TIME Television

George R.R. Martin Won’t Write for Game of Thrones Season 6

HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 5 - San Francisco Premiere
Steve Jennings—WireImage George R.R. Martin Writer/Co-Executive Producer attends HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 5 San Francisco Premiere

He is using the time to finish the sixth book in the series

Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin announced on his blog Friday that he will not be contributing to the sixth season of the HBO show.

Martin wrote that “after wrestling with it for a month or so,” he decided that he will instead spend his time working on Winds of Winter, the sixth novel in the series.

“Writing a script takes me three weeks, minimum, and longer when it is not a straight adaptation from the novels,” Martin explained.

“And really, it would cost me more time than that, since I have never been good at changing gears from one medium to another and back again. Writing a season six script would cost me a month’s work on WINDS, and maybe as much as six weeks, and I cannot afford that.”

He’s also not contributing to season five.

The final book in the series is currently set to come out after the television series culminates.

[h/t: NYMag]

Read next: This New Iron Throne of Westeros Is Bigger Than Ever Before

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TIME Television

Don’t Expect Streaming to Make Your TV Bill Cheaper

HBO In cable as in HBO's Game of Thrones, the old dynasties are under attack, but that doesn't mean your wallet will be liberated.

But it could just make TV, and the experience of watching it, better.

For years, cable TV companies had a powerful sales pitch: What the hell else you gonna do? You wanted ESPN, CNN, Disney Channel, you paid the price.

Now, the cable box in your living room is suddenly under assault. Sony and Dish Network’s Sling have recently launched their own TV bundles, available over broadband. Apple reportedly plans one in the fall. In addition to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and CBS All Access, HBO is finally about to offer its service online without a cable subscription, just in time for the premiere of Game of Thrones.

Consumers, fittingly, have greeted this news like the slaves of Meereen greeted Daenerys Targaryen. Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains, Cutter of Cords! But in my print column in TIME this week, I suggest you not get too excited–at least if you’re hoping that the streaming revolution will mean you’ll be able to watch everything you want for less money.

For starters, you’ll still need broadband, likely from the same company who now sells you cable, and there’s no reason that bill won’t skyrocket. (Today, you often get it at a cheap introductory rate, possibly because you bundle it with cable.) The most popular offerings (sports, prestige drama) won’t be nearly as cheap as you might assume if you strip them away from the cable bundle. And none of the parties involved–telecoms, media giants, tech corporations–are sitting in their boardrooms dreaming up ways to get as little money from you as possible. (My full column is for TIME subscribers, because we too are trying to make money in the content business.)

That said, there are other reasons to be excited about streaming TV besides money. One, which I’ll write about more in the future, is that changing the way TV is delivered has the potential to change, and hopefully improve, the kind of TV you see. It already has, to an extent. The best TV show of 2014, Transparent, wasn’t on “TV” but on Amazon Prime. And the Netflix Effect on TV has had repercussions far beyond Netflix itself. It’s very likely, for instance, that a big part of the reason The X-Files is getting a second life on Fox is that it had a second life on Netflix, becoming relevant (and thus valuable) to a new generation of viewers.

But I’m also curious to see how streaming services change, and I hope improve, the experience of watching TV. Take something as simple as how you find a channel. The practice of numbering channels is a holdover from the rabbit-ears broadcast days of TV, yet it continues with cable, where you scroll through a grid of hundreds of channels through a cumbersome, lag-prone interface. (I watch TV for a living, and even for me it’s harder to find a channel I rarely watch on my cable system than it is to get driving directions to a city I’ve never been to.)

Compared with that, the interface for finding “channels” when I use Apple TV, or Roku, or even my kids’ PS4 is at least a process that feels like it belongs in the 21st century, with channel names and icons and more usable search functions. As I write in my column, I don’t expect Apple, busy rolling out a smart watch that tops out at $17,000, to make TV a bargain. But I do think it could make it elegant, intelligible and useful. If they, or someone else, can give me a genuinely better interface with my TV, at least I might not resent so much the way they interface with my wallet.

As I say, I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this in the coming months. But I’m curious to hear from you in the meantime, in the comments or on Twitter: leaving aside the size of your cable bill, what are the things about your experience of TV that you’d most like streaming TV to fix?

TIME movies

These Game of Thrones Actors Are Becoming Movie Stars

These Westeros natives are exploring the silver screen

Game of Thrones, HBO’s sprawling fantasy series, is often described as “cinematic” in its use of exotic locations, its well-choreographed action, and its very talented cast. It makes sense, then, that the show’s most recognizable stars are now getting very close attention from Hollywood’s top studios. Even those who entered Game of Thrones with busy careers have seen their dance cards grow yet more full as the show gained popularity, while those who had done relatively little beforehand have experienced a rapid rise to the top of the game of moviemaking.

Here are the six stars who’ve gotten the most career lift from their adventures in Westeros.

  • Natalie Dormer

    Murray Close—Lionsgate

    One of Game of Thrones’s most eye-catching supporting characters, Margaery Tyrell approaches the world with a keen sense of strategy. The actress who plays her is as sophisticated when it comes to climbing to the top of Hollywood’s heap: She got attention for her drastic haircut for the the third installment of The Hunger Games franchise, and will return as propaganda videographer Cressida in this fall’s concluding film. She’s also signed on for the promising zombie flick Patient Zero, from Austrian director Stefan Ruzowitzky, whose The Counterfeiters won the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar. Dormer has a nose for great collaborators: Recent projects of hers have included Ridley Scott’s The Counselor and Ron Howard’s Rush.

  • Lena Headey

    NBC's "66th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards" - Arrivals
    Kevork Djansezian—NBC/Getty Images

    Headey’s pre-Game of Thrones résumé was impressive: Like Clarke, she played Skynet’s adversary (in Fox’s TV series Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles), and had been the female lead in 300. But Headey’s role in the long-gestating Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, in which she’ll be joined by TV dad Charles Dance, might be the project to push her to a new level of fan adulation.

  • Peter Dinklage

    San Francisco Premiere Of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 5 - Arrivals
    C Flanigan—Getty Images

    Like Headey, Dinklage had a long career before he joined George R. R. Martin’s universe. But the recognition he’s obtained for his performance as Tyrion Lannister surely helped drive fans to see his villainous turn in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. He presently has six projects in various stages of development, including this year’s Adam Sandler would-be summer smash Pixels and the animated adaptation of the game Angry Birds.

  • Sophie Turner

    HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 5 - San Francisco Premiere
    Steve Jennings—WireImage/Getty Images

    Like her TV husband Tyrion, the actress who plays Sansa Stark is joining the X-Men cinematic universe; she’ll be playing the young Jean Grey in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse. She’s also been announced as the titular Frankenstein novelist in the gothic drama Mary Shelley’s Monster.

  • Gwendoline Christie

    San Francisco Premiere Of HBO's "Game Of Thrones" Season 5 - Arrivals
    C Flanigan—Getty Images

    Standing over six feet tall, Christie has attracted much praise since she entered the Game of Thrones fray as the fearsome Brienne of Tarth. Her next moves are as likely to garner attention, and as action-packed: She’s to appear as a rebellion leader in the final Hunger Games film, and as an unspecified character in the newest installment of Star Wars. Both are due out this holiday season.

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Creators Say the Show Will Spoil The Books

"We’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place"

The power dynamics between Game of Thrones readers and watchers will soon shift.

The HBO show’s creators have revealed that the series will end before the books do—something fans have been aware of for some time given George R. R. Martin’s writing pace — and will follow the same plot. In other words, the show will be full of book spoilers.

Show runner Davide Benioff told Oxford Union:

We’ve been talking about this with George for a long time, ever since we saw this could happen, and we know where things are heading. And so we’ll eventually, basically, meet up at pretty much the same place where George is going; there might be a few deviations along the route, but we’re heading towards the same destination. I kind of wish that there were some things we didn’t have to spoil, but we’re kind of stuck between a rock and a hard place. The show must go on… and that’s what we’re going to do.

(h/t: Vanity Fair)

TIME Television

The Game of Thrones Dragons Are Based on Chickens

HBO A dragon from HBO's Game of Thrones

A visual effects team used the musculature of poultry for inspiration

Suddenly, those dragons on Game of Thrones seem a lot less terrifying: the fire-breathing beasts are in fact based on supermarket chickens.

Visual effects team Pixomondo tells the Washington Post that they played with a chicken to understand its physiology while designing the dragons for HBO. “You could feel how the muscles underneath are moving and what are the restrictions, where the bone can’t go,” says visual effects supervisor Sven Martin. “We built our dragon basically the same way.”

As Daenerys Targaryen’s hatchlings grow over the course of the series (Pixomondo signed on beginning in season 2), the team had to make alterations to the design so that the dragons would be able to take flight.

Tune in for the season 5 premiere on April 12 to find out what has become of these chicken-dragons since Daenerys locked them in their cave.

[Washington Post]

TIME Television

3 Things We Learned From These New Game of Thrones Season 5 Clips

Watch new scenes from the first episode

1. War is coming…again

At the end of season four, Varys (at Jaime Lannister’s request) helped Tyrion escape from Kings’ Landing and avoid execution—but not before Tyrion put a few arrows through his dad. Now, it seems, the Spider and the Imp are safe. But where will they go next? Judging from the last trailer and this clip, Varys suspects a war is coming and wants to enlist the Mother of Dragons.

2. Tyrion will have some important role in that war

In the first clip, Varys claims he saved Tyrion for the sake of the Seven Kingdoms. He says that he believes “men of talent have a part to play in the war to come.” And Tyrion Lannister, despite being a drunk, is certainly talented.

3. Jon Snow wants the Wildlings to fight for Stannis Baratheon

No surprise here, but Jon Snow will try to unite Stannis Baratheon and Mance Rayder against the White Walkers. In the second scene, Jon Snow tries to convince Mance that his army of united free folks and Wildlings will not survive North of the Wall. Instead, he suggests, they should join Stannis’ army—which is quickly growing to be a formidable force that could yet capture the North from Roose Bolton.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 12.

TIME Television

HBO Unveils New Game of Thrones Trailer Along With Apple TV Service

"I'm not going to stop the wheel, I'm going to break the wheel,"

HBO’s standalone streaming subscription service is finally a reality, and it’s headed exclusively to Apple TV.

In honor of the big announcement from Monday’s Apple Watch event, HBO chief executive Richard Plepler debuted a new Games of Thrones trailer that features some new footage, along with the Daenerys “I’m going to break the wheel” monologue fans have heard in other previews of the upcoming season. The show returns April 12.

“When you subscribe to HBO Now, you will have access to all our acclaimed original programming, past present and future, as well as our unmatched lineup of Hollywood blockbusters,” Plepler said. Also included: your Khaleesi’s extended collection of fiery dragons.


TIME Television

This Eerie New Game of Thrones Poster Shows Tyrion Facing a Dragon

Game of Thrones

HBO's hit show is returning for season 5

The new season of Game of Thrones promises to bring about a meeting of two worlds.

That’s the message carried across by the poster for season 5, in which a ship carrying Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) comes up against one of Daenerys’s three dragons. It’s a sinister image, and one that is true to the action of the series so far: Tyrion, in exile, is fleeing to a domain that the Mother of Dragons controls.

Game of Thrones returns April 12 at 9 p.m. EST.

[Entertainment Weekly]


TIME Television

Watch These Game of Thrones Season 5 Clips

The new season will air on April 12

HBO has released a couple more short previews of Game of Thrones season 5. One scene features a dismayed Brienne (Gwendoline Christie) talking to her eager squire Podrick Payne (Daniel Portman). The second has Jon Snow (Kit Harington) trying to convince a captured Mance Rayder (Ciarán Hinds) to bend the knee to Stannis Baratheon (Stephen Dillane). (Note the scenes are part of HBO’s “The Sight Visions” marketing campaign which post clips in grey raven-vision). Thrones returns for its eagerly anticipated new season on Sunday, April 12.

And for those who still haven’t seen it, here’s the official full trailer:

This article originally appeared on EW.com.

Read next: ‘Game of Thrones’ Blooper Reel Brings Laughter to Grim World of Westeros

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TIME Know Right Now

Know Right Now: How Game of Thrones Will Diverge From the Books

"Everybody better be on their toes," George R.R. Martin says

George R.R. Martin warned Game of Thrones fans recently that characters who survived in the A Song of Ice and Fire book series that inspired the show might still die on TV. Watch the Know Right Now above to find out more, and read more here.

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