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SYFY WIRE Game of Thrones

WIRE Buzz: George R.R. Martin isolating in Westeros; Birds of Prey flying to VOD; more

By Andy Hunsaker
George R.R. Martin

Among the many worries we have amidst the coronavirus pandemic is the health and well-being of Game of Thrones creator George R.R. Martin. Thankfully, he's let us all know that despite being in the higher risk population as far as age goes, he's safe and sound in New Mexico for the time being, taking precautions and writing in isolation in the effort to complete The Winds of Winter at long last.

"Truth be told, I am spending more time in Westeros than in the real world, writing every day," Martin said on his blog. "Things are pretty grim in the Seven Kingdoms… but maybe not as grim as they may become here. Some days, watching the news, I cannot help feeling as if we are all now living in a science fiction novel. But not, alas, the sort of science fiction novel that I dreamed of living in when I was a kid, the one with the cities on the Moon, colonies on Mars, household robots programmed with the Three Laws, and flying cars. I never liked the pandemic stories half so well…"

These are particularly surreal times, even for those who imagine things like this professionally.  "Strange days are upon us," Martin mused. "As ancient as I am, I cannot recall ever having lived through anything like the past few weeks."

The Winds of War, the second to last book in his A Song of Ice And Fire series, is due out whenever Martin decides it is. His most recent novel in the series, A Dance With Dragons, debuted all the way back in 2011, when Game of Thrones first aired on HBO.

Next, Birds of Prey (and the Fabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn), otherwise known as Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey, has had its home release bumped up to Mar. 24, presumably to give folks some much needed entertainment during self-isolation. To announce the move, the official Twitter for the film has dropped a new trailer.

Check it out.

Birds of Prey follows Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) after the events of Suicide Squad (2016), picking up after she's been dumped unceremoniously by the Joker. Her journey to find herself leads to a feud with Black Mask (Ewan McGregor), but along the way she gathers a rag-tag team of women — including Huntress (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Black Canary (Jurnee Smollett-Bell), Cassandra Cain (Ella Jay Basco), and even Renee Montoya (Rosie Perez) — to pitch into the fight. The film is available for pre-order right now at $19.99 on streaming services like Amazon and Vudu.

With the world becoming a captive audience for streaming services, this could be a good strategy to give BoP a chance to find the following it should have gotten upon release in theaters just over a month ago.

Finally, in news that should surprise absolutely no one, gaming usage has spiked 75% since the start of the coronavirus quarantine last week, according to Verizon (via The Hollywood Reporter), while streaming has gone up 12%, and overall web usage has jumped 20%. Meanwhile, social media usage has remained the same.

"As we see more and more individuals work from home and students engage in online learning, it is a natural byproduct that we would see an increase in web traffic and access to VPN. And as more entertainment options are cancelled in communities across the US, an increase in video traffic and online gaming is not surprising," Kyle Malady, chief technology officer for Verizon, said, adding that they are monitoring network usage patterns around the clock so they can "adjust resources as changing demands arise.”

Such a no-brainer cause and effect seems to be causing video game share prices to remain steady amidst the crashing economy. Take your bright spots where you can.