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'Game of Thrones' roundup: Queen Elizabeth visits set as pugs invade Westeros

Here we are, just about two weeks removed from the season finale of Game of Thrones. Is it time for season five yet?

Queen Elizabeth visits 'Game of Thrones' set in Belfast-slide0
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

Lucky for us, even during a 10-month hiatus, the most popular show on the planet can manage to stay relevant and in the news pretty regularly. In case you missed it this week, the political intrigue of Westeros intersected with a real-life monarchy when England’s Queen Elizabeth visited the set of the show and came face to face with the Iron Throne itself. She probably prefers the one she sits on.

Showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, as well as several cast and crew members, were on hand to greet members of the royal party, who were touring Northern Ireland and stopped by Belfast’s Paint Hall studio. Many indoor shots for the show are filmed at that studio, while the rest are done on location in several countries.

Naturally, the visit spawned some internet jokes along with some disappointment when the queen decided not to actually take a seat on the Iron Throne. Too bad; that would have been quite the meta moment.

Speaking of Britain, the BBC has apologized for a hilariously bizarre mistake that users of the network’s news app saw on Wednesday. An alert issued by the app read:

NYPD Twitter campaign 'backfires' after hashtag hijacked. Push sucks! Pull blows! BREAKING NEWS No nudity in latest episode of Game of Thrones!!! MORE BREAKING NEWS IIIIIII like testing.”

Ok, then. A second message with the same text was sent soon after that, prompting the BBC to write on its official Twitter page that the test push notifications were “sent in error” to subscribers. Though it was pretty clearly an error, a couple of outlets joked that a lack of nudity on the show would certainly warrant its own news notification.

As for the show itself, shooting for season five will reportedly begin next month but throngs of fans are still talking about that one book spoiler we may or may not be able to freely talk about now since she didn’t appear in the finale. Of course (obligatory ‘book spoiler ahead’ warning), we’re talking about Lady Stoneheart here.

Entertainment Weekly’s James Hibberd asked the lovely Michelle Fairley, who played Mrs. Stoneheart’s living counterpart Catelyn Stark, if she had been told that storyline wasn’t happening on the show and she responded with “yeah, the character’s dead. She’s dead.”

“You respect the writers’ decision,” she added when asked if she’d be down for her character’s resurrection. “I knew the arc, and that was it. They can’t stick to the books 100 percent. It’s impossible—they only have 10 hours per season. They have got to keep it dramatic and exciting, and extraneous stuff along the way gets lost in order to maintain the quality of a brilliant show.”

Some have been hailing this as an official confirmation that she won’t be appearing, but until season five comes out, I invite you fellow book nerds to live in denial with me (hey, maybe they’re all just lying to keep a modicum of secrecy for the reveal, right? Right?!). If anything, it’ll be interesting to see how they move the story along without her, especially since book readers don’t know what her endgame is yet.

Finally, if you need a “Thrones”-related laugh (or perhaps a temporary escape from your Stoneheart mourning), be sure to check out “The Pugs of Westeros" (at left) which is exactly like it sounds like. Phillip and Sue Lauer teamed up with UK video streaming service blinkbox to create the video starring pugs Roxy, Blue, and Bono as various Game of Thrones characters. There aren’t any lines spoken in the short clip, but their expressions paired with the impressive costumes and scenery as the dramatic theme song plays totally make it. If that’s still not enough, there’s also a making-of video to go with it.

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