Tower of the Hand



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Warning! This post may discuss events from beyond your current scope. If you're fully caught up, you can remove this spoiler warning from all similar blog entries, or view this post without bypassing the warnings of other entries.

Good Fortune in the Decade to Come

What does the future hold for our favorite books and offshoots? Well, I've looked into the flames and I've seen what is to come in the decade ahead. Like all seers, my interpretations of prophecies range from bold to ridiculous, and all them are likely to be proven very, very wrong. But I've enjoyed this admittedly self-indulgent exercise and I invite you to add your thoughts and predictions, too.

Will Winter come at last in 2020? When it airs a new episode this Sunday, The Simpsons will have the honor of broadcasting an original episode in five different decades: the 1980s, the 1990s, the 2000s, the 2010s, and soon the 2020s. Who knows? Maybe A Song of Ice and Fire will share a similar distinction. Assuming The Winds of Winter is published at some point during the roaring 2020s, George R. R. Martin will have delivered at least one novel to tortured fans every decade since the 1990s, with at least one more to come in the series. Could 2020 finally be the year for The Winds of Winter? Surely it will be this decade, right? Have you given up on guessing altogether and/or would rather be pleasantly surprised by the sudden coming of Winter?

A Flight of Sorrows, A Hymn for Spring. Tower of the Hand's first two ebooks will be removed from the Amazon store on Tuesday. December 31. A Flight of Sorrows contains eight original essays about A Song of Ice and Fire, written by Tower of the Hand contributors and other frequent collaborators. A Hymn for Spring followed up on that edition with eleven exclusive essays. If you hadn't already picked up these books, now's your last chance. If you've got them already, maybe you know someone who'd be interested in reading them, too; did you know that you can gift ebooks in the Kindle Store? In any case, we are grateful to you for supporting all the wonderful essayists who have written for Tower of the Hand all these years.

And a special thank you to editor Marc N. Kleinhenz for all his efforts putting the books together and serving as our de facto accountant. Please check out some of Marc's other books, which will also be leaving the Amazon store in a couple of days.


Star Wars The Rise of Skywalker Open Thread. The Skywalker Saga comes to an end with Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker. Will it be more like Return of the Jedi, an okay film that concludes the otherwise brilliant original trilogy? Or more like Revenge of the Sith, a fairly dark installment that caps the otherwise disappointing prequel trilogy? In any case, it's being marketed as another franchise that's reached its natural conclusion, only we know it's not really the end of Star Wars, as there are plenty of offshoots and Baby Yoda memes to come.

Tell us what you thought of The Rise of Skywalker. Did it match your expectations? Was it a fitting end and/or a good place to let the past go so we can see what else we can explore in future movies and TV shows? This is Tower of the Hand's official open thread for The Rise of Skywalker; feel free to discuss the movie in every spoilery detail.


His Dark Materials Open Thread. His Dark Materials, a brand new original series based on Philip Pullman's award-winning trilogy of the same name, debuts on HBO tonight. It continues HBO's attempts to find its next Game of Thrones, this time adapting a young adult fantasy that was published in 1995 (a year before George R. R. Martin's A Game of Thrones) and originally brought to the big screen as The Golden Compass in 2007. The film was not a success, but HBO is hoping for better fortunes from this reboot by writer Jack Thorne. It stars Dafne Keen, Ruth Wilson, James McAvoy, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Game of Thrones' James Cosmo. HBO has already ordered a second season of the show.

Here's HBO on the new show:

The series follows Lyra (Dafne Keen), a seemingly ordinary but brave young woman from another world. Her search for a kidnapped friend uncovers a sinister plot involving stolen children and becomes a quest to understand a mysterious phenomenon called Dust. Other series regulars include: Ruth Wilson as Mrs. Coulter, Lin-Manuel Miranda as Lee Scoresby, James McAvoy as Lord Asriel, Clarke Peters as The Master of Jordan College, Lewin Lloyd as Roger Parslow, James Cosmo as Farder Coram and Anne-Marie Duff as Ma Costa, with Will Keen as Father MacPhail and Ariyon Bakare as Lord Boreal.

The first of eight episodes of His Dark Materials debuts tonight at 9 PM ET on HBO. BBC One also airs the show in some markets. Have you read the books? Are you looking forward to this adaptation? Do you think His Dark Materials will appeal more to Game of Thrones' fans than, say, Watchmen?


House of the Dragon. Within hours of learning about the doomed prequel "The Long Night" (or "Bloodmoon," as I was reminded it was sometimes also called), HBO has announced that Game of Thrones is getting a successor show after all:

#HouseOfTheDragon, a #GameofThrones prequel is coming to @HBO.

The series is co-created by @GRRMSpeaking and Ryan Condal. Miguel Sapochnik will partner with Condal as showrunner and will direct the pilot and additional episodes. Condal will be writing the series.

The Ryan Condal/Miguael Sapochnik project has already managed two things that the Jane Goldman project long struggled with: 1) it's got an official title -- House of the Dragon, and 2) it's earned a full series order, not just a pilot episode. About a month ago, George R. R. Martin hinted that another prequel show was moving forward, though at the time the pilot episode had not yet been greenlit by HBO. Apparently HBO is now satisfied enough with the concept (originally pitched by Game of Thrones vet Bryan Cogman) and the current pedigree (Condal was previously the showrunner of the USA show Colony and Sapochnik arguably one of Game of Thrones' best directors) to order ten episodes straight away.

According to Entertainment Weekly's James Hibberd, the events of House of the Dragon "will eventually lead up to The Dance of the Dragons, a massive civil war in the Seven Kingdoms held between two rival branches of House Targaryen." There is plenty of established canon to adapt here; you can read GRRM's Fire & Blood for an in-depth history of House Targaryen. With this new show, we're likely to get a more personal view of the era, as opposed to the dry accounts from maesters who took a broader look at the history in the book.

But perhaps the best and most exciting thing about the new show is the thing that made "The Princess and the Queen" so memorable when GRRM first published details about the Dance of the Dragons: we're going to see legitimate, full scale dragon-on-dragon battles, the likes of which the books and Game of Thrones only hinted at. Fire will reign.


The End of the Long Night. If there's a future for more TV shows in the Game of Thrones universe, it won't be one set in the distant past during the Age of Heroes, unofficially known as "The Long Night." Deadline reports (and Variety confirms) that the high-profile project from Jane Goldman starring Naomi Watts is now dead. HBO greenlit a pilot episode for the prequel back in June 2018, but production and post-production of the pilot has since run into a few problems, and HBO must have decided that the show wasn't worth pursuing any longer.

Some key notes from Deadline's reporting:

Showrunner Goldman has been emailing the cast and crew of the project to tell them that the pilot is dead, we hear. The development has not been confirmed by HBO.

Word of the Watts-led pilot, penned by Goldman and directed by S.J. Clarkson, not going forward comes after a lengthy post-production, which included re-editing of the initial cut after it was not well received, and rumors about issues during filming in Northern Ireland.

While this is certainly a setback for fans hoping for more from the world of Westeros, HBO is still kicking around a few ideas for spinoffs, including another potential show from George R. R. Martin and Ryan Condal about the glory days of House Targaryen.

Coincidentally, we recently learned that Game of Thrones' showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have dropped out of their Star Wars trilogy. This appears to be the week that Game of Thrones producers, past and present, quietly announce the death of highly scrutinized projects.


After Dark, It's All Relative. Tower of the Hand "After Dark" invites you to mingle with other members and chat about all things off topic. The holidays are a time for family... even those you don't particularly enjoy spending time with. Without naming names, is there a relative in your extended family who always manages to annoy you at holiday parties? How do you deal with him or her?

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Tower of the Hand is an unofficial companion to George R. R. Martin's A Song of Ice and Fire series and HBO's Game of Thrones, featuring chapter and episode guides, character profiles, family trees, and much more.

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