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George R.R. Martin takes it easy. Four years after the most recent book in Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series came out, his publisher says the notoriously slow-paced author will have no new book in 2015, an unsurprising announcement when you consider that it’s taken him 19 years to publish five volumes. At least the HBO portion of Martin’s sword-and-zombies empire—between the TV show, books, board games, and home decor products, it’s one worth fighting five kings over—keeps busy. Before a reception featuring Game of Thrones-themed beers from New York’s Brewery Ommegang, series production designer Deborah Riley will discuss how she creates the television show’s Middle Ages mash-up look with University of Virginia English professor Lisa Woolfork, who recently taught a class based on the books. Riley manages Thrones sets in multiple countries without losing her mind. Maybe Martin should come by and get some tips. The program begins at 6:45 p.m. at the Baird Auditorium, 10th Street and Constitution Avenue NW. $25–$30. (202) 633-3030. smithsonianassociates.org.