Archive for May, 2013

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

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

The Making of a Bear Fight

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Westerosi tavern-goers know “The Bear and the Maiden Fair,” is a popular drinking song. But the phrase took on a new meaning Sunday night when Jaime Lannister rescued Brienne of Tarth from a bear pit. Wondering how stars Gwendoline Christie and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau tangled with a bear and made it out alive? This video takes you behind the scenes.

In his interview with, Coster-Waldau jokes the bear was a bit of a diva.  

The fight’s intricate storyboard will give you a sense of how much teamwork was required. 

What was your reaction to this bear and his maiden fair?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Doesn’t Trust Daenerys Targaryen

Monday, May 13th, 2013

This Sunday, the Kingslayer faced one of his fiercest opponents to date—a bear. In an interview with, actor Nikolaj Coster-Waldau opens up about Jaime’s secrets, his relationship with Brienne of Tarth, and what’s so scary about Dany.

HBO: What attracts Jaime to Brienne? Why does he trust her?

Nikolaj Coster-Waldau: She lives by a code that Jaime also believes, but he’s become a very cynical person. He’s learned that all these beautiful words like “honor” and “dignity” don’t mean anything in this world. Then he meets someone who says, “Well, I don’t care because that’s how I am. I have to stand up for what I believe is right.” Which is what Brienne does, she reaffirms there’s a place for dignity… I think it reawakens something inside of him. He just knows she can be trusted, it’s instinctual.

Read the full interview with Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on

Faking, Baking and Quaking: Behind the Scenes of Episode 304, 305 and 306

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

By Cat Taylor

Poor old Jaime, having to fight with only one hand. Don’t worry – those three men taunting him weren’t extras with vicious natures, but rather part of the stunt team.

As for Varys’ special delivery, our man in the box required no stunts. The sorcerer was played by a local actor and the crate he arrives in was specially made – as so many of the props are – to a finish of appropriate roughness. One of a few designs, it was eventually chosen for its sturdiness.

On the other end of the scale is the perfect finish and grandeur of the Sept of Baelor. The Sept is actually a little over half a sept; the appearance of a full circle was created using camera angle tricks and VFX. The massive space where the Sept was built in is shared with something unexpected, that you don’t get to see until Episode 306: the huge ice wall that Jon and Ygritte must climb with the wildlings.

The ice wall was built by our amazing construction team and it took six weeks of testing and sampling to find a construction method and materials that worked. This was then tested by stunts for safety, and once filming of the climb began, we had crews working through the night to repair the damage done during the day’s shooting.

In Westeros, the Wall and King’s Landing are thousands of miles away from each other, but things are a little different in the real world. In Belfast, you’ll find the Wall sandwiched between the Throne Room and parts of the Red Keep, and more specifically Tywin’s new chamber, where Cersei confronts her father.

“The Climb” Round-Up: Sacrifice, Survival and Lovers on Top of the World

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

The closing minutes of “The Climb” embody the principal struggles in Westeros: the battles for power and survival. David Sims of divides the themes by geography: “In King’s Landing, it’s all about intrigue and subtle sniping and wily characters… Up North, everyone’s just trying to stay alive.” In this episode, players in both locations form alliances to aid their ascents.

Jon Snow and Ygritte pledge loyalty to each other in the face of the 700-foot Wall. HBO GO’s Interactive Features take you behind the scenes, where the actors actually scaled a sheet of ice. “It took about a week,” reveals Rose Leslie, the actress behind Ygritte, tells TV Guide. “Being up there with our harnesses with the wind and snow machines at that height was amazing.” The unforgiving elements made the lovers’ kiss on top of the Wall all the more tender and romantic. Alan Sepinwall of says of the scene:Lovers from different worlds coming together despite their differences is a story as old as there have been stories, but that sequence atop the ice really gave new life to the old cliché.

In King’s Landing, Tywin Lannister and Lady Olenna used words as weapons in their battle for political control. In this week’s Inside the Episode, Executive Producer D.B. Weiss explains he finds the verbal sparring between equally matched opponents as exciting as a great swordfight. The Atlantic’s Christopher Orr breaks down Tywin’s strategy: “His threat to disinherit the Tyrells’ beloved Loras by giving him what is (ostensibly) a great honor is made all the more acute by the fact that (as close observers may remember) this is exactly what King Aerys did to him when he made Jaime a White Cloak.”

Check out the Viewer’s Guide to see how the marriage will unite the Tyrells and the Lannisters, and brush up on your history. Westeros was a popular topic this week; students of the realm were part of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit, Game of ‘Game of Thrones,’ ” a sketch that included an appearance by the Kingslayer himself, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.   

The boldest strategy this week came from Littlefinger, who handed over Ros to Joffrey to assert his clout over Varys—and to recoup his investment. In HBO GO’s Interactive Features George R.R. Martin explains that Lord Baelish “thrives on chaos because in chaos there is opportunity for advancement.” Rolling Stone’s Sean T. Collins attributes Littlefinger’s ascent to being “able to see the swirling chaos of government as a ladder to be climbed rather than a whirlpool to drown in.” Yet as actress Esme Bianco attests in an interview with, the higher you climb, the further you can fall.

What do you think about Littlefinger’s power plays? And Ros’ untimely demise?