As reported in this article, HBO has been hard at work since October filming the pilot for the upcoming yet-to-be-greenlit series, Game of Thrones. Game of Thrones is to be the screen adaptation of George R. R. Martin’s best selling medieval fantasy novel of the same name. This novel is the first of Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series all dealing with a world of medieval intrigue and war where the heroes and villains are hard to tell apart and magical predators are held at bay by a towering wall of ice.
David Benioff (Troy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and Dan Weiss are executive producers and writers for the pilot, which started production in Belfast, Ireland in October 2009. A final decision on the full series is expected to be made by March, 2010. Fans are hopeful that rumors of a greenlit series are true, but so far, HBO is not talking. If picked up, the series will most likely air in spring 2011. Each series would roughly cover the material for one novel. Currently there are four published novels, including A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows. Martin is at work writing A Dance of Dragons, to be the fifth novel in a planned seven. Right now the best website for all news concerned with the series is at Winter is Coming, a fan blog which both faithfully compiles all confirmed news and speculates on the rumors. The newest rumor is that despite hints that HBO executives were not entirely happy with the pilot, the series has been greenlit and is already gearing up for filming.
But how will HBO treat Game of Thrones, a novel well loved by fantasy fans? And how successful will it be? Benioff quipped to New York Magazine that Game of Thrones would be “The Sopranos in Middle Earth.” While that’s an essentially accurate summation of the series, it’s entirely possible that aiming for the middle ground between fantasy and sensational drama will alienate both target audiences. HBO should probably aim to model the series after Rome, which was a ratings success in 2005 and 2007. Rome successfully blended glamour, sex, intrigue with (somewhat interpreted) history. Where Game of Thrones will differ will be in the fantasy element. Television series in this genre have tended to collapse (Carnivale, Firefly, Jericho, Alien Nation, to name a few) whether it be under the weight of budget or pulled down by low ratings and strange studio decisions.
Still, the signs are promising. Certainly the star power of Sean Bean, Jennifer Ehle and Peter Dinklage will help, and HBO’s casting has generally met with fan approval. If the writers can incorporate fantasy without upping the cheese factor, and if they can translate the many brooding personal thoughts of characters in the novel to the screen without making them sound like expository speeches, then the series stands a good chance of winning over new fans while pleasing the existing ones. Character development within the novel is a slow process and that will be tough to win over impatient viewers looking for instant gratification…but the payoff will be viewer investment and surprise at the many twists and turns.
Air Lock Alpha When would the series air?
Winter is Coming All the latest news concerning the Game of Thrones HBO series
The Hollywood Reporter Game of Thrones cast, with photos