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'Game of Thrones': See Arya's radical new costume design -- exclusive

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 It’s extreme makeover, Westeros edition: Game of Thrones fan favorite Arya Stark is undergoing a dramatic appearance change for season five (exclusive full image below). The vengeful teen survivor gets her first major costume upgrade since the show’s first season, finally ditching those raggedy brown threads in exchange for a lighter, more feminine dress.

“I love Arya’s new look,” actress Maisie Williams told EW. “It’s very neutral, very plain, but clean! I have clean hair that actually moves.”

The transformation helps Arya stay anonymous while roaming the streets in her new home across the sea in the free city of Braavos. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' teaser delivers short, mysterious look at season 5

HBO is doling out the quickest of teases as viewers wait for Game of Thrones‘ fifth season, and a new clip offers a look at… well, it’s difficult to exactly say.

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HBO's standalone streaming service reportedly set to launch in April 2015

HBO looks to be prepping its standalone streaming service to launch just as viewers are ready to return to Westeros.

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Natalie Dormer advocates for more male nudity on 'Game of Thrones'

English actress Natalie Dormer is best known for playing beguiling femme fatales as astute as they are alluring—currently as Margaery Tyrell on Game of Thrones, formerly as Irene Adler on Elementary and Anne Boleyn on The Tudors, as well as “The Blonde” who seduces Brad Pitt in The Counselor. “I love those women that I play that have sexual power,” Dormer told The Daily Beast in an interview published today. “But I’m trying to step away from it for me, and for my artistic growth. It’s also more who I am. I’m not that woman.”

And step away from it she did: For her latest role as The Hunger Games: Mockingjay–Part 1, out in theaters Friday, Dormer shifted gears to play Cressida, a filmmaker creating anti-Capitol, pro-Katniss propaganda for the rebel faction—a character baring more resemblance to Skrillex than a sexpot. She chatted with The Daily Beast about playing Cressida, as well as the status of feminism in Hollywood, and, most crucially, the troubling inequity between male and female nudity on Game of Thrones.

“During the first season Alfie [Allen, who plays Theon Greyjoy] Richard [Madden, who plays Robb Stark], and several of the men got naked—although not all the way,” Dormer recalled when asked about the nudity ratios on the HBO series. “I suppose it’s just the rules of broadcast television, isn’t it? I think Thrones has been better than your average show with the equality, but they could definitely ramp it up! Absolutely.” READ FULL STORY

Natalie Dormer imagines how her character will die on 'Game of Thrones'

No one in Westeros is safe from George R.R. Martin’s keyboard, so it only makes sense for the actors on Game of Thrones to prepare themselves for, if not an inevitable, than a likely death.

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'Game of Thrones' showrunner explains why Bran is not in season 5

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For the first time in Game of Thrones history, a major character will spend a season on the bench. But the HBO hit’s showrunners have good reasons for the decision.

A couple months ago actor Kristian Nairn (Hodor) let it slip to a reporter that he and Thrones co-star Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark) had the upcoming season off. Writer and executive producer David Benioff, who is the showrunner on the acclaimed fantasy series along with Dan Weiss, tells EW exclusively that there are a couple key reasons for the move, and both are about crafting a strong season that fits within the show’s seven-year narrative plan.

“Ideally that wouldn’t have gotten out and it’s unfortunate it did,” Benioff said. “The fact is, even though we’re making changes to the books and adapting as necessary, we’re trying to keep the various storylines the same as the books and trying to keep them roughly [chronologically] parallel. And last year we caught up to the end of Bran’s storyline [in George R.R. Martin’s most recent A Song of Ice and Fire novel, A Dance with Dragons]. So if we pushed him forward this season, then he’s way ahead of where the other characters are.” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' cast signs on for 7th season, for a reportedly 'huge' raise

HBO’s Game of Thrones cast is sticking around for awhile. The network has signed the bulk of the current main cast through a presumed seventh season.

The premium network has locked down the acclaimed fantasy hit’s cast for another two years, sources say. But according to THR, which first broke the story, the seventh (and presumed final) season came at a high cost. In exchange for agreeing to a seventh season option, the cast received “huge raises” for the currently shooting fifth season, along with the sixth and seventh. The raises “will make the cast members among the highest paid on cable TV.” HBO had no comment on the report. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' fans swarm actors in Spain

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Nikolaj Coster-Waldau is used to being famous. But not he’s not used to this.

The dashing Game of Thrones star was sitting for an interview in a Seville hotel bar a few weeks ago. Behind him, gaggles of young women took pictures through the window until a server closed the drapes. He had only landed in Spain a few days before, but fans quickly figured out his hotel and mobbed him there more than once. Thrones typically shoots in Northern Ireland and Croatia; this year, the series added Spain for scenes set in the show’s fictional country of Dorne.

“[Fans have] become more intense in Belfast for the first time too, but it’s nothing like Spain,” says Coster-Waldau, who emphasized that while he appreciates the attention, he’s unaccustomed to getting quite so much of it. “They’re really sweet, but some are like, ‘I’ve been looking for you for two days!‘” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' mania hits Spain as 86,000 apply for roles

Game of Thrones is conquering Spain: The HBO fantasy hit’s production is enjoying an overwhelming response since filming started in the country two weeks ago.

When the local production company Fresco Film put out a casting call for roughly 600 extras for a key battle Thrones scene, fans responded with an incredible 86,000 applications. The company needed to add more server space to accommodate the load. Many applicants needed the work, but one hired extra told the production he took a vacation from his high-level banking job to be on the show.

Meanwhile, others have clamored to get a glimpse of the show’s cast, with one even asking a random production staffer to post for a photo merely because he was wearing a Thrones badge.

To some extent, Spain’s response reflects the ongoing global fandom growth of HBO’s most popular series ever. Ratings climb each season and this year hit 19 million viewers in the United States when viewership is measured across all platforms. But Spain is perhaps primed to be more appreciative than most— Thrones has hired more than 1,000 locals across its production and is expected to generate millions for the country’s economy which has been climbing out of a deep recession (for example, Thrones generated $32 million for Northern Ireland last year). READ FULL STORY

'Sleepy Hollow' star Tom Mison reveals why he wants to be a Lannister

When EW caught up with Sleepy Hollow‘s Tom Mison for this year’s Fall TV Preview issue, he let slip a tasty little nugget of information: If he could guest star on any other show, he’d pick Game of Thrones. There was, however, a caveat: “I’d have to be in King’s Landing, though,” he explained. “I couldn’t go somewhere cold. It looks nice and sunny in King’s Landing. I wouldn’t be on the Wall.”

Intriguing. But what house would Mison be a member of, assuming he did make the leap from Fox to HBO? While interviewing Mison for this week’s issue of Entertainment Weekly—on newsstands Friday—the topic came up again. Here’s what he had to say. (Bonus: This snippet functions as a complete idiot’s guide to what not to say while interviewing a celebrity.)

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Killed off 'Game of Thrones' actor promises season 5 return

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[Potential spoilers]

We may not have seen the last of Tywin Lannister.

Actor Charles Dance told MTV UK while promoting the film Dracula Untold that his scenery chewing sinister Lannister patriarch will be in season 5 (video below). “I’m not completely missing out on the next series,” he said. “More than that, I’m not going to say. You haven’t seen the last of Tywin Lannister, is all I’ll say.”

His quote is pretty unambiguous in terms of making clear that Tywin will appear next year, yet also raises a bunch of questions. At least one major outlet reported that his quote must mean Tywin is still alive — but that’s extremely unlikely. Dance could appear as the deceased body of his character — just like Jack Gleeson in the episode after Joffrey’s death. And while Thrones doesn’t often use flashbacks, that standard device is possible too. Given that Tyrion is going to be pretty haunted by his actions in last season’s finale, my bet would be on some sort of memory, vision or dream sequence — like Daenerys Targaryen had of her deceased lover Khal Drogo, which brought back Jason Momoa for an additional scene.

So weirdly enough: It sounds like dead Tywin will be in Thrones next year — yet very much alive Bran Stark will not be. (And we won’t even bring up that other character some expected to be resurrected, if only to keep the comment boards civil). Sounds like we’re in for an interesting season. READ FULL STORY

What happens when 'Doctor Who' meets Robin Hood? Tom Riley and Mark Gatiss explain

“No damsels in distress! No pretty castles! No such thing as Robin Hood!”

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Bran Stark won't be in 'Game of Thrones' season 5

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Game of Thrones is losing another Stark — at least temporarily.

There are no current plans to include Bran Stark (Isaac Hempstead-Wright) and Hodor (Kristian Nairn) in season 5 of the HBO fantasy hit. The rather stunning plot shakeup was first let out of the bag by Nairn during an interview. “We have a season off and we have a year’s hiatus, solely because I imagine our storyline is up to the end of the books,” he said, then added regarding his DJing career: “So, I get my year off now to do Rave of Thrones and gallivant all over the world.”

The move ditches Bran and Hodor now that they’ve reached Bran’s three-eyed crow mentor, which is nearly as far as the characters have progressed in George R.R. Martin’s novels. For the fifth season of the series, producers are going to a new Westeros country — Dorne, which will be shot in Spain — and adding some new characters. Leaving behind Bran will give the show more time to spend with the new characters, and some time for the other storylines to catch up to Bran’s (as well as for Martin potentially to release his next book in the saga, The Winds of Winter).

Martin himself did a similar maneuver in his novels as his saga’s scope expanded, leaving out some key characters from his last two books. Still, the move is bound to upset some fans of Bran’s storyline, and marks the first time a major character has been benched for a full season. HBO would not comment or confirm.

Update: Game of Thrones showrunner explains why Bran won’t be in season 5

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