That Moment all “Game of Thrones” fans dread. No! Not the death of a beloved character such as Ned Stark in Season 1, or the Red Wedding from Season 3, but rather, that torturous 9 to 10 month period in between the previous season’s finale and the new season’s premiere. These are the months that suffering is made of.
And now, with Season 7 reported to be delaying production in order to accommodate the storyline now occurring in Winter, no chance that Season 7 will premiere in March/April as it had been for the last 6 years. Rather, Season 7 is expected to premiere around June of 2017, the month in which it would usually end.
And to make matters worse, for an even shorter season. Yes! Season 7 will only have 7 episodes. In the meantime, here are 10 ways to scratch that “Game Of Thrones” itch in between seasons…
15 – Watch The Entire Series Another Time
Watching the series a second (Hell, even third, fourth etc…) time just might be the best thing one can do to fully appreciate it. The show is so dense with all its different characters and storylines that it is inevitable that many details have either gone unnoticed, or have been completely forgotten.
Watching the series while actually knowing the many different outcomes that occur in all 6 seasons will have one take notice of all the little details and foreshadowing that were completely elusive on that first viewing.
Elusive hints on things like Jon Snow’s Death, Ressurection and Parentage, as well as the Red Wedding will suddenly appear in random moments throughout the second viewing. They will appear as so obvious, where they had been completely unnoticed that first time. Make no mistake though: The Red Wedding, Ned Stark’s Death and Shereen Baratheon’s Sacrifice will still hit your feelings like a ton of bricks…
14 – Read The Damn Books
The Obvious One. If you ever wondered why your friends that have read the books were so passionate and expressive when it came to changes the HBO decided to make, reading the books will reveal why.
The universe create by George RR Martin is so dense and so vast, the Television medium could only cover so much of it. Whether it be merged characters, discarded or completely modified storylines, reading the original source material, even if aware of the many outcomes, will make you see clearly why that series already had a solid cult following even before it was pitched at the HBO offices.
13 – Listen To Ramin Djawadi’s (Brilliant) Score Of The Series
Admit it: when you’d tend to skip or fast forward the opening credits of pretty much every TV series you watch, “Game Of Thrones” is the only one whose opening credits you watch in their entirety.
Ramin Djawadi’s theme song is so catchy, one cannot help itself and start humming it as the credits roll over a rendered Westeros and Essos and all the locations in which the episode will take us to.
Besides the theme song, each family and character has his/her own musical motif. Listening to the soundtrack will make you aware of the musical elements in the series as they are playing.
For example: when Catelyn Stark captures Tyrion Lannister in the 4th Episode of the First Season, thinking he was behind the attempt on her son’s life, the musical motif of Littlefinger’s theme “Chaos is a Ladder” from Season 3 plays in the background, implying that he is behind all this turmoil; something that gets revealed later in the series.
Instrumental Film and TV Scores are great music to listen to while performing tasks requiring concentration. Not having any vocals helps your subconscious absorb the melody of the orchestration to make you productive and not distracted by the music.
And Now It’s Stuck In Your Head…..
12 – Play The TellTale Video Game
TellTale games is known in the Video Game industry as being strong on story driven games. Rather than spend their resources on elaborated gameplay and top of the line graphics, the company tends to focus more on the story itself, not to say they totatlly ignore these other 2 variables.
Having successfully built games with “The Walking Dead” and “Batman”, among many other franchises, it was a proper decision for them to make a “Game of Thrones” Tell Tale Game. Rather than focus on GRRM’s books, this game introduces new characters in a brand new story supervised by GRRM himself that is directly canon with the HBO show, occuring in parralel with events of Season 3 and 4 like the Red Wedding.
Comprising of 6 episodes of about 3 hours each, your characters scattered all across Westeros and Essos end up interacting with regulars from the show such as Tyrion Lannister, Jon Snow, Margaery Tyrell, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen. The game serves as a perfect complement to the series.
11 – Ruin Friendships To Obtain Westeros And Essos Properties In The Game Of Thrones MONOPOLY
The most popular Board Game ever made HAD to have a “Game Of Thrones” skin for it. Monopoly is the classic board game where players compete by buying the many properties on its board and win once all other players are eliminated through bankruptcies; an economic “War of Five Kings” if you will. Some cool changes that were made include:
- “Luxury Tax” is now “Hand of the King” Tax
- All 4 Train Stations are replaced by the 4 main House Sigils (Lannisters, Baratheon, Targaryen, Stark)
- “Community Chest” is “The Iron Throne”
- “Chance” is “Valar Morghulis”
- The Cheapest Property “Mediterranean Ave” is replaced by “Crasters Keep”
- The Most Expensive One “Boardwalk” is “Kings Landing”
And Many more. Responsible for ruining many friendships and families (just like Risk), this game will bring out the inner Tywin Lannister in each player to make sure their enemies are defeated and that they stand tall above all.
10 – Conquer Westeros And Essos In The Game Of Thrones RISK
It was inevitable for the Classic Game of World Conquest Risk to have its own version with Westeros or Essos. Hasbro was wise enough to include both maps in their “Game Of Thrones” rendition of Risk and even include a mode where both continents can be used. The game responsible for so many broken friendships and families fits the narrative of “Game Of Thrones” so well, it will unleash everyone’s inner Littlefinger (Or Varys depending on how manipulative one gets).
The game can be played in Classic mode from 2 to 7 players, or with their new “War Of Five Kings” mode for Westeros, among others. No “Game Of Thrones” Fan’s Household is complete without at least one copy of this Risk.
9 – Find Out The Real Killer In The Game Of Thrones CLUE
“Tyrion In The Privy With A Crossbow” – Although this DID actually happen in the Season 4 (and Book 3) Finale, many other options can be created with Hasbro’s “Game Of Thrones” version of their Classic Murder Solving Board Game “Clue”.
Just as they did for their version of Risk, the board includes 2 reversible maps, to cover 2 different storylines of the series, Kings Landing in Westeros and Mereen in Essos.
8 – Learn Dothraki… For Real!
Not a joke by any means! When it came to portray the Dothraki and their unique (non existant) language, linguist David J. Peterson was tasked with creating it from scratch. Merging elements from Arabic and Spanish, the result is a harsh, barbaric and dominant sounding language that would fit Khal Drogo’s horde perfectly. Peterson then decided to release it as a course to actually learn the language for all the fans that wish to engage in such leisure.
The package includes a booklet explaining the grammar and pronunciation of the language along with many examples to use, as well as an Audio CD to actually aid the learning process with Audio clips of many phrases.
Just remember that there are NO Words for “Thank You” in Dothraki…
7 – Know More About “The World Of Ice And Fire”
The World Of Ice And Fire created by George RR Martin is so dense and so wide, that he himself tends to sometimes forget the smallest of details. Luckily for him, Elio M. Garcia Jr. and Linda Antonsson had been Die Hard fans of the series ever since the first book released in 1996. This couple expressed their love for the series so much, that GRRM himself would consult them on the smallest of details whenever he was unsure when it came to writing “A Dance With Dragons” (and most probably, “The Winds Of Winter” as well).
Matched with stunning Artwork which could yield a separate article of its own, “The World Of Ice And Fire” traces, as much as it’s been revealed or speculated, all the events and characters to occur in that universe before the main story was to begin. A great companion to someone who has tread the books, or simply wants to know beyond the lore of the books or series.
6 – Watch One Of These TV Series
While no other series will ever match the high production level and quality of “Game Of Thrones”, there are still many other solid TV Series that are worth watching, many of them produced by HBO. Previous HBO shows like “The Sopranos”, “The Wire”, “Deadwood” and “Rome” have all been praised by critics and audiences worldwide, some of them even earning cult followings.
SIDE NOTE: When David Benioff and DB Weiss, the “Game of Thrones” showrunners were shopping to find a network to take on their adaptation of GRRM’s books, they described their new show as “The Sopranos in Middle Earth (from “Lord of the Rings”)”.
But not only HBO serves quality entertainment, AMC & Netflix also solid providers and producers of original content of high quality. Shows like “House of Cards” and “Breaking Bad” are both definite must watch for those that haven’t yet. There are of course many more, many we had covered in a previous reference article.
5 – Read The Dynamite Graphic Novel Of “A Game Of Thrones”
There were High Hopes when it was announced in 2011 that Dynamite Comics would adapt George RR Martin’s epic “A Song of Ice and Fire” saga into a graphic novel, basing it off the original source material rather than the HBO show. The entire first book “A Game Of Thrones” would be released as 24 single monthly issues covering its entire story, which would avoid having the adaptation of all five books to surpass HBO’s TV adaptation.
Whereas the first seasons of “Game Of Thrones” never tackled flashbacks and memories, instead having them revealed in conversations between the characters, the comic holds fealty to Martin’s original work and has them showcased. Examples include The Tower Of Joy dream that Ned Stark has (Which was eventually shown in Season 6 of the HBO series given its pivotal importance to the story).
The entire adaptation runs at about 900 pages, even more so than the actual book, and makes a phenomenal complement to both the show and the source material. The final version has been published in 4 compendiums each running at about 200-250 pages. They are definitely worth a look.
4 – Read The “Dunk And Egg” Short Stories
Long before the Baratheons held power, before Rhaegar was killed in the Trident, hell, before the Mad King earned his nickname, there were these tales of 2 unlikely heroes roaming the Seven Kingdoms almost a century before the fall of the Targaryen dynasty.
Dunk, short for Duncan The Tall, was a squire turned Hedge Knight, a knight fighting for no particular house in general. His tales of courage throughout the Seven Kingdoms with his friend, a bald kid named “Egg”, would eventually lead him to the Kingsguard where he would become one of its most honorable guards.
To reveal more would simply mean spoiling the many surprises these 3 short stories contain. Unlike the main “A Song Of Ice And Fire” books, they are rather quick reads and offer another perspective from a different time, not so long ago, in Westeros. Many Easter Eggs (Pun very much intended) are included as well…
And for those that fear reading words, Jet City Comics published graphic novel adaptations out for the first 2 out of the 3 “Tales Of Dunk & Egg”, “The Hedge Knight” and “The Sworn Sword”. Both of which are definitely worth reading. Let’s hope an adaptation for the third one “The Mystery Knight” eventually comes to fruition.
ALL Three “Tales Of Dunk & Egg” Can Be Found In George R.R Martin’s “A Knight Of The Seven Kingdoms”
3 – Truly Test Your Knowledge With “Game Of Thrones – The Trivia Game”
Fantasy Flight Games have had exclusive rights to George RR Martin’s characters and other names from the “A Song Of Ice And Fire” series for years now, having released the very popular (and VERY complicated) “A Game Of Thrones” Board Game. HBO decided to hand them the rights to create this Trivial Pursuit type of game centered on their adaptation of the books.
Sadly, this game only covers Seasons 1-4, most likely to have a eventually Volume 2 cover Seasons 5-7. Nevertheless, it should make for fun nights amongst friends to play along with. See which one of you is the most obsessed with the show’s many trivia.
2 – Improve Your Coloring Skills With The Official “Game Of Thrones Coloring Book”
Not to be confused with the “A Game Of Thrones” Coloring Book, which was inspired by the book series, HBO officially released this coloring book for aspiring colorists and artists to work their craft on. The stunning drawings leave an infinite amount of options for one to color appropriately. Just make sure you have a grand amount of Red at your disposal…
1 – Visit The Game Of Thrones Filming Locations
You know you left a mark when the longest reigning Monarch in England’s History comes to visit your set. “Game Of Thrones” is such a complex series, that it requires 3 working units all working simultaneously at various locations around the world in order to shoot enough content in a year.
While the bulk of the show is filmed in Northern Ireland for their tax benefits, the crews often travel to many locations throughout Europe and the Mediterranean Sea to capture its unique signature look. Many of these locations are now bigger tourist attractions due to the sheer phenomenon the show has become. Here are the 4 main one to consider rather quickly:
a) Dubrovnik, Croatia (Kings Landing)
Dubrovnik is a coastal town on the Adriatic Sea in South Croatia distinct for having kept its Old Town look. It is for that precise reason that it has been chosen since the very beginning to be used as Kings Landing in almost every outdoor sequence occuring in the capital of the Seven Kingdoms.
Due to the popularity of the show, the city has seen a tremendous spike in tourist activity over the last 3 years, and rightfully so. Many tours now offer a “Game of Thrones” Experience with guides taking tourists at each and every spot used in the series. The feel of the city will make you fall in love with it, and who knows, you might turn a corner and end up in the same alley Cersei Lannister made her Walk of Shame…
b) Spain & Malta (Dorne & Kings Landing)
Spain was first used as a location in “Game Of Thrones” in Season 5 to portray both Sunspear’s Water Gardens of House Martell in Dorne, as well as the Fighting Pits of Mereen.
For Season 6, more footage got filmed there, particularly, the battle between Ned Stark and Arthur Dayne at the Tower of Joy, as well as the Sept of Baelor during the standoff between the Tyrell Army and the Faith Militant.
A huge portion of Season 7 is actually being shot there as of this writing, standing in for Kings Landing and, possibly, Dragonstone.
c) Iceland (Beyond The Wall)
Pretty Much all of Jon Snow and the Nights Watch’s storyline in Seasons 2 and 3 occurred North of the Wall. To portray a “Land of Always Winter” and its surrounding cold areas, Iceland was used as the backdrop. The Fist of the First Men where the Crows get attacked by the White Walkers, as well as the Wildling Camps where Mance Rayder united all the Free Folk were all filmed on location in preserved National Parks in the Country, a lot of which are off limits to wanderers.
It has been rumored that a crew will return to film in Iceland come Winter time. Maybe that means another Epic Battle with the White Walkers North of the Wall is on the Horizon
d) Northern Ireland (Various Regions In Westeros & The North)
As mentioned earlier, the larger bulk of the content is shot in Belfast, especially all content that can be shot indoors. In addition to tax benefits, Northern Ireland is home to many stunning Medieval Castles and landscapes that beautifully fit the universe of “Game Of Thrones”.
Just as in Dubrovnik, plenty of tourist attractions and tours based on the series’ success have now started to emerge in and near around Belfast. There’s even talks to keep the built sets and turn them into a tourist attraction once the series is completely finished filming, rather than destroy it altogether.