Tower of the Hand



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Watchmen Open Thread. Tonight sees the debut of HBO's Watchmen, the first of several high-profile projects from HBO in its post-Game of Thrones world. From Damon Lindelof (co-creator of Lost and HBO's The Leftovers), Watchmen is set in a contemporary albeit alternate history where superheroes are considered outlaws. The new show is based on the 1980s graphic novel by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, and follows a filmed adaptation from 2009 by director Zack Snyder, though the HBO show reportedly aims to tell its own story with only a few characters returning from the original source material.

Here's HBO on the new show:

From executive producer Damon Lindelof (Emmy® winner for "Lost"; HBO's "The Leftovers"), the series embraces the nostalgia of the original groundbreaking graphic novel of the same name, while attempting to break new ground of its own. Nicole Kassell directs the pilot from a script written by Lindelof. Cast includes Regina King, Jeremy Irons, Don Johnson, Jean Smart, Tim Blake Nelson, Louis Gossett Jr., Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Tom Mison, Sara Vickers, Andrew Howard, Jacob Ming-Trent and Dylan Schombing.

The first of nine episodes of Watchmen debuts tonight at 9 PM ET, only on HBO. Let us know if you'll be watching Watchmen, and if so, what you think of it.


External Link GRRM reflects on an ending. Now that Game of Thrones is over and the adaptation has finished its story, all eyes are on George R. R. Martin. When will The Winds of Winter be released? How different will the final books be from the TV show? Well, GRRM has now chimed in about the ending, or as he calls it, "an ending." In his latest blog post, GRRM congratulates the creative forces, cast, and crew responsible for Game of Thrones, in particular singling out David Benioff, Dan Weiss, Bryan Cogman, and Richard Plepler. GRRM goes on to say that he expects this won't be the last we see of Westeros on TV, as a number of successor shows remain in development. He also has several other projects in the pipeline, including TV shows, short films, and, yes, more books.

As to the end of A Song of Ice and Fire, GRRM's comments on the books won't surprise long-time readers of his blog (or this site). He's still working on it. GRRM has repeatedly dismissed rumors that the books are already finished and he was just waiting for the TV show to end; the books are not done. He confirms that there will be differences between the books and show, noting that there are many pages of story left that never made it to the screen:

I am working in a very different medium than David and Dan, never forget. They had eight hours for this final season. I expect these last two books of mine will fill 3000 manuscript pages between them before I'm done... and if more pages and chapters and scenes are needed, I'll add them. And of course the butterfly effect will be at work as well; those of you who follow this Not A Blog will know that I've been talking about that since season one. There are characters who never made it onto the screen at all, and others who died in the show but still live in the books... so if nothing else, the readers will learn what happened to Jeyne Poole, Lady Stoneheart, Penny and her pig, Skahaz Shavepate, Arianne Martell, Darkstar, Victarion Greyjoy, Ser Garlan the Gallant, Aegon VI, and a myriad of other characters both great and small that viewers of the show never had the chance to meet. And yes, there will be unicorns... of a sort...

When GRRM's final books do come out, he wants us to decide for ourselves which of the endings is "real." And, he's right, the internet is going to argue about it.


Avengers: Endgame Open Thread. With a snap of his fingers, Thanos reduced the universe's population by half, decimating Marvel's biggest money makers, Spider-Man and Black Panther, but leaving us conveniently with the entire original Avengers team, as assembled way back in 2012. It's a safe bet that the status quo won't last, and that we'll see several dramatic reversals in Avengers: Endgame, both miraculous and heartbreaking. Regardless of who survives and what else happens, this feels like the end of an era, another cultural touchstone coming to a close and perhaps passing on the torch to its successor, whatever that may be.

This is an open thread for those who have seen Avengers: Endgame, which releases tonight. What did you think of the movie? What's next for the Avengers team, and for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in general? Beware of spoilers in the comments.


Bracket Madness 2019. Another Selection Sunday is upon us! Today the basketball gods will see fit to tell us which 68 teams have made the vaunted 2019 NCAA Tournament. Then it will be up to us to defy said gods in correctly picking the upsets. What madness! If you're interested in filling out a bracket and squaring off against fellow Tower of the Hand members (like last year's illustrious champion headrush), please join us in the 5th Annual Scorchiebeanie Memorial Bracket Clash.

Everyone is invited to participate. There's no money involved -- just bragging rights. If you'd like to join, send an email to [email protected] with your email address and your TotH username, and our league commissioner pharout will email you an invite. Brackets must be completed by Thursday, March 21, 12:00 PM EDT. If you have any other questions or problems, feel free to leave a comment here.

Consider this the official thread for this year's NCAA Tournament. Feel free to discuss your brackets, the games, and all things March Madness here.


Super Bowl LIII Open Thread. The New England Patriots again? That's four times in the last five Super Bowls (with two victories this decade). At least the NFC is sending a fresh challenger to face them this year, with the Rams looking to bring home a championship for the first time in its storied three-year history in Los Angeles. (I'm only half kidding; despite playing in LA for nearly fifty years in the 20th Century, the Rams' lone Super Bowl win came in 1999 when they called St. Louis their home.) The Patriots are slightly favored. May the best team win, defying blown referee calls and doubly stubborn uprights. Maroon 5 also stars.

Read the source material before, after, or never? It's been a dilemma ever since movie producers realized they didn't always have to come up with their own ideas. Millions of books already exist, plenty with great characters and stories just waiting to be translated into a more visual medium. Filmmakers have to be clever, though, in condensing a heavy tome into a two-hour flick for a broader audience while still following their own creative instincts, all on a budget. The end result often upsets the core fans who most wanted to see their page-turners on screen in the first place. Certainly this is one thing that A Song of Ice and Fire readers have had to grapple with as HBO's Game of Thrones deviates farther and farther away from the books. But we are not the first to face this. I can only imagine the outcry from fans of those early adaptations: "Dorothy's slippers are what color?"

Generally speaking, when there's a new adaptation that catches your eye, do you prefer to 1) read the source material before watching the adaptation, 2) read it after watching it, or 3) never read it at all? Have there been exceptions to this rule? Did you read ASOIAF before or after watching Game of Thrones, and has that influenced how you treat adaptations now?


Nightflyers Open Thread. In 1980, George R. R. Martin published a short novel called "Nightflyers," an expanded version of which was released the following year. The science-fiction/horror story won the Locus Award and was nominated for a Hugo. Later that decade, GRRM sold the film rights to the story, which led to the 1987 film, Nightflyers, directed by T.C. Blake. The film was neither a commercial success nor a cult favorite. But George R. R. Martin himself would go on to bigger and better things, which may be why Nightflyers is getting a second (or third) chance at being adapted for the screen. This time it's being adapted by Daniel Cerone Jeff Buhler for the cable network Syfy. The first episode premieres tonight at 10 PM ET, with other installments of its ten-episode season airing on consecutive nights.

As GRRM recently noted, he has had little involvement with the production of this new show, though his agents did negotiate an "executive producer" credit for him. Nevertheless, GRRM is reminding us to watch it. Here's how he describes it:

On a mission aboard the Nightflyer, the most advanced ship ever built, a team of scientists embark on an expedition to make first contact with alien life. Set in the year 2093, their mission takes them beyond the edge of the solar system, farther than mankind has ever gone before. But when terrifying and violent events start to occur, the team and crew begin to question themselves, each other, and their reclusive captain. They soon come to realize that the true horror isn't waiting for them in outer space - it's already on their ship.

I personally have not yet read the novella on which the show is based, though I did flip through the first few pages of it in my copy of Dreamsongs (Volume I). Tomorrow we'll discuss whether or not we should read the source material before watching any adaptation, but for now, please use this thread to discuss Nightflyers the TV show, if you're planning on watching, and if so, what you think of it and/or the idea of running new episodes every night.


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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