Posts posted by Westeros
Major news out of Hollywood has been the strike of the Writers Guild of America after the breakdown of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers; more details can be found here. In the wake of that, news of various productions started to come out regarding how they were dealing with the strike, with variations from The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power‘s showrunners completely stopping working on their production to House of the Dragon‘s Ryan Condal remaining on set but in a strictly non-writer capacity (this apparently has caused some umbrage among WGA members, who argue that . George R.R. Martin has now weighed in on the strike, and one particular sticking point—so-called “mini-rooms” which have upended what was once a long and successful means of developing and promoting writers—and in the course of it has laid out where various Hollywood projects stand (for those who don’t want to read it all: everything Hollywood-related is on hold for him, as he’s a proud WGA member and thoroughly in agreement with the strike).
To quote him:
“(Many of you will be wondering, rightfully, about the impact of the strike on my own shows. The second season of DARK WINDS wrapped several months ago. Post production has been completed on five of the six episodes, and will soon be done on the last. The show will likely air sometime this summer on AMC. No decision on the third season will be made until after the strike. Peacock has passed on WILD CARDS, alas. A pity. We will try to place it elsewhere, but not until the strike is over. The writer’s room on A KNIGHT OF THE SEVEN KINGDOMS: THE HEDGE KNIGHT has closed for the duration. Ira Parker and his incredible staff of young talents are on the picket lines. Across the ocean, the second season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON started filming April 11 and will continue in London and Wales. The scripts for the eight s2 episodes were all finished months ago, long before the strike began, Every episode has gone through four or five drafts and numerous rounds of revisions, to address HBO notes, my notes, budget concerns, etc. There will be no further revisions. The writers have done their jobs; the rest is in the hands of the directors, cast and crew… and of course the dragons).”
read on >>>
The Writer’s Guild of America has begun a strike, which means members of the guild will not be writing for any productions they’re working on. There’s a lot of questions about just what this means for many productions, questions that Variety has tried to answer with its FAQ. But fans of House of the Dragon have worried about the show being delayed because of the strike, and as it happens, Variety has an answer for that question as well.
Per Variety, all the scripts for the season have been finished ahead of time, and production will continue. So, good news! However, as some may realize, most scripts are not completely done and in final form when a show is produced. There’s often talk of rewrites and the need to ADR (“Automated Dialogue Replacement”) to insert new dialogue or change existing dialogue. As Variety notes, it’s unclear just how that aspect of things will work for programs already in production. Will they take different footage from different angles to give them more wiggle-room to add entirely new dialog when a character’s mouth can’t be seen? Will they employ some of the new tech out there to simply dynamically change a character’s lips to the words they’re saying? We live in fascinating times, as it were.
A month has passed since the return of King Aegon, Fourth of His Name, with the remnant of his great army that had so boldly marched but two months earlier for Dorne and a renewed attempt to conquer it. All the realm now knows of the debacle that followed, the news writ in the jade green flames of wildfire that set the kingswood alight and left thousands dead and a third of the forest turned to ash. That the king escaped with his life had been chance, and the valiant efforts of his loyal knights and men-at-arms, though some paid the greatest price that could be paid to see their king live. The flight to Tumblestone, the respite found there as Lord and Lady Footly hosted the king’s host, all were relatively uneventful… but colored by some by the realization that the king now promised to attack Dorne next year, or perhaps the year after.
The return to the city had relatively little pomp and circumstance, especially when compared to the brave showing the kingslanders had made to see their king and his glittering army, with its wooden “dragons”, departing for their campaign. Lord Bracken, the King’s Hand, made sure that the City Watch was in great force, and few were able to get more than a fleeting glimpse of the king as he rode directly to the Red Keep. It was there where the recriminations would begin, as word began to fly about the court that the king blamed the maesters who had helped design the engines… and especially the pyromancers, who swore the engines would be safe to pull even up onto the Boneway, much less the kingsroad.
Some of those the king blamed were, conveniently, already dead, killed in the wildfire disaster. But others remained in the city. The maesters were, on the whole, the safest from the king’s wrath, as the Grand Maester himself interceded and took whatever blame the king wished to mete out to his order, and he swore that the archmaesters at the Citadel would hear of all the king’s complaints. The pyromancers, however, were less secure. Indeed, when a rumor ran that the king had commanded Luthor Rivers to round up the senior Wisdoms, most of them fled with a surprising alacrity, taking ship to the Free Cities in terror for their lives.
As it happened, no such order was given… but the king immediately showed his displeasure by refusing to pay the remaining costs for the wildfire that the alchemists had made, and swore that in his reign wildfire would never again be used. This cast the guild into great confusion, buried under debts that would not be made good and many of its elder leadership fled. There are now rumors that the guildhall itself may have to be sold, unless some solution can be found.
As to the rest of the court? The king did have praise for some, for their leal efforts and bravery. There are still knights and lords missing, but now they are thought to be dead, among them the lords of the Antlers and Stonedance, and the king has given thought to their disposition under uncertain circumstances. The Antlers is presently ruled by Lord Jarmon’s widow, Lady Jannia, on behalf of their son… but the child is little more than an infant, and there is a thought that mayhaps a stronger hand is needed. As to Stonedance, both Lord Massey and his heir are presumed dead, and the king’s favor to Ser Luthor Rivers seems to extend to supporting naming Ser Luthor’s wife, Lady Pennei, as Lady of Stonedance, with their son as heir. Yet Rivers’s bastard birth has raised eyebrows at Stonedance, and some argue that Lord Maslan would have preferred his brother Ser Harmon to succeed him instead of a daughter wed to a bastard-born knight of infamous lineage, however high he has risen in the king’s service.
Now that HBO’s House of the Dragon is in the full swing of production, casting news will start ramping up for new roles this season, and today provides us the first tranche as four actors have been revealed by Variety with their roles, all of which were first described in George R.R. Martin’s The World of Ice and Fire and Fire and Blood:
- Gayle Rankin as Alys Rivers, described as “a healer and resident of Harrenhal”. For those not concerned about spoilers, the Wiki of Ice and Fire has you covered on all we know of the character from George R.R. Martin’s writing.
- Veteran actor Simon Russell Beale (who has multiple Olivier and Tony awards to his credit) will play Ser Simon Strong, described as “the Castellan of Harrenhal and great-uncle to Lord Larys Strong”. the Wiki of Ice and Fire has more information about the character.
- Freddie Fox will play Ser Gwayne Hightower, “the son of Otto Hightower, brother to Queen Alicent, and uncle” to the queen’s children. The character appeared in the first episode of House of the Dragon, in the tournament, but wore a helm and was played by a stuntman. Again, this is a canonical character.
- Last but not last, Abubakar Salim will play Alyn of Hull, “a sailor in the Velaryon fleet.” There’s a lot more about him on the Wiki for those not afraid of spoilers.
To mark the 12th anniversary since HBO’s Game of Thrones aired on April 17th, 2011—my, how time flies!—the Folio Society and Westeros.org are collaborating to give away a copy of the beautifully illustrated, slip-cased A Dance with Dragons that they released last year. We own all the Folio Society editions of the A Song of Ice and Fire novels, and they are truly gorgeous!
Entry is easy, just head to https://www.foliosociety.com/uk/westeros and sign up!
• Open internationally
• Closes 23:59 (UK time) Friday 21 April 2023
• No giveaway or spam accounts
• One entry per person
• Winner will be contacted directly over email by The Folio Society no earlier than Monday 24 April 2023
• Not endorsed by or affiliated with Facebook
• Winner must acknowledge their win within 10 days or be redrawn
• T&Cs apply
See below for full terms and conditions, as well as additional images of the book!
read on >>>
George R.R. Martin has posted to his “Not a Blog” to discuss the big news that HBO has ordered A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight (a working title, GRRM notes, that is not finalized) straight to series. George goes into some more detail about the project, pointing out that he first floated the Dunk & Egg stories for adaptation seven years ago, so things can move slowly… until they don’t. He also notes that despite reports (spurred by his own remarks that some things had been shelved, and some shifts of the Starling Inc. website that we reported on here), both the 10,000 Ships and Sea Snake shows remain in development. But more on that later.
On A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms, George has some particular new details to share:
Our premiere season will be an adaptation of the first of the three published novellas, “The Hedge Knight,” the tale of how Dunk & Egg first met during a tournament at Ashford Meadow. The pilot script is already written, and I think it’s terrific. It was written by Ira Parker, who is no stranger to Westeros. He was part of Ryan Condal’s writing staff for the first season of HOUSE OF THE DRAGON, and wrote the fourth episode of Hot D’s first season, “King of the Narrow Sea.” That’s the one where Prince Daemon returns to King’s Landing after conquering the Stepstones, and takes Princess Rhaenyra down into the stews of Flea Bottom. Ryan Condal is on board as well, as an Executive Producer. So am I.
read on >>>
In a big presentation to announce their upcoming plans, including the launch of a new streaming service combining HBO MAX and Discovery+ called MAX, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that they had ordered A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight straight to series (no pilot episode) with the following log-line describing the basic idea of the show, which is based on the Dunk & Egg novellas:
A century before the events of Game of Thrones,
two unlikely heroes wandered Westeros… a young, naïve but courageous knight, Ser Duncan the Tall, and his diminutive squire, Egg. Set in an age when the Targaryen line still holds the Iron Throne and the memory of the last dragon has not yet passed from living memory, great destinies, powerful foes, and dangerous exploits all await these improbable and incomparable friends.
Fans have long wanted to see Dunk & Egg brought to the screen, as they give a very unique look into the Seven Kingdoms and the Targaryens from the eyes of a man of low birth who rises to great fame over his lifetime. Notably, HBO has also shared details about the writers and executive producers for this series.
read on >>>
To mark the occasion of the official start of production of House of the Dragon, HBO has put out a press release with the announcement, a remark from showrunner and lead writer Ryan Condal, and some other notes, plus a nice behind-the-scenes shot of the Iron Throne:
Production has commenced on the second season of HBO Original drama series House of the Dragon at Leavesden Studios in the United Kingdom.
Logline: Based on George R.R. Martin’s Fire & Blood, the series, set 200 years before the events of Game of Thrones, tells the story of House Targaryen.
Ryan Condal, Co-Creator/Showrunner/Executive Producer, quote: “House of the Dragon has returned. We are thrilled to be shooting again with members of our original family as well as new talents on both sides of the camera. All your favorite characters will soon be conspiring at the council tables, marching with their armies, and riding their dragons into battle. We can’t wait to share what we have in store.”
read on >>>
Variety has an exclusive scoop: HBO is actively considering a TV show about Aegon’s Conquest, which would take the Game of Thrones franchise back to the very beginning of the establishment of the Targaryen dynasty in Westeros. Per Variety:
As the project is in its very early stages, no writer is currently attached, though sources say that the search is underway as HBO is keen to move forward and get it into development. Sources also say that there may be a feature component to the project, i.e. HBO and Warner Bros. would produce a feature film that would then lead into the potential series, though plans remain in flux at present.
The full story of Aegon’s Conquest was first told in The World of Ice and Fire, which was later expanded with more information about the aftermath in Fire & Blood.
read on >>>
Some significant House of the Dragon news reported by Deadline’s Nellie Andreeva, who has received word (and confirmed some parts of it with HBO) that for “story-driven” reasons the plan of a 10 episode 2nd season has been changed to an 8 episode 2nd season, which has necessitated some re-writing and likely has contributed to the slight delays to the planned commencement of filming (however, production is imminent and the prospective air date remains summer 2024). Per Andreeva’s report:
“It has been reported that House of the Dragon‘s creative team had envisioned the series running for three or four seasons. I hear executive producer-showrunner Ryan Condal, working with author/executive producer George R.R. Martin, took a step back as Season 2 was being put together to take a big-picture view of the series, which follows Martin’s Fire & Blood, and figure out the overall narrative flow, including how to break up the stories season-to-season and what battles to include and when.”
Interestingly, Andreeva notes that even with the reduction of two episodes, Condal and GRRM are still discussing whether three or four seasons work better. Her piece goes into some more detail about just what was moved out of the 2nd season for the prospective 3rd season, which we’ll quote below and speculate on a bit.
read on >>>
The war that King Aegon launched has ended before it began. The aftermath of the wildfire disaster in the kingswood—hundreds dead, supplies destroyed—was bad enough, but the news of the fleet preparing to attack Dorne having been shattered by a great storm that howled up through the narrow sea finally made King Aegon pause. With his chief vassals and captains urging him to call off the war, Aegon at last agreed to do so, allowing many of the lords and levies to go back to whence they came. The remaining forces, returning to the crownlands or the riverlands for the most part, would follow the king’s banner to Tumbleton where Lord Footly would open his granaries and larders even as young Lord Leo Tyrell (newly-knighted after a tourney victory at the tender age of sixteen) sent barges up the Mander with more supplies. The march to Tumbleton was relatively swift, no longer burdened by the “dragons” that so spectacularly went up in flames, but it was a hungry march, with the empty tents of deserters counted each morning and even so the common men were reduced to half rations by the time Tumbleton came into view.
At Tumbleton, Lord Edger Footly and his lady wife Arrene, as well as the dowager lady Genna, greeted the king and welcomed him and his host. Tumbleton’s walls had been rebuilt since the Dance, but there were great empty areas within those walls even still, and the whole of the remaining host was able to set up an encampment within the walls. The town square, with its pavilion still holding the skulls of two dragons, served as a place where the weary soldiers and footmen could eat their fill, while the lords and knights with the king were welcomed to the castle where a feast was readied. All went well, and King Aegon greatly enjoyed the hospitality of the Footlys. When the feast ended, the king was welcome to sleep in Lord Edger’s own chamber, but the castle was otherwise crowded with knights and even lords sleeping on the floor of the great hall, while others paid exorbitant prices for places in inns or even private homes.
The king enjoyed the hospitality so much, in fact, that he has decided to stay week, to let the host recuperate and to allow more supplies to arrive on the Mander… while also commanding the barges that have arrived to stay put, and to be ready to carry him, his household, his companions, and more to the headwaters of the Mander when they are ready to resume the march. In the meantime, many are the men who have paid a penny to see the dragon skulls, and some have even paid a stag to touch them. Lord Edger has spoken of some trouble, however, outside the walls: an increase in banditry and outlaws, a matter bothersome enough that he has personally ridden out with some of his own knights and men-at-arms to chase down and deal with it. Though Lord Edger did not say it, it’s like enough that some of the deserters from the king’s own army have turned to robbery and murder.
At Dragonstone and King’s Landing, at Massey’s Hook and Sharp’s Point, as Duskendale and Driftmark, ships from the scattered fleet have appeared in dribs and drabs, ships of the royal fleet that was scattered by the great storm. Lord Corlys Velaryon, the erstwhile admiral of the fleet, proved to be alive as well, leading six ships with him as they reached Driftmark. All in all, three quarters of the royal fleet has been accounted for… but of the remaining quarter, some are known to have been lost with all hands, or nearly all, and others are feared to have suffered the same fate away from the coast. Notably, Lord Massey and his heir, as well as Lord Buckwell, are still missing, their ships not having been seen. It’s said that on Dragonstone, Prince Daeron has taken to commanding ships sailing on to the Free Cities to make inquiries as to whether any of the lost ships have been seen and having any ships arriving at port questioned as well as to whether they have seen sign of the king’s ships.
And in Dorne? The news of the disaster was delayed by deliberate efforts to keep it quiet, but it has at last escaped to Dorne, where Prince Maron was so heartened by the news that he gathered his court to inform them. However, the young prince showed some restraint when some—notably, Lady Kerenza of Vaith, widow of the heroic Lord Caston the Leopard, and the prince’s infamous uncle Rhodry—urged an attack against the Marches now that the invasion seemed blunted and on the verge of complete collapse. Others spoke against this, warning of the danger to Princess Mariah and her children, or suggesting (as Prince Cadan did) that efforts should be made to reach out to some of the chief lords to now urge the king to end the war. In the end, Prince Maron promised that Dorne would act if King Aegon continued his march—that news, that it had been abandoned, had not yet arrived—by seizing back watchtowers that Dorne had ceded to the Iron Throne in the peace that had been made with King Baelor. But until then, Dorne would stay quiet… though festivities were planned in Sunspear, to celebrate the misfortune that may have averted the invasion, or at least changed the course of it.
The kingswood is aflame. The king’s host, that marched so bravely from the city weeks earlier, is shattered. His “dragons”, the seven engines designed to spew the wildfire of the pyromancer’s at the king’s foes, have all gone up in green flames. The war is done before it began.
Or so some claim, as ravens arrived in King’s Landing with such messages… and others arrived with milder messages: yes, the dragons are destroyed; yes, the kingswood burns with lambent green fire that consumes all before it; but the king’s host is not shattered, indeed, it marches on under brave King Aegon’s banner.
The truth? Somewhere in between. King Aegon does indeed march on, as best he can while attempting to assuage his followers that the flames will not catch up to them, that the lords of the kingswood and the region around will act quickly to subdue the wildfire by felling trees and ploughing up the earth to make fire breaks. His maesters, commanded to speak as he wishes, do not disagree with him… but there are many who feel he is overly hopeful, and it’s said Lord Baratheon has counseled the king to call off the attack because the supply train has been lost and the army most either disperse or starve.
Days later, and the fires have still not gone out, spreading from the aftermath of the explosion. But it could have been worse: two days after the conflagration began, a great storm blew through the kingswood, unleashing a deluge of rain that helped stamp out some of the spreading flames (and soaking the ragged host while it was it). But wildfire is tenacious, and here and there smoke can still be seen, and the jade green flames find new life.
The toll of losses is as yet unclear, though messages have arrived fitfully, listing some noted names that have been killed: Ser Tomas Rivers, the Bastard of Riverrun, killed by mishap while leading an effort to cut a way through underbrush for the king who was perilously close to the fire; Ser Aleyn Florent of the Kingsguard, his horse driven mad and carrying him through the flames and out of sight, the last glimpses of him fighting to control the horse even as his white cloak danced with green flames; Ossifer Staunton, Lord of Rook’s Rest, believed killed in the initial explosion that set off the inferno; Ser Alek Reyne of the City Watch, who saved the life of his son and a number of other men at the cost of his own; Ser Damon Darklyn, Ser Raynard Locke of the wardenry of the Kingswood, Lord Blackwood’s brother Ser Lucos, the master-at-arms at Blackhaven Ser Anders Dondarrion, Lord Ossifer Staunton of Rook’s Rest… and doubtless more, many more, especially among men in service to the king. The king’s own master of horse is unaccounted for, and the master-at-arms Ser Denys Bolling was found dead, much of his body burned, in the hours after the explosion.
And if that is not all, a second disaster has struck the king’s campaign against Dorne: even before the wildfire inferno, the royal fleet under the command of Lord Corlys Velaryon was struck by a huge storm as it moved from where it had stationed to Tarth to the southern shores of Cape Wrath to begin to raid and scout the Dornish coast. This storm was the very same that has helped dampen the flames, but before that it had scattered the fleet to the four winds. Reports have come in of disarray, of ships run aground and the drownings of hundreds of men (including the famed Ser Philbert Celtigar), and other ships limping into ports along Massey’s Hook or to the shelter of Tarth with tattered sails and exhausted men… and scores of ships still at sea, their fates unknown, apparently having been driven far into the narrow sea to ride the fury of the storm that tore through them.
And what now? The king has camped the remaining forces west of where the disaster took place, sending men to try and find stragglers and wounded, and consulting with his lords and captains about how to proceed. Message riders have urgently raced to the nearest castles and towns, including Tumbleton, urgently calling for supplies. It is only a matter of time before the king learns of what befell the fleet, whether by rider or by a raven sent to one of those close castles…
Variety has a report drawn from a longer profile of HBO and HBO Max content CEO Casey Bloys. In it, Bloys suggests that summer 2024 is a good guess for when the second season of House of the Dragon would air. Like the season before it, this second season is due to start in March, and as we know from that first season it wasn’t until August of the following year that the season premiered, so this seems in line with expectations.
Bloys also goes on to make comments on more Game of Thrones spin-offs:read on >>>
The pavilions have swelled in number around King’s Landing, as banners from across much of the Seven Kingdoms have arrived led by proud knights and lords eager to fulfill their duty to King Aegon and more eager still for the glory of conquest in Dorne. The city is bursting to the seams with men-at-arms and sellswords, causing great trouble for the gold cloaks at times as wherever soldiers gather camp followers are sure to follow. The day soon approaches for the march on Dorne, it’s widely rumored, and across the Blackwater the last of the king’s wooden “dragons” even now nears completion under the oversight of master artisans and the pyromancers. The king’s own household guard protects the barrels of wildfire stocked nearby, and they are watched night and day, while more are transported from the depths of the Guildhall of the Alchemists in careful operations that involve cleared streets, wagons packed with sand to soften every jitter, and ultimately pole barges that travel only when the tide at the mouth of the Blackwater Rush is at its mildest.
The knights of the realm who have come to the king’s call have kept themselves entertained in many ways, but more than one tourney has taken place in and around the city, most informal, some formal. Lady Taria Buckwell, a grand dame of the court, hosted one such event which drew a goodly field of knights. Famous knights entered, champions like Ser Conrad Arryn and Othan Blackmane, but it would not be their day. At the end, the day was carried by the Warden of Crackclaw Point, Ser Dermett Corbray, when he overthrew Ser Luthor Rivers, commander of the City Watch. Word has come from other parts of the realm of similar feats of arms taking place, such as a tourney at Horn Hill where the young Lord of Highgarden, Leo Tyrell, won his spurs after overthrowing a number of the Reach’s boldest knights. They had gathered there at the behest of Ser Ardon Tyrell, acting as Lord Protector for his nephew, to gather forces to hold the mouth of the Prince’s Pass and prevent a counter-attack by the Dornish.
And in Dorne? The letters of protest and attempts to dissuade the king from his course appear to have failed, and so the Prince of Dorne has had the Boneway reinforced, and even now the Dornish banners are readying to defend every inch of ground between the Marches and Sunspear. But as to the threat from the burgeoning royal fleet, there Dorne has found itself less prepared. Envoys have been sent out to the nearest Free Cities, in hopes of raising sellsails to defend Dorne’s coast, but none have returned ... and it’s said that emissaries from the Iron Throne already in the Free Cities have tried to dissuade any from taking up that commission. It is just as well that much of the Dornish coast is unsuitable for landing, but the few good harbors are in need of reinforced defenses in a limited time. Even the Prince’s Pass is seeing activity, the Fowlers and Blackmonts and Daynes raising banners, and many wonder if indeed Dorne will attempt its own attack in hopes of dissuading King Aegon’s march.
It’s become an increasing trend among creators to have Patreons where they can connect more directly with fans, and with the launch of Highgarden Entertainment George R.R. Martin has joined the bandwagon—but with a twist. As some may know, George has poured time and money into supporting the arts and commerce in his home of Santa Fe, NM. Most notably, he saved the Jean Cocteau Cinema which is now a venue for independent and genre films as well as talks with authors and filmmakers, and opened up his own bookstore, Beastly Books. The Patreon has three separate segments (which can be combined into one offering at a discount): one focused on GRRM, one focused on the Jean Cocteau Cinema, and one focused on Beastly Books.
read on >>>
As the time of the war against Dorne approaches, we thought we’d provide a general sense of what players would ICly understand of how it’s being organized and why it’s being done in a certain way. A Tidings post will sort of hint and nod at it all in a more general, Tidings-style sense, but this is a sufficiently big and complex event that putting things out OOCly in a plainer sense makes… well, sense.
This is what players will have gathered, as word of the king’s plans have filtered down from on high to important lords and courtiers, wardens, etc. First, the thrust of the king’s plan appears straightforward, and inspired (with one key difference) by the Young Dragon’s invasion of Dorne. Where Daeron’s attack was three-pronged (two land armies crossing the passes through the Red Mountains, and Oakenfist leading the royal fleet to eventually drive for the Planky Town), Aegon has called on forces to gather at King’s Landing, and indeed over the last month and half encampments have begun to swell outside the walls of King’s Landing, with the largest across the river at the beginnings of the Kingswood. There are two exceptions to this gathering. One is in the Reach. While lords and knights of the eastern part of the Reach have largely traveled to King’s Landing, the Tyrells are overseeing the reinforcement of the Prince’s Pass, and indeed a tourney has taken place at Horn Hill where the young Lord of Highgarden has won his spurs after winning the tournament and defeating some noted champions who have come to join that reinforcing force. The other exception is the stormlands, where the marcher lords and many stormlords besides are raising their banners at their seats and are waiting for the king’s host to join theirs, or (in the case of marchers like the Dondarrions and other relevant houses) are even now reinforcing the Boneway and preparing depots and encampments to supply the host on its march.
Besides this huge army, growing by the day, there are also the terrifying “dragons” that the Guild of Alchemists is constructing for the king. These are in fact being built across the water, with parts of the Kingswood felled for the timber to make them. Rumor has it that the wildfire that these great engines will spout has yet to be transported out of the depths of the Guildhall, but when it is it’ll be a very delicate operation.
Finally, the other segment of things is the fleet: just as an army is gathering, the royal fleet is gathering. Most of it is in Dragonstone and its vassal isles, but a large segment is now at King’s Landing, with ships being overhauled and refitted, sailors and oarsmen being recruited, etc. Some substantial portion of the total military force will be travelling on those ships, although the king’s plans for the role of the fleet is not yet generally clear. Most bet they’ll try the same gambit, trying to seize the Planky Town and then as much of the Greenblood as possible to prevent forces in the west of Dorne from easily crossing over to the east.
Finally, what role will characters have in this whole thing? If you’re a knight or a squire, it’s likely that you’re expecting to be part of the war! Whether you’re with the land army marching south or with the fleet sailing down is mostly up to players, and as we get closer to the marching/sailing date—it’s still several weeks away—we’ll maybe have some specific events for the groups in each “arm” of the campaign. If players decide they would all like to be on the fleet or with the army, we can do that, and will just focus on that part of the conflict for events and scenes. And if you’re not a knight or squire? You’re likely staying in King’s Landing, perhaps supporting (or deploring!) the effort in your own way.
A new year is on us, and with that is news of the next calendar in the long-running A Song of Ice and Fire series. This time, the artist will be none other than Justin Sweet, an award-winning artist whose contributions have been as varied as concept art for blockbuster films like The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Avengers: End Game to illustrations for books like… well, like The World of Ice and Fire, where his two-page splash of Robert and Rhaegar on the Trident (as well as his depictions of Arya, Jon, and Dany) were some of the very first pieces commissioned for the book.
read on >>>
“Dark wings, dark words,” some say, and though often enough the ravens that bear messages across the Seven Kingdoms bring glad tidings—of weddings, of births, of tourneys, of victories—from time to time that old saw proves to be true. So it was when a raven arrived at the rookery at Sunspear, the message tied to its leg opened and examined by the Old Palace’s maester. What followed was a hasty relay, from the rookery to the chambers of the Prince of Dorne, followed by the captain of guards being called for, and household knights being sent out to find Prince Maron’s councillors and kinsmen. But as they were sought, word began to spread in the castle: King Aegon had declared war on Dorne, alleging inequities and a failure to abide by the peace treaty signed with Baelor the Blessed.
This was, suffice it to say, news to the court. Immediately, the Prince’s advisors began to make plans for defending Dorne, but it was Maron himself who put forward that the first step should be to seek a peaceful solution to whatever had misled Aegon to such an act. A letter would be drafted, protesting the declaration of war, refusing to agree with the accusations, and offering to exchange emissaries to attempt to resolve matters peacefully. Some of the advisors scoffed at this—one of the prince’s uncles, most notably—but Maron made it plain that while he would have that letter sent, and meant every word, he would also order the defense of Dorne to be seen to, calling forces to reinforce the Boneway and the Prince’s Pass, and even preparing to send agents to the Free Cities to raise sellsails to defend the coast.
That seemed to satisfy even the most belligerent of the Dornish lords and knights, but as news leaked from the Old Palace to the shadow city and then beyond, there were stirrings of anger and fear as the memories were still vivid for many of those years of war and occupation and rebellion, and all the blood that had been spilled. Some wondered if the northrons beyond the mountains felt the same, knowing how many tens of thousands of their sons and fathers had died in Dorne…
But in King’s Landing, preparations for the Tourney of the Dragon had turned any anxiety into anticipation, as great knights and champions flocked to try their chance at the promised prizes, tens of thousands of gold dragons, amounts last seen at the Young Dragon’s legendary Grand Tourney. If there were preparations for war going on, they were less immediately evident in the excitement as pavilions were raised in the tourney grounds. Well over a hundred knights came to participate, some unherald, others famed. But some noticed more those knights who were missing: Prince Aemon the Dragonknight himself was alleged to be suffering from an ailment and would not participate, and not a single knight from the Dornish companions to Prince Daeron and Princess Mariah (the former himself not present for the tournament, having argued repeatedly with his father, the latter on Dragonstone) was there either.
Yet several knights of the Kingsguard did participate, and famous knights of note besides like the champions Ser Symeon Westerling and Ser Joffrey Caswell, or the king’s friend Ser Morgil Hastwyck who had proved fiercesome in the lists; all three advanced to the last sixteen knights. But there were other names less heralded who also advanced to the final group.
Of the deeds done in the final contests, the singers have already begun to sing. The contest between Hastwyck and Westerling was especially noteworthy, with nearly a score of lances broken between them before Ser Symeon at last lost his seat, and few thought anything might surpass it… until, that is, Ser Balon Selmy and Ser Omrys Baratheon, stormlords and cousins, met after each had faced notable foes—Ser Balon had contrived to overthrow both Ser Morgil and Ser Jofrey, while Ser Omrys had defeated Sorin of Sevenstreams, a knight of the Kingsguard. They did not break so many lances, but they rode a number of hard-fought courses, and then Ser Omrys somehow managed to battle his way out of those defeated who were given a second chance, to face his cousin once more in the final contest of that long day.
“The Clash of the Cousins” was on many lips, and if it’s sequel was not the contest some hoped for—Ser Balon defeated Ser Omrys a second time with relative ease—it was still such an unusual event, from two knights of no great fame, that it captured the imagination… and 40,000 gold dragons between them, as well. But that was not all that Aegon wished to show the gathered onlookers. The gold cloaks made a way through the crowd to a mysterious, much-speculated-on walled encampment dominated by a huge tent, where many mysterious comings and goings had been seen.
Most notably, pyromancers of the Guild of Alchemists had been seen coming and leaving at strange hours. The tent’s walls parted, and the broad gate in the wooden walls was opened, and out come ... a dragon! Or rather, a great wheeled contraption with a long wooden neck with a bronze dragon’s head at its end. A young pyromancer clambered up a ladder attached to the “neck” of this dragon, carrying a lit taper within the mouth where there was a round, brazen opening… and then he very swiftly made his way back down and inside the device.
As the king beamed, there was a pause, and then the faint sound of men within the contraption keeping time. The moment stretched, longer and longer… and then there was a sound almost like a roar, followed by a gout of fire from the dragon’s “mouth”: green fire, wildfire, forced out by some mechanism from the opening to be lit by the taper and then shooting up and over the crowd to some forty yard’s distance where an empty pavilion was set alight. Some in the crowd were terrified (rightfully, others would later say) at being so close to the deadly alchemical substance, but the king proudly asserted that this dragon was named “Balerion” and would be joined by six more just like it as a way to guarantee victory against Dorne.
Afterwards, there was feasting, but most all the lords and ladies of the court could think only of the day’s tourney… and of these great, wooden dragons that Aegon was causing to be built, terrible siege engines that the king believed (questionably, some might say) would shift the balance in his renewed effort to conquer Dorne.
Rumors, always rumors. The king’s meetings with councillors, with high lords, with knights. Doings at the docks where royal galleys come and go, and Lord Corlys Velaryon visiting all of them lending credence to other rumors about the empty office of Master of Ships. Even a rumor that the king had several times visited the Guildhall of the Alchemists, where the pyromancers practice their arcane arts to control fire and make the substance called wildfire. And arguments, always arguments with Prince Daeron—the tension between father and son had only grown in recent weeks.
There were other rumors, always, about Aegon the Fourth of His Name: of his beautiful mistress Missy Blackwood, of other women of the court besides, of serving women with swelling bellies and no husbands, of certain brothels growing more and more opulent due to some wealthy patronage… but on this day, a fine, hot summer day, the rumors that mattered most were also the ones that would be confirmed: the Iron Throne had declared war on Dorne. There was no great gathering of the court to hear the declaration from Aegon himself, for he gathered his courtiers for feasts and frolics and debauchery, and otherwise let his Hand and the small council see his will done.
But ravens began to fly, and the king’s councillors began to spread the word themselves, and then heralds were sent out to every part of King’s Landing to make the declaration, and some traveled beyond to the seats of the lords of the crownlands. The declaration was brief, and simple: that Dorne had failed to uphold its promises in the peace pact that had been forged by Baelor the Blessed, that such perfidy would never be accepted, and that the king would protect the realm by placing Dorne once more beneath the authority of the Iron Throne.
A second declaration, less formal, would follow soon after: a great tourney would be hosted by His Grace the King, and promised spectacles and the greatest prizes seen since the days of the Young Dragon’s Grand Tourney. Ravens and riders sped with word of that as well, clearly an encouragement for the best and boldest knights to hasten to King’s Landing to gather for the event… and to stay for the great army the king intended to gather for the assault on Dorne.
The tourney was even given a name in this proclamation: The Tourney of the Dragon.
The white ravens have flown from the Citadel, following the long debate of the Conclave. Summer has arrived, ending the long Spring of seven years. Why did the debate take so long? The proceedings of the Conclave are said to be closely-held secrets, yet rumors followed on those white wings, rumors that claimed that one faction of maesters believed it a false Summer, and others argued in fact that the signs suggested a very short Summer season. Regardless of the truth, in much of the realm the news of Summer’s arrival was meant with some cheer, and expectations of festivities. Would the king throw a feast? Perhaps even host a tourney?
Or are such plans already under way, as some might suspect, for King Aegon has been unusually busy with meetings of the small council and other lords and officers of the court besides. The exception has been Prince Daeron, who has had little and less of the king’s time, perhaps in part due to his spending time away at his seat as Prince of Dragonstone… but it’s well-known at court that he and the king are increasingly quarrelsome, and not even the efforts of Queen Naerys or the king’s mistress Missy Blackwood (who, curiously, has become friends with both the queen and her son) have had much effect.
There are other rumors as well, and not only at court but in the city beneath Aegon’s High Hill as well: of strange activity at the Guildhall of the Alchemists, who were recently visited by the king; of the unusual number of ships of the royal fleet that have recently docked; of the Grand Maester’s rookery being full almost to bursting with newly-acquired ravens. But truth be told, in these times it is the happier rumors—of fetes and tourneys and pageants—that dominate the court, regardless of what turmoil may be lying underneath the day to day life of the court.
Creation Entertainment and Warner Bros. Discovery have announced details on this year’s Game of Thrones Official Fan Convention to take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center from December 9th through December 11th, including the fact that they’ve added House of the Dragons performers to the extensive line-up of guests, plus a special “virtual appearance” by Ryan Condal, lead writer and show runner of the hit HBO show. Read the full press release below!
read on >>>
As they say, the best laid plans of mice and men… but at last we finished our promised season 1 overview/discussion of House of the Dragon, which you can see here:
We’ve some other odds and ends to discuss, such as an extra video we did discussing the finale after Elio’s return from Spain, and a podcast Elio recorded for the Boiled Leather Audio Hour podcast, details about which you can find below!
read on >>>
Today is the day: The Rise of the Dragon has hit book shelves in many countries! It’s also available as an e-book ... and even as an audio book, read by the wonderful Harry Lloyd (Viserys Targaryen in Game of Thrones) which is a particular honor since we’re huge fans of his. We’ve been amazed by the positive response online, especially at the various art previews, and we have to say we owe a lot to all the artists who worked hard to make this what this is. There’s a lot of promotion going on, but one we particularly enjoyed is this trailer from our terrific UK publisher, Harper Voyager:
Ours is the #HouseOfTheDragon...— HarperVoyagerUK (@HarperVoyagerUK) October 25, 2022
Fire is in our blood#TheRiseOfTheDragon, the stunning visual history of the #Targaryens is out NOW!https://t.co/4INYhVHJ3c#FireandBlood #GOT pic.twitter.com/BnmFRSdxM0
In the lead up to today’s release, George R.R. Martin took part in an online event where he spoke with friend and author David Anthony Durham to promote the book as well as House of the Dragon. While the stream has not been publicly released as of yet, read below for some of our realtime tweeting of some choice remarks and information from George… including an update on progress on The Winds of Winter!
read on >>>
The final episode of the first season of House of the Dragon is done, and we’re (actually, just Linda initially, but we’ll have more videos in the days to come) back with some thoughts, background, commentary on changes, and more in our latest video at the Westeros.org Youtube channel:
And that concludes the first season of House of the Dragon! The Dance has truly begun.
HBO Exec on House of the Dragon, Knight of the Seven Kingdoms
in House of the Dragon News
Very interesting report from Deadline Hollywood‘s Nellie Andreeva following an interview with Franesca Orsi, HBO’s head of drama. It’s a wide-ranging interview covering a lot of HBO’s shows, but for our purposes, the most interesting tidbits relate to House of the Dragon, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms: The Hedge Knight, and potential other Westeros shows.
Addressing the on-going production of season 2 of House of the Dragon, Orsi noted that HBO was fully prepared to rewrite and reshoot anything that needed fixing once the WGA strike ends and the writers can take up their pens again to do writing work, but until then they are confident with the completed scripts they had to work with and have not dealyed producation at all. Speaking of a potential season 3 approval, it sounds like they’re not far from giving an immediate go ahead to season 3 to try and improve the turnaround from season to season. That said, how many seasons for the show in total remains a question:
“George and Ryan are going to meet after the writers strike. They had originally planned to meet before the strike took place and that was to figure out at what point the series itself was going to end. Is it four seasons? I don’t think from where I sit at this point will be any less than four. But could be more. We’ll see.”
read on >>>
View the full article