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  1. As we’ve previously reported, Linda and I have the pleasure of attending the Winterfell Festival this Sunday at Castle Ward, famed as a shooting location for Winterfell and a number of other places in Game of Thrones. Now, the National Trust has published the full programme, starting with an opening ceremony with Game of Thrones‘s Ian McElhinney who’ll be around for a Q&A and meet and greet. Besides McElhinney, fans will have the chance to see and meet Mark Addy, visit swordsmith Boyd Rankin who’ll have weapons from Game of Thrones on display, witness the stunt riders of The Devil’s Horsemen joust and perform feats of horsemanship, see dogs used as direwolves on the show, and many more GoT-inspired activities and entertainments. Including archery, as it happens: Linda and I plan to photo and video across the day, and hope to get in some interviews with performers and visitors alike. If you see us, feel free to say hello! View the full article
  2. Westeros

    A Journey Ended

    News of Princess Daena’s escape from the Maidenvault arrived in Dorne just as King Baelor prepared to return to King’s Landing, and though he prayed for a swift wind to blow the fleet home, Lord Velaryon’s ships maintained a good, steady, but unremarkable pace as they crossed the Sea of Dorne, and Shipbreaker Bay, and finally beat against contrary winds to pass through the Blackwater. At certain points, the fleet sent swift, small galleys to resupply and to find out if there were any word of the princess, and to relay the king’s commands to have the City Watch do all it could to recover his sister. Yet there was no news, and all the efforts seemed so far for naught. When the king arrived, there was some ceremony, but Baelor seemed more interested in learning what news there was of his sister than anything else, and he was escorted to the Red Keep where he meant to pray for Daena’s return in the comfort of the castle’s sept. Indeed, many efforts had been made to discover what had happened, led by members of the small council, by officers of the City Watch, and by the Kingsguard who had remained in the city while the king was away to Dorne. Her sisters and ladies were questioned, and it became clear that Princess Elaena had been the ringleader in helping the defiant Daena abscond from the Maidenvault. Yet despite pleas and reasoned arguments, the princess and the ladies held firm in saying they did not know where Daena intended to go once she slipped the Maidenvault, nor how it was she was able to escape the Red Keep itself. The search for her has gone from the filth of Flea Bottom to the ruins of the Dragonpit and even the high streets upon the Hills of Rhaenys and Visenya, and the watch on the gates have been tripled. And still, nothing. Rewards have been announced, each more desperate than the last, and searches have now gone well beyond the walls of the city, searching the roads to Duskendale and Maidenpool, following the Blackwater Rush, rummaging through the villages spreading like a quilted blanket about the city. The search has even extended into the kingswood, led by Prince Aegon, who had been away hunting when urgent word was sent to him of Daena’s disappearance. Having been tasked with helping to prepare the hunting lodge of the late King Daeron for his namesake, Prince Daeron, and his Dornish bride, once apprised of the situation he insisted it was like as not she had made to hide herself away in the woods once she escaped the city, for every time she escaped before remaining in the city had been her undoing. In particular, he asked that the Sea Watch send ships to villages along Blackwater Bay, and especially to any known smuggler’s coves, and suggested that the same be done by the deputies of the Warden of Crackclaw Point to make sure that Daena did not hide herself away amidst the lawless bogs and hills until a ship could take her away to Seven-knows-where. And away in Dorne? Many seemed happy enough to see the backside of King Baelor and his enormous following, but others wondered what would come next. The Iron Bank was still putting obscure pressure on the new Prince Maron, and rumors were rife that Sunspear would not resolve the concerns of the bankers before they began to withhold credit to Dorne’s merchants and lords. Some noble houses had banded together to help attempt to alleviate the concerns, extending loans by which merchants could get out from under the demands of the bankers, but without the Prince of Dorne opening the treasury, these efforts are a mere stopgap if the bankers shut their bank’s doors to Dorne. One effect of the Iron Bank’s presence seems to have been the expedited marriage of Amalea Parnel, the daughter of a family of Braavosi bankers, to an orphan of the Greenblood, and her leaving Sunspear for Planky Town with an escort of the palace guard. And all this has been a distraction for another whisper passing among the courtiers: that Prince Maron soon planned to make changes to his court. Visit the Site!
  3. On September 16th, Castle Ward—a National Trust site in Northern Ireland which has famously served as a location for Game of Thrones—will be hosting a Winterfell 2018 event which will feature a number of entertainments, including displays by the Devil’s Horsemen who’ve worked on the show’s horse stunts for years, a display of weapons from the show made by Boyd Rankin, and more. And among that more is the newly-announced inclusion of Mark Addy—King Robert Baratheon himself!—to be part of a Q&A session. (Atop of all that, Linda and I will also be present to report on the event, but we’ll have pens handy if anyone wants to lug their copy of The World of Ice and Fire over there to get our autographs.) See below for the full details in the press release, explaining how to get a ticket to attend the Q&A with Addy, and providing more information about the event: read on >>> View the full article
  4. The popular mobile and PC game, Reigns, a “swipe ‘em up” is releasing it’s third edition—and this one is under license with HBO, meaning that this time players will be able to play as characters from Game of Thrones desperately clinging to power while trying to fend off rebellions, assassins, Others, and more! We’ve been playing a beta and having great fun with it, but we’re not quite sure how much we can talk about it so we’ll write a follow-up post when that’s clarified. The game will be released for iOs, Android, and PC (via Steam) this October for $3.99, but pre-orders are available in some countries. An official website for the game, reignsgame.com, is now live, and fans can follow @ReignsGame on Twitter to get a glimpse of some teasers. A press release with more details below: read on >>> View the full article
  5. In the days following the marriage of Prince Daeron Targaryen to Princess Mariah Nymeros Martell, King Baelor and Prince Maron, both, have busied themselves with matters that have interested them. Between audiences, councils, sermons, and entertainments, both men have been busy. King Baelor, a septon in his own right, was greatly moved by sermons made by Sunspear’s septons preaching reconciliation and forgiveness on the anniversary of the Submission of Sunspear. So much so, in fact, that he personally carried out acts of reconciliation, meeting privily with Ser Mavros Uller and Prince Rhodry—the one considered the architect of King Daeron’s death in Dorne, the latter being the king’s killer—to pray with them and repeat the forgiveness he had pronounced in King’s Landing when word first reached him. It was fortunate, some say, that the prince seemed in a relatively pleasant mood, for the audience ended without incident. The next day, the king continued this effort, turning his attention to the famous Ser Michael Blackmont and the new-made knight Ser Loreon Lannister. Their meeting in the wedding tourney, where Loreon—then but a squire—disguised himself as a mystery knight to attempt to avenge Ser Michael’s killing of his father Ser Landyll, had drawn the king’s attention and with Prince Maron’s assistance he summoned them both to speak to them, to pray with them, to exhort them. And it seems that his efforts succeeded, for her certainly would say so later. But others noticed that Blackmont had entered one of his darker moods, and was grim and silent, while Ser Loreon would only speak with care about what transpired and whether he had truly forgiven Landyll Lannister’s killer. As to Prince Maron, besides being the perfect host, he has had other matters to attend to, and not least among them the presence of an emissary from Braavos and representatives from the Iron Bank. Rumors have run rife among guildsmen and merchants that the Iron Bank was preparing to call in debts from throughout Dorne, leading to great uncertainty. It was well-known that the prince’s uncle had lately been in Braavos, and that while he was there the First Sword was killed and then, some time after, the Sealord himself deposed and replaced with a man who had been his rival and an adherent to his own predecessor. But why the Iron Bank should take exception with Dorne, that the Martells did not share. Prince Maron would meet with Lord Toland, the Keeper of the Tower of the Sun, and his grandfather Ser Quinlan Qorgyle, and other advisers; and he summoned Prince Rhodry to the Old Palace, and the Braavosi woman Amalea Parnel, and even one morning Samara Sand and her father Ser Mavros Uller. After these various meetings, and word that Mistress Amalea was soon to be wed to an orphan of the Greenblood, the prince finally admitted the bankers into his presence in a private audience attended only by Ser Quinlan. What transpired, none would say, but the bankers seem no more likely to depart or be mollified than they were when they arrived. But it seems to not be the end of meetings, for it is said that the bankers will meet with Prince Rhodry, Mistress Amalea, and Mistress Samara in due course, doubtless to discuss happenings in Braavos. But all is speculation, whispers and rumors and fears, for Prince Maron reveals nothing to his court, and the bankers keep their mouths shut. In the days since, a great race, the flower of races, was held in the deserts of Dorne, with Prince Maron and King Baelor attending. A grand affair, scores of riders racing through hills and deserts and canyons, showing the great endurance of sand steeds, was attended by over a thousand spectators, high and low alike. Yet it almost became a disaster, thanks to a flash flood that drowned two riders and led to the deaths of several horses, as well as the momentary disappearance of a pair of noblewomen who were part of the race. A search party was sent out, Ser Aidan Dayne racing ahead for his lady wife was among the missing, and knights and ladies alike helped to treat wounds, bring mercy to horses too injured to recover, and bring the lost back to the encampment. The race’s winner was Joleta Gargalen, heiress to Salt Shore, and behind her was Ser Aloran Celtigar, called Crackclaw. But things stir elsewhere in Westeros, even beyond the red mountains of Dorne. Such as the news, a fortnight after the raising up of a new High Septon, that Princess Daena Targaryen, once wife and queen of King Baelor, has once again vanished from the Maidenvault—and that she had been gone two, or even three days, before anyone realized, thanks to the connivance of her sister Princess Elaena and certain other maidens in the keep. A search has immediately been made, the maids have been questioned, and there have even been efforts to search outside the city for fear that she managed to get past the walls. Visit the Site!
  6. Westeros

    A Wedding to Remember

    The realms rejoiced at the marriage of Prince Daeron to Princess Mariah, as King Baelor officiated and administered the vows. After the melee born in violence, tensions had eased somewhat, and while still there were incidents of old feuds and old blood causing fresh troubles, none of them were serious enough to cause lasting turmoil. Instead, the court and the shadow city were consumed with the entertainments prepared by Prince Maron in the days leading to the marriage, from a horse race won by the bastard daughter of Ser Mavros Uller to a pageant featuring fantastical scenes of ancient heroes and personages in which even King Baelor took part in the guise of Lord Aenar. The wedding itself was a grand event, the feasting hall of the Sandship packed to overflowing, and the gift-giving that took place was notable in many ways. From low to high, a great treasury worth of gifts were given to the pair, from lords high and mighty to orphans of the Greenblood and guildsmen. Books were given in plenty, rare tomes, and jewels and jewelry, and horses, hounds, falcons, and more. The most newsworthy of gifts, however, came from the unexpected appearance of two separate groups of emissaries from Braavos. The first, professing himself from the Sealord, presented three dragon eggs made of jewels that stunned many for its extravagance and artistry. When Prince Daeron thanked him, and his master the Sealord Donalo Prestayn, the emissary begged pardon and corrected him: though the Sealord Donalo had commissioned the gift, it was the new Sealord Tenesio Velaron who had seen it dispatched. That was news that should surely have already come to Dorne and the Seven Kingdoms beyond, at least a moon old, perhaps more—yet the Secret City had somehow kept this all a secret. Prince Viserys and the Keeper of the Tower of the Sun, Lord Toland, soon excused themselves to seek out this emissary. And then the other emissaries came, a trio of men representing the Iron Bank of Braavos. They presented a more modest gift, showing the approval of the bank of a union that they believed would benefit Westeros and the Free Cities alike: a fine marriage casket, a treasure box where valuables might be kept. And that, too, caused consternation… but from some of the Dornish at the high table, including the Lord Protector Quinlan Qorgyle, and some cast hooded eyes towards Prince Rhodry, who had lately been in Braavos and had left there under somewhat disreputable circumstances involving the death of the old Sealord’s First Sword and the appearance of a young Braavosi of breeding in his company (as well as Mavros Uller’s bastard daughter, besides). Yet the bedding took place—more solemn and less ribald than such customs usually are, thanks to Baelor’s presence—and many would enjoy the bounty of wine and food into the small hours. The next morning dawned with expectations high for the events celebrating the wedding, an archery contest and a grand tourney in which more than a hundred men-at-arms were entered. The archery was won by Ser Digory Dalt, who impressed one and all when he defeated a Summer Islander woman with a golden bow, and then doubled his prize by answering Prince Maron’s challenge to strike a target dead center at a hundred paces with one of three arrows. As to the tourney, it was accounted the grandest in all of Westeros in years, perhaps even since King Daeron’s grand tourney or the Tourney of Roses in Highgarden. Champions from both north and south of the red mountains took part, including four knights of the Kingsguard, Ser Tamlyn Toland, Prince Rhodry, and more besides. A mystery knight called Brightmane was unmasked by Ser Michael Blackmont, and was revealed to be the squire Loreon Lannister who claimed that Speardancer had killed his father many years past in Dorne. One of the favorites, Ser Aidan Dayne, who had defeated Ser Jaesin and Prince Aemon of the Kingsguard, was injured in the course of defeating Ser Michael Blackmont on foot, and withdrew from the tourney. Speardancer himself was unhorsed by a disreputable bastard squire, Mycah Sand, who proceeded to refuse in crude terms Ser Michael’s attempt to knight him. In the end, Prince Aemon twice defeated Ser Durance Darklyn—who had won much acclaim having taken second place in the melee, and had gone undefeated in the lists until that point—to take home the prize of five thousand golden suns, while Darklyn took two thousand golden suns as his prize. The following day marked the first of the new year, and there were celebrations and entertainments for that as well, as well as the knighting of Loreon Lannister by his kinsman and master Ser Jaesin Lannister. But late in that evening, word first reached Sunspear of something new: the raising up of a new High Septon, a man of humble birth but great gifts, a stonemason before but now the Voice of the Seven on Earth. King Baelor was pleased, and immediately gathered nobles to him in Sunspear’s sept to offer prayers of thanksgiving, but many in Dorne revealed themselves dubious of this new High Septon’s merits, and apparently the rumors that King Baelor had played a substantial part in his selection. Visit the Site!
  7. Via EW, HBO exec Casey Bloys provided some light at the end of the tunnel for eager Game of Thrones fans, indicating that the final season of the show will be airing in the first half of 2019. Given that in general the show has started airing in March or April, it seems odds are good for the final season to follow suit. Besides that, Bloys has also clarified earlier reports sourced from the Belfast Telegraph which indicated an October date for the production of Jane Goldman’s pilot for a Game of Thrones prequel/successor show. Bloys indicated that in fact a director has not yet been found (which may put paid to the idea that Goldman’s gotten Matthew Vaughn on board) and that in fact they’re hoping to get the pilot into production early next year. How this fits into the Telegraph’s report of trying to find a window to use the Paint Hall studio facilities is unclear. View the full article
  8. Westeros

    The Marital Melee

    With the wedding of Princess Mariah to Prince Daeron fast approaching, there have been incidents that have raised concerns whether the guests that accompanied the northern wedding party would be able to survive their visit to Sunspear. Tense meetings, a few beatings, and even a suspect death or two have made the lords and knights in King Baelor’s company all the sharper with their Dornish hosts. And the Dornish hosts have wondered much the same. A particularly dangerous incident in the practice yards of the Old Palace, involving Princess Mariah’s uncle Rhodry Nymeros Martell, brought matters to a head when knights and squires began to threaten one another with weapons in hand. Only Prince Maron’s intervention, and that of Prince Daeron, prevented bloodshed in earnest… but after, Prince Maron announced a melee between both sides, a chance for the men to win one another’s respect through the practice of arms and chivalric deeds. King Baelor, no lover of melees, eventually assented to Maron’s decision, but he would absent himself from the melee the next day. More than five scores knights and squires gathered in the melee grounds outside the shadow city, with thousands of Dornishmen gathered to watch, and hundreds of lords and ladies besides from the north and Dorne both. The men-at-arms sworn to the Iron Throne were a splendid force upon one side of the field, and the Dornishmen another. Famed names there were on both sides, men who had been champions or won fame in arms, and there were others hungry for such acclaim: Elmer Crakehall, Prince Rhodry Martell, Durance Darklyn, Marius Dalt, Dermett Corbray, Valerin Dayne, Loren Lannister, Sebaston Vaith, Malwyn Hightower, Mycah Sand, Burton Crakehall, Balon Selmy, and on and on. Perhaps the most notable man on the field was no man at all, however: Jinny Sand, the Little Witch. There were ladies among Baelor’s contingent who were shocked at such a thing, but none could doubt that once they saw her fight that she was a warrior of great skill, wielding a poleax to great effect. In the first charge, two dozen men on either side fell, and others were locked in wild, chaotic combat. The Little Lemon was driven from the saddle by Ser Burton Crakehall while Ser Dermett Corbray sent Sebaston Vaith tumbling and the Little Witch hammered Ser Elmer Crakehall from horseback. Yet his kinsman Ser Burton offered some revenge, knocking Ser Emeric Santagar down. All the while, Prince Rhodry gave blow for blow to the bold squire, Loreon Lannister, who amazed many by his resilience as the prince tangled with him; yet in the end, the prince overthrew him. By that time, the score seemed to favor the northern chivalry, who had unhorsed more of the Dornish than vice versa. Matters grew particularly grim when Valerin Dayne was defeated by Balon Selmy, and Mycah Sand by Ser Malwyn Hightower. Every effort Prince Rhodry made to cut away and join the remaining Dornish, especially Jinny Sand who was dealing with two foes at once in Durance Darklyn and Dermett Corbray, was blocked when northrons rushed at him. Yet the infamous prince, the man who slew the Young Dragon in the bloody sands of Dorne, showed his skill, overthrowing Balon Selmy and Burton Crakehall in quick succession, and Malwyn Hightower as well. By the time he could reach Jinny, however, she too had fallen—though not before defeating the Warden of the Kingswood, Ser Dermett Corbray. By the end, it came down to two: Prince Rhodry, bruised and battered, and Ser Durance Darklyn, who’d fought fiercely… and who had a keen anger towards the prince that had killed his king. The two met, and Ser Durance at first had the advantage, but with a thrust of his spear Prince Rhodry managed to overthrow the knight and carry the day. An enormous roar came from the crowd who watched, drowning out whatever words the prince offered to the fallen knight. That evening was full of revelry… at least, Dornish revelry. Some knights did take to heart Prince Maron’s wish that the melee would end all further strife, and there men from north and south alike who were cheered on. As to the victorious prince? He retired with his lady wife, Tanyth Toland, it is said… but not longer after was seen in the company of Jinny Sand and others, carousing through the streets and pillow houses until he took his leave of them past midnight, though it was not until well past morning that he returned to the home shared with the Black Tempest. Visit the Site!
  9. Westeros

    A Prince and a King

    It had not even needed the landing at the Planky Town for the royal wedding party to learn that there was a new Prince of Dorne: a Lysene ship on its way back to its home port shared the news as it passed, and there was much wonder and surprise. King Baelor led the day’s prayers with a benediction for young Prince Maron, and for his ailing father Prince Marence, as Viserys and others of his councillors quietly convened to discuss the matter. The next day, the fleet under Lord Velaryon’s command arrived at Planky Town, bearing peace when once his ships had brought war. Disgorging the royal party, the king was greeted by representatives of the new prince who escorted the king to the Planky Town’s fastness where he could rest. Much of the rest of the court had to make do with a few places in inns and hovels, or with tents pitched beyond the Greenblood’s east bank. The next day, a great parade of nobility followed the Targaryen king from the Planky Town, riding to Sunspear. The prince’s honor guard for Baelor was substantial, but there was no need for much of the way: the Dornishmen in villages along the way did not turn out in any great number, looking on with sullen and sometimes angry expressions. It was more of the same in the shadow city approached, until the sun-and-spear banners appeared in profusion above the grand company awaiting to escort the king through the Winding Walls. There was the new prince, Maron, who welcomed the king afoot, and there were his kinsmen and his chief councillors and many of the leading lords and ladies and knights of Dorne. But Prince Marence, the former Prince of Dorne and Lord of Sunspear, was not there. The prince and the king rode side by side through the Threefold Gates, into the Old Palace where the Sandship’s great hall was laid out for a feast. Words of greeting were spoken, and Maron asked the king to offer a prayer. At the high table was Prince Marence, who greeted the king as well, though he seemed drawn and sad and ate little of the bounty placed before him. At his side was his daughter, the Princess Mariah, and it was there that she would first have opportunity to speak with her betrothed, Prince Daeron. Beneath the high table, a deliberate effort had been made to place northrons and Dornish together in mixed groups. Some were seated with the lords and ladies who would act as hosts—the shadow city and Sunspear is no grand city, and the enormous number of noble guests meant that the Prince of Dorne—Marence at the time, but Maron reiterated the need—required the manses of the noble and the wealthy to accommodate some part of the guests and their households. Even so, outside the shadow city a town of tents has risen for the long tail of the royal party: men-at-arms, guards, grooms, pages, servants, and the like. Not since the Young Dragon’s host surrounded Sunspear has the shadow city seen so many people in and about it. In the days since, there have been many private meetings between Maron and Baelor, and Daeron and Mariah have spent time together under the watchful eyes of the gathered courts. Both king and prince alike speak of peace and look towards a bright future, but for many in the hall all they could readily remember was war and bloodshed, of kin and friends slain in battle, of fields and villages razed, of castles stormed. It made an uneasy feast. It was only in the days since that there have been flares of temper—a Caron man-at-arms chasing after a Dornish boy whom he claimed filched his purse was be pelted with stones and beaten with sticks and was saved only by the Prince’s shariffs; a group of Dornish squires who came with their knights harassed a pair of squires who had lingered too long in a tavern after dark, and in an alleyway stripped them of their clothes and sent them running naked to their encampment; and one guardsman for a westerlord was found dead with a broken neck, apparently having fallen out of a pillow house window. Prince Maron has had the Lord Shariff double the shifts of all his men, and to recruit more if needs be to keep the peace, while King Baelor has impressed upon his followers that the gods themselves are watching and that all men should follow the example of peace. And far away, in King’s Landing, the bells toll announcing the decision of the Most Devout, and the investment of a new Voice of the Seven on Earth. Doves wing throughout the Seven Kingdoms—to uncertain result, to be sure, at this experiment commanded unto the Faith by Baelor—to tell of the new High Septon… but they do not tell that even with one of the Most Devout whispering in his ear, he could barely say the words or lead the prayers that were expected to him, nor do they speak of the bitter factions that now exist among the Most Devout over the choosing of an unlettered stonemason at the king’s behest. Visit the Site!
  10. An interesting set of reports from yesterday touch on HBO’s future and the future of Game of Thrones. First, the Belfast Telegraph reports that allegedly staff at Paint Hall—the massive studio space used by Game of Thrones as its main base of operations for all of its seasons—have been told that the prequel pilot ordered back in June will begin filming this October. Suffice it to say, if true, this is a very fast production path by HBO standards. By way of comparison, the original Game of Thrones pilot was ordered in November 2008 but filming did not begin until October 2009—almost a full year after. And Damon Lindelof’s Watchmen show had a pilot order in September, and began filming in May, eight months later. If the Telegraph’s report is accurate, it’ll just be four months from pilot order to pilot shoot. But it’s important to stress that caveat—it’s entirely possible that October will see the beginnings of pre-production, such as set building, location scouting, and costuming, rather than actual filming. What can it mean, however, if this tight deadline really is true? We have two thoughts on it. read on >>> View the full article
  11. Reports from over the weekend reveal that the final scenes have been filmed for Game of Thrones season 8, the final season of HBO’s hit fantasy series. It’s been an extraordinarily long shoot, beginning on October 23rd of last year, meaning just over 8 months have gone into filming the last six episodes of the show. Maisie Williams has posted a farewell image on her Instagram which has caused a bit of a stir in and of itself: Though no air date has been announced, we do know from HBO that the show will not air until 2019. View the full article
  12. Westeros

    Of Sails and Crowns

    Near a fortnight since the royal fleet set sail from King’s Landing with the most precious of cargoes: princes and a king, to make a marriage to bring lasting peace to the Seven Kingdoms and Dorne. The journey, in the wake of he High Septon’s death, has been marked by the septon-king Baelor leading daily services aboard the royal ship in honor of the Voice of the Seven on Earth’s passing. The winds and seas have been kind, and the fleet has journeyed far as it passed the easternmost point of Cape Wrath. In King’s Landing, the Most Devout mourn the High Septon, to be sure… but they are also left to deal with the problem that the king left them, namely that he believed the gods themselves had spoken to him and showed to him who the next High Septon should be. Some of the Most Devout have balked at this, while some few have leapt to the same view as the king, leaving the stonemason he called the Seven’s chosen successor to the crystal crown most bewildered. One of the most ambitious of the Most Devout has taken him under his wing, sweeping him away from his kin and his labor to tutor him in matters of the Faith. Some say the man is even being taught to read, though to uncertain result. Those who refuse this choice try to start debates about selecting this septon or that one, but day by day they lose ground as the realization sinks in that Baelor has been the most mild and pious of kings… but if he learns that the Faith has defied him, who knows whether that Targaryen temper might finally show itself? And in Dorne… there has been a change, sudden and nigh unprecedented. Following his quietly-announced vigil, the heir to Dorne was knighted by his master, the famed Ser Aidan Dayne. And then his father, the Prince of Dorne, called a council of his chief councillors, including his father Ser Quinlan, the Lord Protector of Dorne. They met high in the Tower of the Sun, as Prince Marence informed them that his ill-health necessitated a change for Dorne. With his son’s coming to knighthood, it was time for him to step aside and for Maron to take up the rule of Dorne. To say that this was a shock to the Keepers of the towers, the Prince of Dorne’s brothers, the stewards and other high officers, goes without saying. Prince Maron entered after his father spoke, and it was clear that he had known all along. As to the Lord Protector of Dorne… those who watched him saw little surprise in his eyes, but they may have noted that only in the last pair of days he had suddenly become taciturn, as if he had had learned something of moment that he could not share… or, mayhaps, did not like. And so before the royal wedding party arrives, Dorne has a new Prince, and much of the realm all unaware. Visit the Site!
  13. The High Septon, Father of the Faithful and the Voice of the Seven on Earth, has been called to sit at the Father’s right hand in the golden hall which is his abode among the heavens. Knowing the end was coming, he had made peace with his time being done and instead spent his last hours with the king. Baelor prayed over him and gave him a benediction through tears, and swore he would do as the High Septon asked of him. The old High Septon, his spirit strong though his body was failing, extracted three promises from the king. The first was the simplest: Ser Peron the Pious was called so that he could kneel at the High Septon’s bedside, and accept his blessing as he recited the vows of the Kingsguard before the king, and swore to remain at the High Septon’s side by night and by day until his remains were interred. The second was not much harder: that the remains to be interred in the great sept even now climbing its way skyward atop Visenya’s Hill would be the High Septon’s own, once the silent sisters had stripped the flesh from his bones. And the third, the king had already committed to: to travel to Dorne without delay, to see Prince Daeron wed to the Princess Mariah, and seal peace between Dorne and the Iron Throne. It had become his dream, as it was Baelor’s, and he would not have it jeopardized by unnecessary delay. Even as the ships were being loaded and readied with supplies and scores of chests, even as the greater part of the king’s household and court made ready, the bells rang throughout the city marking the death of the High Septon. After, the king himself went to Visenya’s Hill, to look at the place he had chosen for the High Septon’s burial… and also to visit the stonemasons who had labored over the High Septon’s tomb, commissioned months earlier when the High Septon had begun to falter. But the king tarried there, speaking with one of the younger masons, the man who had been given the most difficult task of rendering the face of the High Septon himself. And what followed was nothing as was expected. Attended by the Most Devout, Baelor spoke to the man at length, and his remarks and his questions began to raise alarm. The stonemason, guileless, answered them all as best he could, and the king seem satisfied. He smiled, and thanked the man, and turned to the Most Devout and asked them to join him in prayer, to see if the Seven would show them what they had shown him. And so it was that even as the silent sisters received the High Septon’s body, the king made a singular suggestion as to who should become the new High Septon. Visit the Site!
  14. I’m off to the U.S. for the week to visit family, but ahead of that Linda and I found some time to sit down and (finally) record a video for the Youtube channel where we discuss the news (including comments from George R.R. Martin at Not a Blog) and consider just what the writer and prospective showrunner, Jane Goldman, brings to the table. Also, wild-eyed musings about whether she could convince her frequent collaborator Matthew Vaughn to direct the pilot… View the full article
  15. The marriage of Prince Rhodry Nymeros Martell to Tanyth Toland, a bare month before the more notable marriage of his niece Princess Mariah to Prince Daeron Targaryen, was a surprise to many. The announcement of the betrothal had been surprise enough, but the saga of it—with the prince’s disappearance across the narrow sea, only to return with not one but two women in his company—made many doubt the two would ever swear the holy vows. And indeed, while the Braavosi woman he brought back with him has been most in the company of the orphans of the Greenblood due to the promise of a good dowry from Sunspear’s own treasury, the other and more infamous woman, Samara Sand, has been seen most in the company of ... Prince Rhodry. Which, suffice it to say, has raised brows and fueled rumors of curious arrangements between the prince, his sword-wielding companion, and the woman known throughout Dorne as the Black Tempest. And yet the wedding took place on the appointed day, and without incident. The vows were said—though some might say, after, that the septon seemed to have elided some of the more ceremonious aspects of the ritual—and Rhodry and Tanyth were man and wife. Both had their kin there to witness the event, and many knights, lords, and ladies besides. But for the feast afterward, the wan, still-ailing Prince Marence excused himself, and the Lord Protector his father as well. Yet their absence was not too noticed, and the prince and his new bride presided over the festivities with its many courses. If the prince seemed to drink and eat more than he ought, and at times seemed ill-tempered on certain subjects or towards certain persons, well, that was his reputation. But to the surprise of many, the bedding itself happened with little in the way of ribaldry or even ceremony—the prince, seemingly in haste, simply led Tanyth away shortly after the last course. The morning of the tourney in celebration of the previous day’s nuptials brought a new wave of rumors, of a late night visit by a maester, and of a prince left decidedly unprincely by what some thought was too much wine, and others believed to be indigestion from one portion or another of the many courses. Regardless, that the prince had intended to ride in his wedding tourney was well known, but sitting there beside his wife was Rhodry, looking somewhat miserable and decidedly the worse for wear. Lady Tanyth, solicitous to his every desire, kept his cup well-filled… with water, that is (which might explain the misery). Yet despite the prince’s absence, it was a fine tourney with more than thirty knights and squires in attendance. The jousters rode to the final eight, at which time each was given a second chance to joust if unhorsed. Yet many thought that Ser Aidan Dayne, the Knight of the Twilight, would carry the day given his far-famed skill and the way he defeated one foe after another without difficulty. Others in the contest included the squires Digory Dalt and Mycah Sand, Ser Sebaston Vaith, Sunspear’s captain of the guard Ser Valerin Dayne (wearing the favor, many noted, of Allyria Allyrion), Ser Emeric Santagar, Lady Tanyth’s famous brother Ser Tamlyn, the heir to Yronwood and the prince’s good-brother Ser Farien Yronwood. All acquitted themselves nobly, though the septon’s bastard Mycah Sand seemed in an ill mood after falling to Vaith and Toland, while the other squire, Digory Dalt, rode to such success that he unhorsed Ser Tamlyn and many opined that it was high time he become a knight. At the end, it came down to Ser Aidan and Ser Farien… and to the wonder of many, especially Farien’s kin, the younger man unhorsed the great knight. Yet Ser Aidan had gone undefeated until then, and took his second chance to finally seize the prize to the acclaim of the crowd. Lady Tanyth presented him a woven crown to present to his queen of love and beauty, and many expected him to give it to his beautiful, remote Northern wife, Lady Aisling of House Ryswell. He even started to turn to do so. But all saw her shake her head, a signal that it was right and proper that the bride to be celebrated should wear the crown, as she had done from his hand before. And so Tanyth of House Toland was the day’s Queen of Love and Beauty. In the feasting after, the prince was still denied wine, and was testy. Yet a late gift was presented to him and his wife that drew some attention: a pair of tapestries woven by Tanyth’s cousin, Iona, one celebrating the Black Tempest’s joining the defense of Ghost Hill against Alyn Oakenfist’s besieging forces, and the other celebrating Prince Rhodry’s most famous (or most infamous, if asked of those beyond the red mountains) deed: the killing of King Daeron I Targaryen, the Young Dragon. Visit the Site!