Journalist Files FOIA Request for Obama’s Game of Thrones Screeners

The US Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was designed to facilitate transparency in matters of government, allowing members of the public to access to Federal agency records in order to hold the ruling classes accountable. An American journalist, though, is seeking to push the boundaries of the FOIA (or exploit them, depending on your perspective) to get her hands on episodes of the new season of Game of Thrones, set to premiere this Sunday (24th April).

Last week, Game of Thrones co-creator D.B. Weiss let slip that President Barack Obama was in possession of a number of episode screeners for new season, the only person outside of HBO allowed to see them. “He’s the leader of the free world,” Weiss revealed. “When the commander-in-chief says, ‘I want to see advanced episodes,’ what are you gonna do?”

Armed with this knowledge, Refinery29 writer Vanessa Golembewski decided to “test the limits of the Freedom of Information Act.” As she puts it, “If the president — and by extension, our government — is in possession of a file, surely that file is subject to my request to see it as a U.S. citizen.”

While Golembewski admits that she “know[s] it’s a stretch,” acknowledging that she’s “not entirely sure where the Game of Thrones screeners fall in the grey area that is personal property of a government figure,” she thinks that “there’s a lot of evidence that makes me think Obama […] will be delighted to help a girl out.”

When asked what fee she would be willing to pay for the FOIA request, Golembewski told the government to stick it on her student loans tab:

UK Company Gives Employees Time Off To Watch Game Of Thrones

So that new TV series has come out, be it the latest season of a show or an entirely new show and you end up at work or school just counting down the minutes hoping that no one spoils the episode for you. Well if you work for +rehabstudios, a UK-based company, you might get to avoid this trouble by giving employees time off to watch the Game of Thrones when it comes out.

Posting to Facebook to share the news, the document which appears to be screenshotted in the post seems to be a contract, with a little extra added in. The exact paragraph reads:

“All +rehabstudio UK staff (London and Belfast offices) will also receive an additional half day (morning) holiday following the first episode for each new season of Game Of Thrones when simulaunched with the US. US staff are reminded not to share spoilers on the intranet until after the show has aired in the UK 24 hours later.”

According to founding partner, Tim Rodgers, the perk’s been very well received, with hundreds of people supporting it while others have gone so far as to ask if it can be transferred to other shows like The Walking Dead, something he replied to with “that’s fine with us too”. Explaining that the company wanted to add an “extra perk” to the handbook, they decided that given the companies link to the show, having started in Belfast where the show is filmed, the company are always welcome to new suggestions for the little extra perk next year.

Mathematicians Determine the True Protagonist of Game of Thrones

With so many characters to track, across different continents, it’s easy for fans of the Game of Thrones series to become lost in a sea of names, let alone determine who the “hero” of the story is meant to be (if there is one). A new mathematical study, however, has examined the key players in Westeros and Essos in an attempt to determine the story’s protagonist.

Mathematicians Andrew Beveridge and Jie Shan of Macalester College have applied “network science” – a new form of graph theory – to A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, looking at character connections and influence within that story to find its lead.

So, according to maths, the star of the book is…

The “imp”, Tyrion Lannister.

“In our network, three characters stand out consistently: Tyrion, Jon, and Sansa. Acting as the Hand of the King, Tyrion is thrust into the center of the political machinations of the capitol city. Our analysis suggests that he is the true protagonist of the book,” the mathematicians write in their Network of Thrones study.

While the study offers an interesting angle on which characters are truly driving George R.R. Martin’s epic sprawl forward, Game of Thrones deliberately eschews the concept of a “protagonist”: anything can happen to any character in The Known World, by design. Anyway, we all know the true hero is Hot Pie.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1sHwU0cEzxo

Jon Snow Dances to Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ – Wins The Internet

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOK25u2RhaU

Based on the title for those not in the United Kingdom, you may have been thinking that you was going to see some epic dance moves from the Game of Thrones star but alas that isn’t the case. For those who are aware of the Channel 4 presenter with the same name, you’ll be delighted that for the Big Fat Quiz Of The Year show hosted by Jimmy Carr, the news host had some amazing moves to put down as part of a question for the celebrity panel.

Jon Snow is a bit of a favourite on this side of the pond after he participated on the show “Drugs Live: Cannabis On Trial” where he got “stoned” in front of millions of viewers on television and if you missed it, you can watch it on Channel 4’s On-Demand service here. Resident doctor Christian Jessen was also features on the programme and explained that the resulting consequences of Jon Snow featuring on the programme wouldn’t be long term, but after watching these dance moves, we can’t be so sure and can only assume that he may still be smoking the banned substance.

Jon Snow tweeted after the show aired with his own comments, and this just makes him like us even more.

This isn’t the first time we’ve seen a famous person attempt to dance along to the Drake tune, with Donald Trump getting in on the action for a Saturday Night Live (SNL) parody back in November, and you can check that out below:

Who would you like to see attempting the ‘Hotline Bling’ dance next? Personally, we’d love to see Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Tim Cook as we’re pretty sure that none of them have as much swag as Jon Snow does as evident in the video at the top of this page.

Eighth Season Confirmed for Game of Thrones

While the bibliophiles are still waiting for the last two volumes of George R.R. Martin’s gruelling epic series A Song of Ice and Fire, HBO’s wildly successful adaptation, Game of Thrones, rumbles on unabated, and for longer than first anticipated, it seems. Talk was, the show was projected to be seven seasons, the common sweet spot for many successful US dramas. HBO’s President of Programming Michael Lombardo, though, has revealed that production is targeting at least eight seasons, with the potential for more.

“‘Seven seasons and out’ has never been the conversation,” Lombardo said. “The question is how much beyond seven are we going to do. [Benioff and Weiss, executive producers of the show] feel like there’s two more years after six.”

Though Benioff and Weiss are in congress with Martin regarding the future of the novel series – the author has even written a handful of episodes for the show – the final two books, The Winds of Winter and A Dream of Spring, still have the potential to spring some surprises on the showrunners. Though The Winds of Winter may hit shelves before the Game of Thrones wraps up, the chances of A Dream of Spring making an appearance prior to the show’s end seems unlikely.

“We’ve always said [seven seasons],” David Benioff told Rolling Stone back in April, “but we have to talk to HBO and come to an understanding. There’s a temptation to keep going with it because we’re still having fun, but you don’t want to ruin it by tacking on a couple of extra years.”

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.

Game of Thrones Finale Breaks Piracy Records

It’s no secret that Game of Thrones is hugely popular, with the show’s season finale having recently aired on TV, torrent websites were dealing with an overload of downloads, causing the TV series to once again set a new record for piracy.

The show was downloaded a staggering 1.5 million times in just eight hours and that total is likely still climbing like crazy as people swoop to watch the show outside of its HBO/Sky Atlantic viewing spot. The total number is expected to exceed 10 million downloads with just a few days.

To put this into perspective, we’ve never heard of something being downloaded is such great numbers, in such a short space of time. Torrent Freak reported that even last year, it would have taken around 12 hours to get to the same number, showing the growing popularity for the show and the increasing popularity of torrenting as a means of accessing TV shows.

The 480p copy of the show was the most popular, no doubt thanks to its smaller file size, making it quicker to download. The 720p and the 1080p copies were the next most popular respectively.

Not only that, but the swarm record was also broken just a few hours later, with 258,131 people sharing the same single torrent at the same time. Game of Thrones has been the most popular torrent three years running, a trend that is unlikely to break when the new season launches some time next year.

Thank you Torrent Freak for providing us with this information.

Telltale Teams With Marvel for 2017 Game Series

Telltale Games has quite the knack for securing huge licensing deals – The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones have already had Telltale’s unique episodic adventure game treatment – and that trend seems set to continue with possibly its most lucrative partnership yet: the game developer is working with Marvel Entertainment – the parent company of Marvel Comics and Marvel Studios responsible for its film and TV output – to develop a video game series likely to tie in to the Marvel cinematic universe.

“Announced this evening in San Francisco, we’re excited to reveal an all-new partnership with the incredible team at Marvel Entertainment,” a post on Telltale’s blog reads. “We’ll be teaming up on the development of an upcoming Telltale game series project set to premiere in 2017!”

Though it gained a solid reputation as a promising developer with its resurrections of adventure game classics Sam & Max and Monkey Island, Telltale Games achieved critical and commercial acclaim with the release of The Walking Dead: Season One in 2012 which, taking its inspiration from the Robert Kirkman comics rather than the AMC TV show, told a mature interactive story, breaking adventure game convention by eschewing puzzles in favour of story and character development.

It is as yet unknown whether Telltale’s foray into the Marvel universe will deal with an existing film or TV property, or will be an adaptation of an untapped comic book story. Telltale promises more information to come, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long to find out.

Thank you PC Games N for providing us with this information.

Game of Thrones Première Free to US Xbox Live Members

If you haven’t already gorged yourself on the four leaked episodes already, or don’t have access to HBO, Microsoft is offering Xbox Live members – on both Xbox One and Xbox 360 – the chance to watch the first episode of Game of Thrones’ season 5 for free.

The season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones aired last night on HBO, as well as showing internationally on new streaming service HBO Now, but its pre-debut momentum was broken by the leak of the first four episodes of season 5, with each episode reportedly being downloaded over one million times each, confirming Game of Thrones’ existing position as the most downloaded show in history.

HBO’s fantasy television show, based on the A Song of Fire and Ice novels by George R.R. Martin, has been a smash hit for the cable channel since it hit screens back in 2011, popular with both the audience – the show has a gross of 14.4 million viewers per episode – and the critics.

The offer is only available for free via Xbox Live to US customers, mainly due to foreign syndication agreements, though this change after the episode airs in the UK tonight on Sky Atlantic. US Xbox Live members have until 16th April to watch the episode for free.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

First Four Episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 Leak Online

The first four episodes of Season 5 of Game of Thrones have leaked online, with rumours of more to follow. The timing is devastating for HBO, with the channel debuting Season 5 of the critically-acclaimed show both on cable and its new live streaming platform, HBO Now.

Game of Thrones is already the most illegally downloaded show in history, and after the appearance of the four episodes online early on Sunday morning, they have been downloaded over 50,000 times, with that number rising all the time.

After finding the first episode on an undisclosed torrent site and watching the first few seconds (for science), I can reveal that the video file is 480p and watermarked, so – assuming the other three episodes are of a similar format – quality purists (of which I am one) might be best advised to wait.

Legend Of Zelda TV Show In the Works at Netflix

Netflix is developing a live-action adaptation of Nintendo’s Legend of Zelda franchise, according to the Wall Street Journal. The series, following the story of the games, is said to follow the adventures of Link as he travels through Hyrule to rescue Princess Zelda.

The Wall Street Journal reports that the show is being pitched as a family-friendly Game of Thrones but, being in the early stages of development, not much more is known about the endeavour. Let’s just hope that it improves upon the last Nintendo live-action adaptation, Super Mario Bros.

Source: TechCrunch

Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series’ First Episode Launches Tomorrow

The first episode of the sure-fire hit Game of Thrones: A Telltale Games Series reaches the PC and Mac tomorrow on Steam, the Telltale Online Store and other digital distribution platforms. If you don’t want to be spoiled in the game – if you haven’t watched the HBO version of the show, you really need to in order to get the entire experience from the game – it starts off at the end of Season 3 in the TV show, and ends at the beginning of Season 5.

Players get to take control of various characters from House Forrester, or even a servant to the house. During the War of Five Kings, each member of House Forrester will be fighting to try and save the House from utter destruction. If you’re a fan of the HBO series, you owe it to yourself to check out the game!

Source: Polygon.

The Debut Trailer to the Game of Thrones Game is Here

Telltale Games have some seriously big games under their belt, with The Walking Dead and The Wolf Among Us, but I think the Game of Thrones game is going to be absolutely huge. The news from today, is that many of the stars on the show are reprising their roles in the form of voice talent for the multi-platform game.

The game will have you playing five playable family members from House Forrester, which come from the Wolfswood, in the north of Westeros. We know that the game is coming soon, with episode one (of six) hopefully arriving before the end of the year, but if it doesn’t, we should expect the King Slayer to make it happen.

Source: Kotaku.

Telltale Begin Teasing Their Upcoming Game of Thrones Series

Telltale games are very well-known in the gaming industry for their work on The Walking Dead, a highly popular episodic gaming series based on the TV / Book series of the same name, so who better than them to work on an upcoming Game of Thrones title set in the George R.R. Martin universe (other than Bethesda).

Telltale started the teasing with an image on Twitter, posting a quote from the latest Game of Thrones book, A Dance With Dragons, and we suspect the family name Forrester is emphasized for a reason (see above). House Forrester is a minor clan name that isn’t (yet) featured in the book series, but since we know that this games story will be set concurrently with the main story, a “meanwhile in x” style story line seems the likely course, with a focus on background characters so not to tread on the lore currently laid out by the series.

What we do know of the Forresters is that they’re sworn to House Glover of Deepwood Motte in the North, which holds loyalty to the Starks of Winterfell.

“The show does a great job of interpreting George R.R. Martin’s work, and his work provides a huge dictionary of knowledge about what the franchise is,” Telltale boss Dan Conner previously teased.

“It’s really a dream to sit down and say, ‘What’s our space in this world? Where are we in this world?’ And the world offers you so much to explore.”

The release date is still a mystery, but we do know it’ll be heading to PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4.

[youtube width=”800″ height=”450″]http://youtu.be/fjiVZdg6lng[/youtube]

Thank you Eurogamer for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Eurogamer.

George RR Martin Gives Middle Finger Salute To Impatient Fans

Game of Thrones has to be one of the biggest book and TV sensations of our generation, and with a massive collection of books and several TV series already available for us to pore over, the anticipation for what comes next is getting a little too much for some fans, and it’s starting to get to author George RR Martin even more, and not for the first time.

George issued a statement to fans who are wondering if he will finish his next book and of course the entire collection before he dies, to which George replied “F##K YOU” and quite frankly, I don’t blame him for such a stern reply. When George was asked about readers worries on this matter by Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger he responded: “I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so f##k you to those people”. To cement his feelings on the matter he raised his middle finger, directed towards the people who asked if he’s going to die early.

Before the TV series George suffered similar issues with fans clamouring for his next book, which at the time was A Song of Ice and Fire. “Some of you are angry that I watch football during the fall … some of you hate my other projects … some of you don’t want me attending conventions, teaching workshops, touring and doing promo, or visiting places like Spain and Portugal (last year) or Finland (this year). More wasting time, when I should be home working on A Dance with Dragons,” said Martin. “After all, as some of you like to point out in your emails, I am 60 years old and fat, and you don’t want me to ‘pull a Robert Jordan’ on you and deny you your book.”

The best defence for George came from Neil Gaiman, who told one Game of Thrones fan that “George RR Martin is not your bitch. This is a useful thing to know, perhaps a useful thing to point out when you find yourself thinking that possibly George is, indeed, your bitch, and should be out there typing what you want to read right now. People are not machines. Writers and artists aren’t machines.”

George has no release date penned for his next book, only going as far as saying “it’ll be done when it’s done” and personally I think that is fine. I would love it sooner, but surely the wait will just make it all the more rewarding when the time comes. Just remember that if you ever meet George, you best show some patience.

Thank you Guardian for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Guardian.

Game of Thrones Finale, 2 Petabytes Torrented in 12 Hours

Don’t worry, there are no spoilers for the show in this article.

The final episode of Game of Thrones Season 4 aired yesterday, climaxing on yet another incredible season for the massively popular show. Unfortunately for many, watching the show on HBO or Sky isn’t an option as they don’t have a subscription, but even for many of those who do, there is the fact that the US gets the show a day earlier than Europe. Let’s not also forget the people who forgot it was on, or forgot to set it to record. Long story short, there are a lot of reasons people will have been downloading Game of Thrones this week.

With 7.1 million viewers said to have watched the finale, the series also broke its torrenting record (again), with around 1.5 million downloads in the first 12 hours of the show airing, that equates to approximately 2 petabytes of data!

Not content with one record, the show also set the record for the largest number of people sharing the same file, known as a “swarm”, with a record of 254,114 sharers for the episode.

Thank you CNET for providing us with this information.

George R.R. Martin Uses DOS PC With WordStar 4.0 To Write Game of Thrones

When it comes to blockbuster movies, you general know that they’ve been created with high end computers, top of the line cameras and all the modern technology bells and whistles you can imagine. When it comes to TV, you generally see much of the same technology yet again, but in the world of books, that’s not always the case. Modern legend, George R.R. Martin, has been busy writing the entirety of his Game of Thones novels on a magical relic of a PC.

His 30 year old MS DOS machine that he uses to write his books run the very long obsolete, but once much loved, WordStar 4.0. This computer obviously pre-dates most any modern day software and technology, but that’s hardly surprising given that it’s as old as I am.

Martin said that he likes this old school combe because it gives him everything he needs to write, without all the bells and whistles like auto-correct, and other newage features. He does have a point though, this computer is likely distraction free since it has very little other software it can run, no internet connection, it has been reliable for 30 years and it has that awesome retro charm about it.

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information.

Images courtesy of TweakTown.

Game of Thrones Held The Title Of The Most Pirated Show In 2013

HBO’s Game of Thrones is a very popular TV series, there is no denying that fact. We often get to hear exactly how popular this series is when it smashes all piracy records. Earlier this year we reported that Game of Thrones season 3 finale had become the top BitTorrent download and also the most pirated show in the U.S. “sprint season.” So it shouldn’t come as surprise to see that this very series has turned out to be the most pirated show of 2013. It has actually held on that title for two years in a row.

AMC came in second and third, its insanely popular series Breaking Bad was at No.2 with the series finale being downloaded illegally over 4.2 million times. Breaking Bad was trailed by AMC’s The Walking Dead, another hit series, which saw roughly 3.6 million downloads for an episode that hasn’t been named. The Big Bang Theory, Dexter, How I Met Your Mother, Suits, Homeland, Viking and Arrow complete the rest of the list, released by the folks at TorrentFreak. Sure there has been a lot of hue and cry about online piracy and how these illegal downloads are costing studios an insane amount of money, its safe to say that the pirates aren’t going away anytime soon.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information

Telltale Games And HBO To Create Games Based On Game of Thrones

Telltale Games and HBO Global Licensing have announced a partnership to create an interactive episodic game series based on the epic drama that is Game of Thrones. Now I’m already sceptical that they’ll make a mess of this one, Game of Thrones books and TV series are a fragile beast, it needs to be done right, or not at all. Fortunately, we have a little faith in Telltale after a few recent successes, but I still remain sceptical that they’ll pull this one off.

The multi-year, multi-title partnership between Telltale and HBO Global Licensing is targeted to premiere digitally in 2014 with an episodic game series for home consoles, PC/Mac, and mobile devices. Specific platform details are yet to be announced.

“Since the very beginning, Telltale’s goal has been to work alongside the most talented and respected forces in entertainment, bringing their worlds to the interactive space as no other game studio can,” said Dan Connors, co-founder and CEO of Telltale Games. “Working with HBO to develop a new game series based on Game of Thrones is a natural fit for our studio. This partnership will create an experience that will captivate the huge, global Game of Thrones audience. It will put them in control of the epic stories of warfare, intrigue, violence and revenge that we know and love.”

“We’re delighted to be working with Telltale Games, a proven leader in the creation of engaging interactive content,” stated Josh Goodstadt, Director of Global Licensing. “Our fans are always looking for new, exciting ways to engage with the Game of Thrones brand and this game series will put them right in the middle of the action by letting them decide where the story will lead. This brings a whole new dimension to the world of Westeros.”

Based on the bestselling fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is an epic story where political and sexual intrigue abound as seven noble families fight for control of the Iron Throne and the Seven Kingdoms.

Thank you Telltale for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Telltale.

New Game Of Thrones Game Rumored To Be Released By Telltale Games

Rumor has it that a Game of Thrones game from Telltale Games is in development. In an article posted by Bit-Tech, multiple sources from IGN close to the matter confirmed that work on the IP is under way.

No information which links the game to George R.R. Martin’s books or the HBO TV adaptation of the books has been given though. Telltale Games itself has declined to comment officially, adding that these sorts of rumours about what it is working on crop up from time to time.

A Game of Thrones game has already been released as an RPG title in May 2012 from Cyanide. The game received poor reviews and many considered the title to be rushed and suffering from a lack of polish. Telltale Games’ most recent release is The Wolf Among us, based on the successful graphic novel series Fables. It is also working on season two of the popular Walking Dead series.

HBO’s book adaptation of the Game of Thrones books has catapulted the popular fantasy series of books into the mainstream and has become a huge success and fans expect the fourth series to begin in early 2014.

Thank you Bit-Tech for providing us with this information

BitTorrent Says It is Fed Up Of Association With Piracy

BitTorrent is getting a bit cheesed off with constantly being associated with piracy. It has stated that the recent game of thrones piracy record is not a BitTorrent piracy record and has nothing to do with BitTorrent because it happens outside the BitTorrent ecosystem.

BitTorrent does not host the infringing content, nor does it point to it. BitTorrent stress that to download something illegally you have to have a search engine, a pirate content site and a content manager and BitTorrent offers none of those things. Furthermore BitTorrent states that these records should be seen as Internet Piracy records not BitTorrent piracy records.

BitTorrent went on to say that illegal BitTorrent downloaders are using the open-source innovative protocol wrong and they do not endorse piracy at all. Apparently legal content titles in 2012 were downloaded 152 million times with Epic Meal Time doubling the download tally of Game of Thrones which made about 8.6 million.

I think the association between BitTorrent and piracy is unlikely to dissappear anytime but one thing is certain and that is that people will continue to exploit BitTorrent for illegal purposes for a long time to come.

Image courtesy of BitTorrent

Game Of Thrones Season Finale Sets Piracy Record

The season finale of Game of Thrones managed to drum up a new “piracy record” with more than 170,000 people sharing the episode simultaneously. In one day more than 1 million people downloaded a copy of the show’s final episode. Yet despite all this piracy HBO wants to keep the show “exclusive” and refuses to bring it to NetFlix and other online streaming services anytime soon, surely this attempt to monopolize exclusivity is what has driven such large piracy in the first place?

The season finale was uploaded within a few minutes of the episode finishing on HBO. Within a few hours of this the number had rapidly climbed to multiple thousands and Game of Thrones is once again crowned as the most pirated TV show of the year thanks to HBOs refusal to distribute it via other mediums.

These “illegal downloaders” that have been watching HBO’s Game of Throwns come from all over the world but Australians were particularly over represented. TorrentFreak predicts this will only get worse as Australia’s cable provider is choosing to decrease availability of cable TV shows from next year. HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo doesn’t see piracy as a problem, in fact he sees it as a compliment, and he believes it does not negatively impact on DVD sales. This could be part of the reason why HBO refused NetFlix’s offer and wanted to retain exclusivity regardless of how much this encouraged piracy.

Image courtesy of TheDrum.com