TIME animals

These Warthog Piglets Were Named After Game of Thrones Characters

Welcome, four-footed HBO fans!

Hodor is stocky and muscular with wrinkly, gray skin and a long, coarse mane. He also has four large tusks protruding from his snout and has not once said the word, “Hodor!” But we’re not referring to the Game of Thrones character — it’s a new baby warthog at the Detroit Zoo.

A set of five warthogs was born at the Detroit Zoo back in April, according to a news release, and they just made their web debut. There’s a good chance these guys will be popular, because each one is named after characters from Game of Thrones (or A Song of Ice and Fire, depending on your particular level of geekdom). The female piglets are named Daenerys, Sansa and Cersei, while the males are named after Tyrion and Hodor.

“We’re thrilled to have this new litter to add to our warthog family,” Scott Carter, chief life sciences officer for the Detroit Zoological Society, said in a statement. “Like all pigs, warthogs are smart and precocious and a lot of fun to watch running and rooting around in their habitat.”

Based on the video that the zoo shared on Wednesday, at least four of those piglets don’t share their namesakes’ blood-thirst or desire for revenge. The fifth one, presumably Cersei, isn’t in the video, undoubtedly because she doesn’t play well with others.


TIME Television

George R.R. Martin Says This Religion Inspired the Game of Thrones Faith Militant

"The Sparrows" are based on a real religion

George R.R. Martin, the author of the books that inspired Game of Thrones, says the medieval Catholic Church “with its own fantasy twist” was his inspiration for the Faith Militant cult, also known as “The Sparrows,” that is now taking center stage in the show.

“If you look at the history of the church in the Middle Ages, you had periods where you had very worldly and corrupt popes and bishops. People who were not spiritual, but were politicians,” Martin told Entertainment Weekly. “They were playing their own version of the game of thrones, and they were in bed with the kings and the lords.”

Read more at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Television

Hear What Game of Thrones’ Red Wedding Sounds Like as Interpreted by Coldplay

The band joined forces with the cast for NBC's "Red Nose Day"

Coldplay and Game of Thrones both have devoted fan bases. Bring them together and what do you get? A goofy yet adorable musical interpretation of the HBO series that’s sure to be enjoyed by both of their constituencies.

The band teased a musical version of the show’s infamous “red wedding” that, so far, looks a lot less tragic, violent and bloody than the George R.R. Martin version. Still, those “Bum, bum, bum, buppa duppa bums” must be building up to something sinister.

The musical interlude was a part of NBC’s Red Nose Day, a telethon to raise funds for children’s charities that has been a huge success in the U.K. for some 30 years. Coldplay penned several other songs for the event, including a Peter Dinklage piece about his character’s survival on Game of Thrones and a reggae number by Emilia Clarke about being a “Rastafarian Targaryen.” Variety reports that NBC raised more than $10 million in the Thursday broadcast.

TIME Television

Watch Emilia Clarke Sing Reggae About Being Khaleesi

The actress took to the mic for NBC's "Red Nose Day"

We’ve seen Daenerys Targaryen spend time in tropical climates, but this is ridiculous. Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke sang a reggae song about being a “Rastafarian Targaryen” as part of NBC’s “Red Nose Day” telethon to raise money for children’s charities.

The clip is a one of several songs penned by Coldplay for a Game of Thrones-themed musical, with other sketches including a song by Peter Dinklage celebrating his character’s longevity on the show.

TIME celebrities

Watch Peter Dinklage Sing Coldplay’s Game of Thrones Musical

For Red Nose Day charity event

Peter Dinklage can do more than fight, hide and rule—he can also sing. He joined forces with Coldplay for a Game of Thrones musical interlude, complete with backup singers and a standing microphone, in which he lists all the characters that died before him and croons about how he’s still around.

The video is a promotion for NBC’s Red Nose Day, a daylong fundraising event featuring performances by celebrities like Julianne Moore, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Rudd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Elizabeth Banks, John Legend and many more. Other Game of Thrones cast members, including Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke, are scheduled to attend the charity event.

Red Nose Day has been a tradition in the U.K. for 30 years, and is now the No. 1 television fundraising event in the country. The May 21st broadcast on NBC marks the first time Red Nose Day has come to the U.S. Funds raised through Red Nose Day are distributed to domestic and international charities that address immediate needs for children and young people living in poverty.

TIME politics

This Politician Just Said What Everyone Is Thinking About Game of Thrones

"OK, I'm done," Claire McCaskill said

Sen. Claire McCaskill is officially done with Game of Thrones.

“Ok, I’m done Game of Thrones,” McCaskill said Tuesday morning on Twitter.
“Water Garden, stupid.Gratuitous rape scene disgusting and unacceptable.It was a rocky ride that just ended.

The Missouri Democrat sent out the stream of consciousness tweet Tuesday morning, likely after wrapping up the HBO series’ most recent episode, which featured a brutal wedding-night rape scene that many criticized.

In the episode, Sansa Stark, played by Sophie Turner, was raped by her brute of a new husband shortly after saying I do. “It was a brutal, uncomfortable scene that almost certainly had viewers pleading with their screens and cursing them after,” TIME’s Eric Dodds wrote.

Turner, for her part, said she “loved” the scene, and George R.R. Martin, who wrote the books that inspired the series, defended what’s come to be called the “black wedding” scene.

Read next: George R.R. Martin Defends ‘Black Wedding’ Scene on Game of Thrones

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Television

Game of Thrones: Sophie Turner Says She ‘Loved’ That Horrifying Scene

Warning: Contains a major spoiler about Sunday’s Game of Thrones

Sansa Stark was brutally attacked on Sunday night’s Game of Thrones by her sadistic new husband, Ramsay Bolton, who finally showed her his true colors in the bedroom on their wedding night—all the while forcing Sansa’s former childhood friend Theon to watch. We talked to Sophie Turner back in October about the Ramsay storyline and Sunday’s instantly controversial scene—which the actress had not yet filmed but definitely had opinions about.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your reaction when you got the scripts and realized what was going to happen this season?
SOPHIE TURNER: Last season [Thrones director] Alex Graves decided to give me hints. He was saying, “You get a love interest next season.” And I was all, “I actually get a love interest!” So I get the scripts and I was so excited and I was flicking through and then I was like, “Aw, are you kidding me!?” I thought the love interest was going to be like Jaime Lannister or somebody who would take care of me. But then I found out it was Ramsay and I’m back at Winterfell. I love the fact she’s back home reclaiming what’s hers. But at the same time she’s being held prisoner in her own home. When I got the scripts, it was bit like, dude, I felt so bad for her. But I also felt excited because it was so sick, and being reunited with Theon too, and seeing how their relationship plays out. Theon’s a member of the Stark clan but she thinks he totally betrayed and killed her brothers. It’s a messed-up relationship between them

You’re sort of stuck with the two of the most messed-up characters in the show.
Theon’s just mental. I think it’s going to be the most challenging season for me so far just because it’s so emotional for her. It’s not just crying all the time, like seasons 2 or 3, it’s super messed up.

And then there is the scene described in the production breakdown as “romance dies.” Sansa’s wedding night in episode 6.
When I read that scene, I kinda loved it. I love the way Ramsay had Theon watching. It was all so messed up. It’s also so daunting for me to do it. I’ve been making [producer Bryan Cogman] feel so bad for writing that scene: “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me!” But I secretly loved it.

Read the rest at Entertainment Weekly

TIME Television

Game of Thrones Watch: The Game of Faces

Sansa Stark and Ramsay Bolton prepare for marriage.

Arya comes face-to-face with death, Tyrion and Jorah hit a small roadblock and Margaery Tyrell discovers the consequences of truths and lies

Spoilers for Game of Thrones, “Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken,” follow:

“I’m not playing this stupid game anymore!”

“We never stop playing.”

If you think about it even just a little, Jaqen H’ghar is right: No one in Game of Thrones ever really stops playing the game of faces. And those who do certainly don’t survive very long. It’s strange that it’s a lesson Arya has struggled to learn ever since entering the House of Black and White. On at least a basic level, it’s a game that the youngest Stark daughter has been forced to play ever since Joffrey took her father’s head. But, as Jaqen H’ghar and The Waif are all eager to prove, simply cutting your hair and pretending to be a boy does not make you worthy of joining the Faceless Men.

It’s hard to know precisely how long Arya has been scrubbing corpses by the time she confronts The Waif in the episode’s opening minutes, but Maisie Williams’ hair is certainly a bit longer and she seems to have grown at ease with the process. We get a great shot of her rapping her thumbs along the scrubbing table as her most recent patient is taken away, but learning what happens to the bodies clearly isn’t knowledge acquired simply through impatience. Demanding of The Waif that she get play the game of faces doesn’t appear much more effective. The Waif spins Ayra an entire tale about her own troubled childhood in Westeros that ended with the murder of her evil step-mother. As The Waif concludes her tale, a faint grin appears along Arya’s lips — one that rather resembled her initial reaction to meeting Brienne in last season’s finale. Just as quickly as that inspiration was given and taken away, however, this one was was as well when The Waif asks if Arya believed her story.

When Jaqen H’ghar later tests Arya’s readiness, it’s clear she’s still ill-prepared to join his ranks (and revealingly was struck several times for claiming that she hated The Hound). But Arya Stark is not one to be easily deterred, and sees the opportunity to simultaneously practice her lies and impress Jaqen when she convinces a terminally ill girl that drinking the water from the enchanted pool will heal her rather than kill her. It’s a cold, calculated moment from Arya, but certainly not one particularly out of line with what we’ve come to expect. Whatever Arya has always lacked in skill, she’s more than made up for in sheer determination. It’s that determination that convinces Jaqen to lead her down to a dungeon filled with enough dead faces to last another dozen seasons of The Walking Dead. “A girl is not ready to become no one,” Jaqen tells her as she gazes at the faces. “But she is ready to become someone else.”

Sansa Stark has spent much of the last season-and-a-half attempting to become someone else as well. She pretended to no longer be a Stark, dyed her hair black, and hitched her wagon to Lord Baelish. And for as long as Littlefinger was around to protect her, it was a rather successful endeavor (manipulations and tenuously-accepted advances aside). But with her true identity revealed, her dyed hair stripped from her head by her betrothed’s psychotic mistress and Baelish back in King’s Landing, Sansa was left an ultimately powerless teenage girl — certainly no match for the savagery of Ramsay Bolton. Their wedding ceremony was every bit as ominous as expected, though compared with previous weddings attended by the Starks and Bolton’s, it was a rather tame affair (and the band likely asked to skip its rendition of “The Rains of Castamere.”)

What followed, however, was an entirely different story. With Reek forced to watch, Ramsay stripped Sansa and raped her. It was a brutal, uncomfortable scene that almost certainly had viewers pleading with their screens and cursing them after. It’s hard to imagine anyone making Joffrey seem like a superior mate, but David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have spent a great deal of effort making that possible for Ramsay. Let’s hope his demise is equally horrible.

Things certainly seem headed in perilous direction for Margaery and Loras Tyrell. For as long as we’ve known him, Loras Tyrell has been tasked with keeping his sexuality a secret, but he has grown increasingly careless as the seasons have dragged on, as though playing this particular game of deception was no longer of any concern to him. It certainly will be now. The subject of an inquest into his alleged crimes, Loras categorically denies all the charges against him, and Margaery gamely backs him up. Their claims are rendered moot once Olyvar enters the High Sparrow’s interrogation room, revealing to the assembled everything he knew about Chekov’s Dorne-shapped tattoo. Loras and Margaery are summarily dragged off by the Sparrows as the latter cries out for Tommen to stop them. The boy king proves just as useless as he’s shown himself to be since ascending to the throne, sitting there dumbfounded as his wife is dragged off.

To a certain extent, it’s a rather stunning development. It would have been a good bet that Olenna Tyrell’s arrival in King’s Landing would have turned the tides back in Highgarden’s favor. Her meeting with Cersei was going just about as expected (the “Famous tart” quip was one of her finest) until Olenna allowed the Queen Regent to have the final word. You could easily be forgiven for expecting that the Tyrell matriarch had something up her sleeve for the inquest, but all she could do as her grandchildren were dragged away was shout objections. Now it’s possible that Olenna underestimated Cersei, but it’s a better bet that she overestimated her. Tywin never would have attempted (or allowed) such a bold ploy. Not only do the Lannisters need the Tyrell’s men, gold and wheat, but it’s not as though Cersei isn’t hiding a few secrets that the Sparrows wouldn’t approve of as — and Olenna Tyrell seems like just the sort of woman who’d know how to handle an overplayed hand.

Perhaps at some point, Cersei can compare notes with Ellaria Sand on just that topic. Prince Oberyn’s former mistress unleashed her Sand Snakes on Myrcella Baratheon at the worst possible moment. The trio arrived on scene right as Jaime and Bronn were attempting to exfiltrate Myrcella from the Water Gardens. The brief tussle was interrupted by Areo Hotah and his men, who had been sent by Prince Doran to protect Myrcella and Trystane. Moments later, Ellaria found herself surrounded by a dozen unfriendly spears. Making her intentions known so plainly might have been a bad move.

The lesson that Arya is attempting to learn (and the one that Game of Thrones’ most successful characters already have) is that you don’t necessarily need to become no one, you just need to become anyone who isn’t truly you. That can mean changing your face or your name or your allegiances or your intentions, just so long as no one quite understands what you’re doing. After more than four-and-a-half seasons in Westeros and Essos, we’ve learned that the game of thrones isn’t the only one where the two options are winning and dying.

And now for the hail of arrows:

  • No Daenerys in this episode. Or Jon Snow. Not sure that’s happened since the Battle of the Blackwater episode way back in Season 2. Something tells me we’ll see both next week.
  • No Brienne either. With all those candles in Ramsay’s chamber, it’s a shame she didn’t mistake his room for Sansa’s and gallop to the rescue.
  • Tyrion and Jorah hit a bit of a hiccup on their road to Meereen, getting captured by Lost’s Mr. Eko and his fellow slavers.
  • The slavers want to cut off Tyrion’s penis and sell it, explaining: “A dwarf’s cock has magic powers.” I would be shocked to learn if Tyrion hasn’t used that particular line on more than one occasion.
  • Tyrion convinces the slavers to keep him and Jaime alive and bring them to the Fighting Pits by claiming Jorah is a legendary fighter. Tellingly, it’s Jorah’s declaration that he killed a Dothraki bloodrider in single combat (not Tyrion’s lie that he once unseated Jaime) that changes their captors’ minds.
  • Jorah just before the pair was captured: “We better keep moving.” Personally think that would be a far more fitting tagline for the show than “Winter is Coming” or “All Men Must Die.”
  • Aidan Gillen continues to be delightful as Littlefinger: “We both peddle fantasies Brother Lancel, mine just happen to be entertaining.”
  • Baelish’s scene with Cersei was also rather informative — looks as though he’s angling to become Warden of the North after Stannis’ troops and Roose’s troops pick one another apart. Then again, it’s Littlefinger so there’s obviously something else at play here.
  • Doran Martell seems like a wise, just and kind ruler. I expect him dead any day now.
  • Yes, I would have very much liked to have seen a fight between Areo Hotah with his axe and a two-handed Jaime Lannister.
  • Asking all of you to cross your fingers that the Sand Snakes didn’t pick up any poisoning tips from their father, or Bronn isn’t going to be long for this world.
  • More from The Delightful Quips of Bronn and Jaime: “I like to improvise.” “That explains the golden hand.”
TIME Television

This Video Explains the Real-Life History Behind Game of Thrones

George R.R. Martin drew heavily from the War of the Roses in 15th-century England

You don’t need a history degree to know that plenty of what goes on in Game of Thrones is entirely fictional. (Hello, fire-breathing dragons!) But that doesn’t mean the bloody conflicts in Westeros don’t draw on real-life history, either. Author George R.R. Martin has said he was inspired by the War of the Roses in 15th-century England while writing the books that later become the hit HBO series. But if scrolling through a 9,000-plus-word Wikipedia article and parsing the parallels yourself doesn’t seem like a good use of your time, the folks at TED-Ed have provided a six-minute animated lesson (above) that will teach you the difference between your Lancasters and Lannisters.

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