So everyone involved was figuring out how to make something like this for the first time, and it just took one more than one try. We were given a second chance, though they were probably about 50/50 on whether or not to give us that chance.” Though it was a new process for everyone, Benioff doesn’t want to pass the buck: “We were the showrunners, so if the show’s not working, we screwed it up.”

Though they were experienced writers before the show, David and Dan had to learn to communicate their ideas as first-time producers, as Weiss describes it: “We knew about story, we knew about character, and we knew tone, and how we wanted it all to feel, but all the rest of it we had to learn; and translate what we felt into words that would, say, lead a production designer in the direction that would produce the result we wanted.”

An age-old anecdote about the show is that the first season came up short and they had to write additional scenes, but I’m not sure it’s ever been said why that happened in the first place. It turns out the original scripts were timed correctly to fill what HBO required, and they only came up short because the production started running out of money for certain expensive scenes, such as the Battle of the Green Fork with Tyrion and the Mountain. Since they had to cut that and similarly expensive sequences, they had to resort to creating the famous one-on-one conversation scenes they added later, such as the private chat between Robert and Cersei:

“They tended to be two- or three-handers; people in rooms talking, scenes they could just shoot in a morning,” Benioff said. “It was terrifying at first, but then it became fun. Because of their nature, these scenes weren’t plot points; the plot-driven scenes were already in there. So these were scenes that had to be interesting enough to justify their existence but didn’t really move the plot forward,” Benioff said. “These scenes weren’t in the book. This was the first time we deviated at all from the central narrative. By that point, we’d gotten to know the characters a lot better, we’d gotten to work with the actors for months, so their voices were in our heads when writing.”

Arya Season 1

At this point in the talk, we arrive at a point whose reaction stumped me the most. The writers have often described how the actors’ performance has shaped their characters, which I see as a laudable artistic collaboration between writer and performer:

“As you get to know Maisie, as you get to know Sophie, and everybody, they find their way into the character,” Weiss illustrated. “It’s like they redecorate the house you gave them, and, after a couple of seasons, in some cases it doesn’t even resemble the house that they moved into. They’ve done their work on it. You’re following their lead as much as they’re following your lead. They’re creating the psychological nuances of their character as much as you are on the page.”

Unfortunately, some people apparently see this perspective as sacrilege; as if they were leaving sacred source material to chance. But that’s not the case. Actors aren’t just marionettes hired to perform a reader’s or writer’s imagined version of a character; part of their role is shaping the character, even if it results in deviation from the source material. I can’t help but see this as a positive element of cinema and television, which is made in collaboration between sometimes hundreds of artists, instead of a single writer.

Additionally, you may have heard that David & Dan wanted to “remove” as many fantasy elements as possible because that wasn’t “the type of fan” they wanted to appeal to. It’s also been reported that Weiss (rather misogynistically and paternalistically, if I say so myself) stated that they wanted to appeal to “mothers,” as if mothers were unable to enjoy fantasy. Thankfully, that’s very much not what they said:

“With the fantasy genre on television, tonally it’s very easy [go too] campy. Every scene, you change these two lines and it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Weiss jokes. “Also, in terms of fantasy exposition, with proper nouns, it’s almost like a game of Jenga, where you’re trying to plow as many of them as possible without the whole thing falling over. In the first pilot, we had one too many and the whole thing fell over. Going forward, we tried to keep that stuff to a minimum, because we didn’t just want to appeal to a fantasy fanbase. We wanted them to love it, and we wanted our parents to love it, and people who play professional football to love it. We wanted to reach a wider audience, and to do that keeping the tone [under control] was very important.”

Weiss later adds that when they first pitched it to HBO, they just didn’t tell them about all the fantasy elements, though David and Dan obviously were very much aware of them and in favor of including them: “We told them ‘This isn’t about a million creatures fighting a million other creatures. This is about people.’ We knew, having read the four books that existed at that point and also just being able to extrapolate the future of the story, that it was gonna turn into exactly what we promised HBO it wasn’t.”

In a similar vein, discussing Craster’s baby boy brought by the White Walker north and put on an altar of ice, in that famous season four scene that one could argue was the first to pass the books, the showrunners say they’ve never been more stressed; not because of the Night King, but because the baby was real. You might’ve read that Dan said that “the mother was not happy because Dan just kept talking about a close-up of the baby’s penis,” which is quite strange, or perhaps even concerning. What Dan actually said was a funny, self-aware anecdote about the fact that they had to establish that the baby was a male, since only Craster’s boys were taken by the White Walkers, so he loudly said so on set, which understandably made the mother uncomfortable.

“The two of us and [Director] Miguel [Sapochnik] talked a lot, exhaustively and exhaustingly, about the importance of shooting the battle from a point of view,” Weiss said about planning the famous Battle of the Bastards. “We wanted everything to be from someone’s potential point of view, if possible, because that’s what prevents a special effects-driven battle from having that certain video game quality. That happens because the camera can do anything; there’s no real camera a lot of the time, so when you can do anything, you do anything. You’re sweeping around with this God’s-eye point of view of a camera that doesn’t exist in a set that doesn’t exist, and it starts feeling fake. We wanted to pin it to a character and make it feel like this isn’t the experience of this battle; this is the experience of Jon Snow’s experience of this battle.”

Jon Snow Battle of the Bastards 609 Winterfell

As for the value of considering other people’s feedback, Benioff didn’t egotistically dismiss it outright, as you might have read, but instead said that they “realized at a certain point that it would drive us crazy” to check everyone’s opinions online, and that it wouldn’t have the intended effect. That’s not to say they believe themselves to be infallible: “Good things are done by groups of people: [the show wasn’t done by] two people or four people, but probably two hundred people, [all of them] essential, working together. But I don’t know about the value of a committee of ten million people.”

Finally, neither of them said they “didn’t try to understand the books’ major elements,” or dismiss themes per se, as Benioff has been quoted as saying before (out of context.)

“There’s this famous Russian poet who read his poem and someone in the audience said, ‘You mind explaining the poem?’, and so he re-read the poem, and that was his response. That’s it,” Benioff said. “[A Song of Ice and Fire] is such a complex story that I don’t think we ever tried to [boil it down.] You kind of have to have a prepared answer –‘It’s about power, and family,’ and that’s all true; it is about power, it is about family. But I think it’s also true that two shows can have the same themes and be wildly different, and one’s good and one’s bad, and honestly it’s about the complexities they try to depict, it’s the characters. To try to cram it into a single aphorism isn’t helpful for me. There are other writers I know and respect who feel very differently, and operate differently, but for both of us, it’s not the way we work.”

As I have said elsewhere, David Benioff and Dan Weiss are not my favorite people. I don’t want to be their friends. And it is undoubtedly frustrating to see them admit their producing inexperience (however self-aware and self-deprecating they may be) while having way more opportunities than anyone who isn’t rich, cis, hetero, white, and/or a man (I, for one, certainly hope “House of the Dragon” has a proper writers room with a diverse set of voices.) All of that is true. Perhaps more relevantly to this discussion, it’s always been true; even before the ending to their series was so disliked.

Despite that essential truth, the tone of that original account, in which David and Dan were made to look like they were speaking about their ignorance and inexperience with a frustrating, happy-go-lucky lack of self-awareness, is just not reflective of reality. If you don’t believe my transcription, feel free to listen to the original audio.

I don’t believe any reasonable person would conclude they are speaking mockingly, or lacking awareness about their failings. In fact, I would argue what anyone who’s ever listened to them before must have known before being able to listen to the audio: Benioff and Weiss are always self-deprecating, often to the point of it being awkward, and always with the explicit purpose of crediting the rest of the producers, cast and crew, most of whom have nothing but good words for them as showrunners.

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HBO Orders a Full Season of Game of Thrones Spinoff “House of the Dragon”!

house of the dragon

Never mind that it ended five months ago: Game of Thrones rules the world. Today has been absolute chaos, with fandom discourse over the infamous Austin Film Festival interview and the news that the Naomi Watts-starring “Bloodmoon” prequel spinoff was officially dead. The internet has been on fire with discussion about the future of Westeros, the ramifications for Benioff and Weiss (and Star Wars!) and fans wondering if George RR Martin’s creation had any future left on television at all.

HBO answered that last question resoundingly with a huge announcement tonight. The spinoff announced in development in September focusing on the Targaryen Civil War (commonly called The Dance of the Dragons) is not only getting a pilot- it’s moving forward with a full-series order! The new show’s title: House of the Dragon!

Entertainment Weekly confirmed the new details. House of the Dragon will have ten episodes. As announced previously, it was co-created by author George R.R. Martin and Ryan Condal, a showrunner on the new series. Beloved GoT director Miguel Sapochnik will be a co-showrunner and he’ll be directing the pilot.

As the poster notes, the series takes its cues from Martin’s Fire and Blood, his tome of Targaryen history, with events set hundreds of years before the era of Game of Thrones. EW confirmsThe events in the new series will eventually lead up to The Dance of the Dragons, a massive civil war in the Seven Kingdoms held between two rival branches of House Targaryen.”

They also confirm that “the news was announced at WarnerMedia’s presentation to investors on Tuesday focused on the launch of its 2020 streaming service HBO Max.”

And here I was set to make an impassioned yet pointless plea for a Dunk & Egg series. House of the Dragon, hell yeah! Let’s get started with the fancasting!

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Game of Thrones Spinoff “Bloodmoon” Reportedly Not Moving Forward

Photo by Joel Ryan

Photo by Joel Ryan

In a move that not even Varys or Littlefinger could have predicted, Deadline is reporting that the Game of Thrones prequel, which was to be headlined by Academy Award nominee Naomi Watts, is dead in the water. While as many as five spinoffs were once said to be in development, the one that had gained the most traction was the one set during the Age of Heroes. A pilot had been filmed, and we’ve been tracking its progress rather diligently, with updates slowly trickling in. While a filmed pilot is by no means a guarantee that a show will go to series, we were all pretty sure that with the eyes of the world on GOT, the hunger for more (by both the fans and the HBO execs) would only grow larger. And yet….

Right now, reports suggest that showrunner Jane Goldman has been emailing the cast and crew to let them know the devastating news, but it should be noted that it has not yet been confirmed by HBO. We can only speculate at the time being what led to this show’s alleged cancellation. It could be behind the scenes drama, or it could be set or even cost concerns (though unlikely). Reportedly, HBO hadn’t been thrilled with the cut they saw and had requested edits…but even with that, I would still have not expected an outright cancellation of the project!

As recently as mid-September, A Song of Ice and Fire creator George R. R. Martin indicated in a blog post that he would soon see the rough cut of the pilot, and that his earlier behind-the-scenes look had been “spectacular.” He also noted at that time that we were getting closer to the Targaryen-centered spinoff. So, could the rumor mill take us towards an assumption that HBO might be turning tide and putting their eggs in the Targaryen basket? I honestly don’t know, but it seems unlikely to me, given that the Targaryen show has not even been given so much as a pilot order, so they’d be literally comparing a completed episode of television vs. unfilmed text. I know only that as soon as I saw this news and flocked here to start writing this article, my jaw has been agape and still is, even while writing these final sentences. I was immensely excited for this project, and am currently devastated, and rather unsure of what to think. We’ll update this once we get a confirmation from HBO regarding its cancellation.

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Game of Thrones showrunners Benioff & Weiss jump from Star Wars to Netflix; Deb Riley chooses her favorite set designs

Producer Bernie Caulfield with showrunners D.B. Weiss (left) and David Benioff (right)

Producer Bernie Caulfield with showrunners D.B. Weiss (left) and David Benioff (right)

When the news recently broke that Game of Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss had signed a deal with Netflix rumored to be “in the 9-figure range, worth as much as $300 million, spanning 5 years,” many of us wondered how they could possibly find the time for their upcoming Star Wars films, which had been quietly announced just a few months beforehand. As it turns out, the answer is that they could not.

Deadline had the exclusive: the showrunners’ deal with Lucasfilm to create a new Star Wars trilogy, which was set to begin in 2022, is off due to their new Netflix deal:

“We love Star Wars,” David and Dan told Deadline. “When George Lucas built it, he built us too. Getting to talk about Star Wars with him and the current Star Wars team was the thrill of a lifetime, and we will always be indebted to the saga that changed everything. There are only so many hours in the day, and we felt we could not do justice to both Star Wars and our Netflix projects, so we are regretfully stepping away.”

Meanwhile, Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy wasn’t as final about it, insinuating they could eventually come back–when they have the time, that is: “David Benioff and Dan Weiss are incredible storytellers. We hope to include them in the journey forward when they are able to step away from their busy schedule to focus on Star Wars.”

Meereen Throne Room Audience Chamber Season 4 Daenerys

In other news, Deborah Riley, production designer for Game of Thrones from season four onward, just did a really nice, technically-minded interview for Backstage magazine in which she discusses what her work as a production designer on the show means and, in retrospect, what her favorite designs and finished sets turned out to be:

“To this day, I still get quite emotional thinking about the Meereen audience chamber,” Riley says of her first big design project coming into season four. “I was very nervous about my position at that point. Then once that was built, it was like, ‘I’m going to be fine.’ It was a relief to survive. I’ll never forget that one for that. Before it was brought down, I went and said a little quiet goodbye to it because I was very fond of it.”

701 - Dragonstone - Daenerys 6

“Working all the way through to Dragonstone, I loved,” Riley says of the castle’s amazing throne room first seen in season seven. “Even what we did in Season 8, it was such an emotional experience not only in terms of the story we were telling but in terms of the art department. To build something and then destroy it, and to destroy this throne room that had been standing for so many years, I found it quite traumatic to do all of that.”

For a much deeper look at what her job entailed, read the whole interview at Backstage.

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Review: My Watch Has Ended with a bittersweet finish


Game of Thrones has come to an end, our long watch has finally come to a close. To mark the passing, Brewery Ommegang has delivered their final installment in their series of Game of Thrones-inspired beers with the poignantly titled “My Watch Has Ended”.  This last in the series is an Imperial brown ale brewed with maple syrup and Fenugreek.

As Ommegang describes it:

My Watch Has Ended is brewed with two-row base malt, specialty grains such as oat flakes and chocolate malt, plus maple syrup and fenugreek, an herb with a maple-like aroma and flavor. Hopped with Hallertau Magnum and Styrian Golding varietals and fermented with an English ale yeast, with aromas of sweet maple and caramelized sugar, the beer pours a rich mahogany. Notes of cocoa and toffee and a smooth, velvety mouthfeel finish dry, with gently smoldering roast.

As is a running gag in my previous reviews, darker beers are generally not my go-to, yet I’m always excited when Ommegang presents us with a reason to give a new taste a shot. They have an endearing way of taking what you think you know about a beer variety and then giving you brand new take on it. The previous entry, For the Throne, was a golden ale co-fermented with pinot grigio and Viognier grape juices, and although I had no idea what that would taste like, it became one of my favorite ones they’ve made.

Before we get to taste, let’s take a moment and talk about the packaging and bottle design. Bottle1Over the years Ommegang’s Game of Thrones bottles have become collector’s items, with people even finding buyers for the empty bottles. Their original designs were more typical of what you see in craft beer with stickers on the front and back, a ring around the neck, and a corked top held on with a wire cage in a brown glass bottle. The Royal Reserve Collection was more experimental using blacked out bottles, bottle caps, and simple yet distinctive color schemes. My Watch Has Ended though returns to the original design showing off a label featuring the House Tyrell, Lannister, Targaryen, Stark, and Baratheon banners across the front. A bit busy, and makes the lettering hard to read but a welcome return for their final entry in the series.

Onto the contents of that bottle, which at first reminded me heavily of their previous offering, King in the North Imperial Stout. It has a very similar dark color, almost black, and also the same tan foam head which dissolves away quickly. The smell surprised me; from the bottle promotion of maple syrup and fenugreek (an herb often used as a maple syrup flavoring) I wondered if it would smell like pouring pancakes into a glass. Instead you get a pleasant aroma of caramel, cocoa, and a little bit of coffee which again reminded me of the King in the North stout.

bottle2The taste starts off very smooth with very little bitterness and no hard liquor bite unlike previous beers such as Hand of the Queen. Which makes sense- My Watch Has Ended is 8% ABV ale compared with the King in the North stout which had a direwolf-sized 11% ABV. Very quickly you get the maple syrup and fenugreek showing up in force, offsetting the small bitter taste. It’s like the brewers at Ommegang read my previous reviews and my dislike of bitter dark beers and made one for me. The taste is not something very sweet, it comes off more as a smooth inviting taste. Generally with Imperial ales and stouts, I have to remind myself to take a drink and brace myself and can sometimes get that feeling of a never ending glass due to small drinks. My Watch Has Ended is far more inviting and drinkable though, and found it disappeared much quicker.

The flavor mixture is fantastic, and the aftertaste lasts for quite a while like The King in the North with similar pleasant results. And again, Ommegang has gotten me to drink and end up enjoying something that I probably would not pick up from the shelf based on the description. That’s the real greatness of their Game of Thrones collaboration. Just by engaging with the collectibility of Thrones you end up trying a far wider range of tastes and styles than you normally would.

George R.R. Martin has been on record saying that the end of his book series will have a bittersweet ending and I can’t help but feel that’s what Ommegang tried to make with My Watch Has Ended. The beer is a little bitter, a little sweet, and leaves you wanting more. It is coming to your local stores soon, and will be available on draft and in 750 ml bottles (suggested retail price of $11.99/bottle).

Also coming soon, in December, will be a re-release of the popular Take the Black Stout, Fire and Blood Red Ale, and Winter Is Here Double Wit beers in holiday packs complete with glasses. You can use Ommegang’s handy beer finder on their website to help you find these products near to you.

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Liam Cunningham defends Game of Thrones ending; and Maisie Williams tries to answer questions as she eats spicy wings

Davos Seaworth, Winterfell, Season 8

We’ve got a few more post-Game of Thrones Season 8 interviews for you today, and I promise two of them are more serious than the title may suggest. First of all: yes, Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) recently appeared in the popular be-interviewed-while-eating-increasingly-spicier-chicken-wings “Hot Ones” Youtube channel, and it was hilarious if not informative; but also, courtesy of Spanish fansite Los Siete Reinos, we’ve got costume designer Michele Clapton speaking about her favorite costume (and character!), as well as cast members Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) discussing and defending the ending of the show.

Aside of providing us with a few good laughs at poor Maisie’s expense, her appearance on Hot Ones also serves as an interview of sorts, though one in which the interviewee grows increasingly inarticulate. You may have heard versions of these questions and answers a hundred times (“Is it true you learned to fight left-handed because Arya’s left-handed in the books?”), but the video is worth it for the laughs anyway:


Now, onto today’s meatier –but not spicier– interviews. Our friends at Los Siete Reinos got the opportunity to chat with costume designer Michele Clapton as well as Isaac Hempstead Wright and Liam Cunningham at a recent Game of Thrones event in Madrid, Spain (which was very much like the touring exhibition we reviewed a few years ago.)

Of particular interest in the interview with Clapton is what she considers her favorite costume of season eight: Sansa’s coronation dress as Queen in the North. As it happens, Sansa’s the character she “loves the most”, and as well as designing her final dress she got the opportunity (as you might have heard before) to appear in the scene in which Sansa’s putting it on; though you may miss her, since we only see her hands.

Clapton says she especially appreciates how that scene was shot, showing the costume up-close and without rushing through it, “because on-set you never see it with such detail; you see things but you can’t tell it was created with such care.”

Sansa Stark 806 Season 8 Queen in the North

Then, again speaking to L7R, Liam Cunningham makes what I believe to be a great point regarding the ending of Game of Thrones, often criticized as “rushed,” about the realities of production, which has time constraints that writing a novel simply does not:

“The books are a beautiful, beautiful thing, but if we’d ‘just done the books,’ you’re never going to match what’s in people’s heads. And [showrunners] David and Dan gave 15 years of their lives, and they love the books… but we have to make a television show that opens it up to a much bigger audience. [George RR. Martin] writes beautifully. To compare the two is ridiculous; one is a visual medium, the other one’s literary.”

“As regard to the end, there’s nothing we could’ve done to make everybody happy… I think we had the most happy ending that we could possibly have. The Starks are in good shape. The Lannisters are gone. Daenerys –the Targaryens– finished. The Small Council at the end is mostly good people; it’s Brienne, Samwell Tarly, Davos, Bran, Tyrion. It’s a pretty happy ending for something that’d had genocides up to that point.”

Bran Stark King Red Keep King's Landing Season 8 806 Iron Throne Podrick Brienne Bronn Tyrion

“I think it was a really good ending. We got people saying ‘it was too short!’. It was originally going to be 70 hours, and [David and Dan] added three more huge episodes, which is six months more of work than what they were contracted by HBO. So they went the extra mile. But they didn’t want to drag it out. I know people say it was rushed. Well, everything’s rushed. Davos had seven sons in the books. Bran’s more magical. There’s Lady Stark returned. There are thousands of things in the books that we couldn’t [have fitted.] It’s impossible. We’d all die of old age. Think about how long it takes to film these days. Six months for ten hours; or in the last season, one year for six episodes. Isaac would be 75 years old if we’d adapted everything. It’d be impossible.”

Now, it’s only natural for an actor to defend their project, and Cunningham has never been anything but a fierce defender of the show, but I believe he makes some great points: young actors age out of their roles, and time is money, not to speak of good old-fashioned physical and mental burnout by producers, writers, cast and crew alike.

The show just couldn’t go on forever, or even for ten seasons like some, including author Martin himself, had suggested in the past. While it’s true HBO offered the showrunners to go on for longer, either the production value wouldn’t be what the explosive final act of this story deserved or we’d get a season every two or three years. And we return to young actors aging and time being money. The math just doesn’t work out.

Perhaps it’s ironic (or is it just funny?) that that’s partly why Martin started writing A Song of Ice and Fire after working on Hollywood for years: he wanted to write something limited only by his imagination, eschewing all realities of production. The show didn’t have that luxury, especially once they ran out of published source material.

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Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 8: Best Fight – Preliminary Round


We’ve reached the last category in our preliminary voting stage today, for the Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Fight of Season 8! That means we’ll be quickly jumping into finals voting, revealing the top 5 winners in every category so you can choose your favorites of the year. The ultimate winners will be revealed all in one night, at a live streaming ceremony here at Watchers. For those of you who miss the ceremony, don’t worry- the video will be saved, and the results posted in print as well! But the ceremony is always fun, with giveaways for those watching live. The Watchers on the Wall Awards date will be posted this week, so stay tuned- that info is coming soon. If you haven’t seen a category up for preliminary voting, that means it’s going right to finals voting!

Onto today’s voting! Best Battle, the award for the complete large-scale battles (Battle of Winterfell, Battle of King’s Landing, etc), is one of those categories going right to finals voting. Best Fight is the award to recognize smaller-scale fights or individual moments: one on one skirmishes, small-group dust-ups, and the like.

Please choose your five favorites from the preliminary poll. The ground rules: Select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you can’t choose more than 5. (Visit the initial WotW Awards post for a complete explanation of the rules and process.)

At the end of one week (Thursday 10/31/19 at 12PM Eastern Time), whichever five fights that have the most votes will continue on to the finals. The results of the polls will be revealed when it’s time to choose the winners in the finals.

Take Our Poll
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Thank you to everyone who participated in the nominating and voting for the prelims, and we can’t wait to get started on the finals!

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Emilia Clarke “heartbroken” at fan reaction to Game of Thrones’ ending; Season 8 scripts reveal deleted scenes!

Daenerys Targaryen Funeral Season 8 804

Emilia Clarke hasn’t been shy about her reactions to the end of Game of Thrones, particularly as regards her character of Daenerys Targaryen, who one could say went a bit off the deep end there at the end. Still, before the following interview we’re bringing you today, the actress has never really addressed what her reactions were beyond that; or, more specifically, what did she think about the fan reactions?

On this week’s Stellar Magazine, via the Daily Mail, Emilia Clarke speaks to the fan response at the final episodes of Game of Thrones, which was divisive to say the least:

“I was too busy focusing on my own reactions to really pay too much attention, if any at all,” the actress says of her initial feelings. Indeed, Clarke has been frank in the past about how reading the final scripts left her speechless and wandering London for hours, due to Daenerys’s turn and death. With time, however, her feelings appeared to evolve: “The only thing I felt truthfully sad about was that [showrunners] David and Dan are my really good friends, and so it’s for them that I feel heartbreak, because it’s theirs.”

On a personal note: when I first read Emilia’s reaction to the ending, I felt for her; she is obviously deeply connected to Daenerys, and her end wasn’t only tragic but shocking–too shocking, some would argue (and some do, or else the ending wouldn’t be so divisive.) Nevertheless, I’m glad that Clarke has also taken note of the vitriolic reaction, exhibited by some watchers towards the showrunners, and decided to comment on it and commiserate with David and Dan, as some of those same fans were pitting Emilia Clarke against them in some imagined feud, if you can believe that!

Then again, if I know the ways of online fandom–and I think I do–this sadly won’t dissuade any believers, and so the battle between actor and showrunners will continue unabated in their minds. C’est la vie. Or, well, c’est le fandom.

In other news, speaking to Metro at the Q Awards, Isaac Hempstead Wright, who you may know better as Bran Stark (or perhaps as King Bran the Broken, First of His Name, King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Six Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm,) was asked about what he would think if, despite what he was told, George R.R. Martin ended up enthroning someone else at the end of his book series:

“I will be a bit gutted I think,” Isaac confesses. Then again, there’s a silver lining: since “the books and the show were able to evolve as their own thing,” as he puts it, “George has no obligations to end it in any of the same ways we did,” so you could “get two alternative endings to Game of Thrones.” Isaac deems this as “quite cool.” As for who else he can envision in the throne, it appears the wolves stick together still: “It would have to be another Stark I think, Sansa or someone.” The pack survives, indeed.

Jon Snow Daenerys The Bells

Finally, Kim Renfro at Insider was lucky enough to read the entire final season’s scripts now deposited at the Writers Guild Foundation Shavelson-Webb Library in L.A., where she learned about some of the scenes or lines that didn’t make the cut, such as slightly expanded roles for Harry Strickland and Alys Karstark, a clearer through line of the isolation that lead Dany to her final decisions, and characters explictly discussing certain issues that many viewers felt should have been addressed on-screen.

For example, Missandei and Grey Worm originally had a role in the Winterfell hall feast after the battle, and their departure in order to have some alone-time as lovers was what originally prompted Dany’s feelings of isolation:

Dany is happy for her friend. But she’s also aware that everyone seems to be having fun except for her. She’s lonely and Varys clocks her loneliness…

The scene continues as aired, with Tormund celebrating Jon instead of her, but Dany’s increasing isolation was hammered home by literally being left alone without her only two long-time friends. In general, according to Renfro, “it’s much easier to track her descent into bitter loneliness and resolution against the rest of Westeros.”

Another bone of contention has been how certain noteworthy events went by unaddressed, such as Jon riding a dragon in the season premiere despite not being a known Targaryen. Though it’s not quite an uncontestable fact, it’s a general belief in Westeros that only Targaryens (or, more correctly, only Valyrians) can ride dragons, and this is reflected in the script: back in Dragonstone, when Tyrion tells Varys what Sansa told him about Jon’s true parentage, Varys is at first doubtful, which Tyrion counters with: “He rode a dragon. Has any non-Targaryen ever rode a dragon?”

Jon Rhaegal Winterfell episode

Then there is the incest. Oh, incest. An old friend of Game of Thrones.

Though, obviously, Jon distancing himself romantically from Daenerys in reacton to that same bit of news was because he was closely related to her, this is never explicitly said; instead, the political implications are at the forefront. In the scripts, however, when Jon arrives in Dragonstone, that interpretation is more textual. When the characters kiss, but before Jon breaks it and Dany makes her final fateful decision, this happens:

She’s desperate for a connection; she cannot remember a time she has felt this alone. She pulls back from the kiss and looks at Jon. This is complicated for him. He loves her. He disapproves strongly of what she’s doing. He lusts after her. He fears her. She feels his ambivalence. ‘It disgusts you,’ Dany says. ‘Dany…’ Jon begins and trails off.

The scene continues as we saw it, with Dany’s expression hardening and the doomed “let it be fear” line. The difference may seem insignificant, and much of this isn’t even dialogue but stage direction that couldn’t have made it into the episode anyway–except in the actors’ performance, which I would argue it was. And yet, it’s true that the script is more explicit about what the characters are thinking and feeling, and that going only by the scripts fewer people would have been shocked by Dany’s final moments.

Is this explicit text better than the subtext or acting open to interpretation of the show? Or is this merely about clarity? And which scenes do you prefer; the script’s or the show’s versions? Good questions, if I say so myself. You have the answers, I hope, and will deposit them–politely, avoiding flame wars– in the comments section.

If you wish to read about the many other differences between the scripts and the final episodes in great detail, please read Kim Renfro’s wonderful piece at Insider.

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Gwendoline Christie praises Brienne’s Season 8 arc; Kit Harington reflects on playing someone as good as Jon

Gwendoline Christie and Kit Harington

As we gear up for winter (whether its winds are coming or not), the Game of Thrones cast is busy as ever, attending cons, as is so common for actors enmeshed in popular culture these days. As such, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth) attended ACE Comic Con this past weekend. And in their spotlight interviews, they were asked about GOT, as well as some of their other characters and upcoming work. While most of us (myself included) were unable to be there, thankfully some lovely camera folk recorded them for us. What did they say? Let’s dive in and take a peek…

Gwen gave a fantastic answer when she was asked how she balanced being Ser Brienne of Tarth and Captain Phasma (Star Wars), given they are such dramatic roles, when she is so funny? Her answer, predictably, is full of Gwen’s trademark insight:

There was no balancing to be done. Parts like Brienne and Phasma mean something – to me and to popular culture – That’s why I persevere in this job I’m lucky enough to do; they communicate a message. These characters spoke to me in a very profound way. And because of what we’ve been fed from the mainstream media, which has been from a very patriarchal perspective, we hadn’t had a lot of diversity or variety of women’s stories, and so I found that these characters spoke to me on many different levels, and I just wanted to communicate them and what it said to me. That’s about joy to me. That’s my absolute state of bliss – to be in service of an idea greater than myself, whether it’s changing perspectives of the way women look or being a badass with a sword. But that’s what I love, so that’s joy and humor to me. That’s my interest – it tends to lie in drama, and finding the comedy in the tragedy…

She is so full of wisdom, and I just love listening to her speak. You could hear and see the audience hanging on her every word. More importantly, she is extremely passionate about diversity and opportunity, and has this to say about the future of pop culture, and why Brienne is so influential: “The Internet has given people a forum to make their voices heard. People want to see themselves represented in the stories that are told. We need to see a realistic depiction of our world, and people can only realistically respond to what we’re given.”

Then, of course, because I know you’re all askin’, she did address the direwolf in the room. What are her thoughts on Brienne’s season 8 arc, and does Gwendoline feel that it did the character justice?

I have to say that I did. I loved that Brienne got to have her first sexual experience! *screams ‘sexual experience’ repeatedly while the audience chants* I loved that she elected to have that sexual experience. It was her choice. I love that her storyline for the final season wasn’t defined by that. She gets the promotion she always wanted. And, she was alive. I loved that about her. It didn’t tear her down. It didn’t live on. It didn’t demolish her. It didn’t break her down. She went through a human experience and went through the wide variety of human emotions that we can have that befits us being on the Earth, but she achieves her dreams and becomes Lord Commander of the Kingsguard. She was made a knight on her own terms. So yes, I was delighted.

Sorry to all the detractors, but I’m very glad to hear her affirm her positive reception. I loved her arc too, and have been defensive of it for quite some time, so I’m glad to know that I’m on #TeamGwen.

Meanwhile, over at the Wall, Kit Harington had a bit to say as well…

One of the coolest things Kit was asked was how 10 years of living inside a character has affected him, and how much of Jon he carries with him every day.

I always felt with Jon that one of the struggles is that I was always playing someone who is a better person than me. He’s good to his core. He’s loyal, he’s brave, he’s honest, he’s truthful to his very core. Playing a character like that for 10 years of your life is intimidating…playing someone who is the very essence of good and brave. So, I can only hope that some of him does live on in me, or that I learned something from him. I loved him dearly as a person and I really enjoyed playing him. When meeting fans or meeting people in the street, [I see] that Jon was a very beloved character…whereas some of my friends have it a bit harder like Jack Gleeson, playing Joffrey, or Alfie [Allen] playing Theon. I had it easy because people followed Jon – they liked him.

That last bit about the difference between Kit’s street experience and others is both funny and scary. I’ve run into several GOT celebrities in the streets (Joseph Mawle and John Bradley) and they were lovely, but I don’t understand how some people can’t disassociate the actors from the characters they portray. Anyway, when pressed about what items he took from set, Kit notes that he wasn’t allowed to take Longclaw home, so he contacted an armorer to get his own copy made! Additionally, he, um…ended up with some other presents: “The one thing I managed to grab were his gloves and the van braces, the bit that goes around the glove. I got a life-size statue of Jon Snow as well from the (season 8) promo where we all come upon our statues of ourselves in the crypts. They asked me, Maisie [Williams], and Sophie [Turner] if we wanted them and I was the only one who said yes. It’s in my garden shed.”

For more on Gwen’s journey through hardship, perseverance, and the (slowly) changing face of representation in the industry, or more from Kit regarding pranks, his favorite Harry Potter books/movies, and what kind of ‘dark comedy’ he wants to make about himself, watch the interviews!

The post Gwendoline Christie praises Brienne’s Season 8 arc; Kit Harington reflects on playing someone as good as Jon appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 8: Best Visual Effects Scene – Preliminary Round


Game of Thrones has always knocked it out of the park when it comes to visual effects. The show added another Emmy this year to its staggering collection for their Special Visual Effects work in “The Bells”, but could’ve just as easily won the award for any other episode in season 8, as packed as this year was with eye-popping visuals. That’s what will make this category a challenge to vote in, with so many worthy potential nominees. Best Visual Effects Scene: the scene that you think best demonstrated the show’s effects this year.

In this initial prelims stage, we need your help narrowing the list down to a top 5! Select your favorite 5 scenes from the poll at the bottom of the post. To make your voting easier, we’ve embedded all the scenes nominated by our readers below. Have fun reliving some of the most incredible moments of season 8, and vote!

Jon’s first dragon flight


The Clegane Brothers fight to the death as King’s Landing burns


Arya hunts wights in the Winterfell library


Daenerys and Drogon lay waste to King’s Landing with dragonfire


Jon and Daenerys take on the Night King by moonlight, with their dragons


Drogon sleeping in the snow


Winterfell falls apart as Viserion and the dead attack


Drogon destroys the Iron Throne and carries away Dany’s body


The Dothraki charge the army of the dead


Daenerys and Drogon destroy the Iron Fleet, the Golden Company, and the gates of King’s Landing


The Night King, white walkers and Viserion shatter and explode


Daenerys make a speech to her legions, and spreads her wings


The dead rise at the Battle of Winterfell


Daenerys saves Jon, and Drogon is swarmed by wights


Daenerys tries to burn the Night King with dragonfire


Smoke and flame rise as Drogon makes runs on the wights with Sansa and Arya watching from the walls


Please choose your five favorites from the preliminary poll. The ground rules: Select up to FIVE nominees from the poll. You can choose fewer if you like, but you can’t choose more than 5. (Visit the initial WotW Awards post for a complete explanation of the rules and process.)

At the end of one week (Monday 10/21/19 at 12PM Eastern Time), whichever five scenes have the most votes will continue on to the finals. The results of the poll will be revealed when it’s time to choose the winner of Best Visual Effects Scene in a few weeks.

Take Our Poll
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Four New Additions for the Game of Thrones Spinoff!

Bloodmoon casting

The good thing about time passing, with the end of prequel filming (well, the first Game of Thrones prequel spinoff, anyway!) is that after a while everyone chills out and starts to leak info again. And we love that here! Four more castings have popped up, giving us a little more info to tide us over for now. The new additions are….

Pictured above (clockwise):

  • LEAH GAYER – Gayer is relatively new to the professional world, but has a long CV at RADA, a respected drama school in the UK. What’s most interesting about this casting is that according to the actress’ agency resume, she’s playing the role of “Caera” on Bloodmoon. The “ae” letter combo gives us Valyrian vibes, but George R.R. Martin said last year that the prequel would take place in the distant Westeros past, before the rise of Valyria, effectively taking them off the table. So the name may be a misleading choice or a placeholder.
  • JASPER BRITTON – According to Britton’s agency resume, he’ll be playing the role of “House Master Cole” on Bloodmoon. That title is a rather vague one, house master. Is it possible that “master” is a misspelling of “maester”? In the speculation game, sure why not! Maesters could have existed in prequel time- it’s unclear, in the history of Westeros. Even the specific name is up for speculation- is “Cole” his first or last? There is a famous house in Westeros named “Cole.” The new show may have simply borrowed it.
  • GEORGINA BEEDLE – Beedle’s agency resume lists her as appearing in the “Untitled Game of Thrones Prequel” with no role specified, unfortunately. But it’s always nice to add another name to the roster. Welcome to the cast!
  • JACQUELINE BOATSWAIN – According to Boatswain’s agency resume, she has a part in the “Untitled Game of Thrones prequel”. Her role is not included but we can do a little speculating based on casting notices leaked last year. We received a notice regarding a part labeled “S2” describing a series regular role for a black woman, aged 45 to 60. Boatswain might be the winner here. She’s in the right age bracket, and she’s a very experienced actress with regular TV stints on Shameless, Wolfblood, Hollyoaks, Grange Hill, and more.

Thanks to our friends at RedanianIntelligence for passing tips our way! Follow them for info about The Witcher.

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The Lucky Winners of The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones!


For those keeping track, this past week we’ve had a giveaway celebrating the release of The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones, by Insider‘s Kim Renfro. The new book covers all eight seasons of the show, and is loaded with details about the making of Game of Thrones, the pop culture phenomenon it inspired and in-depth analysis about the characters and episodes.

Thanks to the good folks at Simon and Schuster, we have THREE copies to give away to our readers! After a week, we have hundreds of entries across Facebook, Twitter and Watchers’ comments. The time has come to choose the three lucky winners!

The winners of The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones are:


Kelly DeHoroch

Timothy Walsh

Congratulations, and enjoy the wonderful book!

Thank you to everyone who entered. If you’d like to read The Unofficial Guide to Game of Thrones, it’s available for purchase now! Treat yourself to a book today.

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George RR Martin explains writing delays & GOT prequels; Maisie Williams admits playing Arya affected her body image


In a recent interview at The Chicago Way w/John Kass, A Song of Ice and Fire author George R.R. Martin didn’t just discuss Jane Goldman’s prequel pilot, which has just finished filming, and how The Winds of Winter is coming along, but also provided a fascinating insight into his writing process. As any writer knows, much of the writing process doesn’t involve ‘writing’ at all, and it turns out that’s true for Martin as well.

“If my writing is going well, and I’m really ‘in Westeros,’ it does haunt me day and night, and one of the times when it’s most common is when I go to bed at night. I’m laying there in bed; waiting to go to sleep; the lights are out; and the scenes that I’m gonna write tomorrow are in my head. Or maybe the scenes I’m gonna write next week, or maybe the scenes from a different chapter. I don’t know–I can’t control it, but something starts filling my head and the characters start coming alive, and I start hearing snatches of dialogue, and I drift to sleep with Westeros and Ice and Fire in my head, haunting me.”

“When I was still living in Chicago,” Martin continues, “I’d take the L [Chicago’s elevated train system] every day to work. It’s not the most exciting ride in the world, so I’d sit there, staring at the window, and stories would fill my head. Not necessarily [because of] the things that I was seeing on the rooftops of Chicago–but other planets, imaginary realms, and all of that. So it’s almost a case where you’re zoning out; you’re riding on the L and it’s boring or you’re drifting to sleep and you’re not quite asleep yet, but you’re not awake [anymore] either, and then the stuff comes to you.”

As many suspected and the author has intimated before, this crucial ritual of reflection is not exclusively reserved for the world of Westeros and The Winds of Winter -his sixth book in the series- anymore, as other projects have come to divide his attention:

“Of course, what’s happened in my life recently is that there’s so much else now,” Martin admits. “The success of the show and other things has injected a lot of other aspects into my life. So sometimes I lay in bed at night and I’m not thinking about Westeros, even thought I may want to–I’m thinking about some other problem I’m having; one of the other shows I’m involved with; or a deadline on an anthology I’m editing; or something that’s happening with the non-profit organization that I started. All of these other things are filling my head and that is one of the thing’s that’s delayed me. I really have to get Winds done; I’ve really have to put myself on a state where I’m not being distracted by other stuff, and that period at night is filled with the voices of Tyrion Lannister and Arya Stark and the other fictional characters who live inside of me.”

The show coming to an end has freed his mind a fair bit, but as we know new projects have sprung up to take its place: “There was a period where the show caught and past me, and I hadn’t anticipated that happening, so there was a tremendous amount of stress on me a few years ago when that was about to happen but hadn’t happened yet, and I was desperately trying to finish Winds and stay ahead. And it didn’t work. The amount of stress that was on me at the time slowed me down rather than speeding me up. Now that the show’s over, any stress in that regard is done, but of course, we have five successor shows in various stages of development–and one of them’s just finished shooting the pilot episode in Northern Ireland; another one’s very close to getting a pilot order. I’m involved with those as well. Game of Thrones, that particular story, may be over on TV, but it’s not over for me–I still have these two more books to write. And there’s other stories in the world of Westeros, which is an entire world, and I’m still deeply involved with those. So there’s still plenty to keep me busy.”

At the beginning of season three, Williams had literally outgrown her character.

By the beginning of season three, Williams had literally outgrown her character.

At Vogue, on a fashion-centered piece, Maisie Williams discusses how playing Arya, a tomboy had to often pass for a boy, affected her self-image, and how she got past it:

“A couple of seasons in the middle, maybe around season two or three, my body started to mature, and I started to become a woman. But Arya was still very much trying to be disguised as a boy, and I had really short hair, and they constantly covered me in dirt and shade my nose so as it looked really broad and I look really manly. And they’d also put this strap across my chest to flatten any ‘growth’ that had started”.


“I don’t know–that just felt horrible,” Maisie admits. “And I felt kind of ashamed for a while. So we’ve got this new phase of my style. It’s nice to look more feminine, and have a real waistline, and embrace the body that I have.”

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Con of Thrones 2020 Tickets On Sale Today!

orlando dragon 2020

If you thought Orlando was magical before, wait until it has dragons.

As announced a few weeks ago, next year’s 4th annual Con of Thrones will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center. From July 17–19, 2020, fans from around the globe will gather to celebrate the world of ice and fire and Game of Thrones at the biggest convention around for Thrones fans. Tickets go on sale today at 1:00 p.m Eastern time – snap yours up and  start your con planning!

Con of Thrones will offer three ticket types for 2020 at special earlybird pricing through December 31, 2019:

  • Single day pass for $49
  • the full-weekend General Pass for $139
  • a limited number of the highly coveted Valyrian Pass for $349, which includes exclusive perks like premium seating in MainStage programming and limited edition merchandise.

Full details on the different ticket types can be found at

Click to view slideshow.

Every year Con of Thrones hosts in-depth discussions about both the television and book series, Special Guest Spotlight interviews, live recordings of fan-favorite podcasts, and much more. Past guests include Game of Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Joe Dempsie (Gendry), Jerome Flynn (Bronn), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Iwan Rheon (Ramsay Bolton), Miltos Yerolemou (Syrio Forel), Sibel Kekilli (Shae), Kate Dickie (Lysa Arryn), Esmé Bianco (Ros), Kerry Ingram (Shireen Baratheon), Sam Coleman (Young Hodor), Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), and Emmy Award-winning Sound Designer Paula Fairfield.

Con of Thrones also provides opportunities for autographs and photographs with some of the most familiar faces from Game of Thrones.

Con of Thrones is produced by Mischief Management. Watchers on the Wall is proud to once again be the official programming partner for the con, bringing you a full schedule of panels and events to enjoy. Attendees will have the opportunity to submit their own panel and programming ideas, with submission time opening soon. There will be more information about the con to coming in the coming weeks!

For more information and updates, follow Con of Thrones on Facebook,  Twitter, and Instagram. We’ll see you in Orlando!

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George R.R. Martin weighs in on the Game of Thrones ending; praises Emmy wins

David Benioff, George R. R. Martin and D.B Weiss at Season 8 NYC Premiere. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO.

David Benioff, George R. R. Martin and D.B Weiss at Season 8 NYC Premiere. Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO.

Ever since the divisive Game of Thrones series finale, fans have been wondering how closely the ending reflected what author George R.R. Martin has in store for his A Song of Ice and Fire novels. Martin has remained tight lipped about what may or may not be the same, and a new interview with Fast Company – reported by Digital Spy – does nothing to clear the air. In fact, it may muddy the waters further.

Martin acknowledges that the show’s ending was “not completely faithful” to what he envisions for his books. “Otherwise, it would have to run another five seasons.” Given the enormous scope of the novels and that many characters and storylines had already been cut, this certainly doesn’t come as surprise.

He also elaborates on the difficulties of adaptation, saying, “It can be… traumatic. Because sometimes their creative vision and your creative vision don’t match, and you get the famous creative differences thing – that leads to a lot of conflict.” Martin continues, “You get totally extraneous things like the studio or the network weighing in, and they have some particular thing that has nothing to do with story, but relates to ‘Well this character has a very high Q Rating so let’s give him a lot more stuff to do’.” 

George R.R. Martin with Game of Thrones cast and crew at the 2019 Emmys. Photo by AFP.

George R.R. Martin with Game of Thrones cast and crew at the 2019 Emmys. Photo by AFP.

Whether you liked the ending or not, and regardless of how closely the books will follow it, there is no denying Game of Thrones’ cultural impact and critical acclaim. Martin took to his Not a Blog to celebrate season eight’s recent Emmy wins…and to bid the show farewell. “After eight seasons, GAME OF THRONES leaves the air with more Emmys than any other primetime series, comedy or drama, in the entire history of television. Not too shabby, I’d say. I am very pleased to have been a part of setting that record.”

“Parting is such sweet sorrow, though… it was wonderful to share the moment with all the friends I’ve made during our run, but there was a bittersweet feel to the occasion as well, knowing that this would be the last time all of us would be together…Will I ever again have the privilege of working with some of these incredible talents who helped bring my books to life?  One never knows…”

Martin finishes his post by reminding us that he and HBO aren’t done with Westeros – not by a long shot. “I have WINDS OF WINTER to finish… and A DREAM OF SPRING… and more Dunk & Egg stories… and the second volume of Archmaester Gyldayn’s history.   And we hope to have some exciting news about the successor shows soon as well. Stay tuned.”

Read the rest of his post here.

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