Category: Game of Thrones

'Game of Thrones' gets a third season

"Game of Thrones"
"Game of Thrones" is getting another season, HBO officially announced Tuesday.

Though most people assumed the hit fantasy series would be back again -- it's been receiving rapturous reviews and great ratings -- its third season is now guaranteed.

Ratings for the second season premiere hit a series high, with an accumulated gross audience of 8.3 million viewers over the episodes multiple airings.

"Series creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss raised our expectations for the second season -- and then surpassed them," President of HBO Programming Michael Lombardo said in a statement. "We are thrilled by all the viewer and media support we've received for the series, and can't wait to see what Dan and David have in store for next season."

If Benioff and Weiss continue to follow the pattern they've established in the first two seasons, then the third season of "Game of Thrones" will takes its story lines from the third book in George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series, titled "A Storm of Swords."

"Swords" is one of the longest books in the series and many believe that in order to fit all the events into the television series it would need to be spread out over more than one season. Benioff and Weiss have spoken openly in the media about the idea of playing it out over the course of two 10-episode seasons. The first two seasons have managed to fit in most of the events of the first two books. However, HBO has not yet greenlighted a fourth season.

The idea of playing out the books over multiple seasons will probably be a relief to Martin, who is hard at work on the sixth book in the series, but has said that it'll take him a couple more years to finish it. Nothing like the locomotive of a TV series in production to spur an author's output.


'Game of Thrones' Season 2 premiere hits series high

'Game of Thrones' Season 2: Everything you need to know

'Game of Thrones,' 'Colbert Report' among Peabody winners

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Kit Harrington is Jon Snow in "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO.

'Game of Thrones' recap: The son also rises

  "Game of Thrones"
I'm increasingly convinced that Littlefinger, Varys and Tyrion are the true triumvirate of power in Westeros, quietly pulling the strings behind the scenes while all the men in crowns are busy hitting each other with mallets by proxy. From their vantage point, watching Cersei and Joffrey rule the Seven Kingdoms must be like watching particularly stupid children kick down sandcastles. Last week, Littlefinger advised the Queen Regent that "knowledge is power," which she countered by threatening to kill him for no reason. There's Cersei Lannister in a nutshell: arrogant, inflexible and far too pleased with the use of power for its own sake. Does anyone really wonder where Joffrey gets it from?

In yet another genius stroke of domestic policy, the City Watch has been marching up and down the streets of King's Landing on Joffrey's orders and murdering King Robert's bastard babies in broad daylight. After all, why achieve your goals through subtle means when a wildly unpopular display of brutal force is also possible?

As an exercise in contrast, Varys and Tyrion conduct a master class in veiled threats after the eunuch pays a visit to Tyrion's prostitute Shae, trading quips and barbs in an ostensibly jovial conversation where nearly every word they say is an obvious lie or misdirection. Before leaving, Tyrion pauses by the door to inform Varys that a new challenger has appeared, and he is no Ned Stark: "I understand the way this game is played."

INTERACTIVE: Who's who in 'Game of Thrones' Season 2

Thank god one Lannister does. Tyrion responds to Babymurdergate by sitting down to dinner with Janos Slynt, the Cersei-appointed City Watch commander who carried out the orders, and informing him of his exciting new career in the Night's Watch, which begins immediately and lasts forever. As the guards drag him away, Slynt declares that they shall hear what Joffrey has to say about this. "No, we shan't," replies Tyrion, and puts him on a ship to Castle Black in the dead of night. And that's how you do it, folks.

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'Game of Thrones,' 'Colbert Report' among Peabody winners

"Game of Thrones," "Homeland," "Portlandia," "Treme," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Colbert Report" were among the TV programs named as Peabody Award winners
"Game of Thrones," "Homeland," "Portlandia," "Treme," "Parks and Recreation" and "The Colbert Report" were among the TV programs named as Peabody Award winners Wednesday morning by the Peabody board at the University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The awards celebrate the best in electronic media for the year.

In the news category, CNN and Al Jazeera's breaking news coverage of the Arab Spring uprisings was honored, along with the "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," "StoryCorps 9/11" on NPR, reporting from inside Syria on "CBS Evening News," and the documentaries "Bhutto," "Earth Made of Glass" and "Rebirth."

The musical showcase series "Austin City Limits" and the game show "Jeopardy" were also among the winners.

This is the second Peabody for Colbert, who was singled out for his segments on his "super PAC," known as Americans for a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow.

The awards are to be presented at a luncheon at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City on May 21. Patrick Stewart is to be the emcee.

Click here for the complete list of honorees.


"Game of Thrones" Season 2 premiere hits series high

"Homeland" exec says writers can wriggle "out of a box"

"Portlandia" is back, now with more "Battlestar Galactica"

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in "Game of Thrones." Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO

'Game of Thrones' Season 2 premiere hits series high

High ratings have come to Westeros.

HBO's "Game of Thrones" unfurled its second season Sunday with 3.9 million total viewers, according to Nielsen. That was a giant 77% increase over last year's series premiere and was up 30% over the Season 1 finale. HBO estimated that a total of 6.3 million viewers caught one of the three plays the show had over the night.

That kind of growth is enough to ensure that "Game of Thrones" remains among the hottest shows on TV. That's important to HBO, which is banking on a major franchise from George R.R. Martin's series of five fantasy novels about the struggle for power in the mythical kingdom of Westeros.

CHEAT SHEET: "Game of Thrones"

However, in a market cluttered with original cable series, HBO has had to fight harder for ratings than it used to, and some might view "Game of Thrones" as performing mildly given the money the network has spent making and promoting it. In 2002, "The Sopranos" premiered to more than 13 million total viewers.

One of show's producers originally pitched "Game of Thrones" as "'Sopranos' in Middle-earth." Hey, a guy can dream.

What did you think of the Season 2 rollout of "Game of Thrones"? 


"Game of Thrones" Season 2: What you need to know

"Game of Thrones" exec producer D.B. Weiss talks DVD, Season 2

New "Game of Thrones" Season 2 cast photos

"The Simpsons" pays homage to "Game of Thrones"

-Scott Collins (

Photo: Nikolaj Coster-Waldau in "Game of Thrones," which returned to HBO on Sunday. Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO.

'Game of Thrones' season 2 recap: Now with more Joffrey slapping

Game of Thrones

HBO's epic fantasy series is finally back after a successful first season and a handful of awards, including a well-deserved Emmy and Golden Globe win for Peter Dinklage, who continues to steal absolutely every scene with his deft and occasionally heartbreaking portrayal of Tyrion Lannister. At times, "Game of Thrones" has been a brutal show to watch, so I'll start off with at least one piece of good news up front: Joffrey gets slapped across the face in this episode. Really hard. So hard you can actually hear it echo in the throne room!

It's a rare, shining moment of joy in an episode where nearly everyone is half-broken and hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and things seem likely to get far worse before they get better. The once-united Seven Kingdoms have fractured into numerous factions, and teeter on the brink of all-out civil war thanks to the untimely deaths of King Robert and Ned Stark and the growing number of would-be lieges who have forged their own crowns.

Robb Stark has declared himself King in the North after the death of his father at the hands of child-monster King Joffrey, the 13-year-old sociopath currently sitting on the Iron Throne like a kid burning ants with the world's largest magnifying glass. Joffrey is a character who has grown so loathsome that it's occasionally difficult to get through his scenes without taking a break to watch that immensely satisfying fan video where Tyrion slaps him on loop for ten minutes, which I highly recommend.

INTERACTIVE: Who's who in 'Game of Thrones' Season 2

King Robert's brothers, Stannis and Renly, are both laying claim to Joffrey's throne after hearing the totally gross truth about his parentage, each demanding the fealty of the other and gathering their respective power bases. For Stannis, this means aligning himself with a foreign fire deity called the Lord of Light and burning his old gods in effigy on a beach, while simultanously sending ravens to every corner of Westeros with the news that Joffrey is a product of incest. If Ned Stark had done the latter he'd probably be alive right now, but if there's anything we learn from watching "Game of Thrones," it's that being honorable and ethical means you will probably die screaming.

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'Game of Thrones' season 2: Everything you need to know

Cheat Sheet: Emilia Clarke as Daenerys Targaryen
HBO's "Game of Thrones" returns Sunday for its second season. And if you're not already well-versed in George R.R. Martin's detailed novels, then it probably took you several episodes of the first season to get up to speed with the characters, plots, counter-plots and Dothraki marriage customs.

While nearly 10 months have passed in the real world since last we visited the continents of Westeros and Esteros, very little time has elapsed in the Seven Kingdoms. So Season 2's premiere episode, "The North Remembers," plunges viewers right back into the thick of the (very) complex saga.

Starks are fighting Lannisters, Night's Watch soldiers are marching north, Dothraki horse warriors are marching east, and everyone is worried about an oncoming winter. How to get maximum enjoyment from the show right off the bat?

You could hurry and wolf down Martin's doorstop-sized books before watching the first episode, brew a pot of coffee and rewatch Season 1 straight through. Or there's our "Game of Thrones" cheat sheet, which helps explain who's related to whom and who's still alive.

You also could check out Mary McNamara's rave review of the new season. And you can read Geoff Boucher's interview with Queen Cersei herself, actress Lena Heady. Plus, there's a Q&A with "Thrones" costume designer Michele Clapton (along with a gallery of her work).

The ins and outs of Westeros aren't so intimidating now, are they?


"Game of Thrones" exec producer D.B. Weiss talks DVD, Season 2

New "Game of Thrones" Season 2 cast photos

"The Simpsons" pays homage to "Game of Thrones"

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Emilia Clarke plays Daenerys Targaryen in "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO

Creative Minds: ‘Game of Thrones’ costume designer Michele Clapton

"Game of Thrones" costumes: Click to see more

Michele Clapton is the Emmy-nominated costume designer for HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which on April 1 returns for a second season. She talks about the challenges of outfitting a sprawling cast in garb that hints at a fantastical history while remaining fresh.

What is your research process for “Game of Thrones”?

We’ve all read the books and we look at it to a point, but sometimes a written description of a costume doesn’t necessarily translate well to the screen. Since it’s such a complicated story, the looks had to enable the viewer to know where they are, who these people are and who they represent.

We made all the costumes for [characters from] the North from skins. For research, we looked at the Inuits and at Tibetan tribes — we try and look at peoples in different times in history to see how they would have dressed in that environment. ...

I also looked at Lascaux cave paintings in France — they have these wonderful animal paintings. We decided that every time they killed an animal, the hunters would have to paint an animal onto their costume. The better the hunter, the more covered in these drawings he would be, which I think visually is really strong. We’re always looking for ways to show who the leader is.

PHOTOS: The costumes of 'Game of Thrones'

It’s so exciting because we can almost go anywhere as long as it makes sense. If they live on a windy, rocky island, like the Greyjoys do, then they dress accordingly: They have costumes made of heavy, densely woven cloth that are waxed and painted with fish oil to help keep out the wind. Everything has a reason for being there.

“Game of Thrones” tells such an intricate story with so many characters. How do you use the costumes to help guide the viewer?

Where a character comes from is indicated through the color and cut of the costume. When we first see Sansa [Sophie Turner], she wears things in a Stark way — very well, but they are slightly clumsy and the cloth is rather homespun. As she comes to King’s Landing, her progression is influenced by Cersei [Lena Headey] and her costumes shift. After Cersei does the awful thing of sanctioning the death of Ned Stark [Sansa’s father], Sansa is stuck — you can see her frozen in time. She’s looking like someone who has just killed her father. And then we will see her progression as she slowly withdraws from the look.

It’s also interesting to look at Littlefinger’s [Aidan Gillen] journey — he started off very much as a courtier, he was always very organized with his little chain and his notebook, and then suddenly he actually stopped wearing the mantle. He had just little glimpses of turquoise beneath his costume and the slit was cut slightly higher. ... Slowly you realize he ran brothels. His costumes, just slowly, became a little richer.

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'Game of Thrones' executive producer D.B. Weiss talks Season 2, DVD

Game of Thrones

The countdown to "Game of Thrones'" second season premiere is on. The lavish fantasy series returns to HBO on April 1 with the episode "The North Remembers." And to remind viewers of the complex circumstances of the Seven Kingdoms at the end of last year, the first season was released on DVD and Blu-ray on Tuesday, and it's also now available on iTunes.

"Thrones" executive producer and series co-creator D.B Weiss took a few minutes to talk about the first and second seasons and some of the special features of the DVD set.

Are you still in post-production on the second season?

Yes, we are in post-production and getting it all ready as quickly as we can for the drop-dead dates when they pry it out of our cold, dead hands. We’ve got a couple of episodes locked and done and in the can, but we still have some work to do on the back end.

PHOTOS: 'Game of Thrones: Season 2' cast photos

In the first season you included some elements from the second book. Once you start making changes like that, do you find you have to make more changes or is Martin's original narrative pretty malleable?

Our approach has always been what we pitched to George at the very beginning: We're adapting his entire series. The changes we make, taking something from one book and putting it in the middle of events from another book, are always at the service of the series as a whole -- both George's series and our series. Oftentimes an event from Book 2 will serve as a better end point for a character in Season 1 than it would as a starting point in Season 2.

This year there are definitely things we took from Book 3 and pulled them back a season and there are things we hold off on introducing from Book 2 to put in a later season and there are things, regrettably, there's just no room to include at all. George, luckily, isn't just a seasoned novelist. He's also a seasoned television writer and he knows how the sausage is made and understands the sacrifices that often need to be made in the service of preserving the impact of a show as a whole.

One of the scenes from the first season that really leaves a lasting impression is of Tywin Lannister (Charles Dance) skinning a deer.

That was a real deer. It was purchased from someone who sells stags and Charles Dance learned on the day how to skin a deer. You never would have known. It seemed like he'd done it his whole life.

Another scene that raised eyebrows was the scene with Littlefinger revealing his thoughts before two naked prostitutes as they writhe in bed together. What was the thinking behind that scene?

It's a challenge you face getting inside a character's head when you don't have any of the novelistic devices George has at his disposal. Many of which are the equivalent of voiceover, telling us what a character is thinking. The Littlefinger scene was born from the necessity to learn who this person was behind the mask, and unfortunately this is someone who's such a confident total game player that the truth about who he really is and what he's really about is something he's not going to reveal to the other game players he encounters over the course of his daily life. In this situation, the prostitutes serve as psychiatrists, which is the conception behind that scene and setting it where we set it and doing what we did with it.

One of the more impressive features from the DVD set is a motion comic explaining the various religious beliefs in this world. Do you oversee that as well as the series?

We were definitely very excited and involved with all aspects of DVD production. Credit for [the motion comic] goes to Bryan Cogman, our story editor and writer who also wrote those, and Will Simpson, who did all the artwork. He also does our storyboards and is a respected and noted comic artist in his own right. And the whole DVD team who wrangled the cast. We were very pleased with the concept and how beautifully it was executed.

Is Bryan the keeper of the mythos on the series?

Bryan's got a very unusual brain. I'd really like to put Bryan up against anyone short of George himself in ability to totally recall every piece of information that exists in terms of the books and show. I imagine somewhere on some wall is a very complicated chart.

There was some buzz online recently about the length of the Battle of Blackwater sequence late in this season. One (mistranslated) interview stated the battle was 16 minutes long -- about a quarter of the episode. How long is the battle?

All I can say is that if I can't quote you a number and David can't quote you a number about how many minutes the battle sequence is in that episode, then nobody else can either. We've definitely put the episode together. We never thought about it in terms of "We need X minutes of this or X minutes of that." We know there's a huge, complex battle to service and we know there's a human drama taking place over the course of the battle we need to service and we're telling the story as effectively as we could with the resources we had, never losing sight of the people involved, which ultimately makes the battle sequence worth watching. Otherwise it's just eye candy.

I don’t remember who said [the number]. I'm sure nobody meant anything by it. I just thought it was funny that a number was quoted and I thought, "Oh wow, somebody is actually timing it." I've watched this episode through maybe 15 times. We certainly couldn't put a number on it.

Are you surprised by which elements of the show fans seem to fixate on?

We've been really lucky there's been a wide base of people who've come to enjoy the show and lots of them are fans of the books and some of them have never heard of the books. And you probably get a slightly different reaction from each group. And you probably get a different reaction within each group. George has his core fan base of readers. It's hardly a homogeneous group of thinkers. They all have their own fiercely held opinions. They often debate at length with each other and anyone else who wants to listen. It's hard to talk about the fans as a monolithic group. There are fantasy fans who love the books and there are auto mechanics who love the show and there are politicians and mixed martial arts fighters who love the show. It's a pretty wide, random base of people. It's hard to know what any group is fixating on or not fixating on.

Do you monitor reactions from any of the many websites devoted to Martin's books?

To be honest there isn't that much time available to us now to spend on that stuff. The time pressures of getting the show ready to air are so immense and all-consuming that it really is two full-time jobs. It's not that we're not interested in what people think; but we don't have a whole lot of time to engage people directly as we might if the show were less production-intensive.

How much downtime do you have after finishing Season 2 before you start writing Season 3?

That would be zero. Zero minutes and zero seconds. By the way, I should point out that we don't have a greenlit Season 3 yet. It's not a foregone conclusion in our minds. But the show needs to operate on the 52-week, maybe 51-week-a-year schedule to get finished.

Are there more visual effects this season?

Visual effects definitely play a much bigger role in the show this season than it did last season. I don’t have a shot count in front of me, but I know those can be deceptive. Lots of visual effects shots are fixes. And one of the great things that we’ve learned this season was how to minimize those low-value fix shots by not needing the fixes to begin with ... how to get the right blood spray that you want in production so you don’t need to add it in later. For every one of those you can save, it’s more money spent on a visual effects shot that people are really going to notice .... But we have such an amazing group of visual effects artists this year that you're sometimes hard-pressed to remember what was real and what was added in later.


'Game of Thrones' coverage and recaps

New "Game of Thrones" season 2 cast photos

"The Simpsons" pays homage to "Game of Thrones"

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: D.B. Weiss, right, and David Benioff, center, on the set of "Game of Thrones" with an unidentified crew member. Credit: Paul Schiraldi / HBO

'Game of Thrones' inspires ... a high fashion line?


Helmut Lang has debuted a line of clothing directly inspired by HBO's lavish fantasy series "Game of Thrones," set to return for its second season on April 1.

It may seem counter-intuitive, considering just how many memorable moments from the first season of the series, based on the novels by George R.R. Martin, involved characters in stages of undress. But the vaguely medieval look of the Seven Kingdoms had made its way across the Sunset Sea to New York for Fashion Week.

Helmut Lang's creative directors Nicole and Michael Colovos admit to using the fantasy series as an inspiration for the current set of clothes.

The line, which appeared on the runway this week, features enough boots, leggings and leather to qualify for a decent armor class (for the RPG players out there).

After being off the air for close to a year, "Game of Thrones" will return to HBO with 10 new episodes in the spring, adapting the second book in Martin's "A Song of Ice and Fire" series titled "A Clash of Kings."

With filming taking place across several different countries -- including a glacier in Iceland for the second season -- the series provides ample opportunity to see a wide range of garments, with the colder weather options reflected in Helmut Lang's fall-winter collection.

When it comes to urban fashion this fall, it's not such much a question of haute couture as Hodor couture.


'Game of Thrones' coverage and recaps

'Game of Thrones': New cast pics reveal the clashing kings

Golden Globes: Peter Dinklage cites Martin Henderson case

-- Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Models wear clothing from Helmut Lang's 2012 fall-winter collection. Credit: Helmut Lang / Associated Press

'Game of Thrones': New cast pics reveal the clashing kings

Game of Thrones

The season finale of HBO's "Game of Thrones" left the Seven Kingdoms on the verge of all-out war, with several competing factions vying for the Iron Throne and control of the realm.

The second season promises to play those conflicts out in full (it's based on George R.R. Martin's novel "A Clash of Kings," so there are no spoilers here).

Now, we have new photos of the characters to peruse, including returning favorites  such as Jon Snow (Kit Harington), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Tyrion Lannister (Emmy and Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage) and the dragons, of course.

PHOTOS: 'Game of Thrones' Season 2

But there's also a whole new set of characters to learn, as the series' focus expands ever outward, incorporating more pieces in play. Keep an eye on that Melisandre (Carice van Houten).

Click on the photo or the link above for a peek at how most of the major characters of "Game of Thrones" will look when the series returns April 1.

Strangely missing from this lineup is Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). But we'll be seeing more of him soon enough.


'Game of Thrones' coverage and recaps

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— Patrick Kevin Day

Photo: Melisandre of Asshai (Carice van Houten) and Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). Credit: Helen Sloan / HBO

Golden Globes: Peter Dinklage cites Martin Henderson case

Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage won a Golden Globe on Sunday for his work on "Game of Thrones," but at the end of his acceptance speech he cited someone with no connection to the HBO fantasy epic.

"I want to mention a gentleman I'm thinking about in England," the actor told viewers just before walking offstage. "Martin Henderson. Google him."

Dinklage -- a dwarf who stands 4 feet 5 -- was referring to the case of Henderson, a British dwarf who was left partially paralyzed after allegedly being attacked outside a Somerset bar in October.

PHOTOS: Golden Globes red carpet arrivals

Henderson was celebrating his birthday with friends when he was picked up and thrown by an as-yet unknown assailant outside a pub, according to news reports. A hospital scan later showed nerve damage in his spine, and Henderson says he has trouble walking now.

Henderson believes the attack was inspired by the case of Mike Tindall, a U.K. rugby star who was fined by authorities for a reportedly wild night of carousing -- including a dwarf-tossing performance -- at a nightclub last year. 


Complete Golden Globes coverage

Peter Dinklage wins Golden Globe for "Game of Thrones"

Showtime's "Homeland" wins Golden Globe for drama series

-- Scott Collins (

Photo: Golden Globe winner Peter Dinklage has taken up the case of Martin Henderson, who was allegedly attacked outside a British bar last fall. Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images


Golden Globes: Peter Dinklage wins supporting actor in a TV series or miniseries

Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage won the Golden Globe on Sunday for best supporting actor in a TV series, miniseries or movie for his portrayal of the quick-witted Tyrion Lannister in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” beating out Paul Giamatti in "Too Big to Fail," Guy Pearce in "Mildred Pierce," Tim Robbins in "Cinema Verite" and Eric Stonestreet in "Modern Family."

The 42-year-old actor can place the award next to the Emmy he received late last year for playing the Machiavellian dwarf from a powerful royal family in the premium network’s fantasy series. Dinklage's breakout role as an actor came with the 2003 film “The Station Agent,” and he’s also appeared in “Elf” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian.”

The Golden Globe Awards are being handed out at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, and the show is being televised live on NBC.


Complete Golden Globes coverage

PHOTOS: Golden Globes red carpet arrivals

Golden Globes: 'Homeland' wins for TV drama series

-- Martin Miller

Photo: Peter Dinklage, with his wife Erica Schmidt, at the 69th Golden Globes show. Credit: Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times


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