HBO Speculation

‘True Blood’ gets record ratings

Last Sunday’s season 2 premiere of True Blood recorded huge ratings for HBO. It was the most watched program on the network since The Sopranos series finale. If you factor in the 11 PM encore airing the show recorded 5.1 million viewers.

Not surprisingly it was also torrented at a record rate, coming in as the most downloaded show according to The Pirate Bay.

Winter Is Coming: I have to imagine this is good news for Game of Thrones. A TV adaptation of a book series with only a fraction of Ice & Fire’s fan base having such great success for them should encourage them to take a chance on this project. HBO is on its way back to the top, and hopefully Thrones will be a big part of that.

In related news, Merlin premieres in the US on NBC this Sunday night. Yes, I know it is low-budget, kiddie-fare compared to Thrones. But it will be interesting to see how it does in the ratings. I think success for any fantasy type television series will only help the cause.


  • Interesting news Winter…I hear True Blood is very good…Something I am worried about on a differnet front ….How do you think they will portray the direwolves ?…cgi, puppets or real animals or a combination…if they look like chesse that could ruin the whole show…and Winter which FX house would you like to see handle the FX ?, Industrial light and Magic …Weta …?

  • I agree, overuse of CG or just plain bad CG could really hurt this show. I personally hope they take the LOTR approach of not using CG for everything, but combining it (pretty seamlessly) with traditional SFX. Something like that could get pricey, though.

  • It also helps that True Blood is about vampires, which seem to be the rage these now with Twilight and the upcoming Vampire Diaries. However, I hope this is a good sign and shows with fantastical elements will become even more popular…

  • vampires are old news. it's been the rage for a while. the last 40 years've had a fair share of excellent vamp movies. the success for the true blood show isn't because of vampires, it's just a theme to follow along the lives of southern, regular people, and how simple and dumb they are. Also, True Blood has an excellent 'mood'. btvs wasn't about vamps either, more about high school. agot could be compared to something like if Underworld had its own show, or something anne rice-based. but ya, you can stick to your fantastic elements argument. I think that sex and the city and sopranose were high fantasy.
    The answer to direwolves is easy. Just use regular sized wolves—oh ok in the books, I have seen only one full grown wolf–a dead one. And also, PLEASE don't nick Tyrion's nose please. Do I really want to see him for half a year with that nose? no, i don't.

  • I heard that True Blood was about 4 to 4.5 million an episode to make. Don't know if that's good or bad for Thrones. On one hand it shows that they will spend a lot on production however I would think that Thrones' production would be much higher in cost than True Blood's. I don't know what the salaries are for the True Blood cast so maybe that has something to do with it.

    Oh and Tyrion's nose must go.

  • 4 to 4.5 million per ep isn't much, but then all the scene are shot outside the Dog's bar. If you want to guess about how aGoT will turn out, start picking apart Tudors. And the sets on Tudors are beautiful. They have some CGI there as well, to reconstruct how the landmarks would look hundreds of years ago. It only slightly looks fake, but they are almost like stills or pan shots.

  • I watched recently the movie Let the Right One In. It was good. But the last best Vampire movie I remember seeing was Nadja (indie thing complete with Portishead track, etc), and that was over ten years ago. The Right One was high on the vamp scale, but it was so …Swedish.

  • This is only good for AGoT as I see it. As long as HBO is doing well it means they will be more willing to put more of a budget into the show and will be more likely to pick it up.

    They aren't in competition, and if anything I'm sure there is hope that fans of a vampire-fantasy show will crossover to a high-fantasy show. There's certainly a good deal of cross-over audience there.

  • The wolfs are young in the first book so i bet they could find some trained wolfs. The big dead one can just be a prop. they won't really need cg wolfs until the later seasons so that should keep the cost down.

  • What CG will be needed for the first season? They'll likely use some for the more exotic landscapes, but what other fantastic elements are there that couldn't be handled using traditional FX?

    I'm thinking the birth of the dragons, near the end. Maybe some of the direwolf scenes. What else?

  • Ned's dream sequence, in the black cells. The battle at the Tower of Joy was with phantom versions of the players. I mean, it isn't necessary, but that's how it is described. Also, one of the most awesome sequences in the first book.

  • I can only imagine that the others with their scary faces and active camouflage armor are gonna need to be CG.

  • I have a feeling The Others will be CG enhanced. The way I imagine them in my mind they'd need to be all CG/motion capture but I have a feeling they will do people in costumes and makeup, and then maybe enhance their look with CG – like smooth out their faces, give them an 'aura of cold' that is somehow visually represented, or some such thing to make them look more inhuman. That's just a guess, however.

    The battle on the Green Fork will probably be CGI enhanced (though the fact that it's at night helps them A LOT) and they will probably CG some of the castle establishing shots – or shots with castles in the background and actors in the foreground.

  • Your Merlin comments got me to thinking Winter. If the series gets picked up and filming begins, how cool would it be for HBO to run a series of teaser ads for Thrones taking fantasy genre cliches and bitch-slapping them through the wall?

    A sleeping princess in a tower looks out a window to see her true prince approach. He climbs the tower rushes to her bedside…and smothers her with a pillow. A young page finds a magic sword in the heat of a raging battle. He stands with glowing blade to face an evil knight in black armor…who promptly relives the squire of his head. A unicorn stands on a rocky ledge as a young maid stares longingly at it from the valley below. The unicorn and the maid begin to run to each other. Halfway down the hill a pack of direwolves pounce on the unicorn and make it their dinner.

    There could be a tagline or a theme stating something to the effect that "This isn't your father's fantasy epic" Or make believe you won't believe". Okay maybe not the best lines, and the ideas are definately rough,but its what I came up with off the cuff.

    Anyway, something like that might be a cool way to introduce the project to the public.

  • Lordnedshead,

    love your idea for the promos, especially the unicorn and princess in the tower ones.

    maybe one where a woman finds a frog on a lilly pad, carefully leans down for a kiss on its head, then her eyes go wide and she collapses in the water, floating in the water with an arrow in her back.

    the possibilities are endless.


  • Hey guys. So as not to hijack the main point of this thread, I made one over at to discuss other possibilities for a GoT teaser ad. Its listed in the Game of Thrones: The Series thread as Game of Thrones: The Teaser Ad! Come on over and join in the fun!

  • Btw, Bran's dream will need some sort of CGI as well. Not to mention all the establishing shots.

  • I would have thought the Wall itself will need to be CGI if it's going to look even remotely realistic.

  • I'm thinking that nothing needs to be CG at all, a few voice overs and a couple of puppets for the lizards..

  • Merlin is way to HYGENIC!
    If GoT will look like this I'm going to collapse.
    But I trust in HBO.

  • It's true if "A Game of Thrones" turns out like Merlin I will cry for a week. Unfortunately I do not think that Merlin will help its chances.

    With regards to CGI I do not think that the series will be lacking, the title sequence seems to rely on it pretty heavily already.

    Can't wait to see the Twins!

  • AGOT is totally going to look like a mix of "Tudors" and "Merlin" and its going to suck. And I'm not a fan of either show.

  • We can't have princesses being killed! The feminists will picket this series because of the violence against women! :(

    (I jest, but they did the same for the Hitman marketing campaign. They claimed that the posters implied that they had been violated too.)

  • I'm struggling to understand you, sir. Is this about the top heavy requirement on all female actors for Game? Some bishmizes should die. That's just unconscious knowledge.

  • I think the anon was referring to the general sensitivity that certain organizations have towards depictions of actual or implied violence towards women in media.

    I distinctly recall seeing the posters for the video game that was referred to, and I didn't see anything suggestive about them. Even then, there was a big outcry about how 'exploitative', 'objectifying' and 'demeaning' the posters were. Search google with 'Beautifully executed' if you want to look them up.

    (Funnily enough, they were strangely quiet about the ones depicting men.)

  • No princesses will be killed in the making of a game of thrones. One wannabe badarse will, however, fail to kill one.

  • Do not mock The Night, Anon. For he is the most dangerous man in Dorne and does not appreciate being mocked. You may find yourself with a small nick that bleeds occasionally if you persist!

    My vote: Constantine Maroulis of American Idol (in)fame for that very distinguished and clearly rebellious role.

  • Not the movie, the game. The ones with taglines like 'Beautifully Executed', 'Classically Executed' and 'Coldly Executed'.

  • "The wolfs are young in the first book so i bet they could find some trained wolfs."

    You can't "train" wolves as such. Maybe one in ten pups could be trained, but that's how dogs originally evolved. Generally wolves are feral and cannot be trained to the standards of other dogs. There are good look-a-likes though, like Huskies, or there's a Japanese dog that looks real similar.

  • I have a wolf. Had him since he was a pup. He is pretty well behaved, though I still wouldn't let him out of my reach near people he doesn't know. Wolves are very smart animals and great challenge to animal trainers. Always wondered how the Stark children trained their pups.

  • How about "purchase episodes on iTunes?"

    That was a very poorly constructed poll.

    Your contact form doesn't work. This site is an embarrasment.

  • Many cable providers offered free HBO from June 12th-15th, I have a feeling this might have inflated the numbers for the premier of True Blood. I watched it, but what I saw wouldn't make me buy the DVDs or subscribe to HBO. Still, as long as this continues to be successful I guess it bodes well for ASoIaF.

  • Merlin was possibly one of the worst television shows I have ever seen. What was NBC thinking producing crap like that? Everyone involved should be fired immediately.

  • @Anachronite: NBC didn't produce Merlin, IIRC. It was on a British network much earlier this year. I suspect NBC just negotiated/bought US distribution or something.

  • Then fire anyone involved in putting on television here. It was excrutiatingly unbelievably bad.

  • Yeah, Merlin was pretty bad. The CGI sucked and the story line was lame and not even remotely consistent with traditional legend. I was disappointed to say the least.

  • Yes Merlin was produced (sadly) by the BBC. However it was mainly intended, with its 6pm airing time on Saturdays, for kids and more "easily pleased" adults, not for more serious or intellectual consumers. If you've ever seen the BBC's Robin Hood or ITV's Demons you'll understand the kind of show I'm talking about. Though I guess you could chuck Xena in there too…

  • Merlin is so bad, it makes Xena look like an Academy Award winning production.

    Xena never pretended to be serious. It was as campy as it was intended to be, and for that I enjoyed watching it.

    Merlin, will never waste my time again.

    Robin Hood on BBC was so/so on the writing side, and production was indeed far superior to Merlin. I'll watch it occasionally if nothing else is on, but don't like it enough to DVR it and keep up with it.

  • Mister Scary: HBO doesn't put their shows on iTunes until the DVD releases. So if you plan on watching it there you would vote for #2.

    I've tested the contact form and it seems to work fine. I know it works for others as well as I'm still getting emails. Have you disabled Javascript? What browser and OS are you using?

  • @Jonathan: Can't serious and/or intellectual consumers have a wide range of tastes? I haven't watched Merlin, so I'm asking this on a more general level.

    @Does Merlin pretend to be serious? From what I hear, I thought it was intended to be a family-friendly, campy show that radically retells the Arthurian legends.

    Anyway, I have to agree with WinterIsComing. Fantasy is a fairly new genre when it comes to (American) TV, and any fantasy show that does well can't hurt GoT's chances for a full season order by HBO. Granted, they're two completely different types of fantasy, but I'm not so sure if that will make a difference in the minds of executives of big networks.

  • Also, I'm not sure if I understand the worries about GoT turning out to be like Merlin. The pilot script seems fairly faithful to the original, and Merlin is nothing like ASoIaF. The former is lighthearted, family-friendly, campy fare and the latter is a dark, complex epic fantasy clearly not meant for children. Even if the producers and executives don't recognize the difference, surely the scriptwriters — being fans of ASoIaF — will.

  • I haven't tried the poll because it doesn't have the option: "I am a reader of the series but I will not watch the show"–is that too old-fashioned?

    Not trying to be negative, it's just I'm perfectly happy with a single man spinning an epic instead of allowing a hundred people make a big production out of it. Even if it is a great success, the HBO show will be only have a tiny fraction of the tale's details and subtlety.

    Plus, there could be another option like: it depends on what the critics say about the show, who is in it, etc.

  • Merlin didn't strike me as campy at all. It came across as a show trying to be a serious family rated drama that missed the marked by a mile and sucked worse than any show in recent history. It was completely aweful. Sack the writed, producers, directors, costumers, everyone involved. I'd sooner clean my grandmother's bedsores than watch another episode of Merlin.

  • Anon: You are certainly entitled to your opinion, but I never understood this line of thinking. The books, with all their details and subtlety, are still there for one to enjoy, so why refuse to watch the TV adaptation just because some of those things are missing? TV is a different medium so it can't be expected to carry the story in the same way as the books do. That isn't necessarily a bad thing. To me, seeing these characters, places, events, etc. come to life on screen is very exciting.

    As to your second point, yeah, if it sucks, that will suck. But all the signs so far are positive. HBO has a great track record, Martin himself is actively involved in the production, the pilot script is good and faithful to the book, getting Dinklage as Tyrion is a great start in casting… so I think being excited about the possibilities is not unwarranted.

  • What's the big about Merlin? Bad fantasy movies and shows are totally expected. It's been like this forever, with only a few exceptions. A nice and funny example of directors who don't give a shit:

  • Winter,

    Yes I agree about books to screen can be very exciting to a fan. But there are people that have this opinion, and like you said I am entitled to the opinion. I'm just pointing out that opinion isn't taken into account in the opinion poll ;).

    About the second point, I'm also assuming it's going to be high quality if it gets signed, and criticisms don't really matter at times–there are some really harsh critics out there. But also, some people get drawn to a show because of who is involved, and they don't pay attention to the good criticisms. So, I think it would matter to some people about who is involved. That's why the big stars make the big bucks ;)

  • Anon, the poll isn't about *if* a fan will watch the show. It's about whether he will buy HBO, watch it on a friend's HBO, watch it on DVD (rentals, I'm guessing, or a friend renting it, or buying it used and then watching it at a friend's house, or having a friend buy it from him used and then watching it at his own house), or download the episodes for free. But, nice points nonetheless.

  • To me, it depends if they put in On Demand or if my Tivo is on at my brother's house. I will probably watch the show on my friend's iPod Touch. I live in Pakistan, so we don't get HBO.

  • Anyone who thinks Merlin is the worst show on TV hasn't watched Kings. Merlin is just Smallville: Camelot Edition, i.e. bad, but not horrifying.

  • I will watch the show on HBO if they will have swear words and nudity especially women's tops. Otherwise I will watch the DVD at a friend's house.

  • Anon: Thanks for the tip. I was looking for a bad tv show to watch. Sometimes it's hard to find the worst one.

  • Oh come on. Kings is way better than Merlin. At least there's decent acting in it. They're knocking it off the air though, so I guess it doesn't much matter either way.

  • Some of you people need to watch The Station Agent or The Vistor. I highly doubt that McCarthy would have a vision of Westeros that is like the Merlin show. Elitist fanboys need to get a grip.

  • lol yeah, no way the HBO series will even remotely resemble Merlin so it's not something I'm worried about at all. HBO has historically done a very good job on all of their series; why would they start making hokey money pits at this point?

  • Well the way I see it, is if a "fantasy" show like Merlin bombs horribly in the States, its going to make the chances of AGOT being picked up that much slimmer. Because at the end of the day, its the execs at the HBO who are making the decisions and lets face it, the main factor they look at is how profitable/popular the show will be . It won't matter so much whether the nascent show has a die-hard following or its pilot was artistically directed or that its not traditional fantasy. Instead if they decide that the whole fantasy thing is not the "it thing" right now, they'll drop it. That's why I hate Merlin with such a passion. That show's failure will spell the death of AGOT :(.

  • @Thor: With fantasy being a recent genre for TV right now, I imagine the execs at HBO are more hesitant to pick up GoT for a full season order if other fantasy shows fail. But there's definitely enough political intrigue in GoT to satisfy the non-fantasy viewers… Perhaps the execs will be willing to bet on that if GoT's budget isn't too expensive like Rome's was.

  • Fantasy is not a recent genre for TV. Adult-targeting Tolkienesque fantasy, which has been and remains impossible for network television, is prolly what ur thinking about.

    Also, don't confuse HBO for a network that gets paid by advertisers. Merlin existing or bombing won't make a difference to HBO since the show sucks. Some poster pointed out not too long ago that HBO thrives on shows that make a buzz and get critical acclaim.

    In my opinion, it is shows like The Tudors from competitor Showtime that are helping SOAIF from happening. It is not fantasy, but it is VERY similar. Not junk like Merlin, even with its magic tricks.

  • In my view, the success of Merlin can only help Thrones. While it's failure shouldn't hurt it.

    If it succeeds HBO looks at the situation and thinks if that crappy fantasy show can get decent ratings, how many more people can we suck in with this fantasy epic?

    If it fails, I think HBO execs are smart enough to know the reason for it failing. Namely it failed because of the quality of the finished product and not necessarily due to any failings of the genre.

    All that being said, the point may be moot, as HBO has allegedly already decided the driving force of the series will be the character drama (something they as a network are known for) and not necessarily play it up as a fantasy akin to LOTR or Merlin.

  • @Anon/WinterIsComing: I hope you're right that HBO is different. At this point, I'm pretty jaded when it comes to Hollywood, particularly w/the big networks and their execs.

    But if HBO has decided to focus on GoT as a character drama, it'll probably be more likely to be picked up. Good to know. Thanks.

  • Dizzy is right, Tom McCarthy is a very classy director (and a hell of an actor, too – it wouldn't surprise me to see him show up as Littlefinger, or some such role in later episodes). His forte seems to be working with fine actors doing very carefully and precisely acted performances. He's also an award winning screenwriter; he won the Sundance screenwriting award, if memory serves. The guy is no punk and by putting him in the director's chair, they are no doubt going for a very high-brow tone for the series.

    Sure, it's gonna have fantasy awesomeness too, but in between that we're going to see deep characterization, first rate acting and no doubt a lot of good writing. This will be fantasy that is also a serious work of dramatic art, I hope.

  • i think it's going to look amazing and probably be tasteful with the CGI. it is HBO after all. i love the tudors look and if that's a jumping off point we can count ourselves very lucky indeed! the costume and set details on that show are out of sight. i'd like to think it will be as detailed as the tudors but with more creativity since it's not being held up to historical persons and fashion periods.

  • In a way, Merlin bombing does have a negative impact. It's a reminder of how difficult it is to produce a fantasy series, merely due to its genre-nature. It happens all the time. Suspension of disbelief breakdown. That's why you get campiness–it's the only excuse available. We're talking about intelligent adults being swept away into tv show catharsis. One wrong move and drama becomes unwitting comedy. Then again, the title alone "Merlin" sounds cheesy. I don't plan on watching that show, I know all too well I wouldn't like it. Like anything produced by the sci-fi channel. One good thing SOIAF has going for it is that there are no elfs, dwarfs, goblins and orcs in it. Just a bunch of sketchy human characters and a coupla ghouls and lizards.

  • I'm thinking the success of a show like "Legend of Seeker" (based on a bestseller series and not necessarily made for children) would better indicate how something like "Game of Thrones" would fare… shows like "Robin Hood" and "Merlin" are made with everybody in the family in mind and can't really be compared to something shown on HBO. I'm not even sure how LotS is doing…

  • Hey Winter, I just checked out GRRM's not a blog and he's posted some interesting & exciting news regarding DOTD …. check it out and please set up a new subject :)

  • I'm sorry but "Legend of the Seeker" is not something I wish HBO's Game of Thrones to look like or even be compared to.

  • The great thing about ASOIAF is that its fantasy but its not fantasy. It's not a world in which fantasy elements exist in the everyday and people are used to and not surprised about it.

    So we won't have to be suspending our disbelief as much as in classic fantasy because the characters we follow will generally be equally shocked and surprised about the elements that they encounter…

  • Yeah, AGoT is less outright fantasy, and more medieval politicking in a fantasy world, which makes it more like the Tudors and less like Legend of the Seeker (thank god).

    Hopefully, that means that it might draw in an audience containing people who wouldn't normally consider watching something that was billed as 'fantasy'.

  • I think the absolute best case scenerio is if HBO treats this show like ABC treated Lost when it first aired.

    Lost ran a clinic on how to lull an audience into watching a sci-fi show. I know so many poeple who watch Lost who would never initially give the time of day to a sci-fi show. Lost was billed as a drama about a plane crash. Period. Every sci-fi element of that show was there in the beggining, but it was all so subtle and not focused on by the show or ABC that people got so sucked in by the character drama and survival aspect that by the time it let its sci-fi flag waive people were already hooked on the quality of the show itself. So now all these people I know who would never watch sci-fi, love this show, which is clearly sci-fi.

    I wouldn't mind if HBO stays far far away from the word "fantasy" in their promotion of the show and just lets those elements slowly reveal themselves.

  • @Dan
    I would think that's how HBO will work it since that's sort of how the books play out anyways.

  • Nothing like an attack by The Others before the opening credits to lull your audience into fantasy. ;)

  • Dizzy – Agreed. The show itself is making absolutely no pretenses. But then again, neither did Lost. It's all about marketing and general tone of the series. The first few episodes of Lost included an unseen monster that tears people apart, a polar bear on a tropical island, Jack chasing around his dead father and a cripple miraculously able to walk. Yet through the first two or three seasons of the show no one really considered it to be a "sci-fi show" and a result it attracted tons of viewers that a "sci-fi show" never would. I think that should be the model HBO goes with for promoting GoT.

  • Off topic question for Winter: Have you heard if HBO or GRRM are planning on doing anything for Comic Con? I'm thinking a cast anouncement or somthing like production art would do wonders for the promotion of this project.

  • I imagine HBO toning down the Fantasy aspect and selling GoT as a sort of Deadwood in a medieval setting working quite well. Though on the other hand if they include some reference to the fantasy aspect, they might be also to pick up a part of the older LOTR audience.

    Anyway good to hear Martin is optimistic about aDwD again, though I'm not getting my hopes up to much.

  • "I have a wolf. Had him since he was a pup. He is pretty well behaved, though I still wouldn't let him out of my reach near people he doesn't know. Wolves are very smart animals and great challenge to animal trainers. Always wondered how the Stark children trained their pups."

    Most people who have a wolf pet have hybrids of some sort. In almost every state it's illegal to have a pure wolf as a pet for good reason. A friend of mine when I lived in Tennessee acquired one illegally from Alaska and after having it for five years it almost mauled him to death out of the blue. Generally Hybrids are OK but pure blood wolves do not make good pets in real life. They haven't been bred for 20,000 years like most breeds of dog so they have the same characteristics most wild carnivores do. If you insist on living with pure bred wolves as pets you will be seriously hurt or killed by one sooner or later.

  • dizzy: I haven't heard anything. My guess is that there won't be any sort of presence at the Comic Con this year. It is still too early for HBO to be promoting the show. They are going to want to see a completed pilot first.

    There might be a chance of HBO doing some promotion at next year's con, as at that point they would hopefully have already ordered the first season and will be in the process of ramping up promotion for the project.

  • I went to Comic Con two years ago, and the one ad everyone was talking about was the omnipresent True Blood campaign.

    Of course, at first glance, no one even knew what it really was – it looked like an advertisement for a new drink the emo goths could buy in order to more skilfully pass themselves off as the undead. So we rolled our collective eyes.

    But it stuck out, everyone was talking about it, and of course by the end of the first day everyone knew True Blood was an upcoming HBO series.

    I have no doubt that HBO will pull out all the stops in marketing this, not only to its core fantasy audience, but to the everyday Joe and other people who might be on the fence.

  • Yes, I can definitely see next year's Comic Con being the place where HBO gets the hype and buzz rolling. Some sort of cool teaser image (of the Others perhaps) with just the words "Winter Is Coming."

  • I don't know about "slowly revealing" the fantasy elements in AGOT since we kinda get to see the Others in the first ten minutes of the pilot. According to the leaked script at least. So using the "mysterious" gimmick, ala Lost, and hiding that the show is fantasy would not work in this case. Writers might still change that, and skip the prologue opening altogether.

  • Nothing like an attack by The Others before the opening credits to lull your audience into fantasy.

    What draws adults to this book are the elements that hasn't been talked about much round here, maybe forgotten, but that I am sure is part of what has made you fans–I know it did for me.

    Actually, I found out about this series from a NY Times article when FoC came out. Said there was incest and lots of innocent people dying–and being an honest, law abiding citizen, I was sold.

    I have spoken with many non-fantasy fans that absolutely love this series. And they still do not read Fantasy genre years afterward, after realizing it is all… so pedestrian.

    But it is interesting that fans of the books on this site, being very familiar with the story, have forgotten the other themes and effects and even the SHOCK of the books.

    Let me remind you! GoT begins by putting a cliche fantasy book upside down and.. Surprise, you're dead–thought you might be a lumberin' hero for the next 700 pages. One got away? Wait, let's chop off his head.

    Yes, of course you know. But what you forget is your initial reaction to these passages. This is what the audience will feel.

    What is this? Yes friends, don't forget that SoIaF has a lot of horror in it and unfantastic tension throughout. The fantasy and horror balance each other.

    Yeah, SoIaF is also horror. And GRRM is very good at horror (one scene from Dunk n' Egg I will never forget), and the tensions he builds are in general great and very Unhobbitly.

    You might say the Others, direwolves, magic, and dragons which you say are elements of fantasy: But I say, these things could very well be cliche, old news, trash comics, for kids, etc, etc–in short, boring as a lazy Eastfarthing toad on a rainy day. Would be boring if that's all there was to SoIaF, but this is not so.

    So in short, Gentlemen and Ladies, I am sure that HBO would prefer to put on a cross-genre spin on the marketing. Calling it merely Fantasy, I dare say, is like giving it a death sentence.

  • @Bilbo
    Very well said, ser. Come to think of it, we ASOIF fans do take a lot for granted. Well it's GRRM's fault, he totally spoiled us with his phenomenal plots. "What? There is no insect in other contemporary fantasy books?".