'The Lion and the Rose' Round-Up: The Purple Wedding's Thrills and Chills

'The Lion and the Rose' Round-Up: The Purple Wedding's Thrills and Chills

Spoiler Warning: This post discusses the events of "The Lion and the Rose." 

"It was an episode we've been looking forward to for a long time," series creator David Benioff professes in this week's Inside the Episode...

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5 Things We Learned at the GOT Ultimate Fan Experience

by Katie M. Lucas

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Seven thousand lucky fans – some in costume – attended the 'Game of Thrones' Ultimate Fan Experience at Barclays Center last night. The festivities included Common's performance of his 'Catch the Throne' track, “The Ladder,” a marching band rendition of the show's theme song, and a screening of the Season 4 premiere episode. One lucky winner took home a life-sized Iron Throne, which author George R.R. Martin noted is "the perfect accessory to a New York City apartment." 

Cast members Maisie Williams, Sibel Kekilli and John Bradley answered questions doled out by Hodor himself, Kristian Nairn. Here's what had fans cheering:

1. George R.R. Martin Attended Dany's Wedding

The author revealed that he made a cameo in the series pilot as a guest at Dany's wedding to Khal Drogo. Unfortunately, Martin was edited out and audiences missed seeing his elaborate beard extensions.

2. John Bradley Has a Crush on Jon Snow

When asked his favorite thing about playing Samwell Tarly, the Englishman replied, "Five words: Kit Harrington's big brown eyes."

3. Maisie's Swordplay Caused Technical Difficulties

Maisie Williams still needs “dancing” lessons. The actress shared that she's accidentally hit camera equipment with her weapon... many times. Williams laughed that she got "disappointed parent looks" from the equipment operators. 

4. Sibel Kekilli Admires Shae's Gutsiness

"She's not scared of anyone," the actress said, citing Shae's bravery as a reason why Tyrion fell in love with her.

5. Martin Joked That He Based a Lannister on Putin

George R.R. Martin quipped that he wishes he could say that Tywin Lannister is a version of the Russian leader. Although that instance isn't accurate, Martin admits that he frequently borrows from history. "If you steal from one person, that's plagiarism… If you steal from a lot of people, that's research."

Season 4 premieres on April 6th.

Round-Up: Stars and Surprises at the Season 4 Premiere

The Season 4 premiere of 'Game of Thrones' in New York City mixed both ice and fire: Attendees braved both unseasonably cold weather and the jaws of a ferocious dragon parked on the red carpet. In addition to a screening, the New York Philharmonic treated guests to a performance of the series’ theme song. An after-party followed at the Museum of Natural History, under the famous blue whale – the size of which, George R.R. Martin explained, is roughly the same as a full-grown dragon.


Check out some of the action from the red carpet:

Lincoln Center posted a raven's eye view of the festivities: 

Michael McMillian of 'True Blood' hosted the Facebook Live event:

The cast got creative posing with their Funko dolls:

See more photos from the 'Game of Thrones' Season 4 premiere on Facebook.

“Bear and the Maiden Fair” Round-Up: The Crowned and the Furry

By Katie M. Lucas

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'Game of Thrones' has no shortage of battles (both emotional and literal) but Sunday night marked a series first: a bear fight. Jaime’s rescue of Brienne was as heroic as it was unexpected. “It's pure instinct, and it's really stupid,” actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau tells HBO.com about Jaime's impulsive leap. But "he just can't stand that a woman that has so much dignity should be degraded that way.” Critics were also taken by Bart the Bear II; “Great acting from the bear… I've never seen a live wild animal action sequence like that on TV before,” says Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd.

The episode, written by George R.R. Martin, balanced action with subtler scenes. In this week’s Inside the Episode, Executive Producer David Benioff discusses how these quiet moments shed light on the characters and their stakes. Robb’s scene with Talisa, Executive Producer D.B. Weiss explains, connects the rebirth of his cause to the future birth of his child.

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As Robb reaffirms his mission, so does the khaleesi. Dany’s makes it her duty to liberate the slaves of Yunkai. “The scene in which she meets and rejects the emissary from Yunkai,” Time’s James Poniewozik says, “is spectacular without a single fireball.” Mike Hogan of the Huffington Post is fully behind Dany’s vision: “I frankly find it really exciting to think of her as an avenging angel leading an army of liberated slaves to victory over these inbred families with their castles and crests….” 

In these families, power is wielded less tactfully. King Joffrey summons Tywin, and as Sarah Hughes of The Guardian points out, “the boy king was sort of right in everything he said: he should be learning how to rule; he should be sitting in on council meetings and not having to seek them out; Dany actually is more than a ‘curiosity on the far side of the world.’ ” Yet Joffrey quickly realizes that his grandfather is superior both “emotionally and with regard to intelligence,” actor Jack Gleeson explains in HBO GO’s Interactive Features. The king may wear the crown, but he can’t command his grandfather’s respect.

What are your thoughts on the Lannisters’ struggles? Has Jaime won your respect? Will Bart be visiting your nightmares?

Seven Moments from the ‘Game of Thrones’ Comic-Con Panel That Made Fans Scream

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Credit: Getty Images

If there was any doubt left at all that ‘Game of Thrones’ exploded in its second season, the line of fans hoping to get into the San Diego Convention Center for the show’s Comic-Con panel erased it. Thousands of people lined up, snaking halfway around the massive building. The lucky ones who actually fit inside the hall roared throughout the one-hour discussion moderated by George R.R. Martin, particularly when …  

George made an announcement

The ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ author kicked things off by passing on David Benioff and D.B. Weiss’ regrets that they weren’t able to join the panel because they’ve already begun production on Season 3. Martin also had one other absence he was disappointed to share. “My co-creator, that 13-year-old who’s in charge of the boobies, he wanted to be here too,” Martin said, referencing the ‘Thrones’ SNL sketch starring Andy Samberg. “He heard this was a good place to do some scouting. But there was an emergency – there was a scene being shot in Belfast that had no boobies in it, so he flew over to put that to rights.” 

The Blackwater caught fire … again

During the five-minute recap of Season 2 that played before the panel began, the crowd watched as their favorite scenes unfolded on giant screens around the room. When Bronn’s arrow ignited the wild-fire-laden ship on the Blackwater, the room erupted with a blast so concussive you could feel it thump through your chest, and the volume only increased as the crowd went ballistic. 

Emilia Clarke set foot onstage

It’s not just the Dothraki who love their khaleesi. As Martin announced the final panelist to walk to the table, the room went wild. And the mother of dragons knew exactly what her people wanted to hear: All about her children. “For Seaon One, I had kind of a lime-green sausage,” she said. “They put a face on it for me. Then in Season Two, we had live-scale dragon models – which I got very protective of. Even when we weren’t filming. It was a little alarming.”

Theon got (yet another) nasty surprise

Alfie Allen may have a cushy job sampling the many working girls of Westeros season-in and season-out, but his exec-producers have found other ways of tormenting him. “David and Dan wrote a fake script for me,” he told the crowd, “and I got killed by Bran in it. I didn’t say anything to them. I think they were expecting me to, and then I went on holiday. About three weeks later, I got a call. I was sitting on a beach, and they were like, ‘So how do you like the new ending?’ And I was like, ‘It’s cool guys – it’s your show. It’s fine.’ And they were like, ‘Ok, cool. We’ve got another thing for you. How do you feel about being a zombie? No, wait, hold on … How do you feel about being a naked zombie? With absolutely no dialogue whatsoever?’ And then I was like, ok guys, you’re having me on.”

George explained his personal sigil

When a fan from Iceland asked the author why he wears a hat with a turtle on it, Martin told the origin story of his power animal. “Turtles have always been my sigil, I suppose. When I was a kid, growing up in Bayonne, NJ, I lived in a federal housing project, and we were not allowed to have a dog or cats. The only pets I could have were turtles. So, I had an entire toy castle filled with dime-store turtles. I gave them all names, and since they were living in a toy castle, I decided they were all knights and kings … and I made up stories about how they killed each other and betrayed each other and fought for the kingdom. So, ‘Game of Thrones,’ actually began with turtles. I decided later to recast it with actual human beings.”

Richard Madden made the ultimate choice

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Comic-Con panels have made an art of asking actors impossible questions, and the Young Wolf got a whopper: Which do you like more – the sex or the violence? “That’s a tough one,” Madden replied. “I think I’d rather do the violence. I get more of a kick out of that than standing on a quite cold set in Ireland with all my clothes off … Swinging a sword is a bit more fun.” The fans immediately erupted into laughter, and Madden sheepishly replied, “Ok, I see that now …”

A surprise trailer was shown

“Before we close here, I’m told we have one last little, very brief, treat for you,” Martin told the crowd after the Q&A was finished. The screens lit up with the ‘Game of Thrones Season 3’ title card, and the room went wild. The image shifted to reveal that the next installment would premiere on March 31, 2013, and the cheering got even louder. And then the trailer stopped, to groans and laughter. “I told you it was very brief,” Martin reminded the applauding fans. 

George R.R. Martin Describes His Inspiration for GOT

By Steve Marzolf

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At Comic-Con, 'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin appeared on a panel with a handful of his fellow fantasy writers to discuss the meaning of a word that gets tossed around a lot in the genre: EPIC.

"I think that in its modern usage, 'epic fantasy' is a marketing category that publishers and booksellers use to distinguish that stuff that those of us here write: stuff with castles and swords and sometimes elves and dwarves – or in my case just one dwarf. A lot of it is epic, and a lot of it involves the fate of the world, where huge armies are on the march. I've done some of that stuff myself, and there are many great examples of epic fantasy that's gigantic in scale. But I would just as soon NOT make that a requirement of our fantasy genre. I'm thrilled when I encounter a book where the fate of the world does not seem to be involved."

Martin's 'A Song of Ice and Fire' stories, of course, are massive in scale and very much involve the fate of the world. But the spark of inspiration that eventually spawned the Starks, the Lannisters and their Seven Kingdoms was much more compact.

"I started with a vision of a scene where some wolf pups are discovered being born with a dead mother in the snow. It just came to me very vividly, and I wrote it. I didn't know what story it was part of or what world it was part of. I didn't know anything. But by the time I finished writing that chapter, I knew the second chapter. And once I was 50-60 pages into it, I decided I had a novel – or maybe more than a novel – so I thought I'd better draw a map and think about who these people were …"

One fan asked the author how – after painstakingly building a world and creating characters to live in it – a writer can know when their book is ready for publication. And although he's famous for his delayed deliveries, Martin warned against endlessly fiddling with a story. "You can write forever and not know if it's ready," he advised. "The key is to write, finish what you write and put it on the market. There are editors who will let you know if it's ready … by sending you a check."

A Dance With Dragons Receives Critical Praise

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It’s not just the 280,000 fans who purchased ‘A Dance With Dragons’ on its release day who are enjoying George R.R. Martin’s latest installment in the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series. Julie Bosman of the New York Times has published her review and she’s as glad as the rest of us to rejoin the adventures of Tyrion, Dany and all the rest. “As ‘Dragons’ cascades toward its finish,” she writes, “the reader is whipsawed by cliffhanger after cliffhanger, while being all too aware that Mr. Martin’s next installment won’t be coming out next week, or even next year for that matter. But as I write, I know that I’ll be happy to cling to the hard and scaly back of this particular dancing dragon as I wait for Book 6, ‘The Winds of Winter.’”

George R.R. Martin’s New Novel, ‘A Dance With Dragons,’ Released

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Fans of the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series have been waiting years for this day to arrive: The fifth installment of the story has landed on bookshelves and e-readers, bringing with it the adventures of Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow and others who were split off from the story line in ‘A Feast for Crows.’

Author George R.R. Martin has made no secret that the growing complexity of his story has been a challenge that’s taken some time to work out. In the meantime, he’s been making a lot of promises – and not just to his fans. The author’s long-time partner, Parris, whom he recently married, told us all about the IOU’s she’s been amassing while he completes the much-awaited novel. “For the last three years, George has been saying, ‘As soon as I finish “A Dance With Dragons,” I will do X,’” Parris said. “And I’ve been keeping a list. ‘As soon as I finish “A Dance With Dragons,” we’ll go on a real vacation.’ OK, check.”

As the commitments piled up, Parris has found a surefire way of keeping George honest about getting his work done. “We got our first computer in 1983 – it was a 64k of RAM Televideo machine. And George got Wordstar word-processing software. George still writes in Wordstar. He has a separate DOS machine to run it. That’s one of the ways I can tell if he’s working, because the DOS is a black background with white letters. So when he’s goofing around, he’ll have the Windows machine on with a color screen. He’ll say, ‘I’m working on the novel …’ And I’ll tell him, ‘No you’re not – you’re looking at who the Giants are picking for the draft.’”

Martin will be appearing for signings at locations across the country.