Editor’s note: From time to time, we welcome new blood into the fold here. Our newest addition to the Watchers on the Wall staff is an old friend and familiar face in the Game of Thrones online community. Please give a warm Watchers welcome to WinterPhil! -Sue the Fury
Well, this is different. The people all look familiar, but the surroundings have changed…
For those of you who may be a bit confused, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Phil Bicking aka Winter Is Coming aka Winter aka WinterPhil. I started the website WinterIsComing.net over seven years ago. I knew next to nothing about running a fan site or anything like that, but I was desperate for any news about the show (or pilot, in those days) and wanted to catalogue all of the developments somewhere. I figured there might be a few others out there like me. There wasn’t much news to report on then, so it was mostly just me speculating about everything from who would be cast as Tyrion to what the show would be titled.
The site quickly grew though and within a year I found myself going from random guy on the internet with a blog to a guy having breakfast with George R. R. Martin and meeting David Benioff, Dan Weiss, and Peter Dinklage face-to-face. We were a legit news site after that, with casting scoops and exclusive interviews, the whole bit. It was amazing and fun and exciting. But it was also a lot of work. That is why, a little over two years ago I decided to step away from running the site, for some much needed R&R.
Not only was it nice to not have to run a website any more, it was nice to be a bit more removed from the fandom. I was able to go into season five with no preconceived notions. I had purposefully avoided any set reports or other leaked spoilers and watched only the first couple trailers; the first season I had ever been able to do that. It was quite exciting not knowing everything that was going to happen. I think I appreciated season 5 a lot more than many other fans and this may have partially been the reason for that. (The other reason, of course, is I’m not a hardcore book purist.)
While I was gone, things changed at WinterIsComing.net. I knew I was leaving the site in good hands with Zack and Sue and Marko and Axey and Oz. Unfortunately, the higher ups didn’t seem to agree with me. Despite giving me many assurances that they didn’t want to change WiC in any way and just wanted us to continue doing what we were doing, many changes did start to creep in. Eventually those changes were so much that something had to give. That is when the Fearless Foursome broke away and established this great website. They were soon followed by many loyal readers. The exodus was so complete, that I now consider this website the spiritual successor to what I started at Winter Is Coming.
That’s why, when Sue asked me if I’d like to come and write for Watchers on the Wall, I jumped at the chance. I’ve shared my thoughts on GoT on Twitter, but the character limit is restricting both in sharing my thoughts and in getting feedback from others. So I’m thrilled to be able to do some longer editorials here and to hopefully get into some great discussions in the comments. This probably won’t be a regular thing, and will likely just be me jumping on here when I have something really compelling to write about. Either way, I’m excited about being a part of this great fan community once again.
And this is the perfect time too. Just like when we had no idea what to expect from this show in those early days of the fandom, we are entering unchartered territory in season six. With no books to guide us, this season should be full of surprises. And I can’t wait to share the experience with everyone here!