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'Game of Thrones': Nikolaj Coster-Waldau on Jaime's big surprise

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Sunday’s Game of Thrones concluded with an abrupt and shocking act of violence: A band of mercenaries cut off the right hand of the infamous knight Jaime Lannister (Nikolaj Coster-Waldau). The scene then smash-cut to black and over the credits played a rocking rendition of “The Bear and Maiden Fair,” a popular tavern song in the world of the show, performed by indie band The Hold Steady. Coster-Waldau and Thrones showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss spoke to EW about this week’s big moment.

“Jaime comes from a family where, if all else fails, yo1 can always buy your way out of a situation,” Coster-Waldau says. “Then he meets a man where that doesn’t work.”

That man is Locke,* a henchman aligned with one of Robb Stark’s bannermen, House Bolton. And what’s quite important is that Jaime is right handed. The kingslayer lost his “sword hand,” the one that’s helped him gain a reputation as one of the deadliest swordsmen in Westeros. Coster-Waldau teases that the loss is going to be very tough for Jaime to handle (so to speak).

“It’s a horrifying experience and the question is, ‘Can he deal with that?’” Coster-Waldau says. “He’s defined as one of the greatest swordsman of all time. He draws a lot of confidence from that. And if you have something that so clearly defines you — not only the way you see yourself, but also the way the world sees you, and then you lose it …  Now anyone can kill him! And it’s not like he’s the most popular guy.” READ FULL STORY

'Elementary' nabs 'Game of Thrones' actress for pivotal role

Elementary fans are going to meet the most important woman in Sherlock Holmes’s life.

CBS has announced that Natalie Dormer is set to appear in a three-episode arc, playing Sherlock’s former lover Irene Adler, whose death at the hands of Moriarty has previously been mentioned on the show.

“We’re moving to the next chapter in our show — and in some ways, to a previous chapter in Holmes’ story,” executive producer and creator Rob Doherty said in a statement. “Irene Adler is perhaps the most pivotal relationship in Sherlock’s life, and I can’t think of an actress better suited to the challenge than Natalie.” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' ratings steady for second episode

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HBO‘s Game of Thrones remained largely steady for its second episode this season.

Week 2 of season three delivered 4.3 million viewers at 9 p.m., down just a hair from the show’s return the previous week. A total of 6.4 million viewers watched across three plays. This makes Sunday’s airing the second most-watched Thrones episode in the show’s history. Here’s our recap.

You’ll recall the Thrones season premiere debuted up against The Walking Dead season finale and on Easter Sunday, but as a premiere it was obviously also heavily promoted. Compared to AMC’s Mad Men return (3.4 million viewers), Thrones came out on top despite AMC being available in roughly three times as many homes. 

'Game of Thrones' stars talk Jaime and Brienne's big fight

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Jaime Lannister and Brienne of Tarth unleashed a storm of swords in the climax of Sunday night’s Game of Thrones; the two knights with very different ethics finally having their big clash on a scenic bridge.

Captive Jaime was being led to King’s Landing by Brienne when his stream of insults and attempts to annoy her finally afforded him a chance to escape. Unlike Jaime’s showdown with Ned Stark in season one, however, this was a unique kind of battle.

“It was a very different fight because I was still tied with my hands and her style was more brutal in a way,” star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau said. “Ned Stark [Sean Bean] was fighting for his life and to Jaime’s surprise Brienne’s not fighting for her life. She’s an honorable woman and she made a promise to take him to Kings Landing she’s going to do that. Then he discovers he can’t beat this woman — which is terrible for him.”

“He’s been torturing her and tormenting her for a long time,” co-star Gwendoline Christie adds. “And he’s been tapping into all of the classic underpinning of her psychology that have been the source of so much pain.”

Christie trained for nearly two years for the scene, say showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss. READ FULL STORY

InsideTV Podcast: Where's Jaime Lannister? We break down when all the missing 'Game of Thrones' faves will be returning

Game Of Thrones returned last Sunday with a premiere that put several storylines in motion for season 3. But with approximately 3,275 main characters, the show couldn’t manage to squeak everybody in. Where was Jaime Lannister (whom we haven’t seen a whole lot of in general since season 1)? What about poor Arya and Bran Stark? And what of that dirty traitor Theon Greyjoy?

When we have questions, we go to the man with all the answers — our resident Game of Thrones expert James Hibberd. James calls in to the newest edition of the InsideTV Podcast to chat all things Westeros. What did James think about the premiere? Which storyline is he loving and loathing the most? And what sort of teases can he give us going forward, including expected arrival times for the aforementioned characters? It’s an epic orgy of geekdom as James tells us everything we need to prep us for the rest of season 3. To listen in, just click on the video player below.

But that’s not all. Jessica Shaw joins me to break down the latest — and greatest — episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans Vs. Favorites. We then take a call from the person just booted off the show, Corinne Kaplan. Will Corinne hold back when it comes to her thoughts on island rival Phillip Sheppard? Of course not! It’s Corinne! “I don’t have anything nice to say about him,” Corinne says before launching into plenty of not nice things, like comparing The Specialist to a handicapped child and referring to him as “The Living Miscarriage.” She also shares her bitter disappointment at making it to the merge but not the jury. “That’s when my whole world fell apart,” says Corinne. It’s a must-listen chat for any Survivor fan. (The Survivor discussion and interview begins at 21:30.) READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' season 3 premiere ratings break records

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HBO’s Game of Thrones returned Sunday night to its most-watched episode ever.

The third season premiere delivered 4.4 million viewers for its premiere at 9 p.m. and racked up 6.7 million viewers for the evening after its two repeats were tallied. That’s up 13 percent from its first airing last year and represents a record for the show in both measurements.

Despite heavy publicity and a rabid fan base, odds were stacked against Thrones setting a record. TV viewership historically dips on Easter Sunday, and Thrones ran head-to-head for the first time with the heavily anticipated The Walking Dead finale, which has a demographically similar male-skewing audience (and also set a series record last night). Give that Thrones premiered against the wind, I suspect Thrones will beat these numbers a few times this season (and could it surpass True Blood as HBO’s most-watched show?).

How close was my Thrones ratings prediction yesterday? Nearly dead-on: I bet on 4.3 million at 9 p.m. and nailed the 6.7 million for the night. Though HBO has not announced a fourth season on Thrones, you will likely see a renewal within the next couple weeks. Renewed! Check out my recap of the Thrones season premiere here. READ FULL STORY

Ratings prediction: 'Walking Dead' finale vs. 'Game of Thrones' premiere

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There is a crazy night of epic TV coming your way: The wildly anticipated Walking Dead finale on AMC vs. the wildly anticipated Game of Thrones premiere on HBO vs. the not-wildly-anticipated-yet-surprisingly-popular The Bible finale on History.

It’s zombies vs. dragons vs. crucifixion!

Now I’m not a fan of making ratings predictions. Because I’m not a fan of being wrong. And my last prediction, for the American Idol season 12 premiere, was spot-on. So why mess with that? I guess I’m messing with that because tonight’s TV lineup is the stuff that trips to Best Buy for a new TV are made of. All three of these shows have become pop culture phenomenons in their own way and now have major episodes this evening. In fact, this is the first time that Walking Dead and Thrones — two geek titans — have ever gone head-to-head. Plus it’s Easter Sunday, a holiday where TV ratings tend to go down, and that messes with everything — but it might spike The Bible. So making predictions is like playing chess while kite-boarding. Here are mine: READ FULL STORY

HBO: 'Game of Thrones' piracy is a compliment

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How does HBO feel about having the most pirated show on TV?

Not too bad, apparently.

HBO programming president Michael Lombardo spoke to EW about the rampant illegal downloading of the network’s fantasy hit drama Game of Thrones, which returns for its third season tonight.

The show’s second season was recently released to record-setting DVD sales for the network. But in December, Thrones topped another chart that is far more dubious — Thrones ranked as the most illegally downloaded TV series for 2012. “I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” Lombardo said. “The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

The show is currently, on a per-season basis, the network’s top money-earner despite widespread piracy of the show, the executive confirmed. “If you look at aggregate of international and DVD sales — which are the two revenue streams we look at since we’re not selling it domestically on another platform — yes, absolutely, in terms of shows we have on now,” Lombardo said. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' Emilia Clarke says Dany gets fast-paced season 3

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Were you frustrated by Daenerys Targaryen’s season 2 progress on Game of Thrones?

Emilia Clarke understands. Sitting in the lounge of a hotel in West Hollywood, her natural dark hair effectively hiding her TV alter ego as the dragon queen to passing guests, Clarke says her character had a “very frustrating season two.” The exiled heir to the Iron Throne spent the season in the wealthy city of Qarth, getting the runaround from its rich patrons, battling a warlock and even losing her precious trio of young dragons for a time (say it with me now, “Where are my dragons!?”).

Season 3 starts much the same way. Dany arrives at another Mediterranean-style city (called Astapor) and still seeks resources to invade Westeros. But expect her story to move very quickly. “She hits the ground running, lets put it that way,” Clarke says. “Season two was so much about trust and she learned she couldn’t trust many people. Season three is her trusting herself and not trusting other people. She has to prove to herself and others that she knows what she’s doing.”

Dany sets her sights on acquiring a slave army called the Unsullied. The fighting men are considered among the best in the world, though are also quite expensive. “She starts the season with nothing — just the dragons,” she says. “It’s a huge test this season to get the army. It’s what she always should have had, basically.” Her dragons, by and by, are firmly bigger and more vicious than last year, as the Thrones producers discussed in our previous post. Not that Dany is afraid of them. “Her maternal instinct outweighs any trepidation,” she says.

The 25-year-old Clarke has a unique position on the hit show since her character doesn’t interact with any of the show’s main cast members. She’s basically the star of her own separate program and this season her scenes were largely shot in an entirely different country (Morocco) from the rest of the show. “I get to be in The Dany Zone for ages,” she says. “I always get the lovely hot destination.”

Though her characters still longs for her ill-fated Khal Drogo (Jason Momoa), she says fans can expect a “light smattering of romance” this season.

Clarke has also been expanding her sights beyond Thrones recently, starring in a new stage adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany’s on Broadway. “She’s probably the nicest human on the planet,” says Thrones executive producer David Benioff. “But when she goes full Daenerys Stormborn, you completely believe she’d burn people alive.”

READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' John Bradley defends fantasy fans

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Some on the Game of Thrones team avoid the f-word. The HBO hit is a complex grown-up drama about human relationships, they say, that just happens to take place in a world that’s a tad different from our world.

But John Bradley, who plays kind and oft-abused Nights Watch member Samwell Tarly on the show, supports Thrones owning the fantasy label. “A lot of people involved with the show say this isn’t really a fantasy, and that it’s mainly about humanity, and that’s all great,” he says. “But if you do like fantasy it is a fantasy. And if you like it, the show is going to cater to the parts of you who like it. We shouldn’t distance ourselves from fantasy too much.”

HBO is letting its geek-flag fly a bit more this season too. The network was concerned before launching the show that marketing its expensive drama as a fantasy would alienate mainstream viewers (and female viewers in particular). But after using images of Sean Bean on a throne and a fist grasping a crown to promote the first two seasons, this season is promoted with the shadow of a flying dragon — there’s really no escaping that Thrones is a fantasy now. “Fantasy fans are incredibly loyal and passionate,” Bradley adds. “Other people don’t want to be seen as passionate about things, they want to be cool and laconic. The great thing about fantasy fans is they’ll really get behind a show.” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones' Lena Headey on Cersei's season 3 fears

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Queen Cersei is waiting for you.

You walk through the parking lot, into a production trailer and there she is — at a little dinette table. You sit across from her. You cognitively know this is Game of Thrones actress Lena Headey in a trailer. But you’re having a tough time processing it. Mainly because she is completely in costume — the blonde wig, the ornate gown in Lannister red and gold, the makeup that covers Headey’s tattoos. But it’s also because the actress tends to be wary of the press, and wariness, coincidentally, is one of Cersei’s qualities.

So you sit there and feel weirdly nervous under her appraising gaze, a look that’s so familiar from watching the show. It’s like you just interrupted the Queen Regent on her RV trip and any misstep could result in guards bursting through the door and throwing you into the Black Cells.

After a couple minutes of initial chat, however, Headey opens up about Cersei, and lends some keen insights about her character — a matter that she has given considerable thought. READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Maisie Williams talks Arya's season 3 adventures

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Last season on Game of Thrones, the writers decided to pair two characters together for several scenes that were not in George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire novels: A captive young Arya Stark (Maisie Williams) working as a servant for the fearsome Lannister patriarch Tywin (Charles Dance), who doesn’t realize her true royal identity. The move could have backfired. They were lengthy chatty two-characters-in-a-room scenes between a then-14 year-old actress with no prior acting experience before Thrones and a 65-year-old British stage and screen veteran. Instead, they were among fans’ favorite moments of the season, with Williams/Arya holding her own against Dance/Tywin.

“He introduced himself and said, ‘Hello, I’m Charlie,’ and I’m all, ‘No you’re not!’” Williams recalls, having balked at the idea of addressing the actor by his first name. “He commands such respect when he walks in a room. But I could only call him Charlie.”

Fan response to the scenes, Williams says, took her by surprise. “I didn’t really go into scenes thinking they were going to be as popular as they were, but they were great fun,” she says while hanging out with Sophie Turner (Sansa) at the show’s production hotel in Belfast last September. “The books are fantastic but sometimes people are a little too protective of the story lines.”

Williams has been particularly effective at giving a devastating dead stare that seems beyond her years. “A lot of actors and actresses pull from past experiences,” she says. “I’m really good at convincing myself somebody’s killed my dad and sometimes I get myself really annoyed. You know sometimes when you’re in a really bad mood and you’re not sure why? That’s how I get sometimes. That’s the great fun about acting you can pretend to be somebody else all day.” READ FULL STORY

'Game of Thrones': Richard Madden teases Robb Stark's season 3

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So far, Robb Stark has been the king of off-screen battles on Game of Thrones.

The Stark heir remains undefeated on the battlefield against the Lannisters, yet has had more romance and drama than on-camera action scenes in the epic fantasy series. That might change in season 3. “He gets his sword in his hands,” actor Richard Madden teases. “But the thing with Robb is he never wants to kill.”

When the season opens, Robb’s army is in desperate shape. Winning battles has been easy; it’s winning a war that’s a problem. Struggling to defeat the Lannister forces and avenge his father’s death, Stark’s camp-life is a mess.

“He’s got all sorts of plans in place in order to actually win his war, but he’s running on empty at the moment,” says Madden, whose character last season married a kind field medic (Oona Chaplin). “He doesn’t know where his brothers or sisters are, or if they’re still alive. He’s constantly chasing the Lannisters and they’re constantly running from him. His own men are kind of revolting. So they’re exhausted, they’re starving and he’s at the end of his tether.”

Plus, Robb’s still holding his mother (Michelle Fairley) as a prisoner for openly defying his orders — so that’s awkward. “He comes to an understanding of why she did what,” he says. READ FULL STORY

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