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Game of Thrones Season 8 Alternate Endings Debunked by Maisie Williams

Arya Stark Unsullied King's Landing Season 8 806

It’s been a rumor before the final season of Game of Thrones even began filming: “they’ll shoot alternate finale scenes so the real ending doesn’t leak!” There wasn’t much reason to believe this, but showrunner David Benioff added fuel to the flames by implying as much, and a few cast members said it outright–though, as it turns out, they were either misdirecting the press for fun or misinformed themselves. Whatever their reasons, if there were still any doubts, Maisie Williams is here to put them to rest.

This idea of “alternate endings” took root back in 2017, when HBO’s programming president Casey Bloys claimed “they’re going to shoot multiple versions so that there’s no real definitive answer until the end.” Even at the time, we warned readers to take his words with a grain of salt. As I wrote more than two years ago: “HBO doesn’t have the budget to film multiple finale episodes (or even entire sequences) that will never air. That’s just a tremendous waste of money for very little gain,” as “just keeping the cameras rolling and the cast and crew on location costs ridiculous amounts of money.”

At the Sky Up Next showcase red carpet, Maisie Williams corroborated our suspicious while speaking to Metro: “We didn’t [film an alternate ending]. It costs so much money and the schedule was way too tight. We were spending all the money on dragons.”

She jokingly adds, in regards to the much-maligned ending, that she believes “people wish we did,” but they definitely did not: “We didn’t! So, that’s your lot!”

So there it is.

We will never get to watch a scene in which, say, Jon joins Daenerys in the end, or someone other than Bran becomes king. Scripted alternate endings are another–much more plausible–matter, one which could’ve easily been accomplished as a cheap safety measure against leaks, but shooting them was always out of the question.

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Sophie Turner, Game of Thrones’ Sansa Stark, Has a New Stark on the Way!

Sophie

Good news is hard to come by these days, isn’t it? The world is on fire (literally), the people are divided, and House of the Dragon is potentially 2 full years away. Egad. So when some good news comes along, we have to celebrate it like the miracle that it truly is. And that good news comes from one of our favorite actors. Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), the Queen in the North, and ruler of 1 kingdom, is expecting a child, and we couldn’t be happier for her.

Just Jared broke the news story, and while it’s by no means my business to be personally invasive, I can at least celebrate knowing that Sophie and her husband (singer and actor Joe Jonas) are happy: “The couple is keeping things very hush hush but their friends and family are super excited for them,” reports a close source.

Now, we are not a gossip site, nor are we a tabloid site, and I will not sit here and speculate on anything further, other than to jump in and say we at Watchers on the Wall are thrilled for them, and wish our queen nothing but the best. Up next, Sophie has a project on the new pseudo streaming service Quibi. I’ll be watching in April. Will you?

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Nathalie Emmanuel slams petition to re-do Season 8, defends Missandei’s death; Aidan Gillen addresses Game of Thrones ending

Missandei King's Landing Dracarys Season 8 804

Nathalie Emmanuel and Aidan Gillan, who played Missandei and Petyr ‘Littlefinger’ Baelish respectively, are but two of the latest Game of Thrones cast members to go to bat for the show’s ending and criticize the way some fans reacted to their dislike of it.

Before discussing the ending proper, Nathalie Emmanuel addresses Missandei’s own ending, which also caused a bit of a stir, especially regarding the optics of this black former slave being executed in chains at the hands of Cersei, in a narrative-motivated move to further isolate Daenerys and motivate her following actions. The actress, however, sees it quite differently, finding agency and power in Missandei’s death:

“I was very grateful for the strength that she had when she left. That was a performance choice for me,” Emmanuel tells TVLine. “I was like, ‘She’s not going to be crying. She’s not going to be stereotypically scared.’ She’s scared, but she owns it.”

“This woman survived slavery. She knew that she might go to war and die. And she’s owning it like a badass bitch. And I felt like that’s what I did. I was very proud of it.”

As for the end of Game of Thrones and the reaction to it amongst some corners in the fandom, in particular that infamous petition asking HBO to re-do the ending, Emmanuel is keen to emphasize that “it’s totally fine if you don’t like something”, that it’s “perfectly acceptable.” That petition, however, she appears to find insulting: “What I didn’t like was that people were signing a petition. You can’t ask for receipts on art. You just can’t. The art has been created for you, and you can either choose to like it or not.”

Regarding her personal opinion on the final season and the finale, Emmanuel was “blown away”, as it was “a hard plane to land,” she says. “I don’t think people quite realize the undertaking and the amount of manpower it took to do that.”

In a similar vein to Gemma Whelan’s recent statements, a cast member suspected by some conspiracists to have hated the ending has come out and debunked this notion, which was not so much based on reality as on these fans’ need for validation. The Targaryen crew –especially Emilia Clarke, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Jacob Anderson– were the main focus of this, so it’s nice to see one of them dismiss it so clearly.

Littlefinger Vale 604

On November 25 of last year, Aidan Gillen was awarded with the Bram Stoker Medal of Cultural Achievement by the University Philosophical Society and, as part of the ceremony, he took part in a a long Q&A that’s only been made available recently:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fp8kgX1POKI&w=700&h=394%5D

Very much like Emmanuel, Gillen shares his musings on the toxic reaction to the ending by some people, as well as his personal opinion on season eight and the finale:

“There was a lot of flak about the last season of Game of Thrones. I was astounded,” he begins. “The mentality there’s nowadays, when people go on Twitter, and slag the fuck out of everything; I really hate it… It’s a really nasty strain of behavior… For people to turn on the writers of something that people had adored for seven seasons in such a nasty fashion, as they did, I was really taken aback. I really was.”

“I thought that some of the best scenes, the best sequences, of Game of Thrones were in the last season. I don’t have any doubt about that,” Gillen underscores. “They ended it the only way that they could end it; which was strangely reminiscent of how it began: there’s people sitting in this land which seems to have some kind of stability, but there’s also uncertainty and threat, which is, I suppose, what the world is like all the time.”

That’s not to say he doesn’t have suggestions of how it could’ve been better: “There was a part of me that wanted it to end about twenty minutes before it did. It’s just that it was an image that was so fantastic–the dragon flying away, carrying Daenerys Targaryen–that was stunning. I thought the episode before was fucking amazing, too.”

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Stunning cover art of ASOIAF 2021 calendar revealed and Leslie Jones chats with Seth Meyers about Game of Thrones

asoiafcalender

If you’ve been feeling a notable lack of A Song of Ice and Fire art in your life, 2021 already has you covered. Penguin Random House has revealed the cover for their 2021 A Song of Ice and Fire calendar … and, gods be good, it looks gorgeous.

Earlier today, George R.R Martin announced on his Not A Blog that next year’s A Song of Ice and Fire calendar will feature twelve original pieces by artist, Sam Hogg.

“As always we like to bring you a variety of styles from an assortment of freaky talented artists and this year is no different as we feature the work of Sam Hogg,” he wrote.

Martin’s post included a first look at the calendar cover which features an illustration of Quentyn Martell’s ill-fated attempt to tame Viserion and Rhaegal in A Dance With Dragons, which makes me eager to find out which other book-only scenes the calendar might include.

For instance, the theme of Penguin Random House’s 2020 calendar was fantastic beasts and featured paintings by John Howe of beached krakens, giant ice spiders and other Westerosi beasts exclusive to Martin’s books.

You can check out Sam Hogg’s artwork at her website, www.artofsamhogg.com.


In other news, Leslie Jones appeared on Late Night with Seth Meyers last night to promote her comedy special, Time Machine, which was directed by none other than David Benioff and D.B Weiss. In the interview she and Meyers reminisce about their show segment, Game of Jones, in which they watched Game of Thrones together and riffed on what was happening.

“I regret we didn’t do more of those … now that I think about it I wish we did at least ten,” Jones said.

Us too, Leslie. Us too.

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Game of Thrones wins awards for visual effects, audio and costume design

Daenerys looking at throne

This past week has been a good one for Game of Thrones. Episodes from season 8 won awards at the Costume Designer Guild Awards, the Cinema Audio Society Awards, and the Visual Effects Society Awards.

At the Costume Designer Guild awards on Tuesday, Michele Clapton won for costume design excellence in Sci-Fi-Fantasy Television. This is the fifth time Clapton has won this award (she also won for best Period or Fantasy TV Show back in 2014 before they split the categories). However, unlike previous years, designers submitted and were judged for a single episode that best reflected their body of work. Thus, Clapton received her sixth CDGA for her designs for “The Iron Throne.” The full list of nominees and winners is a available at Deadline.


The Cinema Audio Society Awards were held on January 25 where the Game of Thrones’ sound team won for excellence in a 1 hour television series, specifically for season 8’s penultimate episode “The Bells” (which, now that I think about it really is the perfect title for an episode of television that wins an award for its audio).

Production Mixer – Ronan Hill CAS

Production Mixer –Simon Kerr

Production Mixer – Daniel Crowley

Re-recording Mixer – Onnalee Blank CAS

Re-recording Mixer – Mathew Waters CAS

Foley Mixer – Brett Voss CAS

You can read the full list of nominees and winners here.


Finally, yesterday at the 18th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards, hosted by comedian Patton Oswalt (for the 9th time!) at the Beverly Hilton, Game of Thrones, as expected, lost a few awards to The Mandalorian, but it still went home with two of the six awards it was nominated to.

Carlos Patrick DeLeon, Alonso Bocanegra Martinez, Marcela Silva, and Benjamin Ross’s work on the Red Keep Plaza in “The Iron Throne” won them the “Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project” award, while the dragon ground battle VFX in “The Long Night”, created by Mark Richardson, Darren Christie, Nathan Abbott, and Owen Longstaff, was awarded with “Outstanding Compositing in an Episode.”

If you want to take a look at the other winners, click here.

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Gemma Whelan disappointed at fan reaction to “brilliant” GoT Season 8 ending

Yara Greyjoy 702 Sea Battle

In a new quickfire interview, Yara Greyjoy actor Gemma Whelan touches on everything from her spite towards a certain “man doing appalling things with his horrendous megalomaniac ego” (take a guess!) to her anorexia recovery, and of course she addresses Game of Thrones‘s ending, though perhaps not in the way one would expect.

When asked by The Guardian about what her “greatest disappointment” has been (in general; not just related to the HBO show,) Whelan has a clear–if controversial–answer:

“The fans’ reaction at the end of Game of Thrones because I think it was brilliant.”

Now, her opinion about the ending alone is sure to ruffle a few feathers, not to mention what some may see as a pushback against those fans who disliked the ending, but I believe this answer is valuable: for starters, it’s a good reminder that actual real-life people made this show with their hard work (yes, including the writers), which doesn’t mean they can’t be criticized but it does mean it must be done humanely; and also, it shows there is no secret conspiracy among cast members who actually hate the show but can’t admit to it openly—you have to read between the lines, I’m told; which is handy if you want someone to agree with you when they haven’t actually done so.

Even before the final season premiered, that sentiment was strong among those fans with–let’s say–an overactive imagination. Though much of it centered on Emilia Clarke for obvious reasons, apparently there were similar suspicions about Whelan. If nothing else, it’s nice to see those conspiracy theories (because that’s what they were) debunked.


In other news, Variety reports that Game of Thrones won another award: at Parrot Analytics’ 2nd Global TV Demand Awards, the show went home with the ‘Most In-Demand TV Series in the World’ and ‘Most In-Demand Drama Series’ awards.

Congrats! I think everyone would agree that’s well-deserved.

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Miltos Yerolemou Returns to Con of Thrones 2020 as Special Guest!

CoT 2020 - Miltos Announcement

Fan-favorite actor Miltos Yerolemou, the First Sword of Braavos Syrio Forel himself, returns this year to 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!

Yerolemou will appear on panels and programming at Con of Thrones 2020 on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, as well as participate in autograph and photograph experiences with fans and lead Water Dancing sword fighting workshops.

Yerolemou has appeared at every Con of Thrones since the event began in 2017. He won acclaim for his role as Syrio Forel, Arya Stark’s Water Dancing instructor, in the first season of Game of Thrones. Tickets are available for purchase now at conofthrones.net/register. Admission to Water Dancing workshops will go on sale on Friday, February 7, 2020, at 2:00 PM ET.

Autograph and photograph experiences with Yerolemou are available for purchase now. Autographs are $20 and photographs are $35. Autograph and photograph experiences are also available with Game of Thrones actors Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont), Anton Lesser (Qyburn) and Sam Coleman (Young Hodor). Con of Thrones will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center July 17–19, 2020.

MIltos Water Dancing

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), 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, in collaboration with their official programming partner—Watchers on the Wall. Additional special guests and additional details will be announced at a later date!

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit our website, or look for us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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George R.R. Martin tackles differences to his books in Game of Thrones ending

George R. R. Martin at the 2015 Emmy Awards

George R. R. Martin at the 2015 Emmy Awards

Both author George R.R. Martin and showrunners Benioff and Weiss have largely avoided discussing the differences between the show’s ending and what we may eventually find in his books, and we’ll probably not get a detailed answer until The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring are released, if they ever are. In the meantime, any news on the subject feels like a precious gem of information. That is the case with a new interview with Martin, who largely avoids giving us specifics… but also gives us a lot to talk about, especially regarding the ending of Daenerys Targaryen!

The ASOIAF subreddit picked up on Welt‘s German language interview, and user Whitebread100 provided a translation, which we’re thankful for. First, Welt asks Martin about his wide-ranging workload, beyond the writing of his final A Song of Ice and Fire novels:

“I’m currently developing the prequel series for HBO. I also have another deal with the station: I’m supposed to produce more series for them, those that don’t originate in the universe of my own stories,” Martin explains. “I’m working with writer Nnedi Okorafar on a film adaptation of her science fiction novel Who Fears Death. And I own a small art house cinema in Santa Fe, where I live. It all takes up a lot of time. But I like it.”

Now, as for the final season and how it relates to the two remaining books he’s writing, Martin is quick to point out, as he has before in other words, that “people know an end – not the end.” He elaborates: “The makers of the TV series overtook me, which I didn’t expect. Nevertheless I continue what I’ve been doing for years: I still try to finish first the next book Winds Of Winter and then the follow-up novel A Dream Of Spring. These are the things I concentrate on. After that we will see.”

Daenerys Targaryen King's Landing Season 8 806 The Bells

When pressed further about how he’ll tackle readers knowing the broad strokes of the ending, and Dany’s fate in particular, Martin resorts to his favorite answer:

“Counter question: How many children did Scarlett O’Hara have? In Margaret Mitchell’s novel Gone with the Wind she had three children. But in the cinema version of the novel she had only one child. Which version is the only valid one – the one with one child or the one with three?” Martin asks. “The answer is: neither of the two. Because Scarlett O’Hara never existed, she is a fictional character, not a real person who would have had real children. Or take The Little Mermaid. We know her from the fairy tale of the same name by Hans Christian Andersen and from the Disney film. Which one is the real mermaid? Well, mermaids don’t exist. You can choose the version you like best. That goes for any story adapted for cinema or television. In this process, change is inevitable. Even if the adaptation is as faithful to the literary original as it was in Game of Thrones.”

As usual, and very much like showrunners Benioff and Weiss, Martin is evasive about which aspects of the final season were based on the outline he delivered the showrunners years ago. What that means is open to interpretation, of course. Personally, what I take from Martin avoiding to answer the Daenerys question directly is that, whatever differences there may end up being in the road to her fall from grace (however many children Scarlett O’Hara has), her story will still inevitably end in that fall. Then again, I’m no mind reader. What do you think his evasiness means?

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Picks Up Two Wins Out of Three Total Screen Actors Guild Nominations!

actors-pollyanna-macintosh-liam-cunningham-kristofer-hivju-news-photo-1579485076

At the hour when it counted most, when there are no more seasons to earn nominations, Game of Thrones season 8 stepped up to the plate and did what it had to do. With only three nominations on the table, being nominated alone was a nice present, or even winning one! But, two outta 3? That just goes to show all the season 8 naysayers that GOT can still bring home the bacon. But, it’s not only the awards that are exciting – With all the glitz of the awards, comes the glam of the red carpet. And as ever, the GOT cast knows how to bring the heat! So who won? And who showed up to the carpet? Let’s find out together…

Well, as you can clearly tell from the leading image, Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth) hit the carpet together. And in case you can’t tell because he’s missing his usual long locks, that’s Commander Dolorous Edd (Ben Crompton) himself on the right. I was also pleasantly surprised to find Pollyana McIntosh (Captain of the Garbage People?) from The Walking Dead photobombing them. Of course, they would have lots to celebrate, as the first win of the night came from Outstanding Performance in a Stunt Ensemble, for which GOT has now officially won 8/8 for all seasons. Take a lap, stunt people. You’ve earned it.

nikolaj-coster-waldau-and-guest-attend-the-26th-annual-news-photo-1579484947

Meanwhile, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) and his guest were on hand to witness the second win of the night. I’m sure Jaime was smiling and cheering from the audience as his little brother Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) took home the win for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series. This was no easy feat, given he was arguably a supporting actor from a larger ensemble going up against Steve Carrell, Sterling K. Brown, David Harbour, and Billy Crudup, but by George [RRM] he did it!

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Unfortunately, GOT did not take the cake when it lost to The Crown for best ensemble. It’s very hard for me to argue with that when The Crown this season was led by the always stellar, newly minted Oscar winner Olivia Colman (Queen Elizabeth II) and Uncle Edmure’s Tobias Menzies (Prince Philip). GOT stands in good company, losing alongside The Handmaid’s TaleBig Little Lies, and Stranger Things. As George always says, it’s an honor just to be nominated. So who else turned up for the whole “affair?” Well, unlike a Dothraki wedding, all in all, it was not a dull affair

Nathalie Emmanuel, Alfie Allen, and Gwendoline Christie

Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), and Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth)

Sophie Turner

Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark)

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Emilia Clarke on leaving Thrones behind & Alfie Allen addresses Season 8 controversy

Theon Sansa

In new interviews focusing on their life after Game of Thrones, Theon and Daenerys actors Alfie Allen and Emilia Clarke look back on this decade-long, life-changing job, touching on how it felt to have it end and on the negative reactions to the final season.

At Esquire, Alfie Allen at first reminisces about the past in the show; about his very first day on set, in fact, in which he apparently showed up when he wasn’t needed yet:

“They said ‘we might as well put you in then’,” he laughs. But he didn’t laugh then: he felt “confused, nervous and lost” at first, as the show was his first big acting job.

That was a long time ago, however, and things changed halfway through his eight-season long run: “I think that pressure that I might have put on myself just disappeared in series four or five,” he says. “I think it just became a normal part of my life.”

Now, as he leaves the role of Theon Greyjoy behind, he is taking with him the hard-earned recognition for his talents, including an Emmy nomination: “I’d said goodbye to Thrones but then I got to end on a positive note,” Allen says on the matter.

On the theme of positive notes, Allen says he “can’t really remember ever having that much of a negative experience with any fans,” even after the negative reaction to season eight, which he says has been “blown out of proportion.” Nevertheless, he did have one “bitter” fan encounter after the ending, though he appears to take it in good fun:

“Somebody came up to me the other day in the street and was like ‘Oh man, the arc of your character, and the whole way Game of Thrones ended was just so disappointing!’. I was just standing there and he came up to me to let me know it was shit,” he laughs. “I was just like ‘Thanks man!”

YaraDany2

Though Emilia Clarke’s piece on Vanity Fair mostly deals with her life after Thrones, she does describe how she personally experienced the show coming to a close: “When it ended, I felt like I’d been dropped a thousand feet.” This reportedly meant “grappling with events she hadn’t had time to process, including her father’s death” a few years ago. “I slowed all the way down because I had to, to gently build it back up again.”

As for whether playing the ambitious Daenerys has influenced her own confidence and aspirations in some way, Clarke has a compelling answer: “I just think that ambition for everyone looks different at different stages of your life. When you’re young, you see ambition as quite relentless. You win or you lose with ambition.”

Now, that’s a Game of Thrones phrase if I ever heard one!

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House of the Dragon Tentatively Set for 2022; Confederate Officially Dead!

House of the Dragon banner

We can most likely expect House of the Dragon, the new Game of Thrones spinoff, in 2022, reports Deadline, who spoke to HBO President of Programming Casey Bloys today at the winter TCAs. The date was far from set in stone, but it’s the most firm news we’ve received in some time about the show.

“My guess is sometime in 2022,” Bloys said, with Deadline reporting he indicated it was “too early to be more specific.”

George RR Martin dished on the writers room of the spinoff back in November, confirming the involvement of Wes Tooke, Claire Kiechel, and Ti Mikkel, along with co-showunner Ryan Condal who is penning the pilot with Martin.

“They are starting writing,” Bloys confirmed, along with the news that there IS no casting news yet. He teased, “Obviously it’s a big, complicated show.”

In the interview, Bloys did take time to explain the failed pilot Blood Moon, written by Jane Goldman and starring Naomi Watts. Bloys explained to Deadline:

“In development, in pilots, sometimes things come together, sometimes they don’t,” he explained. “One of the things I think Jane took on beautifully, which was a challenge, there was a lot more world creation because she set hers 8,000 years before the (mothership) show, so it required a lot more. That is a big swing. One of the things about House of Dragons, there is a text, there is a book so that made it a little bit more of a road map for a series order.”

“I think Jane did a beautiful job, it was a big challenge but there was nothing that I would point to and say, oh, that one element did not work, just overall it did not quite gel. That’s one of the reasons when we started out to think about ‘Is there a life after Game of Thrones in terms of Game of Thrones’, we purposefully developed multiple projects. We would have been very lucky to do one pilot, have that pilot go and be a success but in development as you know, it takes a lot of tries to get it right, this is no different.”

Also coming out of the TCAs is the confirmation that David Benioff and DB Weiss’ follow-up show for the network called Confederate is officially dead. The controversial drama was announced a couple years as the next exciting step for the duo, but fans rightly pointed out that it was a really really terrible idea. It was commonly assumed to be not happening since D&D moved onto Netflix and other projects but now it’s confirmed: it’s history.

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Game of Thrones Season 8 nominated for two Directors Guild Awards!

Daenerys Targaryen Season 8 804

The Directors Guild of America just announced the nominees for its 72nd annual award, and Game of Thrones is among them not once but twice, thanks to the marvelous directors behind its final season. As you may recall, David Nutter took on most of the work, with “Winterfell”, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”, and “The Last of the Starks”; Miguel Sapochnik directed the battle episodes, “The Long Night” and “The Bells”; while showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss helmed the series finale, “The Iron Throne.”

You’ll not be shocked to learn which two of these directors got nominated, but you may be surprised about the episodes selected to highlight their directorship.

For the ‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series’ category at the upcoming 2019 DGA Awards, there are five nominees; shockingly (or perhaps not so much), they are all nominated for their work on HBO series. All. Of. Them.

Thrones veteran David Nutter, who directed the iconic “The Reins of Castamere” and the Emmy and DGA award-winning “Mother’s Mercy”, is nominated for “The Last of the Starks” (and not for “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” as one may have thought).

Of course, there is also Miguel Sapochnik, who since season five has directed some of the most jaw-dropping Game of Thrones episodes, such as the horrifying “Hardhome”, the Emmy and DGA award-winning “Battle of the Bastards”, and my personal favorite “The Winds of Winter”. Sapochnik has an impressive track-record that continued in his return for the final season; and so, he is deservedly nominated for “The Long Night.”

Arya-Stark-Night-King-Season-8-803-The-Long-Night~2

The other entries for ‘Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Dramatic Series’ are Nicole Kassell for Watchmen’s “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice”, Stephen Williams for Watchmen’s “This Extraordinary Being”, and Mark Mylod (who’s also directed Thrones in the past) for Succession’s “This Is Not For Tears.”

Though in its final year Game of Thrones enjoyed some of the strongest and most confident directing in the show’s history, this time it has serious competition, especially with Watchmen. Then again, though the Thrones vote may be split because of the two nominations, the same could happen to Watchmen. Or Succession could win after all!

We’ll see soon enough, as the 72nd DGA awards will be celebrated on January 25.

I guess that, no matter what happens, HBO wins.

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Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 8 Winners!

WOTW AWARDS EASON 8

Last night, we hosted the Watchers on the Wall Awards, our annual celebration of the best of Game of Thrones, celebrating the final season. In case you missed the event, we’ve rounded up the highlights for you, the award winners and the lucky winners of our giveaways!

During the ceremony, there were four exciting prize giveaways for our readers. The giveaway winners are…

Arya Stark with Two-Headed Spear Funko Pop! Figure: Steve

Brienne of Tarth Kingsguard Armor Funko Pop! Figure: Nymeria

Dragon Eggs Shot Glass Set: Heike Accorsi

Sansa Stark Coronation Gown Funko Pop! Figure: Erin M

Congratulations to our giveaway winners!

The ceremony is still available online:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBatrI5TjBI%5D

The Watchers on the Wall Awards season 8 winners:

Best Episode: Episode 2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” written by Bryan Cogman, and directed by David Nutter.

Best Episode Results
Best Leading Actor: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister

Leading Actor
Best Leading Actress: Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen

Leading Actress
Best Supporting Actor: Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy

Supp Actor
Best Supporting Actress: Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth

Supp ActressBest Guest Actress: Carice Van Houten as Melisandre

Guest Actress
Best Guest Actor: Vladimir Furdik as the Night King

Guest Actor

Best Dramatic Scene: The Knighting of Brienne by Jaime

Best Dramatic Scene
Best Visual/Special Effects Scene: Jon, Dany and the dragons take on the Night King by moonlight

Best VFX Special Effects Scene
Funniest Scene: Tormund tells a tale of giant and her milk

Funniest Scene Results Finals
Best Death Scene: Jorah Mormont dies protecting his khaleesi

Death Scene results

Best New Costume: Sansa’s elaborate coronation gown

Best New Costume
All-Around Best Quote: “In the name of the Warrior….” – Jaime Lannister

Best Quote Results

Funniest Quote: Edd: Stay back, he’s got  blue eyes! Tormund: I’ve always had blue eyes!

Funniest QuoteResults

Best Speech: Jaime recites the oath while knighting Brienne

Best Speech Results
Best Fight: Cleganebowl

Best Fight
Best Battle: Battle for Winterfell (From “The Long Night”)

Best Battle

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the festivities and conversation, and for your dedicated voting!

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Watch the Season 8 Watchers on the Wall Awards LIVE!

WOTW AWARDS EASON 8

After months of nominee-gathering, discussion and voting, the time has come! We’re here to announce the winners of the Watchers on the Wall Awards for the final season of Game of Thrones! Every year our readers determine the best of the best of the season, from acting, quotable quotes, and more. Our live ceremony includes more than just awards- we’ll be sharing our own thoughts on season 8 and giving away a basketful of Game of Thrones merch, so grab a drink, settle in and tune into the ceremony, broadcast via YouTube on the video embedded below.

Our first worldwide giveaway of the evening starts NOW! The first commenter on this post wins a special gift-the Arya Stark with Two-Headed Spear Funko Pop! Figure, for the first giveaway of the Watchers on the Wall Awards. Leave a comment- any comment– and be the very first in order to win! And stay tuned for more giveaways throughout the night, as we announce the winners of the Watchers on the Wall Awards.


[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBatrI5TjBI%5D

If you can’t stay for the whole ceremony tonight, we’ll be posting the complete results later on and the video will remain available.

Thanks to everyone for joining us this evening, and to everyone who submitted nominations and took part in voting! There would be no Watchers on the Wall Awards without our readers; we’re eternally grateful for your participation in the process, and your friendship.

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Game of Thrones season eight nominated for 6 Visual Effects Society awards!

King's Landing Battle 805 Season 8 The Bells Daenerys Dany Targaryen Drogon Gates Golden Company

Visual effects are one of the most underrated arts of filmmaking, and Game of Thrones is perhaps their greatest exemplar on television, achieving heights in VFX and SFX that the medium could only have dreamt of not so long ago. Thankfully, there is a Visual Effects Society to congratulate them on their work: the HBO show has won five VES awards for each of the last two seasons, and this trend may continue for its final season…

The 18th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards nominees have been revealed, and the following are the awards for which the eighth season of Game of Thrones is a contender.

Drogon Daenerys Targaryen Battle of Winterfell Season 8 803

For ‘Outstanding Compositing in an Episode’, Game of Thrones is nominated twice: WETA digital VFX artists Mark Richardson, Darren Christie, Nathan Abbot and Owen Longstaff are nominated for their dragon ground battle in “The Long Night”; and Scanline VFX artists Sean Heuston, Scott Joseph, James Elster and Corinne Teo for their extensive visual effects throughout the fifth episode of season eight, “The Bells”. The show’s only competition here is Stranger Things‘ Starcourt Mall Battle in the season three finale and the effect of Looking Glass’s face in the Watchmen pilot.

In the ‘Outstanding Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode’ award, the penultimate episode of Game of Thrones, “The Bells”, stands for the show. VFX supervisor Joe Bauer, VFX producer Steve Kullback, additional VFX supervisor Ted Rae, VFX artist Mohsen Mousavi, and VFX floor supervisor Sam Conway are nominated for the award. Their marvelous work on “The Bells” is up against episodes of His Dark Materials, Lost in Space, Stranger Things and The Mandalorian, as well as Lady and the Tramp.

King's Landing Battle 805 Massacre Fire Blood Daenerys Dany Targaryen Drogon Season 8 The Bells

Kings Landing destruction The Bells

For the ‘Outstanding Effects Simulations in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project’ award, the explosive “The Bells” is again understandably nominated, thanks to the artistry of Scanline VFX specialists Paul Fuller, Ryo Sakaguchi and Thomas Hartmann, as well as Pixomondo VFX artist Marcel Kern. Hennessy: The Seven Worlds, Lost in Space, Stranger Things, and The Mandalorian are also nominees.

“The Bells” rears its head again in the ‘Outstanding Special (Practical) Effects in a Photoreal or Animated Project’ award, for which VFX floor supervisor Sam Conway, SFX coordinator Terry Palmer, and senior SFX technicians Laurence Harvey and Alastair Vardy are nominated. Aladdin and Terminator: Dark Fate are the other nominees.

Finally, Scanline VFX artists Carlos Patrick DeLeon, Alonso Bocanegra Martinez, Marcela Silva, and Benjamin Ross are nominated for their work on the Red Keep Plaza from which Daenerys gives her frightening speech at the start of the series finale, “The Iron Throne,” in the ‘Outstanding Created Environment in an Episode, Commercial, or Real-Time Project’ award. Their competition is the trench in Lost in Space, the Endless Forest in The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, and Nevarro Town in The Mandalorian.

Caption

The final season of Game of Thrones, especially its fifth episode, was replete with VFX (and SFX) worthy of the most expensive Hollywood films–probably because it almost had a budget to match–, so it’s not shocking to see it nominated for so many awards in this field. And yet, it’s always comforting to see great work celebrated!

Of course, we shouldn’t claim victory prematurely: Game of Thrones is tied with Disney’s VFX-heavy Star Wars: The Mandalorian. Together, Thrones and The Mandalorian lead the VES awards for TV with six nominations each, competing against each other in three of them, so it’s likely the HBO show won’t end up winning every award… then again, we’ll see soon enough, as the 18th Annual VES Awards will be held on January 29!

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Game of Thrones Star Iain Glen Joins the Con of Thrones Special Guest Lineup!

CoT_Glen_Watchers

Exciting guest news for con-goers today! For the first time, Game of Thrones star Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) will appear at 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. Glen will appear on panels and programming at Con of Thrones 2020 on Saturday, July 18 and Sunday, July 19, as well as participate in autograph and photograph experiences with fans.

Glen won acclaim for his role as Ser Jorah Mormont, a member of Daenerys Targaryen’s Queensguard, in all eight seasons of Game of Thrones. Fans can expect several entertaining and informative sessions with Glen, as well as individualized meet-and-greets. Tickets are available for purchase now at conofthrones.net/register.

Autograph and photograph experiences with Glen are available for purchase now. Autographs are $85 and photographs are $100. Autograph and photograph experiences are also available with Game of Thrones actor Anton Lesser (Qyburn) and Sam Coleman (Young Hodor). Con of Thrones will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center July 17–19, 2020.

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), Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), and Emmy Award-winning Sound Designer Paula Fairfield.

Con of Thrones is produced by Mischief Management. Watchers on the Wall is proud to serve as the official programming partner for Con of Thrones. Additional special guests and additional details will be announced at a later date.

For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit conofthrones.net or visit Facebook: www.facebook.com/conofthrones,  Twitter: @conofthrones or Instagram: @conofthrones.

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Stannis Baratheon: the Prototype for King Bran Stark

stannis

Game of Thrones the TV show is over, but the book series A Song of Ice and Fire remains unfinished, and there’s no reason not to speculate on what might happen in the books to come, as well as what elements from the show might happen in the books.

One of the endgame pieces established on the show was the election of Bran Stark as king of the political region formerly known as the Seven Kingdoms. Not everyone agrees that this will happen in the books, but a case will be made in this essay that Bran Stark becoming monarch would satisfactorily reflect on the failed journey of another character: the almost-king Stannis Baratheon.

On the surface, there might not seem to be many similarities between Bran the Broken and Stannis “he’ll break before he bends” Baratheon. But there are similarities, some so specific that it’s hard to imagine that they’re entirely coincidental.

FAMILY MATTERS

Before setting off on comparing Bran to Stannis, it’s worth comparing their older and younger brothers as a unit. Both Bran and Stannis are the middle of male siblings, and therefore have the almost universal situation of having an older brother to live up to and a bratty younger brother to deal with. That’s certainly not enough to establish a strong literary connection between these two groups, but all of the brothers have associations with their respective counterparts.

Bran’s eldest brother Robb was named after Robert Baratheon, Ned Stark’s best friend from Storm’s End. Both Robb and Robert rebelled against injustice from King’s Landing, and both became kings. Robert ended the Targaryen dynasty’s rule, and Robb reversed the Targaryen-imposed rule of the North being a vassal state to southern kings.

Robb_Stark_after_the_battle

Each established a legendary reputation for military success during their rebellion, with Robb never losing a battle and Robert – although not undefeated like Robb – leading his army to a record-breaking three victories in one day.

Bran and Stannis do not just have seemingly blessed older brothers to measure up to; they were in the shadow of popular kingly brothers.

The low stone steps balked Dancer only for a moment. When Bran urged her on, she took them easily. Beyond the wide oak-and-iron doors, eight long rows of trestle tables filled Winterfell’s Great Hall, four on each side of the center aisle. Men crowded shoulder to shoulder on the benches. “Stark!” they called as Bran trotted past, rising to their feet. “Winterfell! Winterfell!”

He was old enough to know that it was not truly him they shouted for—it was the harvest they cheered, it was Robb and his victories, it was his lord father and his grandfather and all the Starks going back eight thousand years. Still, it made him swell with pride. For so long as it took him to ride the length of that hall he forgot that he was broken. Yet when he reached the dais, with every eye upon him, Osha and Hodor undid his straps and buckles, lifted him off Dancer’s back, and carried him to the high seat of his fathers.
— A Clash of Kings, Bran III

RobertBaratheon

“Robert could piss in a cup and men would call it wine, but I offer them pure cold water and they squint in suspicion and mutter to each other about how queer it tastes.” Stannis ground his teeth.
— A Clash of Kings, Davos II

The connection between young Rickon and young-ish Renly might not be as obvious as the similarity between Robb and Robert, and it’s not enough to suggest that any resentment that the middle brothers might have in dealing with their respective younger brothers really reinforces a Bran-Stannis connection. But Rickon (in the books) seems to be following in the steps of Renly in regards to their roles in the political narrative.

Renly was the first Baratheon to declare himself king in defiance of the Lannisters, with much pomp and celebration. And, if we accept Lady Catelyn’s observation: childishness.

Renly

This is madness, Catelyn thought. Real enemies on every side and half the realm in flames, and Renly sits here playing at war like a boy with his first wooden sword.
— A Clash of Kings, Catelyn II

He was the first to die in The War of the Five Kings, his rising star dramatically fizzling out.

Renly’s quest to become king was largely enabled by the ambitions of the powerful and rich House Tyrell, who sought to gain political power by using Renly and his weaker claim as an excuse to displace their largest rivals, the Lannisters.

Rickon is just a child, and is not likely to be a mastermind seeking glory, but he exists in the story more than just to irritate Bran by hanging out with Big and Little Walder. Even though he exits the narrative at the end of A Clash of Kings with his wildling guardian Osha taking him to refuge, the boy remains a political piece in play in the North.

rickon2

Lord Wyman, the leader of powerful and wealthy House Manderly, has publicly sided with the new Bolton regime, but in A Dance with Dragons he dispatches Ser Davos Seaworth to follow the available clues to Rickon Stark’s whereabouts with the hopes of delivering the Stark child to Manderly protection in White Harbour. With Rickon, the last known surviving heir to Winterfell, Lord Wyman asserts that he can rally the North against the unpopular Boltons.

Supporters of the Great Northern Conspiracy theory suggest that although Manderly has not made this explicitly clear, Lord Wyman’s true goal would be to support Rickon over Stannis’ claim to rule the North. The similarities from a plot perspective between Rickon and Renly can be clearly summarized:

  1. Rickon being used to deny Stannis’ claim to the North would be a replay of Renly being used to deny Stannis’ claim to the throne.
  2. Rickon’s weaker claim, like Renly’s, will be supported despite him having a living older brother. To be fair to Lord Wyman, few know that Bran is even alive.

Rickon: Wait! I know Bran is alive!
Lord Wyman: That’s adorable. Let’s keep that a secret for now.

But, Rickon’s impact on the overall narrative does not seem promising. For years, readers have examined the associations of the names of each Stark child’s direwolf as reflective of the child. Rickon’s direwolf is named Shaggydog, and a shaggy dog story is a story that’s rambling and complicated and ends without justifying its telling. So Rickon’s story will likely fizzle out like Renly’s ambitions.

If we can accept that Robb and Rickon are or will be reflections of their respective Baratheon, we should now consider the similarities between Bran and Stannis and how that might affect Bran’s story in The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring.

SURLY LORDS

Stannis Baratheon is known for being the unpopular Baratheon brother (although he does have his fans with some readers.) One doesn’t have to ask anyone other than Stannis for this confirmation:

“You have given me an honored place at your table. And in return I give you truth. Your people will not love you if you take from them the gods they have always worshiped, and give them one whose very name sounds queer on their tongues.”

Stannis stood abruptly. “R’hllor. Why is that so hard? They will not love me, you say? When have they ever loved me? How can I lose something I have never owned?”
A Clash of Kings, Davos I

His unpopularity made it easier for Renly to gather support, since Renly could make the case that Stannis was an unsuitable candidate for king, based entirely on his brother’s personality.

“I have twice that number here,” Renly said, “and this is only part of my strength. Mace Tyrell remains at Highgarden with another ten thousand, I have a strong garrison holding Storm’s End, and soon enough the Dornishmen will join me with all their power. And never forget my brother Stannis, who holds Dragonstone and commands the lords of the narrow sea.”

“It would seem that you are the one who has forgotten Stannis,” Catelyn said, more sharply than she’d intended.

“His claim, you mean?” Renly laughed. “Let us be blunt, my lady. Stannis would make an appalling king. Nor is he like to become one. Men respect Stannis, even fear him, but precious few have ever loved him.”
— A Clash of Kings, Catelyn II

If there are differences between little Bran and grim Stannis, one of them is certainly in being loved. Bran is loved, no argument can be made otherwise. Bran’s adorable. Even when he’s crabby.

branface

But Bran’s crippling accident took away more than the use of his legs, it took away his dreams. (Some of them, at least.)

Bran had never asked to be a prince. It was knighthood he had always dreamed of; bright armor and streaming banners, lance and sword, a warhorse between his legs. Why must he waste his days listening to old men speak of things he only half understood? Because you’re broken, a voice inside reminded him. A lord on his cushioned chair might be crippled—the Walders said their grandfather was so feeble he had to be carried everywhere in a litter—but not a knight on his destrier.
— A Clash of Kings, Bran II

Stannis was handicapped politically by his personality, while Bran felt that he was looked down upon for his injuries, particularly among the ableist Northmen.

Leobald seemed surprised that he had spoken. “I’m grateful, my prince,” he said, but Bran saw pity in his pale blue eyes, mingled perhaps with a little gladness that the cripple was, after all, not his son. For a moment he hated the man.
— A Clash of Kings, Bran II

But things changed for both Stannis and Bran, when to their respective courts came colorful characters.

MAGICAL KINGS

Melisandre

Even her eyes were red . . . but her skin was smooth and white, unblemished, pale as cream. Slender she was, graceful, taller than most knights, with full breasts and narrow waist and a heart-shaped face. Men’s eyes that once found her did not quickly look away, not even a maester’s eyes. Many called her beautiful. She was not beautiful. She was red, and terrible, and red.
— A Clash of Kings, Prologue

Melisandre of Asshai, the Red Woman, brought the gospel to Stannis that he wasn’t simply an overlooked noble, but Azor Ahai, the prophesied reincarnation of a legendary hero.

During his tenure as the prince of Winterfell, Bran received a similarly-described individual with a specific color palette, who would support the magical initiation that had started with Bran’s crow-haunted dreams.

Jojen

Her brother was several years younger and bore no weapons. All his garb was green, even to the leather of his boots, and when he came closer Bran saw that his eyes were the color of moss, though his teeth looked as white as anyone else’s. Both Reeds were slight of build, slender as swords and scarcely taller than Bran himself. They went to one knee before the dais.
— A Clash of Kings, Bran III

The fact that Melisandre and Jojen Reed are described primarily by a color feels very intentional on Martin’s part, as well as highlighting their magical connotations, as if Gandalf the Grey, Radagast the Brown, and Saruman the White were also on the scene. Melisandre is clearly the embodiment of fire, the symbol of her magical god R’hllor, and Jojen is connected to the Old Gods and their gifts of greensight and green dreams.

To summarize, both Renly and Stannis are middle sons, with heroic kingly older brothers and younger brothers vulnerable to being political pawns. Both are presented with the idea that they have a magical destiny by agents of two major religions who strongly and visually identify with those religions.

If we are not supposed to see similarities between Stannis and Bran Stark, then this is one very large coincidence.

Assuming that this is not coincidental… there is one large difference between Stannis and Bran as magical figures. One of them is actually a magical figure (Bran) and one of them (Stannis) is not.

Carice van Houten as Melisandre_photo Helen Sloan_HBO

It’s not entirely clear why Melisandre is so convinced that Stannis Baratheon is her foretold savior, Azor Ahai. She came to Dragonstone because Stannis’ wife Selyse was a true believer in R’hllor. When King Robert died and Stannis had suspicions that Joffrey was not Robert’s true son, it might have seemed fortuitous that Lord Stannis was destined to be king, and if he would bring the faith of the Lord of Light to Westeros, then perhaps he was the faith’s hero Azor Ahai reborn.

Melisandre probably has some chicken-egg circular logic to support Stannis’ clear role as king and Azor Ahai.

Melisandre: Stannis is the rightful king because he is our lord, Azor Ahai reborn. I know that Stannis is Azor Ahai because he is the rightful king. Obviously.

Melisandre is also not above blindly accepting events to support her zealotry. A little bit of confirmation bias and Stannis is truly the hero (not a ham) born of smoke and salt. She even went so far as to stage a farcical recreation of Azor Ahai forging the famed magical blade Lightbringer as if that would make Stannis the legit savior figure. But this sword was more forgery than mystically forged, and that can’t really be considered solid bona fides for Stannis’ supernatural status.

Whereas Bran seems more like the real deal. Maybe not Azor Ahai reborn, but Bran is magical. He’s a warg and a greenseer, which is extremely rare. He not only has the blood of the First Men, but the blood of thousands of years of Starks, who have been associated with Winterfell, the heart of the North. Is Winterfell a magical place? With its hot springs and heart tree and convenient location to shelter so many during the winters, it feels like a place of beneficial blessed nature, just like Harrenhal feels supernaturally cursed.

wargingbetter

The show has indicated that Bran has a destiny to be the king of the many kingdoms, but is there evidence that he’s Azor Ahai? Wouldn’t Melisandre know? Wouldn’t her flames tell her so?

In A Dance with Dragons, Melisandre has a single point-of-view chapter where she’s desperate for information on her hero Stannis, who has gone marching off into peril.

The red priestess closed her eyes and said a prayer, then opened them once more to face the hearthfire. One more time. She had to be certain. Many a priest and priestess before her had been brought down by false visions, by seeing what they wished to see instead of what the Lord of Light had sent. Stannis was marching south into peril, the king who carried the fate of the world upon his shoulders, Azor Ahai reborn. Surely R’hllor would vouchsafe her a glimpse of what awaited him. Show me Stannis, Lord, she prayed. Show me your king, your instrument.
— A Dance With Dragons, Melisandre I

She’s presented with apocalyptic visions of shadows and skulls and crumbling towers. When she breaks from that channel to try to tune in on a vision she had seen once – of a grey girl on a dying horse – she gets a glimpse of someone unexpected.

A face took shape within the hearth. Stannis? she thought, for just a moment … but no, these were not his features. A wooden face, corpse white. Was this the enemy? A thousand red eyes floated in the rising flames. He sees me. Beside him, a boy with a wolf’s face threw back his head and howled.
— A Dance With Dragons, Melisandre I

Melisandre’s prescient scrying in the flames is tricky at best, and there could be other explanations of why she’d see Bloodraven and Bran when looking in the flames, as if they’re using the same prophetic astral plane as a shared party line. But one takeaway is that Melisandre went looking for Stannis, and ended up seeing Bran.

Sansa Jon Bran Arya War Meeting Season 8 802

She also sees Jon Snow, who is an excellent Azor Ahai candidate and has a strong claim to the Iron Throne. In Melisandre’s world view, Azor Ahai is closely associated with kingship; it’s not correct to conflate the two, but there does seem to be some correlation.

The books will probably be different in major ways from the show, but if we take some of the endgame elements as given: Bran being king, Jon in exile, Stannis dead, then the ‘Stannis —> Bran’ focus (with Jon in the middle) satisfies one of George RR Martin’s favorite storytelling element: the threefold reveal.

Simply stated, the threefold reveal will present a succession of answers to a certain question, with two incorrect ones and the final correct reveal. For example:

Who is Jon Snow’s Mother?

  • Answer 1) No one of importance. Like, some chick named Wylla, or a fisherman’s wife from the Sister Islands. (This is the wrong answer.)
  • Answer 2) Ashara Dayne. (This is also a wrong answer, but it’s a cool answer. There’s some drama here.)
  • Answer 3) The real answer. R + L = J

If Stannis is Melisandre’s initial candidate for Azor Ahai/King – he’s the first part of the threefold reveal, and false.

With the knowledge that Jon Snow is a Targaryen with the best claim to the Throne, he’s the second part of the threefold reveal. A reasonable answer, kind of spicy. But if Jon is going into exile at the end of the series, he doesn’t become king, so that’s not quite right either.

Bran is then the third part of the threefold reveal.

Stannis establishes the end goal – kingship (with the eventual defeat of the Others wrapped in as a complementary goal) but cannot achieve that goal in the story. Instead, he acts as a foil to a character with similar (but not identical) characteristics who does achieve the goal. In this case, magical middle-brother Bran Stark.

SEEING THE FUTURE IN THE FLAMES/DREAMS

If Bran is a kind of improved version of Stannis, then his untold story in the books might adopt more elements from Stannis’ narrative journey. Unfortunately it’s hard to know what how Stannis’ story is going to unfold definitively in the books. The show has Stannis dying in an attempt to capture the virtual heart (and loyalty) of the North. If it is a given that Bran will become the high king, then dying won’t be in his cards.

The other notable element that’s currently absent in the books is Stannis’ sacrifice of Shireen, consigned to the flames in exchange for a magical advantage. The logistics won’t be the same in the books, but it is probable that Shireen will indeed burn with a desperate Stannis intentionally agreeing to sacrifice her.

If Bran is an analogue of Stannis, will there be a similar sacrifice in his story? Was Hodor the sacrifice?

Hodor's Death on Game of Thrones

Will Rickon’s role be as a sacrifice required by Bran for some magical advantage against the Others? Rickon has the same ancient (and probably magical) blood of the First Men that Bran has, and blood magic is a thing in this world. The requirement for Bran to sacrifice his little brother would also reinforce the Rickon-Renly connection.

The Others will need to be driven back and since there is no singular point-of-failure command-and-control feature among the Others in the books as there was for the White Walkers on the show, something less simple than Arya stabbing the Night King will probably take place. And what that will be might require Bran and the choices that he makes.

And that might also go a long way in making him king.

Perhaps this is why the resolution of the Long Night failed to deliver to some of the show’s watchers. It was an epic event, but not necessarily mythic in the way that Bran’s active and supernatural involvement might have made it.

Comparing characters in a written work is a compelling activity, because character similarities and differences are often intended by the writer to be noticed, even if the reader’s perception of these attributes operates unconsciously. Shakespeare included the Norwegian prince Fortinbras in Hamlet not because Fortinbras had a major impact in the story, but because his decisive action to assert his rights contrasted with Hamlet’s natural inaction and indecisiveness.

When a set of characters share characteristics or circumstances with another set, the comparison is even stronger. Sir Thomas Mallory had a handful of lesser kings in Le Morte D’Arthur with whom Arthur could be favorably compared, but his decision to include the love triangle of Sir Tristan, Queen Isolde, and the unsavory King Mark of Cornwall was specifically intended to be the yardstick against which Lancelot, Queen Guinevere, and King Arthur were to be measured against.

This essay might have cherry-picked characteristics between Stannis Baratheon and Bran Stark to establish a possible correlation, and the fact that their brothers have shared characteristics with their respective counterparts can only reinforce that.

But, it doesn’t make it true, necessarily.

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

Bran might become king in the books, which would validate the show and demonstrate that Bran’s journey is the culmination of what Stannis was trying to accomplish. And present Bran as a sort of successor to Stannis as a character.

If he does not become king, then this essay is largely the same as Melisandre looking into her flames and imagining Stannis becoming king. Which would then make Bran exactly like Stannis.

Bran: Except, actually magical.

The proof will be when The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring come out, to continue and conclude the adventures of Rickon Stark, Bran Stark, and Stannis Baratheon. But until that happens we’ll have to take what clues we can from Martin’s text, informed by what’s happened on the show, and make our best guesses.

Being right is good, but being wrong isn’t that bad either. But it’s probably not ideal to stop thinking about the story to come.

Stannis: I’d rather be right.
Bran: How unfortunate for you.

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Game of Thrones Studio Tour opening this fall!

Game of Thrones Studio Tour Logo

We haven’t heard much about the Game of Thrones Studio Tour ever since it was officially announced back in April of last year, but now we have more details and a more accurate date for its opening.

As reported by The Irish News, the Studio Tour at Banbridge’s Linen Mill Studios, where much of the show was filmed, will employ up to 194 people, operating 12 hours per day, seven days a week. Expected to cost £23.7 million ($31 million USD), this Game of Thrones museum is predicted to attract up to 600,000 visitors per year, resulting in a £396.2 million ($520 million USD) boost in tourism spending for Northern Ireland by 2030, after ten years in operation. Indeed, as we originally announced, the tour is debuting in 2020, though it’s now projected to open this fall.

An official mock-up of the Studio Tour's entrance

An official mock-up of the Studio Tour’s entrance

The expanded studio will offer a 110,000-square-foot interactive experience in which guests will be treated to a close look at a wide selection of items pulled straight from the show and have the opportunity to walk through authentic set pieces, from the first to the final season, as well as informative displays highlighting the production spaces and the craftsmanship and artistry of the creative teams who brought the show to life.

There will also be a restaurant and a ‘back-lot’ café, designed to replicate the studio catering experience that the cast and crew of the show enjoyed (I hope) during production, which should be quite interesting.

So, anyone planning a trip to Northern Ireland this fall?

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Kit Harington talks leaving behind Game of Thrones, from the Golden Globes red carpet!

Kit and Rose love

The 76th Annual Golden Globe Awards took place this evening at The Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. It wasn’t a big year for Game of Thrones at the awards, but show star Kit Harington pulled in a nomination for Best Actor in a Drama Series, and turned out to present at the ceremony as well. Harington appeared at the Globes with wife and former co-star Rose Leslie on his arm, with the couple looking happy and gorgeous on the red carpet. Unfortunately, Harington lost the prize to Brian Cox of HBO’s Succession.

A few pics from the red carpet:

Kit Harington

Jason Momoa (Khal Drogo) with Lisa Bonet. The couple brought their own style as usual, a welcome change from an otherwise mostly unsurprising collection of red carpet looks.

jason momoa

Rose Leslie looking ravishing in sheer green, a great compliment with her red hair:

Rose Leslie

Oddly enough, Tobias Menzies, who played Edmure Tully on GoT, was also up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Drama this year, for his role as Prince Philip on The Crown.

Tobias Menzies

Actress Sienna Miller presented with Harington, handing off the award for Best Foreign Film to Parasite.

Sienna Miller Kit Harington

Talking to E!’s Ryan Seacrest from the red carpet before the show, Harington looks back on playing Jon Snow for a decade and admits to it being a challenge to detach from GoT.

It’s strange to think we don’t have many more events like these! Perhaps we can look forward to more group cast pics from the SAG Awards on January 19th?

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Join us Friday, January 10th, for the Watchers on the Wall Awards!

WOTW AWARDS EASON 8

After months of voting, planning and debating, it’s finally time for the Watchers on the Wall Awards, celebrating the very best of the final season of Game of Thrones! Join us on Friday, January 10th at 8PM ET for a live ceremony, streaming from YouTube and embedded here at Watchers, as we announce the award winners chosen by the community. While we share the GoT season 8 winners, we’ll be discussing the final season, and as always, there will be giveaways galore!

Be ready for the event at 8PM sharp, because the giveaways start with the very first commenter on the ceremony post! The rest of the contests will be popping up throughout the ceremony so tune in, join in the fun, comment, and win.

If you can’t make it this Friday night to hear about the winners, have no fear- we’ll be posting the awards results later on, with final polling numbers.

Thank you all for your contributions, in making the Watchers on the Wall Awards happen, this year and every year since their inception. Save the date, and join us Friday!

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Game of Thrones persists as torrent champion till the very end

Cersei Lannister Euron Greyjoy Red Keep Season 8 804

Game of Thrones isn’t only popular on HBO. It’s also been a darling of torrent sites–a popular form of piracy based on peer-to-peer downloads–ever since the HBO series began. In fact, as of season seven it’d been the TV show most pirated via torrents every year since 2012; since season two. As you may not be surprised to learn, season eight didn’t break the streak.

As reported by specialist site TorrentFreak, “the interest was again overwhelming” for this final season; so much so that this year Game of Thrones “visibly boosted traffic” on torrent sites.

The torrent podium this year was shared by the HBO mini-series Chernobyl, on second place, and Disney’s The Mandalorian, which may well take the throne next year as the two HBO shows won’t be there to compete; and did in fact unseat The Walking Dead from the top-three for the first time in many years. However, as TorrentFreak points out, The Mandalorian may have been such a massive hit on torrent sites in large part because Disney+, the streaming platform in which the show is exclusively streamed, has only been available in a few countries, mostly in North America and Oceania, and will remains so until March of this year.

As we mentioned last year, “torrent” does not refer to any kind of unnoficial / illegal download, so the overall piracy numbers would be much higher if they were to be calculated, which is no easy feat. Nowadays, many (perhaps most) users of pirated content do not bother with peer-to-peer downloads, resorting to streaming sites instead; they require no direct downloads, so they can be watched instantaneously, at the expense of quality and long-term storage. Game of Thrones was as popular as ever on streaming sites, but there is simply no easy way to calculate just how popular.

Whatever the overall numbers may be, Game of Thrones held to its title as most torrented TV show of the year for as long as the show existed, which is a sort of honor; though I’d wager HBO would rather people watch their shows through official means, this record remains an indicator of popularity.

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: The Best Scenes of Season 8

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After a long and thorough fandom process, we’ve reached the end of the road in the voting for the Watchers on the Wall Awards, with today’s categories: the Funniest Scene and Best Visual/Special Effects Scene of Season 8. 

Additionally, we’re happy to announce that we’ll be revealing the winners of the Watchers on the Wall Awards on Friday, January 10 at 8PM ET. Join us for a live ceremony, streaming from YouTube and embedded here at Watchers for your enjoyment. As we share the winners, we’ll be looking back on the final season of Game of Thrones, reminiscing over the good, the bad and the ugly, and throwing in a few giveaways just for fun!

Now onto the voting! In the category of Funniest Scene of Season 8, the finalists are:

Tormund tells a tale of a giant and her milk
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cn8is0WY7LY%5D

Tormund and Beric run into the Night’s Watch at Last Hearth
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wT1_8rhB01U%5D

Drogon stares at Jon and Dany making out
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RAgw8p5M5us%5D

Tormund is reunited with Jon enthusiastically
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n0hiRhzS1Kg%5D

Tormund cries to the Hound about Jaime taking Brienne from him
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0yOGRoxKd4%5D

The voting poll is found at the bottom of this post.

And in the category of Best Visual/Special Effects, the finalists are:

Jon and Daenerys take on the Night King by moonlight, with their dragons
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1DfBaAH_W0%5D

Drogon destroys the Iron Throne and carries away Dany’s body
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yEvmQRkOjpk%5D

Daenerys and Drogon lay waste to King’s Landing with dragonfire
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r52x0yTgcAk%5D

Daenerys make a speech to her legions, and spreads her wings
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMN_9ZFvhIY%5D

The Dothraki charge the army of the dead
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTI5Npf68BY%5D


Final round rules: To choose the winners, cast your vote in the polls below. Please make sure you vote in both polls and click VOTE on each poll! At the end of one week (Saturday 1/04/20 at 5PM ET), the scenes with the most votes will be the winners! The results of the polls will be revealed during the live Watchers on the Wall Awards ceremony on January 10th.

Funniest Scene of Season 8 – Final Round!

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You can view results from the first round of voting HERE!

Best Visual & Special Effects Scene of Season 8 – Final Round!

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You can view results from the first round of voting HERE!

A massive thank you to everyone who makes the Watchers on the Wall Awards happen, from the initial suggestions for nominations, to every voter along the way!

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A Holiday Roundup: Game of Thrones makes it into even more ‘Best of’ lists!

Jon Arya reunion godswood Winterfell

Game of Thrones has made it into a fair few ‘Best of’ lists, whether they are celebrating season eight’s achievements in the context of 2019 TV or the show as a whole for lists encompassing the entire last decade. Now, truly at the end of the year, there’s been an explosion of such lists and of course Game of Thrones can be found in most of them!

We already covered TVLine’s best deaths and sexiest scenes of 2019, but since then this ‘tits and dragons’ show has made it into more: Jaime knighting Brienne as one of 2019’s “Best Quotes” (that’s one of our award nominees too! Go vote!); Brienne and Jaime’s embrace as “Best First Kiss”; the episode in which all of the aforementioned happens, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms,” as the “Best Bottle Episode”; the Battle of Winterfell as “TV Event That Lived Up to the Hype”; Daenerys celebrating the defeat of King’s Landing, with Drogon’s wings behind her turning her into a true dragon, as one of the “The Coolest TV Scenes of 2019”; Jon killing Daenerys as one of “Best Plot Twists”; and, in very much the same vein, Daenerys as one of the TV characters this year to have a “Horrible Year”… can’t argue with that! The series finale by itself, however, got a C.

Season eight is one of Gamesradar’s “25 Best TV Shows of 2019”. At the #21 spot, it’s pointed out that, though “a bit rushed,” it was still “spectacular stuff.”

Cersei 610 Season 6 Throne

In Variety’s “25 Best TV Shows of the Decade”, Game of Thrones takes the #16 spot, as “the ultimate and perhaps final example of a consensus TV hit in the era of the fragmented audience,” and “a show that stands in for its era.” It was also celebrated in their “Best Episodes of the Decade” list, with Blackwater, the show’s first battle episode and first location-contained episode as well, which makes it stand out even today.

As for their “Best TV Performances of the Decade”, it’s difficult to argue with Variety‘s choice, even though Thrones had such a fantastic (and gigantic) cast: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister stands not only for the show but for herself, as she “ported in sharp, askew humor as well as real fear” to a character that could’ve just been the stereotypical evil queen. “This monster was, at every moment, human,” as they put it.

Thrones is also one of People’s “Best TV Shows of the Decade”, with its impact on the medium being highlighted in particular, as “entertainment writers have been vigilantly scouting for whatever new series could be billed as ‘the next Game of Thrones.’”

Tell-Tale TV admits it “struggles a bit in its final seasons” once there was no more source material “but it also set an impossibly high bar of success for future cable dramas to aspire to,” became “the last broadly appealing, culturally unifying water cooler show we see for a while”, and “brought fantasy television into the mainstream.”

Popsugar calls Game of Thrones one of their favorite TV dramas of the past decade, as “a worldwide phenomenon” that “solidified fantasy as a great TV genre.”

Game of Thrones is named one of the shows that shaped the decade at GQ, who highlight, as many others have, that the show was the last bastion of appointment TV: “With the rise of the binge-watch, this was the decade that we did away with appointment viewing—except when it came to dragons, dwarfs, and zombies.”

According to Vulture, it was “without question, the TV juggernaut of the 2010s and the show that captured the public’s imagination more than any other.” Despite an “uneven final season,” a fact remains: “While a lot of shows have tried to be the next Game of Thrones (and many more will try in the decade-to-come), there is only one true king.”

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

RollingStone places Thrones as the 15th best show of the decade and points out that its “sheer ambition, and its ability to most of the time keep all of its disparate threads feeling vital and tied to one another, remains a staggering achievement.”

Much broader than most, Refinery29′s listicle, “Top Pop Culture Moments of the Last Decade”, still manages to name Game of Thrones as the “top pop culture” thing for four different years: 2011, for its premiere; 2013, for the Red Wedding; 2015, for Jon Snow’s death; and, in much less positive terms, 2019 for its controversial final season.

Dan Weiss and David Benioff’s show makes it to the TOP 5 in USA Today’s “Best TV Shows of the 2010s”, focusing on the “impeccable acting, gorgeous costuming and an expansion of our collective ideas about what TV can achieve.”

Also as the fifth best TV show this decade, at Decider Meghan O’Keefe claims that “though its final season left a sour taste in many viewers’ mouths, Game of Thrones redefined what television could be in the 2010s,” and that “there’s no way to talk about TV in the 2010s without bending the knee for the awesome power of Game of Thrones.”

At The Hollywood Reporter, it was less of an editorial affair and more of a poll: more than 3,500 members of the film and TV academies and other industry sources were asked to pick their favorite shows of the decade, and Game of Thrones got the top spot, winning over nineteen other worthy entries, including Breaking Bad, Mad Men, Downton Abbey, Stranger Things, Fleabag, The Americans, Black Mirror, Fargo, and many others.

Finally, at CNET, the HBO series was named their most influential TV show of the decade! Beating the likes of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Downton Abbey, Stranger Things, Modern Family, Westworld, True Detective, Rick and Morty, The Expanse and many others, Game of Thrones is justly described as “a televisual juggernaut, the absolutest of absolute units when it comes to television in the 2010s.”

Targaryen Fleet, Daenerys, Tyrion, Missandei, The Winds of Winter

That’s it! 2019 is almost over and so is the decade (not technically, but let’s go with it, okay?), and Game of Thrones defined both more than most any other piece of art or entertainment one could think of. Yes, it’s all over, but our memories remain–and, of course, we’ve got the books and House of the Dragon to look forward to. Let’s hope the 2020’s are even half as amazing as the 2010’s were for this fandom!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards Season 8: The Best Quotes of Season 8

quotes banner

Welcome back for another round of Watchers on the Wall Awards finals round voting! In between your last-minute holiday shopping runs and family gatherings, spare a moment to celebrate the words of Game of Thrones. This week, we’re choosing our favorites of season 8, from the quotes that made you giggle, to the speeches that made you weep, to the serious bits that made you think. When it comes to our awards, we break it down into multiple categories: Funniest Quote, Best Speech, and All-Around Best Quote! There are three polls in this post, so make sure to vote in all three to make your final choice known in this year’s awards ceremony.

We narrowed down two of the categories in our prelims. You can see the results from the prelims here:

All three polls are found below, so debate, consider and vote!


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 12/30/19 at 5PM ET), the quote/speech 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 soon!

Best All-Around Quotes of Season 8

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Funniest Quote of Season 8:

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Best Speech of Season 8

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Thank you for voting, and happy holidays!

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Con Of Thrones 2020 Call for Programming is Now Open!

CoT20_Prog-2000x1000

Rally the realm, Game of Thrones fans- the 2020 call for programming is open for Con of Thrones!

Watchers on the Wall is proud to be the official programming partner for Con of Thrones once again, creating panels and events in tandem with Mischief Management. As we head into the new year, we’re looking for a select number of knowledgeable attendees to present on their favorite subjects from the Seven Kingdoms and beyond at the convention. Do you have a presentation, paper, panel, or workshop on a subject related to Game of Thrones or A Song of Ice and Fire? Do you have a particular theory,  a presentation on dragon lore, or an in-depth character study of Theon Greyjoy?  All kinds of proposals, from informal discussions to formal academic presentations, are welcomed.

Visit ConofThrones.net for more details and to submit your idea. The submissions deadline is April 28, 2020.

Con of Thrones is 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. Tickets are available for purchase now at conofthrones.net/register. This year’s convention will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center from July 17–19, 2020. The Rosen Centre Hotel is the official partner hotel for Con of Thrones 2020. Book now for a reduced rate.

To learn more about the convention, sign up to receive ravens, and follow Con of Thrones for updates at FacebookTwitterInstagram, and of course the official Con of Thrones 2020 website!

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Michele Clapton explains Daenerys’ white coat; season 8 is nominated for 3 Golden Reel Awards!

Tyrion Daenerys White Outfit Beyond the Wall

“One costume can tell you as much about someone’s journey as another character having six costumes,” Emmy-winning costume designer Michele Clapton says in a new interview in which she breaks down her thought process behind the design for Daenerys’ white fur coat. Plus, the brilliant Game of Thrones sound editing team for season 8 has been nominated for three Golden Reel Awards.

Michele Clapton recently spoke to TV Guide about her work on Game of Thrones, offering us a sample of the fascinating insights available in her book, Game of Thrones: The Costumes, which hit bookstores last month.

In the video below, Clapton specifically discusses Daenerys’ much-loved white coat, which debuted in the season 7 episode, “Beyond the Wall” when Daenerys rescues Jon and company from the White Walkers. Clapton explains that the coat design was born out of practicality, that “if she’s riding a dragon to the North, she should be warm,” but that it evolved from there to reflect Daenerys’ self-perception at that time.

“It’s the first time she’s performed a completely selfless task, because it’s usually for her own gain — and on this occasion, it was actually for her love,” she says (which I must say is an interesting take on Daenerys’ modus operandi). “So, I loved this idea, as I developed this costume, that it’s almost [as if] she sees herself as this savior, this angel. And so when she arrives and descends on this dragon, she is this sort of angel of mercy. I think it just said so much about her mental state at the time, how she saw herself.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nClpTSDyS6E?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D


In other news, the MPSE (Motion Picture Sound Editors) has nominated Game of Thrones for three Golden Reel Broadcast Media awards, which celebrate excellence in sound editing.

The sound team for the episode “The Bells” is nominated for Best Dialogue/ADR in an episodic long form program:
Supervising Sound Editor: Tim Kimmel
Supervising ADR Editor: Tim Hands, MPSE
Dialogue Editors: Paul Bercovitch, John Matter

The team for “The Bells” is also nominated for Sound Effects/Foley:
Supervising Sound Editor: Tim Kimmel
Sound Designer: Paula Fairfield, MPSE
Sound Effects Editors: Bradley Katona, MPSE Luke Gibleon
Foley Artists: Jeffrey Wilhoit, MPSE Dylan Tuomy-Wilhoit
Foley Editor: Brett Voss, MPSE

Lastly, music editor, David Klotz, is nominated for music editing in “The Long Night.”

If you want to remind yourself how beautifully music was utilized in that particular episode (or if you just need a nice cry), enjoy this clip from Game of Thrones Live:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aB6Q2hJdICw?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

You can read the full list of nominees at MPSE.org. Winners will be announced at the 67th Annual Golden Reel Awards on January 19, 2020.

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Young Hodor Actor Sam Coleman Joins the Con of Thrones Guest Line-up!

Sam Coleman

Con of Thrones announced today another addition to the special guest line-up for 2020:  Games of Thrones actor Sam Coleman (Young Hodor)! Coleman will appear at Con of Thrones on Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18. This is a welcome return, as the actor was a favorite at past cons. Tickets for 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, are available for purchase now at conofthrones.net/register.

Autograph and photograph experiences with Coleman are available for purchase now. Autographs are $10 and photographs are $20. Autograph and photograph experiences are also available with Game of Thrones actor Anton Lesser (Qyburn). Con of Thrones will take place in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center July 17–19, 2020.

As in past years, Con of Thrones 2020 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. Con of Thrones is produced by Mischief Management; Watchers on the Wall serves as the programming partner for the convention, and we’re excited to help bring a fun variety of panels and events to fans. We’ll be opening up for panel submissions very soon!

Previous guests include 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), Aimee Richardson (Myrcella Baratheon), and Emmy Award-winning Sound Designer Paula Fairfield.

Stay tuned for updates and we’ll see you in Orlando!

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Game of Thrones Season 8 Tops DVD/Blu-ray Sales Chart on First Week of Release!

Daenerys looking at throne

The Game of Thrones Season 8 Blu-ray and DVD releases have been on the market for a few weeks now and they’re already breaking records. Despite streaming services obviating the need of physical media for many, season eight is officially a best-seller!

According to specialist website MediaPlayNews, on the week of its release on December 3, Game of Thrones: The Complete Eighth Season “topped the NPD VideoScan First Alert chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc Unit sales,” as well as “the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.” The final season of Game of Thrones won over Angel Has Fallen, which even in its second place sold only “38% as many copies as Game of Thrones.”

The Blu-ray versions accounted for a slight majority of the sales over the older DVD format; for a ratio of 53%/47%, specifically. The 4K Blu-ray subset enjoyed a respectable 10% of overall sales, which is quite impressive for such a new, expensive format.

One would think the criticism season eight received would be reflected on its home media sales, but it seems loud online fan discourse doesn’t reflect the reality of potential buyers. As per MediaPlayNews, to find a TV show on top of the disc sales charts is “a rarity” in these days of streaming, when almost anyone can rewatch the season online.

Arya-Stark-Night-King-Season-8-803-The-Long-Night~2

Of course, getting the Blu-ray is the only way to get all the juicy extras, from commentary tracks and making-of docs to narrated “Histories & Lore” features; not to mention a consistent HD picture quality not dependant on the whims of your Internet Service Provider. Personally, I’m particularly eager to experience “The Long Night” as I originally did: with its untouched painterly quality and no crushed blacks!

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Watchers reviews Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Collector’s Set on Blu-ray!

Game of Thrones Limited Edition Collector's Set

The home release of Game of Thrones Season 8 landed this December, just in time for the holiday season! HBO was kind enough to send Watchers on the Wall a copy of Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Limited Edition Collector’s Set for review, so we were able to get a close-up look at the ultra-premium Blu-ray set that includes every season and a host of special features. Does it live up to the hype? Let’s find out!

The Complete Collection exclusively features the Game of Thrones: Reunion Special, a two-part reunion show with cast members from the final season including Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Sophie Turner, Sean Bean and many more, and is hosted by Conan O’Brien. The set features additional bonus content including all-new deleted and extended scenes, animated histories and lore pieces, behind-the-scene featurettes, audio commentaries and the documentary Game of Thrones: The Last Watch.

My first impression of this Collector’s Set was the sheer size of it. The box is HUGE for a Blu-ray set, 13 x 13 x 5 inches. I wasn’t expecting that, just going off the photos of The Complete Collection. And hot on the heels of that was the impact of the beauty. It’s apparent a great deal of thought went into the concept of this Collector’s Set, and the work paid off. The overall packaging is beautifully conceived, with illustrations provided by Robert Ball, best known for his work on the well-loved Beautiful Death series for Game of Thrones. The collection is uniquely housed in a wooden shadow box, filled with Great House sigils, settings and the Iron Throne itself. A Hand of the King pin seals it closed as needed for a rich touch. The shadow box lends the feel of a story unfolding, rather than being just another pretty disc holder. This really is a collectible.

GOT Complete Collection_1-8Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection Bonus Features Include:

• Game of Thrones: Reunion Special: A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O’Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark, & Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.
• Bonus content and retail exclusive videos from previously released individual season box sets, totaling more than 15 hours of extra materials for fans to explore when they’ve finished watching the series.

The Complete Series and Season 8 formats also exclusively feature:

• Game of Thrones: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season.
When Winter Falls: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the “Battle of Winterfell” in Season 8, Episode 3.
Duty is the Death of Love: A compelling look at how the team behind Game of Thrones and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, “The Iron Throne.”
Audio Commentaries: Audio Commentaries with cast and crew, including the show’s creators, Benioff and Weiss, on the final season.
• Deleted and Extended Scenes: 5 never-before-seen deleted or extended scenes from season 8.
• Histories and Lore: New animated pieces giving the history and background of notable season 8 locations and storylines.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZUG2Miya-0%5D

As you can see from the clip above, the Reunion Special is a breezy treat, with footage from the earliest years destined to tug at your heartstrings and have you reminiscing. The cast are clearly good friends, and family at this point, and have truly been on a journey together. I don’t know that it adds a lot of deep insight into the show at this point but it’s just nice to see them together once again, and Conan O’Brien has always been very good at working with the cast of GoT. An edgier moderator might’ve pushed them harder but that’s clearly not what they were going for in this loving look back on ten years together.

The six Histories and Lore in the final edition are all excellent in quality of production, as always, though somewhat lacking in variety, with Conleth Hill (Varys) narrating four out of the six. Swing by our post where we debuted “The Greyjoy Rebellion” for a sneak peek of that clip!

When it comes to the Histories narration and the audio commentaries choices, I understand that the choices often depend on practical availability/scheduling, so that may partially explain the odd choices. I think fans will agree we would have loved to see more people in the mix on the audio commentaries (line-up in this post).  The technical commentary provided on “The Long Night” is fascinating and valuable, but a separate commentary from the actors also would’ve been amazing.

There’s a stack of bonus featurettes, fun deleted scenes, and interviews on the discs to shore up any minor weaknesses though, and Thrones Blu-rays have always operated on another level. Nothing else compares.

Rewatching The Complete Series on Blu-ray leaves no doubt that Game of Thrones is a monumental achievement. It doesn’t surprise me one bit that we’re all so passionate about it, from beginning to end.


Game of Thrones Season 8 on DVD/Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD and Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection are available now in stores and online retailers everywhere.

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Peter Dinklage stands by Game of Thrones finale

Tyrion 806 Game of Thrones Season 8 King's Landing Lannister

Endings of popular stories are cursed to be argued about till the end of time–and there’s few as popular as Game of Thrones. Add to that volatile foundation a final season many deem as rushed and a decidedly confrontational finale that would be divisive in the best of cases, and you have the recipe for an ending for which the label “controversial” seems an understatement. Most of the cast and crew alike have been steadfast defenders of their final entry, however, and Peter Dinklage is the latest cast member to put his two cents in from the perspective of the man who portrayed one of the game’s main players for a decade.

Addressing the fan response to the final season, Dinklage tells The New Yorker that he didn’t really follow the controversy, but has thoughts about negative reactions to the ending nevertheless.

“Well, everybody’s always going to have an opinion, and that means an ownership,” he elaborates. “It’s like breaking up with somebody. They get upset. I can’t speak for everybody, but my feeling is they didn’t want it to end, so a lot of people got angry. I feel like what [the showrunners] Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] did was extraordinary. This happens. Monsters are created. And you don’t see it coming. We vote them into office. You look the other way. So for everybody to get upset because they loved a character so much and they had so much faith in that person—there were signposts all along the way for that character.”

According to the actor, Daenerys Targaryen’s infamous fall had to happen “because of what was happening all along. It added up to something. There are people who’ve named their children Khaleesi. You’ve just got to maybe wait till the series finale before you get that tattoo or name your golden retriever Daenerys! I can’t help you! I’m sorry. She went mad. She was driven to that, and she’s a victim as well in terms of how she was treated. She went through it, and she came out angry, as a lot of us do.”

As for the fate of his own character, Tyrion, Dinklage admits he did not expect him to survive. In fact, none of the cast did: “We were all nervous when we got the scripts.”

Looking back on Tyrion’s long and painful journey through Game of Thrones, Dinklage (thankfully) doesn’t see himself reflected on the character, saying “it’s pretty extreme things he went through. He killed his father and his girlfriend. I didn’t really progress along the same path as he did.” Nevertheless, he “did enjoy playing him” and says he “just loved Northern Ireland, where we shot it. It became my second home. So I miss that life. I miss all of that.”

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Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones ensemble cast, Deborah Riley, Michele Clapton nominated by their guilds for Season 8

Tyrion Lannister Season 8 801 4

The end (of the year) is nigh and that means only one thing: we’re one more year closer to extinction–and after the apocalypse, A Dream of Spring will finally be released. Oh, and I guess the end of the year also means it’s award season! The final year of Game of Thrones may have been controversial to say the least, but it was also a monumental achievement of television and the various filmmaking guilds are acknowledging that hard work, including the Art Directors Guild, Costume Designers Guild and Screen Actors Guild.

This past Monday the Art Directors Guild nominated production Deborah Riley for her magnificent work in the final season, specifically for “The Bells,” in the category of “One Hour Period or Fantasy Single-Camera Series.” The explosive episode’s (also explosive) production design goes up against Bo Welch’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Martin Childs’ The Crown, Andrew L Jones’s The Mandalorian, and Bill Groom’s The Marvelous Mrs. Meisel. The winner will be revealed on February 1, 2020.

I probably don’t need to remind you this penultimate episode included the Red Keep’s crumbling stairway where the Clegane brothers battle it out and, most prominently, an immense recreation of the streets of King’s Landing in the midst of fire and blood, based on the architecture of Dubrovnik, the Croatian city most commonly used to depict the capital of the Seven Kingdoms. The work of Riley and her team was so good, in fact, that so many watchers at home understandably didn’t realize the streets we saw were a built set, but I assure you it was a thing to behold:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xrWQkyCAX0A&w=700&h=394%5D

Riley is nominated alongside her team: supervising art director Paul Ghirardani; art directors Philip Elton, Hauke Richter, Nick Wilkinson, and Harry Pain; standby art Directors Mark Lowry and Rachel Aulton; senior draughtsman Brendan Rankin; draughtsmen Owen Black and Jamie Shakespeare; junior draughtsman Grace-Anna Hay; concept artists Kieran Belshaw, Philipp Scherer, Daniel Blackmore, Ulrich Zeidler, and Jessica Sinclair; graphic designers Jim Stanes and Rhiannon Fraser; scenic artists David Packard and Thomas Kirkwood; and set decorator Rob Cameron.

Interestingly, the nomination is accompanied by a design presentation document that shows not only their extensive King’s Landing work on “The Bells” but the major expansions of Winterfell for the final season, in pretty great detail:

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When one sees what went into designing and buildings these gigantic, modular sets, one begins to appreciate a fraction of the work that goes into this job. I closely followed the construction of the new Winterfell and King’s Landing sets since their inception during the eighth season’s production, and even I was amazed by the end result–or perhaps I was so amazed precisely because I saw the kind of time and resources it took to make it all real. Whatever the case may be, and whatever you think of the final season, I hope you can appreciate Deborah Riley’s and her team’s hard work and we can all together hope for them to win this Art Directors Guild award.

Sansa Stark 806 Season 8 Queen in the North

Next day–yesterday, that is– the Costume Designers Guild presented, as per Deadline, their own award nominees, which of course included Game of Thrones‘ perennial costume designer Michele Clapton and her work on the series finale in particular, “The Iron Throne.” Nominated for the “Excellence in Sci-Fi / Fantasy Television” CDG award, she is competing with Joyce Schure for Carnival Row’s “Aisling”, Natalie Bronfman for The Handmaid’s Tale’s “Household”, Cynthia Summers for A Series of Unfortunate Events’ “Penultimate Peril: Part 2”, and Sharen Davis for Watchmen’s “It’s Summer and We’re Running Out of Ice.”

There is little doubt why “The Iron Throne” was chosen to stand for Clapton’s work in season eight. All of it had marvelous work, especially in regards to Daenerys and Sansa’s amazing costumes, but “The Iron Throne” featured Sansa’s coronation dress (for which you can still vote –amongst others– in our own Best Costume award.)

I would say it’s the perfect costume for Sansa’s coronation as Queen in the North–with the quintessential Northern design mixed with all the people who inspired her, all of it with Sansa’s own flair–, but don’t let a costuming ignoramous like me explain it to you; instead, go read professional fashion designer Hogan McLaughlin’s final “Game of Threads” piece here at Watchers on the Wall. It truly is a work of art, and it holds a special place in the show’s history (and in Michele Clapton’s heart, reportedly) as her own hands are seen on-screen helping Sansa put it on, in one of the show’s final scenes.

sansa coronation gown

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Last but not least, today the Screen Actors Guild released their nominees for their 26th annual awards, and Peter Dinklage was among them in the ‘Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series’ category. The other nominees were Sterling K. Brown for This Is Us, Steve Carell and Billy Crudup for The Morning Show, and David Harbour for Stranger Things.

Dinklage has always been an awards-favorite, especially compared to his sometimes undervalued Thrones co-stars, as it’s so difficult to stand out in such an ensemble show. Nevertheless, Dinklage’s Tyrion gets to shine on awards season one last time, adding this SAGA nomination to his long list of nominations and wins. He may not have been the standout protagonist of season eight, as he was in seasons two and four especially (for which he didn’t get so many awards, funnily enough), but Dinklage still delivered an excellent performance, particularly in the series finale.

Remember what I mentioned about standing out in an ensemble? Thankfully, the SAG Awards account for that with the ‘Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series’ award, for which Game of Thrones‘s entire main and recurring cast was nominated: Alfie Allen (Theon Greyjoy), Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), John Bradley (Samwell Tarly), Gwendoline Christie (Brienne of Tarth), Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Ben Crompton (Dolorous Edd), Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), Joe Dempsie (Gendry Baratheon), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Richard Dormer (Beric Dondarrion), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Jerome Flynn (Bronn of the Blackwater), Iain Glen (Jorah Mormont), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Conleth Hill (Varys), Kristofer Hivju (Tormund Giantsbane), Rory McCann (Sandor ‘the Hound’ Clegane), Hannah Murray (Gilly), Staz Nair (Qhono), Daniel Portman (Podrick Payne), Bella Ramsey (Lyanna Mormont), Richard Rycroft (Maester Wolkan), Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark), Rupert Vansittart (Yohn Royce), and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark.)

When competing for a lead actor award, it’s easy to see how Game of Thrones may lag behind, as it just doesn’t have the time to dedicate to a single actor or character that other shows do, but this kind of ensemble cast award appears to be tailor-made for this show, so I really hope it wins. The cast did magnificent work this final season, and it deserves to be rewarded. The other nominees are no slouches, though, with the ensemble casts of Big Little Lies, The Crown, The Handmaid’s Tale, and Stranger Things all competing for the big shared prize.

Finally, there is the ‘Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series’, in which Game of Thrones is up against Glow, Stranger Things, The Walking Dead, and Watchmen. I’ve watched all of these shows, and there’s some incredible stunt acting in all of them, but–pardon my bias–I can’t see how the Game of Thrones stunt team doesn’t go home with this award. Some truly remarkable (and record-breaking) stunts were performed in this final season.


While we’re in this awards spirit: TVLine included Jaime and Brienne’s sex scene in its list of sexiest TV scenes of 2019, pointing out they are “happy to pretend that Jaime and Brienne’s story ended after Ser Jaime introduced his Oathkeeper to her maidenhead, and they lived happily ever after”. Jorah’s death in defense of his queen also made the cut in their list of the year’s best TV deaths. Here I Stand!

Before you go–this time really last but probably also least–The Wrap reports that Game of Thrones was the most tweeted TV show of 2019. A dubious honor, to put it mildly, but it does reflect how much of a cultural juggernaut the show had become by its final season.

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“Loner Throner” Kit Harington on Being the Sole Game of Thrones Golden Globe Nomination

Jon Snow

Winter may still be yet to come, but Game of Thrones continues its awards demolition, whatever the season (of Earth or of television). However, among the plethora of awards shows, the Golden Globes have never really been GOT’s jam. While it’s been fairly regularly nominated for best series, its history of actor nominees record few and far between nominations. Season 5 and season 7 only received nominations for best TV drama, and season 6 received nominations for best TV drama as well as Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister) for best supporting actress – TV. Prior to that, the ONLY other actor ever nominated for a globe was Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), for best supporting actor – TV. So, Kit Harington (Jon Snow) being the only nominee for GOT this year, acting or otherwise, is no small feat, and one of which he should be proud. Well, it just so happens that he is.

“I’m the ‘loner Throner,’ it seems…I just imagine myself sitting down at a table all by myself as the ‘loner Throner!’” Kit tells the Hollywood Reporter. Speaking of sitting down at a table, it turns out that’s where he was when he found out about the nomination, blissfully unaware that an announcement was even being made: “I didn’t expect to be nominated[.] I thought the show might be, but I was just at home, learning lines, and then my publicists called. It was very unexpected and wonderful.”

Now, before the hoity toity “See, I told you even he didn’t care about season 8!” backlash rolls in, I’ll let you know that Kit does not waver in his defense of the show and his character: “We spent a lot of years with this thing [GOT]. Obviously, I dearly loved it. I loved every moment of it. I loved the character. It’s a weird feeling, but I feel kind of happy for him, the character, if that makes sense.”

Ok, fine, but…surely Kit couldn’t have loved the ending, right?

“For me, that’s the perfect ending for him…It’s where I wanted him to be. I didn’t want him on the throne, and I didn’t want him to be dead. I wanted him to be in the North, where he belongs. My feeling is where he ended in the show is exactly where he should have ended. There was a full-circledness to it. This [nomination] feels full circle, too. It’s a lovely way to say goodbye to the character. It’s a lovely way to say goodbye to the show. It’s perfect, in my book.”

The Golden Globes will be hosted by Ricky Gervais, and air Sunday January 5th on NBC.

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Kit Harington gets Golden Globes nomination for Game of Thrones Season 8!

Jon and Tormund The Iron Throne

The 77th Golden Globe Awards will be celebrated this coming January 5, which means the nominations were revealed today, just four weeks before the event. Game of Thrones never sweeps at the Golden Globes as it does at the Emmys, but the show did get a key nomination: Kit Harington!

Nominated for the ‘Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama Television Series’ category, Harington is accompanied by stiff competition: Brian Cox for Succession; Rami Malek for Mr. Robot; Game of Thrones‘ own Edmure Tully, Tobias Menzies, for The Crown; and Billy Porter for Pose.

This time Game of Thrones didn’t get any nominations for Best Actress (with, say, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, or the many other likely candidates), which is business as usual; Lena Headey was the only Thrones actress to ever be nominated, back in 2017. As for Best Drama Series nods, the show’s gotten them in the past, but it’s never been consistent: it got none for seasons two or three, and it’s never won. In fact, the HBO show only ever won anything at the Golden Globes back in 2012, when Peter Dinklage went home with the Best Drama Actor award for the first season.

With this track-record and the impressive competition, Harington’s chances for winning on January 5 don’t look stellar, but we can hope, and we certainly congratulate him for the nomination alone!

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Game of Thrones scores 4 Critics’ Choices Awards nominations!

Photo courtesy of Helen Sloan/HBO

Photo: Helen Sloan/HBO

Nominations were announced today for the 25th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards, and Game of Thrones performed well, pulling in four nominations for the final season of the show. The winners will be announced live on The CW network Sunday, January 12th, 2020, in a gala ceremony at the Barker Hangar in Santa Monica, CA. The event will be hosted by Taye Diggs, and broadcast live 7:00 – 10:00 pm ET.

The nominations for Game of Thrones are:

Best Drama Series

The Crown (Netflix)
David Makes Man (OWN)
Game of Thrones (HBO)
The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Pose (FX)
Succession (HBO)
This Is Us (NBC)
Watchmen (HBO)

Best Actor in a Drama Series

Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us (NBC)
Mike Colter – Evil (CBS)
Paul Giamatti – Billions (Showtime)
Kit Harington – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Freddie Highmore – The Good Doctor (ABC)
Tobias Menzies – The Crown (Netflix)
Billy Porter – Pose (FX)
Jeremy Strong – Succession (HBO)

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Asante Blackk – This Is Us (NBC)
Billy Crudup – The Morning Show (Apple)
Asia Kate Dillon – Billions (Showtime)
Peter Dinklage – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Justin Hartley – This Is Us (NBC)
Delroy Lindo – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Tim Blake Nelson – Watchmen (HBO)

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Helena Bonham Carter – The Crown (Netflix)
Gwendoline Christie – Game of Thrones (HBO)
Laura Dern – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Audra McDonald – The Good Fight (CBS All Access)
Jean Smart – Watchmen (HBO)
Meryl Streep – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Susan Kelechi Watson – This Is Us (NBC)

Congratulations to Kit, Peter and Gwendoline! Christie reacted to the news on Instagram in typically exuberant fashion, complimenting her fellow performers and showing gratitude for the nom.

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

Tune into the CW in January to see if Game of Thrones wins!

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John Bradley got so into character during GoT that Sam’s anxiety became all too real

707 - Winterfell - Sam 1 (2)

As a character, there’s embodying a character and then there’s becoming said character. Apparently, John Bradley may have unwittingly gone too far in his decade-long portrayal of Samwell Tarly, as the character’s characteristic stutter eventually got out of control and started even affecting Bradley outside of his role in Game of Thrones.

As we learnt via Metro, as a recent guest at the Blank Podcast with Giles Paley-Phillips & Jim Daly, Bradley opened up about his performance anxiety caused by playing Sam Tarly:

“I got into this trap with Sam, I set myself traps, because he had a traumatic childhood and suffered a lot – and it manifested through a stammer and a twitch sometimes. It can cause psychological barriers to show how he was brought up in a highly charged environment and he was almost frightened to speak and he’s not sure whether he’s allowed to speak or to express his opinion on things and so I thought how am I going to show that?,” the actor explains how he as an actor arrived at Sam’s stammering.

Unfortunately, things went a bit too far. By the mid-point of the show, Bradley had reportedly lost complete control of when he stammered or not. And, in his words, “towards the end of Game of Thrones, it became the only way I could act, and I got into the unconscious mindset that people want me to do this.”

“There are takes of me where it felt like it would be five minutes where I am just standing with other the actors and I couldn’t speak and I just can’t get the words out and certain sounds would trip me up,” he recounts, highlighting one incident with Jon Snow’s actor in particular: “In one scene I came in first with Kit Harrington and in the nicest way he said to me ‘can you come in a bit quicker?’ so I can react a bit quicker and I was like ‘I can’t, I just can’t.’ As lovely as the crew were, they assumed it was because I had forgotten my lines. It took me a while to get out of it and it went away over time.”

Jon Snow Samwell Tarly season 5

To make matters worse for poor John, this stutter ended up being not only an uncontrollable part of his portrayal as Sam but a habit that seeped into any other roles he’d portray: “Towards the end of that journey, that stammer would turn up in non-Sam acting and I’d do auditions when I’d stammer because it just seemed like the default place that I went to when I acted. I think people thought it was part of me but it wasn’t, but it was performance anxiety.”

I think we can all agree Bradley did a wonderful as Sam from start to finish, and that he embodied the character as few others could. Nevertheless, it’s a pity to hear that such an excellent portrayal had a dark side of sorts to it, or at least unintended consequences.

I myself can’t imagine getting into character so much that the character takes a live of their own; but that’s (one of the many reasons) why I am not an actor. As for Bradley, who is very much an actor, I believe all there’s left to say is that we should all wish him well and hope Sam’s contagious performance anxiety was only temporary.

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

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As part of the Watchers on the Wall Awards, we like to pay tribute to all the actors who appear on Game of Thrones, from the leads, to the supporting actors, to the guest performers who bring their talents to the show for a shorter amount of time. It’s time to show some love for the short-term scene-stealers who leave a lasting impression and add to the colorful landscape of Game of Thrones‘ final season!

For Best Guest Actress, our nominees are:

Laura Elphinstone as Nora (In “The Bells”)
Bea Glancy as Teela (In “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms” and “The Long Night”)
Carice van Houten as Melisandre (In “The Long Night”)
Gemma Whelan as Yara Greyjoy (In “Winterfell” and “The Iron Throne”)

For Best Guest Actor, the nominees are:

Lino Facioli as Robin Arryn (In “The Iron Throne”)
Vladimir Furdik as the Night King (In “The Long Night”)
Harry Grasby as Ned Umber (In “Winterfell”)
Tobias Menzies as Edmure Tully (In “The Iron Throne”)
Marc Rissman as Harry Strickland (In “Winterfell” and “The  Bells”)

*To qualify for a guest category, nominated actors and actresses required credited appearances in 1 or 2 episodes in Season 8.*


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 12/13/19 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!

Best Guest Actor:

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Best Guest Actress:

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Game of Thrones wins AFI awards and makes onto Best of the Decade lists

802 Knight of the Seven Kingdoms Brienne Jaime Knighting Brightened

The end of the year and thus, the decade is fast approaching and the “Best of” lists are pouring in, many of them celebrating Game of Thrones for being the television game changer it is. Game of Thrones was also honored at the American Film Institute (AFI)’s 2019 Awards!

Game of Thrones was named one of the 10 most “culturally and artistically significant” television programs at the AFI 2019 Awards.

Indeed, ‘tis the season for top 10 lists (as well as top 50, top 100, etc) not just for the year but for the 2010s decade. And I’m glad to say that Game of Thrones is featured on quite a lot of them.

Uproxx included it on its list (with no numerical ranking) of Best Shows of the Decade, in which Jason Tabrys says that, despite its controversial ending, the show remained a standout for “the creative mixology that turned an unfinished set of fantasy novels into a cultural juggernaut.”

Mashable placed it at #11 in their 15 Best TV Shows of the 2010s along with a truly beautiful summation of how Game of Thrones created a community, as “it gripped viewers in a way that nothing had in years, crossing bridges of culture, age, and other seemingly arbitrary distinctions between people that cease to exist when we’re bonding over television we love.”

Esquire placed Game of Thrones at #10 on its top … uh, 10 list, though with some kind words: “This was a television event the likes of which we’d never seen and will likely never see again.”

PasteMagazine.com put it at #16 on its 100 Best TV Shows of the 2010s, where Josh Jackson highlighted the complex humanity of the story as what “made this show an epic cultural juggernaut,” even past had he considers its prime.

TVGuide.com placed it at #10 on its 25 Best Shows the Decade, with Amanda Bell emphasizing the first few seasons; “when co-creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had the strength of George R.R. Martin’s books to guide their scripts, their adaptation was superb.” Despite any issues, it “absolutely defined the decade.”

AV Club put Game of Thrones at #30 on its list of the 100 Best TV Shows of the 2010s, with Myles McNutt pointing out how “at its fiery peaks, few shows in the decade burned brighter, but the icy reception to its finale reflects its struggles to measure up in a decade with so many of TV history’s finest endings.”

Film School Rejects ranked it #4 on its 50 Best TV Shows of the Decade list. According to Farah Chedad, “at its best (its mid-point), Thrones was peerless TV, raising the bar for the medium by delivering moral complexity and dramatic curve-balls with great finesse.”

Finally, The Independent and Buzzfeed really showed Game of Thrones some love:

The Independent ranked it at #1 on its list of 30 Best TV Shows of the Decade: “At a time when viewing tastes were meant to be becoming more atomised, Game of Thrones was global event TV, which made household names of the Starks, Lannisters and Greyjoys and provided a whole generation of English character actors with a regular income.”

Buzzfeed ranked it as the #1 best (and “arguably the biggest”) show in its list of the 55 Best TV Shows of the Decade, claiming it “will endure long after the 2010s,” and highlighting Season 6 as its peak.

Wildfire at the Battle of Blackwater

Moving on from the show overall, there were many lists of best episodes of any TV show released this year or decade, and understandably Thrones made it into a few of them:

TV Guide ranked “A Knight if the Seven Kingdoms”, the quietest yet perhaps most lauded episode of season eight, #5 in its list of the 15 Best Episodes of 2019. Lindsay MacDonald commends it for “taking a break to settle down and do some real character work” in an otherwise breakneck season.

Even more ambitious, in a list of the 50 Best TV Episodes of the Decade, Film School Rejects ranked “Blackwater” at #6, pinpointing it as “the moment Game of Thrones went from a great show to something truly special.”

Finally, Buzzfeed News listed “Baelor”, the episode that first defined the show for much of the audience, as one of the 25 Best Episodes of TV of the Decade, precisely because “no episode of Game of Thrones had a larger impact, on the show, and on television itself.”

Caption

These lists are pretty much designed for creating conversation… or conflict (clicks, at any rate), so I imagine there will be many people disagreeing in the comments section below. Let’s just remember it’s all opinions, and that the most productive thing you can do is offer you own instead! Let’s not get angry and celebrate the show that defined the decade for many of us, in more ways than one. Happy holidays!

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The winners of our Game of Thrones Complete Series & Season 8 Blu-Ray Giveaways!

game of thrones complete collection bluray

The Game of Thrones: The Complete Series and Season 8 DVD and Blu-ray boxsets are available as of today, and Watchers on the Wall is celebrating the occasion by revealing the five winners of our recent giveaway contest.

We’ve gathered up all your entries, and if you’re one of the lucky five, you’ll get either the Complete Series Blu-ray, the Season 8 4K Blu-ray, or one of three Season 8 Blu-ray boxsets.

Imagine a drum roll, please, for the revelation of our first winner…

Queen Marx!

Queen Marx said her favorite moment from the final season is Jon going beyond the Wall at the end. A beautiful ending for a character who’s gone through so much… and now, Queen Marx, you’ll get to relive it, alongside the rest of season eight… and every other season! Indeed, Queen Marx goes home with the grand prize: Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection!

Exclusive to this amazing all-encompasing collection is the Game of Thrones: Reunion Special, a reunion show shot live in Belfast with cast from previous seasons as well as the last one, hosted by Conan O’Brien, assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark, & Targaryen and concluding with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.

Next, the winner of the 4K Blu-Ray copy of Season 8 is…

Michelle Carlton!

Michelle’s favorite moment was Drogon melting the Iron Throne and then carrying Dany away, which she’ll now get to rewatch in excruciating 4K detail.

Finally, we have three Blu-ray copies of Season 8 to give away. The boxset contains not only all six episodes of the final season but amazing extras such as The Last Watch, Jeanie Finlay’s documentary of the making of the season; When Winter Falls, an exclusive 30-minute featurette with cast, crew, and showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, chronicling the filming of the “Battle of Winterfell”; Duty is the Death of Love, with Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, and the writers and producers discussing the series finale; several audio commentaries; deleted and extended scenes; new Histories and Lore animated pieces; and more.

The first two winners of our three Game of Thrones Season 8 Blu-ray boxsets come from Twitter, and they are…

Heike Accorsi!

Joey Joyy!

And finally, a winning entrant from Facebook…

Sergio Leonardo Cabrera!

And that’s it! Congratulations, Queen Marx, Michelle, Heike, Joey, and Sergio! These five winners will soon be gifted five new copies of Game of Thrones Season 8 or, in the case of Queen Marx, the Complete Series. We hope you enjoyed the giveaway! Happy holidays and thank you to everyone who took part!

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Season Eight Wins 3 Clio Awards, Pterosaur gets Game of Thrones name, and more!

Drogon Daenerys 804 Season 8

It’s a busy time of year for Game of Thrones fans, is it not? We’re on the cusp of the new year, with season 9 right around the – Oh. Oh, right. Sigh. Well, in any case, the show might be over, but the hits, they keep a’coming! From awards wins to stars idolizing one another to science and GOT merging, we’re seeing it all. We’ve got a couple of itty bitty tidbits to round up so buckle up, and head on in.

Up first? The awards. Never one for sitting on the sidelines, GOT continues to steamroll the competition, and this time at an awards show I’ve never never heard of! What are the Clio Awards? Where are the Clio Awards? Who are the Clio Awards? According to a quick Bing search, I should head over to Google. But according to a Google search, the Clio Awards are the “premier international awards competition for the creative business, celebrat[ing] creative excellence in advertising, and honor[ing] the work and talent that pushes boundaries, permeates pop culture, and establishes a new precedent around the globe.” More specifically, it nominates and awards trophies to ad campaigns, rather than the shows themselves. GOT won three Clio Awards:

  1. Game of Thrones, ‘For the Throne’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psyeb4envS0?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

2. Game of Thrones, ‘Joust’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyo5fExfGNs?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

3. Game of Thrones, ‘Bleed for the Throne’

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyo5fExfGNs?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

Well done, all! And now I’ll add this awards show into my knowledge bank!

Next up, a star in his own right gets starstruck by the star of our show, our very own mother of dragons:

//www.instagram.com/embed.js

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be famous and run into another famous person. Do you just talk like friends, or do you freak out like so many of us? Well now we have an answer that People would be proud of: Stars. They’re just like us!

Next up: the science stuff. Turns out, paleontologists have a sense of humour too, as shown when they discovered a brand new pterosaur. The newly dubbed Targaryendraco wiedenrothi has some meaning behind its name: “…pterosaurs have inspired some biological aspects of the dragons” claim the scientists. Says study leader Rodrigo Pêgas, “I always thought this was very nice, especially because I work on pterosaurs….I am a big nerd and a big fan of Game of Thrones.”

Well these are all the odds and ends for today. What else is going on the world of Westeros? A release date for The Winds of Winter? A casting notice for House of the Dragon? I’m not sure; You tell me!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best New Costume of Season 8

Costume banner

There’s a reason the Television Academy keeps throwing costuming Emmys at Game of Thrones, year after year: they deserve it. Costume designer Michele Clapton outdid herself once again, with the help of a stellar team to bring her designs to life onscreen, one more time, in the final season. After round 1, our readers have narrowed down the list of nominees to the top five. Now it’s in your hands to choose the Best New Costume! The finalists are…


Daenerys’s sueded grey leather coat-dress with red seams

Daenerys Targaryen Season 8 804 King's Landing

Sansa’s black leather armor dress

Sansa Daenerys Season 8 802

The red-inflected updated version of Daenerys’ fur coat

mgot-801-props-daenerys-winterfell-1024x576

Sansa’s elaborate coronation gown

sansa coronation gown

Daenerys’ black leather embossed riding coat, with red details   

The Bells Dany

You can view results from the first round of voting HERE!

Final round rules: To choose the winner, cast your vote in the poll below. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast. At the end of one week (Monday 12/09/19 at 12PM ET), the costume 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!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Dramatic Scene of Season 8

dramatic scene banner

We hope everyone has refreshed your memory of your favorite scenes from Game of Thrones season 8 in our newest giveaway post because today we’ll begin choosing the Best Dramatic Scene of the final season! This year was packed with important moments, and our preliminary round was intense, with dozens of initial nominees for fans to choose from. Some may be controversial choices, but surprises and passionate debate have always been a part of the Game of Thrones experience. The final five, as voted by the fans are:


The climactic sequence of “The Long Night” – Theon and Jorah fall, and Arya kills the Night King

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuKqvE5Db2c%5D

In the battle of Winterfell, the Dothraki charge, their flaming arakhs go out and the dead come

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBCmrZAWe2I%5D

The people in Winterfell ready for battle to the sound of “Jenny of Oldstones”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCnEJYds1iA%5D

Jon kills Daenerys and Drogon destroys the Iron Throne

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvIA9i6E8cA%5D

The knighting of Brienne of Tarth by Jamie Lannister

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xn7igUOFHRU%5D

You can view results from the first round of voting HERE!

Final round rules: To choose the winner, cast your vote in the poll below. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast. At the end of one week (Thursday 12/05/19 at 12PM ET), the scene 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!

Take Our Poll
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Enter to Win Game of Thrones The Complete Series and Season 8 on Blu-ray!

game of thrones complete collection bluray

Here it is, Watchers: the giveaway to end all Game of Thrones giveaways! Our favorite show has ended but the watching lives on with the home release of Season 8, and the arrival of Game of Thrones The Complete Series.  They land on December 3rd, one week from today, just in time for the holidays. The Complete Series contains all eight seasons, with bonus features including the exclusive Game of Thrones: Reunion Special hosted by Conan O’Brien, the Game of Thrones: The Last Watch documentary chronicling the making of the final season, all-new deleted scenes, featurettes and more.

Thanks to the folks at HBO, we’re giving away a stack of Blu-ray sets to our readers, including:

  • one winner will receive Game of Thrones: The Complete Series on Blu-ray
  • one winner will receive Game of Thrones Season 8 on 4K Ultra HD
  • three winners will receive Game of Thrones Season 8 on Blu-ray

What do you have to do to enter? Tell us your favorite moment of GoT Season 8! Post it in comments here and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. We’re accepting entries for the next seven days, and we’ll announce the winners on 12/3/19. For the complete rules and even more ways to enter, keep scrolling!

*This giveaway officially is worldwide; however, since these are Blu-rays, they do have a Region Code and will only work with Region-A compatible players. Region A includes North America, Central America, South America, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia. Anyone is free to enter but just be aware of player compatibility!*


The Official Rules

How do you enter? You can enter in three different ways, earning up to 3 entries total!

Method #1:  Comment on this post, and tell us your favorite moment of Game of Thrones Season 8!

Method #2: Twitter: Follow our Twitter, WatchersOTWall, and retweet the Game of Thrones: The Complete Series/Season 8 Contest tweet (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already follow us, no problem. Simply retweet the contest post.

Method #3: Facebook: Like the WatchersontheWall Facebook page, and Like and Share the Game of Thrones: The Complete Series/Season 8 Post (you must do both for the extra entry). If you already Like our page, again, no problem. Just like and share the contest post and you are entered!

Entries are accepted for a week, until 8AM on December 3rd, 2019. The five (5) winners will be randomly selected among the entrants and announced shortly thereafter.

**This is a worldwide contest** The winners are selected by random drawing. The winners must respond within 72 hours of notification or will forfeit their prize and other winner/s will be selected. The winners must have a valid shipping address.

Twitter and Facebook are their own entities and are in no way associated with this giveaway.

Greyjoy Rebellion Jaime

From “The Greyjoy Rebellion” Histories & Lore

Game of Thrones: The Complete Series on Blu-ray- Bonus Features include:

· Game of Thrones: Reunion Special: A reunion show shot live in Belfast with the cast, both past and present, hosted by Conan O’Brien and available exclusively on these complete series collections. The reunion special is assembled in segments focused on Houses Lannister, Stark, & Targaryen and concludes with the key players all onstage for their final reflections on the years they shared in Westeros and Essos.

· Bonus content and retail exclusive videos from previously released individual season box sets, totaling more than 15 hours of extra materials for fans to explore when they’ve finished watching the series.

The Complete Series and Season 8 formats also exclusively feature:

· Game of Thrones: The Last Watch: A documentary featured on DVD in two parts by filmmaker Jeanie Finlay chronicling the making of the final season.

· When Winter Falls: Exclusive 30-minute featurette with showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with major stars and behind-the-scenes players, breaking down all that went into the colossal filming of the “Battle of Winterfell” in Season 8, Episode 3.

· Duty is the Death of Love: A compelling look at how the team behind Game of Thrones and its major stars, including Kit Harington, Peter Dinklage and Emilia Clarke, brought the show to its conclusion in the series finale, “The Iron Throne.”

· Audio Commentaries: Audio Commentaries with cast and crew, including the show’s creators, Benioff and Weiss, on the final season.

· Deleted and Extended Scenes: 5 never-before-seen deleted or extended scenes from season 8.

· Histories and Lore: New animated pieces giving the history and background of notable season 8 locations and storylines, including “The Greyjoy Rebellion” which we exclusively previewed yesterday.

Game of Thrones: The Complete Series on DVD/Blu-ray (along with the Collector’s Edition featuring a stunning Wooden Shadow Box illustrated by Robert Ball), Game of Thrones: Season 8 on DVD/Blu-ray, and Game of Thrones: Season 8 Steelbook Blu-ray & 4K Ultra HD versions all arrive on December 3rd. Pre-orders are open now!

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Exclusive Preview From the Game of Thrones Season 8 Blu-ray: The Greyjoy Rebellion

greyjoy

We have an amazing treat for you all today! Game of Thrones: The Complete Collection and the all-new Game of Thrones Season 8 on Blu-ray/DVD arrives on December 3rd- that’s in a week, just in time for the holidays. Today we have the pleasure of previewing one of the six new Histories & Lore features from the home release: “The Greyjoy Rebellion,” narrated by Thrones stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Pilou Asbaek. The video features vivid illustrations detailing the ill-fated uprising of Balon Greyjoy.

The animated Histories & Lore also include:

Siege of Duskendale, with Conleth Hill as Varys
The Blackfyre Rebellion with Conleth Hill as Varys
King’s Landing with Conleth Hill as Varys
Maegor The Cruel with Conleth Hill as Varys
The South with Kristofer Hivju as Tormund

Enjoy your exclusive preview of “The Greyjoy Rebellion”:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itvF6qfKjR0%5D

The Complete Collection and the Season 8 home release will feature new audio commentaries for every episode of the final season, from a variety of Thrones talent. The lineup includes:

HBO_LogoTan2_CS3Episode 1: Winterfell – Dave Hill (Co-Producer & Writer) and Deborah Riley (Production Designer)

Episode 2: A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms – Bryan Cogman (Co-Executive Producer & Writer) and Dan Portman (Podrick Payne)

Episode 3: The Long Night – Miquel Sapochnik (Director), Sean Savage (Camera Operator) and Fabian Wagner (Director of Photography)

Episode 4: The Last of the Starks – David Franco (Director of Photography), Nathalie Emmanuel (Missandei), Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm) and Pilou Asbæk (Euron Greyjoy)

Episode 5: Bells – Miguel Sapochnik (Director), Fabian Wagner (Director of Photography) and Conleth Hill (Varys)

Episode 6: The Iron Throne – Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen), Dan Weiss (Executive Producer/Writer/Director), David Benioff (Executive Producer/Writer/Director)

HBO is loading up the Blu-rays for the final season and pulling out all the stops. We’ll tell you more about it tomorrow…when we launch our massive Game of Thrones home release giveaway!

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Entertainment Weekly names the Battle of the Bastards to ‘Best of the Decade’ list

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Kit Harington as Jon Snow in “The Battle of the Bastards.”

With 2019 coming to a close and a new decade on the horizon, Entertainment Weekly is compiling a look back at the movies, music, TV shows and more that changed the pop culture landscape during the 2010’s. And is anyone surprised that something from Game of Thrones on the list? Frankly, I’ll be more shocked if it’s the only thing that GoT makes this list for.

That “thing” is the legendary Battle of the Bastards, from the Season 6, Episode 9 episode of the same name, in which Jon Snow and Sansa Stark defeat Ramsay Bolton’s forces and take back Winterfell. At that point in its evolution, Thrones had become a show of massive proportions — both in its storytelling and its production values — but in spite of this, people were still unprepared for the epic nature of the battle (and the episode itself) when it premiered in 2016.

“There are certain battle sequences committed to film that are unforgettable, and the Battle of the Bastards ranks with the best of them,” said Netflix executive Channing Dungey, who was interviewed for the EW piece. “Dave [Benioff] and Dan [Weiss] devoted a decade of their lives to Game of Thrones, and all that work is evident in what feels like the pinnacle moment of the series. The degree of difficulty here is just massive — night shoots, stunt work, the CGI dragons — and director Miguel Sapochnik delivers all with incredible scope and specificity.”

Action aside, the episode is also a masterful example of the emotional, character-driven storytelling at which Thrones had excelled in earlier seasons, from the moment Ser Davos finds Shireen’s burnt toy stag in the ruins of her funeral pyre to the conversation between Daenerys and Yara in Meereen about doing better than their fathers. And who doesn’t love seeing Ramsay being fed to his own starving hounds by a steely-eyed Sansa?

The episode won seven Emmys, including for writing and directing, and “overnight erased any lingering perception that TV is in some respects less than cinema — while also raising the bar for all competitors to come,” according to the EW piece. We couldn’t agree more.

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Kristofer Hivju Claims There’s an Alternative Ending To Game of Thrones

Tormund Jon Snow

Kristofer Hivju caused a bit of a stir at the Game of Thrones BFI event this week with a particular announcement. The actor, who played the redheaded wildling Tormund since season 3, claimed that the show shot another ending in addition to the controversial one shown in the series finale, “The Iron Throne.”

“Well, we shot an alternative ending,” he reportedly told Metro. “That was mostly for fun but I don’t know if I’m allowed to tell you about that.” The actor declined to provide details for the outlet such as outcomes or other performers involved in the alternative scenes.

Probably for the simple reason that the “alternative ending” does not exist. (Unfortunately for those who had their hearts set on a juicy Blu-ray extra!)

We checked in with a few sources at HBO today, and they all confirmed that Hivju must have been having a bit of fun with the press at the event. No alternative endings were filmed for season 8.

In a way, it’s too bad. While I’m mostly comfortable with the finale, I would have liked to see what else they whipped up just to throw us off the scent.

Oh, and speaking of the Game of Thrones Season 8 home release, we’ll be kicking off a huge giveaway next Monday, so be sure to stop by next week to enter!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Fights and Battles of Season 8

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Welcome back for another exciting round of Watchers on the Wall Awards Finals! This week, as part of our ongoing celebration of season 8, we’ll be voting on the best action sequences of Game of Thrones. Every season is packed with action, and the final one was no exception. We break down our voting into Best Battle and Best Fight, and our readers have narrowed down the finalists for our categories today. It’s time to announce the final nominees, and vote!

The nominees for Best Battle are:

Battle for Winterfell (“The Long Night”)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ChCtYmZfRI%5D

Daenerys battles Euron’s Iron Fleet (“The Last of the Starks”)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEaspF4-2n0%5D

Battle of King’s Landing ( “The Bells”)

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=flXrq9OJfOg%5D

*These are not the battles in their entirety- they’re too long for most YouTube clips, but this should be enough to refresh your memory! Or get you started on a bender of rewatching favorite GoT clips which is also fun.*

The nominees for Best Fight of Season 8 are:

Arya takes on wights with her customized spear on the ramparts

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlY639-kATI%5D

The Clegane Brothers fight to the death

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eoRnnQn5tvI%5D

Jon and Daenerys fight the Night King on dragonback

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVi7Gr-BQas%5D

Jorah Mormont and Daenerys fight off wights together

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j2PBkZoi1Ho%5D

Lyanna Mormont faces off against a giant

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qbMiQ621IzU%5D

The complete results from round 1 voting for Best Fight can be viewed here. 

Both polls are found below, so go forth, debate, consider and vote!


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 11/25/19 at 12PM ET), the battle/fight 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 Battle:

Take Our Poll
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Vote for Best Fight:

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Emilia Clarke defends season 8 and wishes she’d taken home a Daenerys wig!

0FC53FE0-BF16-4AA3-8171-84E60C661FE9
Emilia Clarke continues her media whirlwind adventure to promote Last Christmas (a truly delightful holiday romcom, if I do say so myself).

Most recently, she was invited onto BBC Radio 1 to chat with Ali Plumb and Greg James about everything from toilet paper preferences to Christmas carols to, of course … Game of Thrones!

On “Movies with Ali Plumb,” Clarke shared some of her fond and funny Game of Thrones memories, like how Peter Dinklage was the best swearer in the cast or how she asked too politely to take home a memento from set (“P-p-p-p-please sir, can I take a wig? Seeing as there’s eight and I played the role for ten years?) and thus never received any.

When asked which one of Daenerys’ lines she’ll never, ever forget she answered, “I’m a Khaleesi, not a queen” but then also suggested ‘We’ll break the wheel togeth-” and then stuck out her tongue and pantomimed being stabbed.

She also discussed her various fan encounters, some of which she described as positive experiences, others … not so much.

“The worst one I got recently – and it really hurt, like it genuinely cut me up a little bit – [was at] the supermarket the day after episode 5 had aired of the last season when Daenerys had just gone out, all out … had a moment” she said. “This woman turned to me and went, ‘I don’t know how you can show your face around here.’ And I literally went *pained gasp* ‘I just need to get some milk.’ It was heartbreaking”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY_gziQ8p-A?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

She also appeared on “Unpopular Opinions” to help Greg James assess callers’ (what else?) unpopular opinions, which led to in-depth discussion of the merits of quilted toilet paper, Christmas cards and sleeping in separate duvets.

When it came time for Clarke to offer an unpopular opinion of her own she confessed that she hates the Christmas song “Fairytale of New York” and “would rather never hear that song again in [her] life.”

Game of Thrones came up when a caller named Dan insisted that “the last season of Game of Thrones wasn’t that bad.”

Both Clarke and James, who had clearly been expecting a different take on season 8 from Dan, reacted with enormous relief and appreciation.

“Ayyyyy! You can stay!” Clarke said. “That was about to kill me. I was about to be like, ‘do you need me to kick off? … Dan, thank you! God love you, Dan!”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oc4dzgNhnwY?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Episode of Season 8

Best Episode Banner

We have a big category up for voting today in the Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Episode! It’s a tad easier this year, as we only have six episodes to choose from, but they’re six episodes packed with love, action, death, blood, and epic drama, from start to finish. We’ve provided a summary for each one, in case you haven’t had time for a rewatch lately and need a bit of refreshing. Read, remember, cry, think it over, and vote for your favorite episode of the final season of Game of Thrones!

Winterfell Cersei

Episode 1, “Winterfell”

Written by Dave Hill and directed by David Nutter

The royal procession arrives in Winterfell, and Jon is reunited with Arya and Bran.  The Northern lords meet and question dangers to come. Tyrion and Sansa discuss their marriage and the current situation. Jon goes on his first dragon ride, with Daenerys. Arya has a less than tender reunion with the Hound, and a warmer one with Gendry. Daenerys and Sam meet and he learns of his father and brother’s deaths. Euron presents Cersei with the Golden Company, and she gives in to his advances. Theon rescues Yara, and decides to return to Winterfell to defend it. Bronn is sent away with a new mission. Sam reveals to Jon that Jon is Aegon, son of Rhaegar Targaryen- and heir to the Iron Throne. Last Hearth and the Umbers are discovered to have been attacked by the army of the dead, with young Ned Umber reanimated as he’s pinned to the wall. Jaime Lannister arrives in Winterfell, under the watchful eye of Bran Stark.

A Knight of the seven kingdoms bran

Episode #2, “A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms”

Written by Bryan Cogman and directed by David Nutter

Jaime stands trial for his crimes before Daenerys and the people of the North. Later, he and Bran meet in the godswood to reckon with their past. Afterward, Jaime shares a warm and honest reunion with his brother Tyrion, and offers to serve with Brienne as she prepares for the battle. Arya visits Gendry in the forge and requests a custom weapon. Jorah encourages Daenerys to forgive Tyrion for his lapses in judgment. Sansa and Dany face off in a private meeting and find some common ground and conflict. Theon is welcomed home to Winterfell. Grey Worm promises Missandei he’ll take her home to Naath someday. The leaders makes plans for the battle and consider what the Night King really wants: to destroy the memory of the world. People gather around the fire to pass the time until the army of the dead arrive. Arya and Gendry get a lot closer. Sam gives Jorah the sword Heartsbane, while Jorah shares a moment with young Lady Mormont. Around the fire, Brienne of Tarth is knighted by Jaime Lannister. Tyrion asks for a song, and Pod Payne sings “Jenny of Oldstones”. Jon tells Dany the truth about his parentage, and the dead arrive at Winterfell.

Long Night

Episode 3, “The Long Night”

Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Melisandre returns unexpectedly and lights the Dothraki arakhs, but their fiery charge is snuffed out quickly. A first wave of Unsullied and catapults also fares poorly against a tide of wights. Jon and Dany take to the air with dragons, blasting wights, but the White Walkers fight back. The Unsullied are ordered to retreat. In the battle, Sam is surrounded and nearly killed but saved by Dolorous Edd, who is then killed. Melisandre lights the trenches around the castle. In the crypts with Varys and the women, Tyrion regrets his powerlessness, but Sansa reminds him he’ll be needed in the time to come. The Night King directs the wight to break through the trenches, and Winterfell is breached. Brienne and Jaime fight together, and Sandor Clegane freezes; he breaks through with Beric’s encouragement to help Arya. Lyanna Mormont takes on a giant, and kills him with her last breath. Arya sneaks through the library, and reunites with Sandor, Beric, and Melisandre. Dragons and their riders battle in the skies over Winterfell. The Night King falls to the ground, and Dany learns that even dragonfire cannot kill him. The Night King resurrects everyone that has fallen this night, and the dead in Winterfell’s crypts, who attack the unarmed women and children inside. Dany and Drogon are swarmed by wights, and Jorah comes to Dany’s aid; he dies of his injuries. Wounded Viserion blasts Winterfell with blue fire as the battle rages on and Jon runs.  Theon and other shoot the dead in the godswood, defending Bran, until the Night King kills Theon. Arya saves Bran at the last second, slaying the Night King, causing all White Walkers to shatter, and all  wights to fall where they stand. At dawn, Melisandre leaves Winterfell and dies.

Last of the Starks

Episode 4, “The Last of the Starks”

Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by David Nutter

The battle’s dead are given a funeral pyre, and Jon eulogizes them. At the feast, Dany legitimizes Gendry, Davos and Tyrion ponder Melisandre’s death and the future,  and Tormund toasts Jon as the hero and king, while Dany watches on. Jaime, Brienne, Pod and Tyrion play a drinking game. Drunk and jealous Jaime later shows up in Brienne’s room and the two of them make love. Sansa and Sandor have a conversation about how far they’ve come since they saw each other last. High on life Gendry tracks down Arya and proposes, but she gently lets him down. Dany and Jon kiss and struggle with his recent revelation. The war council takes stock of their assets and allies, and decide they must head south toward Dragonstone and King’s Landing. The last of the Starks meet in the godswood. Bronn confronts Tyrion and Jaime, and makes a deal. Arya and Sandor hit the Kingsroad. Jon says goodbye to his friends in the North. Sansa shares the secret of Jon’s parentage with Tyrion; he reveals it to Varys and the two ponder the far-reaching ramifications. The fleet is attacked by Euron, Rhaegal the dragon is killed, and Missandei is captured. Cersei gloats. Tyrion and Varys consider their options, especially now that a new contender for the throne has been presented. Jaime receives a raven informing him of a new threat to Cersei; he departs Winterfell. Daenerys and her army meet with Cersei at the gates of the city. Missandei is executed.

The Bells

Episode 5, “The Bells”

Written by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss and directed by Miguel Sapochnik

Daenerys grieves, and Varys plots and makes a choice. Varys is executed by dragonfire. Jon pledges loyalty to Dany but rejects her romantic overtures. Dany and her advisors make plans for attacking King’s Landing. Tyrion frees his brother and says goodbye to Jaime. Dany and Drogon destroy Euron’s fleet, and they and the Unsullied annihilate the Golden Company. Lannisters surrender and the bells ring, but Daenerys snaps and scorches King’s Landing. Northmen attack, and Jon kills one of his own men assaulting a woman. Jaime runs into Euron and the two give each other mortal wounds. Sandor urges Arya to walk away from her path of vengeance and survive. Sandor confronts The Mountain, as Cersei escapes quietly, and the brothers duel to the death. Cersei and Jaime reunite, just before the Red Keep collapses and kills them. Arya runs through the city, dodging fire and explosions; she tries to help a mother and daughter but fails. Waking up in the rubble of the city, she finds a horse and rides away.

Iron Throne speech

Episode 6, “The Iron Throne”

Written and directed by David Benioff & D.B. Weiss.

The survivors take in the devastation of King’s Landing; Tyrion discovers his sibling’s bodies. Grey Worm executes surviving Lannister men, to Jon’s horror. Daenerys gives a celebratory speech, and Tyrion quits. Tyrion pushes Jon to see how dangerous Daenerys is and to take action. Jon urges forgiveness, and Daenerys counters with her vision of the world. Rejecting it, Jon kills Daenerys. Drogon melts the Iron Throne and carries away Dany’s body. Lords meet at the Dragonpit, debate and choose a new leader for Westeros with Tyrion’s persuasion: Bran Stark. Tyrion and Jon meet in prison and muse over what’s happened. The Starks say farewell at the docks. Brienne writes in the final details of Jaime’s paige in the Kingsguard’s Book of Brothers. The new Small Council meets, they squabble over administrative details, and Samwell presents “A Song of Ice and Fire.” Sansa is crowned Queen in the North. Arya goes on a journey to finally find out what is west of Westeros. Jon returns to the Wall and reunites with Tormund and Ghost. He goes north with wildings, and we see that grass is growing, and spring is coming.


Final round rules: To choose the winner, cast your vote in the poll below. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast. At the end of one week (Monday 11/18/19 at 12PM ET), the episode 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!

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George RR Martin offers details on the House of the Dragon writer’s room!

House of the Dragon banner

You thought it was going to be a sleepy Sunday, didn’t you? Never fear, George R. R. Martin and his Not a Blog are here to brush away the weekend boredom. Martin took to his blog today in a surprise entry to subtly reassure fans that there will be a full writer’s room on the new Game of Thrones spinoff titled House of the Dragon, recently announced by HBO with co-showrunners Ryan Condal and Miguel Sapochnik.

Martin confirms that Condal wrote the pilot script and the series bible so far, but announces a line-up of writers also in the mix, comparing them to Aegon the Conqueror and his sisters, Rhaenys and Visenya.

According to GRRM, the three other writers involved are:

WES TOOKE was Ryan’s right hand man on COLONY, where he served as an executive producer and wrote thirteen episodes. CLAIRE KIECHEL is a young playwright out of New York who came to HOUSE OF THE DRAGON after stints on Netflix’s THE OA and HBO’s new WATCHMEN series. TI MIKKEL came to the show from my own Fevre River Packet Company, where she’s served as a writer’s assistant, helped in the development of a series of short films I hope to produce, and is spearheading the development of TUF VOYAGING as a television series… when she’s not working on her own novel.

He explains their role helpfully:

Those unfamiliar with the way television works may wonder… if Ryan Condal wrote the pilot and the bible, what did Wes and Claire and Ti do? The answer is: a lot. They sat with Ryan every day in a writer’s room at HBO for months, talking story, going over drafts, giving notes, correcting errors (not that Ryan or I ever made any, no sir, not us), catching inconsistencies, discussing character and plot, offering ideas and suggestions, filling in gaps, breaking down the episodes to come and drawing up a roadmap for the first season and all the seasons to follow. The HOUSE OF THE DRAGON could never have been built without the help of Ti, Claire, and Wes, three terrific young storytellers. They have my thanks, and Ryan’s.

Here’s hoping the writer’s room will continue to have a broad mix of talent to keep things interesting and fresh!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Supporting Actor and Actress of Season 8

Best Supporting banner

Game of Thrones is nothing without its incredible supporting cast. The numbers have gone up and down over the years with thoughtful additions and bloody subtractions, but the supporting stars always offered their best performances, showing that actors don’t need top billing to win our hearts. This week we’ll be choosing our favorite supporting performances of the final season of Game of Thrones- make sure you vote in both categories!

The nominees for Best Supporting Actor are…

Alfie Allen as Theon Greyjoy
John Bradley as Samwell Tarly
Liam Cunningham as Davos Seaworth
Iain Glen as Jorah Mormont
Rory McCann as Sandor Clegane

The nominees for Best Supporting Actress are:

Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth
Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei
Hannah Murray as Gilly
Bella Ramsey as Lyanna Mormont

The complete results from round 1 voting for Best Supporting Actor can be viewed here.

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 11/15/19 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 Supporting Actor:

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9th and Final Whisky Joins the Game of Thrones Single-Malt Collection: Six Kingdoms!

Six KingdomsWhisky

All good things must come to an end, including the Game of Thrones single-malt scotch whisky collection, but at least Diageo are doing it with style.

HBO and Diageo announced this week the ninth and final piece in the Game of Thrones Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection: the Six Kingdoms Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Aged 15 Years. The new addition pays tribute to the series finale in which Seven Kingdoms becomes six and Bran Stark accepts the throne of Westeros.

The beautiful presentation of the whisky reflects the new king. Encased in a metallic gold cannister, it features an intricate pen and ink drawing of the three-eyed raven.

As for the taste of the final whisky in the collection, according to Diageo: “Evocative of the past and crafted for the future, the Mortlach Single Malt Scotch Whisky Aged 15 Years, has been matured in first-fill sherry-seasoned casks and finished in American Oak ex-bourbon casks. The delicious whisky imparts a bold, smooth taste with notes of vanilla and spice befitting of those with a noble palate.”

Whisky Collection“Eight fantastic scotches toasted the coming of the final season of the show, and we now look back on the most captivating television show of all time and raise a ninth glass in celebration,” said Jeff Peters, Vice President, Licensing & Retail at HBO.

“We saw an overwhelmingly positive response to the launch of the Game of Thrones Limited Edition Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection and as Game of Thrones fans continue to explore both the world of whisky and the world of Westeros, we are proud to introduce the final addition to the collection. Mortlach is one of our most sought-after super premium single malts, and seemed fitting as the perfect finale to complete the collection,” commented Kavita Agarwal, Diageo Global Brand Director, Malts.

Game of Thrones Six Kingdoms Mortlach Aged 15 Years will be available in extremely limited quantities nationwide this December with suggested retail price of $150 for 750ml. Check online at ReserveBar.com or through your local retailer!

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The Night’s Cast Episode 29: Spinoffs News and Notes!

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As we discuss on this episode of The Night’s Cast, it’s damn shame we’ll never see Naomi Watts in a Game of Thrones spinoff.

Last week was — to put it mildly — a bit of a rollercoaster as far as Game of Thrones news was concerned, especially when it came to the spinoff/prequel shows in development at HBO. It gave the fandom whiplash, but it also gave us plenty to talk about!

On this week’s episode of The Night’s Cast, the official podcast of Watchers on the Wall, Vanessa, Petra and Samantha do just that: we talk about which prequel got the (somewhat unexpected) axe and which one seems to be fast-tracking toward production.

[soundcloud url="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/708034447?secret_token=s-YG4cf" params="color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true" width="100%" height="166" iframe="true" /]

The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud, and you can follow us on Twitter as well. Happy listening!

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Watchers on the Wall Awards: Best Death Scene of Season 8

Best Death scene banner

It was inevitable that the final season of Game of Thrones would force us to say farewell to many of our favorite characters. Season 8 made good on that unspoken promise by cutting down people left and right, from the first episode of the season (poor Umber kid, he never had a chance) to the last of the series (oh, Dany). After years of speculation, reception of the deaths was varied but always passionate. After the first round with such a bounty of choices for prelims voting, we’ve narrowed it down to the top five death scenes of season 8. Now it’s up to you all to choose the Best Death Scene of Season 8.

The final nominees are:


Jorah Mormont dies protecting his khaleesi in battle:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA7OyNbD8B8%5D

Lyanna Mormont dies after killing a wight giant with her last breath:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNEolAIYaCw%5D

Melisandre walks out of Winterfell at dawn and gives up her life:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMWml2OL2Sk%5D

The Night King falls to Arya’s blade and shatters:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3F-HMyNRYAA%5D

Theon defends Bran to the very end, in the godswood:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i7d9uF-yP-s%5D

That’s right- all the nominees are from episode 3, “The Long Night,” directed by Miguel Sapochnik!

The complete results from round 1 voting in this category can be viewed here.

Final round rules: Cast your vote for the winner in our Best Death Scene poll. In the finals, unlike the preliminaries, fans have one vote to cast. At the end of one week (Sunday 11/10/19 at 12PM ET), the scene with the most votes will be the winner! The results of the poll will be revealed during the live Watchers on the Wall Awards ceremony- specific date to be announced in the near future!

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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

Caption

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.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6g-nSN3Whus?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

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.

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

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.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APVMfYYTOdE?version=3&rel=1&fs=1&autohide=2&showsearch=0&showinfo=1&iv_load_policy=1&wmode=transparent&w=700&h=424%5D

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 conofthrones.net/register.

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…

The post George R. R. Martin Answers House of the Dragon Questions & Raises a Few More appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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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="https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/703475683" 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.

The post What showrunners Benioff & Weiss actually said at Austin Film Festival about writing and producing Game of Thrones appeared first on Watchers on the Wall.

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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

My_Watch_Has_Ended

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:

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzMMDNiaBo8&w=700&h=394%5D

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

WOTW AWARDS EASON 8

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.

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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.