HBO insider’s thoughts on project
By Winter Is Coming on in Rumors.

A poster over at the Westeros forums has a report from a producer close to the project. Here is what she has to say regarding the pilot:

1) She really likes the script, and thinks its very promising.

2) *big news* She sounds almost certain that at least one season of Game of Thrones will be produced. From how she told it, HBO uses pilots (particularly in this instance) more as a way of testing the show, and seeing what they can improve/change. Due to the amount of effort already invested, she seems very sure about the idea that the series is getting picked up regardless of the pilot, though aspects may well change.

Things she is not so happy/sure about.

1) The director. She thinks McCarthy is a mistake, at least in terms of filming the entire series. According to her, he is a director who specialises in small casts, with low-budet production costs, and will simply not be able to manage A Game of Thrones, with its huge cast and epic fantasy feel. He will probably get the best out of the actors, but she feels strongly that he’s the wrong choice in terms of a long term series director. He doesn’t take on the views of the other producers enough.

Winter Is Coming: Good stuff. Signs continue to point towards us getting at least one season. I tend to disagree about McCarthy. I think he is great for helping keep the focus on the characters. Especially early on. As the production grows they could bring on a director more experienced in large casts and epic scale. For the pilot though, I think McCarthy will be perfect.


357 Comments

  1. invertebrae
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    why would they sign mccarthy for the whole season? i have a feeling he won't end up directing them all. that's rarely ever how it goes down. makes me wonder about the credibility of that producer.

    he'll do a few at most. hopefully to set the tone, and establish the character arcs. once they get into a groove, look for guest directors abound. i think the series will be hot enough to attract some semi-bigger name directors too.

    i'm giddy if this producer is legit however, and if he/she truly feels we're going to get through a season. the story is too gripping to not continue imo, so if we can get a season out in the ether, it bodes well for more seasons to follow!

    …ryan

  2. invertebrae
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    case in point. and as i've mentioned earlier (trying not to be snobbish), but my friend rian johnson, who directed brick and brothers bloom, mentioned that if the season is picked up, he may end up flying to ireland to shoot one of the episodes.

    he knows d.b. weiss (i'm not sure how friendly they are) and i think the offer was put on the table.

    even if it doesn't go through, it indicates to me that mccarthy likely hasn't signed an agreement to shoot all of the episodes. it would keep him on lock down for too long, and i have to believe that he will want to take on a different project. he's an auteur himself, having written and directed both of his feature films. i believe he helped write the story for pixar's UP.

    …ryan

  3. BrownSwiss
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    as they seem to be taking a lot from Rome in their steps so far… i suspect they will use different directors throughout the series.

    some of my apprehensiveness about alfie allen and tamzin merchant is relieved by nina gold's excellent job with Rome casting as well. i trust them, mostly.

  4. izakmo
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 9:38 pm | Permalink

    I still think McCarthy is THE ideal director for this series, at least to set the tone. He knows how to create a sense of realism unlike any other working director I can think of. Realism is what sets ASoIaF above every other fantasy series out there and it's what will prevent A Game of Thrones from becoming one of the crappy swords and sorcerers flicks that give fantasy a bad name.

  5. Rocky Persaud
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

    Since when do TV series use the same director for every episode? That would be very odd.

  6. educatedpony
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    hi y'all. it's e.g.

    i wanted to post this earlier on the reaction to the news post to help allay our dear WiC's fears but 800 comments is a little bananas for me. remember when, like 50 comments on here was a big deal?

    anyway, i am with brown smith about trusting nina gold on this, especially with dany. i am firmly in the pro-tamzin merchant camp, but i can see why people might be bumming. but here's why i think it will be okay:

    if this was five years ago and this was a stoked for HBO's rome website and it was announce that lyndsay marshall was cast for cleopatra (another "most beautiful woman in the world") and i clicked around and came up with this:

    bewitcher of caesar! pshaw!>

    i would have been like WTF? but we all (i assume, knowing this crowd) saw rome and lyndsay marshall turned it out! she was dripping sex off the screen! but you never would have known that she could pull that off without her having the opportunity to do so.

    off of HBO but similar issue: when i first saw natalie dormer on the tudors, i had the same problem others are having with tamzin. i was like "no way is this chic hot enough to enchant henry away from mother rome, she's got a weak chin and she's weird looking. this is not my anne boelyn." see pic below:

    natalie looking like an usual choice for a super babe>

    but by the end of season one, i thought that hands down natalie dormer was one of the sexiest women alive. she brought vibrance to the roll and her not looking like some cookie cutter beauty actually made her hotter.

    so i think it's all going to be OK. i trust HBO to make great casting choices, to take actors we're unfamiliar with or unsure of and shape them into greatness.

    for the hey of it here is a link to an old one shot blog post i did back in june with MY dream cast (you'll see natalie dormer there again). none of it came true but sean bean but it's kind of fun to look back it, which is why i made it in the first place:

    ah, memories>

  7. knowtom
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    I guess Lyndsay Marshall and Rome put Dany into perspective.

  8. So Many Dying Stars
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I agree with WiC about McCarthy being the ideal director for the pilot. I hope any future director takes note from his style and doesn't try to turn any episode into anything unnecessarily epic, when the strength of this series rests in character development.

    Of course, there will be several episodes of large-scale battle that would benefit from other types of directors, but that bridge will be crossed in due time.

  9. Josh
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    @ knowtom

    I know, totally. I cannot believe the venom spewed at Miss Merchant, who is a beautiful young lady and I think she makes a fantastic Dany.

    As for the directors, there's no way Tom McCarthy is doing every episode this season. Like Michael Apted on Rome or Davis Guggenheim on Deadwood, he'll likely be the lead director on this one, but not the only one they ever use.

  10. Paul Gude
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    invertebrae, Brick was really great. If Rian Johnson directs an episode, so much the better.

  11. Anonymuff
    Posted August 22, 2009 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

    Lyndsay Marshall is just as beautiful in the headshot as she is in the show, so I don't get it.

    I'm just going to ignore the Tamzin Merchant thing, it's too upsetting still. The less she is brought up, the better, imho.

    As for McCarthy, I always thought it was a package deal with Dinklage. The show needs Dinklage, that's all.

    I was listening to the Two Towers soundtrack (Howard Shore)… wow, majestic! And then I wondered what GoT will sound like. And how it will 'feel'. Etc etc etc.

  12. Josh
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Anonymuff, if you don't want to talk about Tamzin Merchant, I suggest you find a different interest and post on a forum about that. This is about the GoT pilot. She's in the pilot, like it or get out.

  13. sven20
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    I was never all that thrilled with Lyndsay Marshall in Rome myself.

  14. Brude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    McCarthy was supposedly Benioff & Weiss' first choice to direct, at least that's what they said. I think his presence on the project actually lends it a perception of class that it might not otherwise have received, which can be good for luring other high-brow talent such as Jennifer Ehle, who might otherwise ignore it as just "some fantasy show." He's received a lot of accolades recently and won awards for "The Visitor," (too bad my friend got her entire major supporting role cut from that film for pacing reasons, it would have been a big boost for her :-( ).

    I think he makes a lot of sense for the pilot, which is low on action and high on character development – stuff he excels at. There are probably other episodes that will be largely action-less and he would be right for those too. I do hope that for more action oriented episodes they try some other directors with more expertise in that arena.

  15. Daniel
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    Good point about Lyndsay Marshall. Nice one.
    For me, after seeing the video posted on Not a Blog, I'm more and more excited about TM. She has to gain some weight, add some muscle, a silver wig, lilac lenses, and we'll be awed by her Daenerys. This girl can act, no doubt about it.

    BTW Does anyone know who is the dude thats with her on the viedo at 5:20? He would be a great Samwell Tarly.

    On the McCarthy thing, his importance is to set the mood and tone of the series right from the start. BSG is the best example here. Michael Rymer didn't shoot all the episodes, but the camera-in-hand, almost documentary style was his doing and all the later directors followed him.

    I don't know McCarthy's work, so I can't vouch for or against him, but as many people had pointed out he's an actor's director, that's really fine with me. ASoIaF is a character's story, we all can agree on that.

    On top of that, if somehow they could achieve the POV effect on the screen, how wicked would that be!

    Caedes.

  16. Brude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:40 am | Permalink

    I don't think there is a good way to do the POV effect, not for a whole series. There's been a discussion or two on this over at westeros.org. It has worked as a gimmick for like a one-off episode (most famously in M*A*S*H*) and I know a movie was done about Muhammad where they did it that way so they wouldn't have to show his face. But film and books are just different mediums, and the problems inherent in shooting an entire show or movie in this way are legion.

  17. Marko
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    Agreed! Positive about McCarthy, but it would be unexpected to have him direct the entire season. He doesn't listen to other producers enough? Hmm … I wonder with whom he disagrees. My gut feeling tells me this is perhaps a case of wounded pride. The insider might want to make a LOtR for TV, and go epic all the way. To start with, as we agree, character development is much more important. It's good to have McCarthy on to establish that, also as the tone of the whole series. Other directors good with action sequences will easily fit right in later on. Photography and music, partly independent of the director, will add to the epic scale feel immensely if not decisively, and who better than HBO to produce that? I trust the guys.

    On another note, HBO is riding fast with True Blood, new seasons being ready every summer. They consider it their summer series. People have suggested that GOT would be its winter counterpart. Given the scale of the production, that would hardly be possible, and we do not want them to catch up with GRRM's writing :) Is HBO really drifting towards having a set cycle of shows scheduled yearly?

  18. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:46 am | Permalink

    I think McCarthy is a good choice. I can see what the producer is driving at, but isn't HBO aiming to advertise GoT as a character-driven drama? He'll not only bring realism, but I'm sure he'll do what he is supposed to do for the characters.

    Besides, if her concerns do turn out to be true, I'm not sure what the worry is. HBO usually boasts big ensembles and big budgets with their shows, so hiring the right directors shouldn't be a problem.

    Besides, I doubt McCarthy will be the only main/regular director. For example, The Sopranos had four main directors, five repeat directors, and fifteen single-episode directors over six seasons. For first season alone, they had four main directors, two repeat directors, and four single-episode directors. The figures for Rome and The Wire are similar.

  19. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    @ Daniel: Speaking of Michael Rymer, I'd love it if he directed at least one episode of GoT. He did some remarkable work with BSG, whose dark tone is similar to that of ASoIaF.

  20. Cristiano Bernardini
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    The very first battle that we actually "see" is at the end of Clash, there's very few action in season one, the battle of the whispering woods could be easily managed with a couple of 30 seconds flashbacks, if they follow the books.

    By the way, I'm glad to see that anonymous posting has been disabled.

  21. Marko
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    Precisely. On the other hand, I wouldn't want them to forgo the epic aspects, and skimp on the action there is. Once we discussed this already, I think. Rome was underwhelming in this department … The off-screen strategic issues should somehow be covered as well, I'd enjoy that.

  22. Brude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    We see a good chunk of the battle on the Green Fork in Thrones, albeit from Tyrion's limited point of view. Since it's at night, though, it can really be shot on the cheap, especially if it's kept close on Tyrion, mostly…it could also make for a very cool action sequence if they stick to doing it that way.

  23. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:09 am | Permalink

    @ invertebrae: I'm in agreement w/Paul here. If Rian Johnson does end up directing for GoT, that'd be wonderful. I liked his work with Brick, both with his artistic directing and intelligent writing.

  24. Smoldering Hound
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    What? a Director who ignores producer notes? The HORROR!

  25. Cristiano Bernardini
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    I would love to see SPOILER Jaime opening his way by killing the Karstarks, yelling at Robb and…

  26. ebleyes
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:40 am | Permalink

    I'm not sure if they have enough time to prepare for the pilot, did they finish the sits,costumes, or cast?who is going to direct the Dany part of the series? I'm really worried.

    When I wrote this I immediately imagined the ONOZ OMG gif.

  27. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:46 am | Permalink

    @ ebleyes: I think for the pilot, GoT will be using Your Highness's set and costumes. D&D and the casting directors are halfway through the casting, with most of the major roles filled. It is unconfirmed as to who the main, repeat, and single-episode directors are. From the insider's thoughts, it seems like McCarthy may be signed on as one of the main directors, but again, it is unconfirmed. It's unusual for a pilot's director to become one of the main directors, but not unheard of.

  28. shinyteapot
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:51 am | Permalink

    I'll repost the casting suggestions I put on the other thread…

    More positive about Merchant now I've seen the photoshop of her, but she's never going to look like the Dany in my head. If her acting is good enough that won't be a problem.

    The photoshops of Robb and Jaime look particularly good. They're all here

    Much thanks to the artist!

    As regards other roles, Patrick Stewart has been suggested for Syrio or Tywin- either of which he could no doubt play well. However, I saw a picture of him with a beard the other day and found myself thinking of Barristan Selmy, it might work. He's a talented actor and I'd be happy to see him in the show in any role.

    Someone suggested Michael Hogan for Tywin earlier- I don't see it, but I can see him as Balon Greyjoy.

    I think I mentioned Derek Jacobi for Maester Aemon before. The more I think about it the more I like it- he could certainly look like an old Targaryen and there's no question of his acting ability, he could be convincing as Myrcella! It's not too time consuming a role so he could probably fit it in, and would be superb.

    Sticking with Dr Who alumni, Christopher Eccleston for one of the Greyjoy brothers. I see him as Victarion, but no doubt he could pull off Euron or the Damphair just as well. He's a great actor, got the right look for a Greyjoy, and personally I'd rather like it if he kept his accent. I think the Iron Islands should have a different accent to the mainland, and if the other actors (except Theon, since he grew up at Winterfell) can pull off something similar, a Northern accent would suit quite well. Depends how long the characters stick around of course as Eccleston doesn't tend to stay in one role too long, but it's possible.

    For Littlefinger, John Simm would be brilliant. Failing that, how about Jeremy Davies (Faraday from Lost)? It's a very different role, but for some reason I could see it working.

  29. Demokritos
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    @ Daniel & Brude

    I don't think POV would be literally from the point of view of the actor like you're thinking, Brude. In the books it's not even first person, just third person limited and focused on a specific character. The on screen equivalent would be as simple as following a specific character around for awhile, and excluding anything they wouldn't personally know about from the scene. Going further than that into POV would require something along of the lines of having the actors narrate their scenes, which sounds pretty crappy to me.

    That said, I seem to recall it being established that they're not going to try and put the POV thing into the show in any meaningful way. I've always understood it as mostly an organizational choice on GRRM's part, so that seems like the right thing to do when transferring it to another medium with different needs.

  30. asmodean96024
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:09 am | Permalink

    I'm more and more convinced the TM venom is based on people looking at still photos. I think she doesn't photograph well but if you watch the video on GRRM's not a blog post or really anywhere, she is really fine. She's not gorgeous, but man…relax. With the right make-up and costuming which HBO always nails, she's going to be great… IMHO.

  31. Anonymuff
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Tom McCarthy seems like a very intelligent, creative person. I haven't seen his movies or acting. I agree with Brude about McCarthy tying a perception of higher class than what would be expected.

    This mystery producer wouldn't be Maeby Bluth would it? Marry me.

  32. SA_Avenger
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Tbh right now I'm still trusting everybody on the project full force. Tamzin is growing on me and I think we'll all have a blast once it's out. Knowing that it's almost certain to have at least one season is enough to bring a smile upon my face ;)

  33. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    Totally love the Sarah Wynter for Cersei idea btw, whoever it was.

  34. legion_quest666
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:22 am | Permalink

    Sarah Wynter looks the part but seems to have had quite a bit of criticism for being a poor actress.

    Anyone ever seen her in anything care to throw out an opinion?

  35. sven20
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    HAHA Sarah Wynter played that dirty Aussie Keitha that Germaine was secretly dating on Flight of the Conchords.

  36. sven20
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    She was fine in that but its not a good measuring stick for Cersei.

  37. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    She looks like NCW's twin.
    Cersei doesn't have to be a subtle character like Cat or Sandor (you make me shiver) Clegane.
    Can't be that hard throwing fits and stuff.
    She's a pretty straight forward, two faced bitched.

  38. Patricia
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    I agree with everyone saying Sarah Wynter is a good choice for Cersei — lookswise, she's a near PERFECT match for NCW. And she has this very cold, aloof look to her. I really like it.

    And I agree with Jenny — Cersei is one of the LESS nuanced, subtle characters. Yes, she has depth and her own set of issues, but in the beginning, she's pretty much a straight-up bitch.

  39. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:58 am | Permalink

    GRRM does a great job with his POV of Cersei to indicate, in my opinion, that she's not just a bad person but actually has a moderate to severe personality disorder.

    I don't think they're going to skimp on acting talents for looks for her.

    I'm not saying that that puts Sarah Wynter out of the running, though. I'm not familiar with her work, and like Tamzin Merchant, it's always possible that the public hasn't seen her best work.

  40. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    We still haven't come up with winner suggestions for Sandor or for Selmy.

    I think Sean Connery would be a great Selmy. lol!

  41. Non-Anon
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I know they're a far way off from casting Euron, but I hope they keep Alan Van Sprang in mind. As soon as I saw that scene in The Tudors where he was wearing only an eyepatch, he immediately became my Euron.

  42. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Cersei to me could be Connie Nielsen. She's danish too!
    Connie Nielsen

  43. amir mishali
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    @jenny

    She's 44 years old….

  44. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Yeah, but she doesn't look 44, I think.
    With NCW at 39…

  45. tomkrist
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Men can look younger than they are much easier than women. And she does look her age, to me.

  46. Adam Hensley
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Yeah, I agree with Amir. Just because a lead female actress was great in a role that was set in antiquity/fantasy, doesn't mean she should automatically be cast in another series.

    Quite the contrary, in fact. We want someone who is a powerful actor, but won't come with the labels of "queen xyz" from another show. We want her to be Cersei.

  47. Jenny
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    Oh? Ah! You mean Gladiator. I hadn't thought about that at all.
    It was the mere danish of it ;D

    Plus, I always think Cersei must be a little over the expiry date, if you know what I mean.
    Like all the bad treatment and drinking etc.

  48. gernikai
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    After seeing the Tamzin Merchant video on GRRMs web I am more zen about the election.
    Looking forward to seeing who are they going to choose for Cersei.

  49. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I had mentioned Iben Hjejle for the fact she's a Dane and looks similar to Nikolaj. She turned down a part in LoTR, citing an unwillingness to travel. Her son was a toddler at that time, so it may be an option for her now.

    She's around the same age as Nikolaj (38), but as others have mentioned they may cast her even younger.

  50. Brude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    GRRM does a great job with his POV of Cersei to indicate, in my opinion, that she's not just a bad person but actually has a moderate to severe personality disorder.

    He does, only I don't think her personality disorder could be described as moderate. She's a seriously sick twist, for certain. I mean pushing her childhood friend down a well when she's all of, what, twelve or thirteen?

  51. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    While not identical, I think some things about them are similar.

    The normal caveat still applies that this is simply an idea and that I am positive those running this show are going to pick someone who is perfect.

  52. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    And, Brude, you have a VERY good point.

    The idea that they would put anyone in that role that wasn't a supremely talented actress first and a pretty face second strikes me as improbable.

  53. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    And with that in mind, another idea for Cersei, Kate Fleetwood.

    Not a lot of TV/Movies, but has played Lady MacBeth opposite Patrick Stewart. She's 37 and has worked for HBO before.

    I'm favoring her at the moment.

  54. Constantin
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Well, all the actors that have already been chosen seem to fit the book characters pretty well, and I'm quite fond of the one who will play Jaime. HBO is doing great work so far…but they went wrong on THE person they had to be the most uncompromising about!
    Concerning the actress interpreting Daenerys…
    This character can't be dissociated from a breath taking beauty without losing all its intensity, charm and interest. A common face, even a nice one (not mentionning the body) can not not match the role as it deserves to be. That's even more important than the acting ability, at least in the first time. And I am sorry but Merchant doesn't fit Dany at all…
    I feel so desappointed about this choice concerning my most beloved POV…I wonder if it's too late now for the producers to change there minds but I have few hopes…Maybe if many fans make a huge petition of protest or something like that…
    Anyway, my enthusiasm about the series is currently refreshed.

  55. Smoldering Hound
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

    @constantine
    Once again, "breath taking beauty" must purely have been your own interpretation. While they may have originally been looking for that, it is in no place supported in the text, unlike, say, Cercei or Sansa. The only qualification for beauty that Dany had to have is that she could be look like a proper princess in the right dress. It may not be YOUR Dany, but it in no way is the debacle those not in favor of TM make it out to be.

    Unless it is. I've often felt that the casting of the courtesan in Firefly was what caused the series to die on network TV. When someone told her "she was the prettiest woman in the ballroom" I thought he was just being nice, rather than smitten. Now that other courtesan from the pirate trap? She could have carried the series for people who just didn't get the oddball premise. This is the only context I can see where the anti TM folk have a point.

    Dany is going to be carrying the primary young female lead role for the entirety of the series. Now, why would this work on an HBO project where it wouldn't for Network tv? Easy question. HBO is looking for awards and critical acclaim, while network TV is looking purely for ratings.

    Final point. Yer all nuts. She's gorgeous. She'll do fine. :)

  56. coltaine777
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    @Constantin….your entitled to your opinion but that's one protest I'll be skipping…very happy with Tamzin Merchant Dany…

  57. coltaine777
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    @Constantin….your entitled to your opinion but that's one protest I'll be skipping…very happy with Tamzin Merchant as Dany…

  58. coltaine777
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    sorry for double post… ooops LOL

  59. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    A lot of people say that they just want what's good for the series, implying that if she's cast the series will fail. I say it again, D&D are not trying to cast the show so it will fail. They are not in the business of making bad television.

    A television show is being made, and as it gets made it will become increasingly different from the show based on the books that you have in your head.

    Eventually, will be people who describe themselves as "Game of Thrones fans" who have never read the books, people for whom Tamzin Merchant is the *only* Dany.

    I'm going to be okay with that. I have the feeling that some haters would honestly rather the show not be produced than see this happen. A suggestion to officially protest Tamzin Merchant's casting *before actually seeing her in the role* isn't just an affront to her. It's insulting GRRM, D&D, McCarthy, and all of the professionals involved in the casting process.

    If you feel that way, you're not a friend to the production. It doesn't make you a bad person, but you have just put your own opinions in direct opposition to the people who are trying to bring the show to life.

    Again, I'm just saying this to people who are opposed to her casting without seeing any of the work she puts in for McCarthy. As indicated above, the pilot is used to identify and correct problems with the series. (See how I tried to get this back to the original point of this thread?) *If* HBO has a problem with her, they'll deal with it then.

    Still, they didn't compromise. They *chose* her. You're entitled to your opinion, but please don't try to mess up my own chances of seeing this show as GRRM, McCarthy, and D&D intended.

    A lot of work is going into this, and they're going to give you the best they possibly can. Don't salt the food 'til you know how it tastes.

  60. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Obviously, I meant "Eventually there will be." Bah.

    Just think about when your favorite band goes mainstream and you hear people you don't respect singing their songs.

    Like that.

    Again, not something I'm worried about but it may get on your nerves. It's better to learn to deal with it now.

  61. Fate's Bitch
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    @Constantin

    Do you really believe beauty is an even more important requirement for Dany than acting ability? Would you really be satisfied with a gorgeous mannequin playing Dany who is not able to portray all her strengths, weaknesses, and complexities? Because by emphasising Dany's perfect beauty as the most important, non-negotiable aspect of her character over everything else, that's what you'd get. Some very pretty, very boring wallpaper.

    @Smoldering Hound

    Regarding Firefly, Morena Baccarin/Inara was only one character of a nine-person ensemble. I highly doubt she was responsible for the cancellation. Bad scheduling and confusing episode shuffling had more to do with that.

    Your anecdote about Firefly does once again bring up something worth reiterating: beauty is subjective. I happen to think Morena Baccarin is absolutely gorgeous yet you obviously don't. Sunjectivity in action.

  62. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    @Smoldering Hound: wow. your opinion of beauty just lost all credibility with me. morena baccarin (inara) is exceedingly gorgeous … of course so is Our Mrs. Reynolds (Christina Hendricks/Saffron) which is why they brought her back for another appearance.

    And as Fate's Bitch pointed out you have also proven you know nothing about Firefly and the bungling and creative interference by FOX and its executives that truly killed the show.

  63. lordnedshead
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    1) The female producer likes the script. This is good but I wonder if this is the same female producer who wasn't so jazzes about the chance of the series making it back a few months ago.

    2) I have been saying this all along. It makes no sense for HBO to go through all this effort and then decide its too much time/money to produce. Obviously it makes sense not to announce the pick up officially until more things happen. but it seems as though GRRM and now the produce both are of similar beliefs as to at least one season getting picked up.

    Negatives

    1) Its possible McCarthy could let the sheer enormity of the story overrun him. However, if he can take one bite at a time I think his specialization in smaller budget films could really make the dialogue and tension between the actors shine. GoT is more about the interpesonal relationships (and inner drives) than anything else. He could be just what the series needs.

  64. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    hey WiCers … i stopped by the IMDB page for Your Highness just for s**ts and giggles and found that one of the message board postings is updates from somebody actually working on the film. actually there seem to be 2 or 3 folks posting over there that work on the film so i left them an open invitation to head over here and give us some 411 on the sets and if the production is on schedule and it is also likely that these folks will be working on AGOT too … so it is never to early to get some "inside" contacts … everyone else should head on over there and make nice new friends ….

  65. lordnedshead
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Winter…
    I had an thought…
    Not to say that everyone's comments aren't important here, but with the huge intrest the series (and your site) has benn generating lately, the threads are getting harder and harder to read all the way through.
    You do a friggin awesome job here (always) and I hate to ask anything from you…
    but…
    Is there any way possible to run a thread summary of some of the longer posts so those of us who find it difficult to read through the entire 800 plus post long thread?
    I know it would be more work for you, but if you could sift through some of the repetitve stuff and snuff out some of the flames, the info hounds like me would have and easier time AND it would keep the site from becoming diluded without having to place and restrictions on it. Maybe someone would be willing to help you?
    If not I'll still be here anyway. You are my number one source for anything HBO GoT related. HBO should buy you a car!

  66. Chris
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    First off, thank you thank you WiC for blocking anonymous posting… I had all but lost hope, but this is such an improvement.

    I've felt this way for a couple months now, but I really think that everything is pointing to at least a season. I am sure HBO is well aware of the costs the show will need, and if that was a deal-breaker, then they wouldn't be putting this much time and money into the pilot. Everything is going to well, and so many good things are happening in terms of casting, that I can't imagine there's a whole lot of uncertainty floating around. This is of course my own own opinion, and I am no more qualified than anyone else… it just "feels" that way to me. heh.

    A good thing about the series, is that GoT will probably be the cheapest season to film, with each season maybe getting a little more demanding in terms of effects and scale. This at least gives the series a chance to succeed, and if it turns out to be a huge hit, then HBO will be willing to put the extra money into the subsequent seasons. I've heard that other shows have ended up making enough money just off DVD sales to cover the costs of making the shows.

    I think McCarthy will be fine. For as large as the scale is, much of the scenes and interactions are fairly intimate, and in the books, this is why the POV structure really shines. If anything, I'd be more worried about the director focusing on the macro elements of the story, and not delivering on the character and relationship aspects.

  67. Adam Hensley
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    I for one think Tamzin is beautiful and probably a near perfect cast for me. What is more important is that the directors/producers feel this way about her.

    And let's all just remember that, 1-2 years ago, we could only dream about this series being on HBO and we almost wouldn't have cared at all who was cast just to see it! Now we have an almost 100% chance of an entire season, so let's count our blessings. :)

  68. gernikai
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    This is not RELIGION, this is a TV series about a heptalogy, nothing more.
    Some people do not give a shit about the casting, others do and if some of them do not like Tamzin for Dany, it is ok.
    Its not as if we were killing the poor girl, we are only saying that we do not see her as Dany, nothing more.
    And people, do not call me Tamzin HATER, thats wrong, I do not hate her, I would love to see her in the series, but not as Dany.

    Jon Nieve

  69. gernikai
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    Another point to discuss.
    When did GRRM wrote A Feast for Crows? Because if HBO delivers one season per year, they are going to catch the dude…Ha ha.
    Am I right?

    Jon Nieve

  70. Anonymuff
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    The dude abides. :D

  71. gofalcons
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

    Sitting here tonight watching a rerun of NCIS and found the perfect Salador Sahn: Armand Assante. Any idea what kind of accents they plan on using for non-Westerosi?

  72. aryawolf
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Oh is it Dany? I believe not, but HBO have to know what they do. McCarthy impress me favourably, so I hope for great direction. He work with actors (not special effects) and cast is great (except Tamzin and Allen, because I fancied Theon overbearing manner, but hot).

    Sersei. She is bitch, but I love her. I have crossed my fingers waiting Sersei cast. Week ago on the cast game I heard about Banks, Dormer and Houten. Last 2 ladies on the photoshop pictures look strange (Dormer pic, Houten pic)… Banks? She don’t similar to Coster-Waldau…

  73. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    gernikai,

    There are many levels of division for people with a poor opinion of Tamzin Merchant as Dany. There are some, and Winter is a good example, who aren't head-over-heels about the idea but are still waiting to see what happens. There are others who have gone out of their way to insult her and claim that they won't watch the series if she's in it. I'm using the term "hater" to describe the latter category. Granted, though, this isn't completely black-and-white. As you've shown, there are some calm rational people who simply don't want her in the role.

    Anyone who feels that way is going have to figure out how to deal with it in their own way and in their own time. I'm not going to tell you to "just get over it" because I know it can be a difficult process.

    Will you still watch the series and grit your teeth through those scenes? Will you avoid the series? Will she turn out a great performance and win you over? I can hope for the last one, but can't guarantee it. Personal opinion is just that. No matter what I hope will happen for you, I'll never be able to make it happen.

    I still stand by my original statement, however. No matter how you feel about her, taking any direct action to try to get her kicked off of the production before you've even seen her in the role isn't just working against her, it's working against the very team that's working so hard to make this show a reality. If they see a problem, they'll deal with it themselves.

    And, gernikai, I'm not saying that you're advocating the actions I'm speaking against in the preceding paragraph. Just re-iterating the statement in the comment of mine to which you seem to have responded.

  74. Chris
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Photoshopped Dany

    Maybe I have a different image than the people who aren't happy with TM, but if she looks anything like that in the show, I would say damn near perfect.

    Also, I am almost done re-reading aGoT so it is fresh in my mind, and like most of his characters, there is hardly any description of her beyond the purple eyes and silver hair. In fact, there is more mention by Viserys of her not being attractive enough to win over Khal Drogo… this is before she comes into her own, so I will be curious how she is described in the next few books.

  75. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    gernikai, as far as the "lapping" goes, I wondered the same thing myself. Is there some sort of clause in the contract that says GRRM must complete the rest of the series on a certain schedule? If not, is it possible that, if the series continues for its entire run, we'll see events play out on screen *before* we read about them in the books?

  76. Chris
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    @ Paul and gernikai -
    My optimistic hope is that GRRM MUST have the ending of the book worked out to a pretty good extent, he's done foreshadowing from the very first prologue of the book, so I think he knows where things are going.

    From things he's said, my guess is that he's run into various issues in getting to that point… whether it's the ages of characters or story lines taking certain turns or a slew of other things.

    My hope… *fingers crossed* is that the next two books will be the final act and that he knows how it is going to play out pretty well, and thus, will go much faster.

  77. Chris
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:10 pm | Permalink

    (The next two books after DwD)

  78. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    This is assuming the show will be able to have all seven seasons.* Has there ever been an HBO show that was able to have more than five to six seasons?

    *I say seven, not six, because they may merge A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons, reorganize the plot chronologically, and then split the material over two seasons.

  79. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Em, right as always. ;)

    Hope for seven, be happy for one.

  80. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    @ Paul: LOL! But seriously, I would die of happiness if HBO (with helpful financial backing from BBC) ended up ordering all seven seasons. Hopefully, the show will do amazing, bringing many subscriptions, good ratings, and a cash-cow market in terms of DVDs/Blu-ray/other franchise. And if the show does well, I imagine the books may also garner a larger fanbase?

  81. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    For HBO series, SEX AND THE CITY, THE SOPRANOS and THE LARRY SANDERS SHOW went six seasons before ending, ENTOURAGE is currently on its sixth and CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM is now on its seventh (although CURB is incredibly cheap to make compared to what THRONES will cost).

  82. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    Not to be a spoilsport (sorry, guys!), but I think if HBO doesn't end up going through all seven seasons, the show's cancellation will probably be due to the costs. If HBO markets GoT as a historical fiction-esque, medieval drama instead of as an epic fantasy show, it should garner a larger audience and the material they're adapting is damn fine, so I don't see any reason why HBO's audience wouldn't like GoT.

    Rome was cancelled due to its "notoriously expensive" budget (supposed to have five seasons, but ended up with only two), which HBO was unable to continue producing and funding as their contract with BBC lasted for two years. I've heard from people that HBO admitted it had been a mistake to cancel Rome because of the revenue generated from DVD sales, so that gives me hope (in that perhaps a lesson will be learned). Still, I hope BBC will partner with HBO all the way through, considering that currently, HBO plans to produce three big budget shows at the same time.

  83. gernikai
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    If GRRM thought that fans were impatient, now with the HBO people kicking his ass he is going to start suffering real pain.
    I think that it is nearly 5 f**king years since A feast of Crows…
    At this rate, and if the TV series is a f*success, one year one book, they are going to catch our beloved George…
    For me, we are in a win win situation, well, except for George, because if he does not start kicking asses with his pencil, the tv series is going to be in a serious time-schedule problem; a fucking big one, one to be remembered, and all wil be his fault!
    Did George realize this when he signed the contract?
    I think that we need a new post about this little timing problem. Let me show you.

    Based on previous data for books puclications:
    2010 A dancing with Dragons
    2015 the next one
    2020 The last one

    HBO series:
    2010-11 1st season
    2011-12 2nd season
    2012-13 3rd season
    2013-14 4th season
    2014-15 5th season
    2015-16 6th season; Houston, maybe we have a problem!
    2016-17 7th season; Houston, we have a problem.

    Jon Nieve Gernikai

  84. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

    @ Adam Whitehead: Thanks for the info. As per by 10:46 PM post, I'm most worried about HBO being not able to juggle the costs of GoT, Treme, and Boardwalk Empire in the end, and then having to cancel earlier than projected.

  85. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    @ genikai: George says he hopes to finish ADwD this September or October, so there's a chance that the fifth book will be released this year. I'm hoping that for the next two books, it'll take him 2-3 years to write, i.e. ACoK and ASoS.

  86. Paul Gude
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Em, thanks for reminding me about the BBC. I'd forgotten about that.

    And, as far as getting a wider audience for the books, most definitely. If the series is successful, a *lot* of people will find the books through it.

  87. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 8:02 pm | Permalink

    TREME will likely be (relatively) cheap to make. David Simon is well-known for bringing in projects for low budgets (by HBO standards, anyway), often by hiring local theatre talent rather than big national TV stars. That's one of the reasons he kept costs on THE WIRE way down.

    There is absolutely zero chance of ADWD coming out this year. If he finishes in October, the book cannot come out any earlier than February or March. They need time for editing, copy-editing, preperation and printing, and that's cutting it close as it is.

    That said, GRRM has some material for THE WINDS OF WINTER ready to go, but given that the same was true of ADWD when AFFC was finished, that may not help speed up the writing process on the next book.

    GRRM has also said that he is aware of the problem of HBO catching up (although it is also possible that the fact the final book isn't out yet is also attractive to HBO, since viewers can't go to Wikipedia and find out how the story ends after watching episode 1) and to remedy it he hopes to deliver Book 6 three years after Book 5 comes out (and presumably Book 7 three years after that). Looking at gernikai's schedule above, that is scraping it fine but it is doable.

    It does depend on him delivering the books about 2 years faster than he did individually on AFFC and ADWD though,and it remains to be seen if that is possible. Otherwise we will be seeing the end of this story on screen before we see it in print, which would be interesting, to say the least.

  88. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

    @ Paul: Yup, I'm really glad BBC is shouldering the financial burden for GoT. How long they do so is the question.

    @ Adam Whitehead: "for low budgets (by HBO standards, anyway),
    I had to LOL when I read that. :P

    Damn, I was hoping for at least the fifth book coming out by December (if he finishes in September). But realistically speaking, it is very possible that we'll see the story on screen before it comes out in the books, which makes me rather uneasy I have to admit. The most we can do is cross our fingers in hopes that George will finish TWoW and ADoS before HBO finishes the fifth season.

  89. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

    HBO is fighting Showtime to climb back up the throne (excuse the pun). Looking at their histories, HBO still holds the record with shows like The Sopranos, Rome, The Wire, Six Feet Under, Deadwood, Band of Brothers, Sex and the City, Curb Your Enthusiasm, etc. But of all this, only Curb Your Enthusiasm (and Entourage) remains. With the recession, I'm sure there were at least a sizable number who cancelled their subscriptions. Meanwhile, Showtime was churning out Dexter, Weeds, United States of Tara, and Nurse Jackie, financially and critically succeeding amidst the press announcing the "fall of HBO." Lately, it seems HBO is starting to get back on track with Flight of the Concords, True Blood, and Hung. I think it's safe to say that at this point, HBO and Showtime may be on equal footing, with HBO just a tad behind. I think HBO is hoping to catch up and beat Showtime by adding Treme, Boardwalk Empire, and Game of Thrones to its original series programme, especially with third season of In Treatment — if definite — will proceed rather reluctantly by crew & cast (reportedly exhausting for everyone, according to exec producer Leight, especially since it wasn't a "breakout hit") and the apparent creative vision behind No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Anthony Minghella is dead (so success for season 2 less likely). So if the big three (and others like TB and Hung) pulls in enough subscriptions and ratings to crown HBO again, we may very well see at least five seasons of GoT.

  90. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    ETA: I forgot to add The Tudors to Showtime's list, although I hesitate to call it critically acclaimed, because there seems to be mixed feelings about it. Nevertheless, it is at last financially succeeding.

  91. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    ETA2: I meant, at least, not at last. Sorry about the typos.

  92. invertebrae
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    POINT 1. I have to say there's NO WAY the producers of the show would ever put events on screen before they are written; not if they value the source material. Could you imagine if the Harry Potter films did such a thing??

    I DO, however, think that GRRM has been doing more than just writing one word of one paragraph of once chapter for ADwD during this past five plus years. I think he's been carefully outlining and working out books six and seven while laying down prose for book five. It's no secret that he ran into problems after ASoS, and had to rethink the course of his series. Let us hope that the fifth book marks smoother sailing for him as he brings this epic to its dreaded close (dreaded by us to reach an end, of course).

    POINT 2. GoT probably won't be able to put out one season per year. Sopranos had a few year-and-a-half gaps, as did Six Feet Under. Carnivale needed a year-and-a-half between seasons, as did Rome. If we use this logic, let's average a year-and-a-half between seasons for GoT just based on the scope of this series vs. say Curb Your Enthusiasm. It would amortize something like this…

    Season 01: January 2010
    Season 02: July 2011
    Season 03: January 2013
    Season 04: July 2014
    Season 05: January 2016
    Season 06: July 2017
    Season 07: January 2019

    Suddenly, Houston, our problems aren't so big of a deal, IMHO anyhow.

    …ryan

  93. invertebrae
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh boy, let me fix my "amortization" to something closer to reality (keeping in mind the "roundness" of my dates are just for the year-and-a-half average purposes, and it's more likely a season would start in August or September for a Fall series, and likely June/July for a Summer series)…

    Season 01: September 2010
    Season 02: March 2011
    Season 03: September 2013
    Season 04: March 2014
    Season 05: September 2016
    Season 06: March 2017
    Season 07: September 2019

    …ryan

  94. Em
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

    @ invertebrae: Well, HP is a special case, mainly because of the ubiquitous fame it generates unique especially among the oft looked down fantasy genre (until Peter Jackson revived LotR not only for old fans but for the public to amazing heights, same goes for how HP novels have affected the world). I have more faith in D&D than I do in most Hollywood producers when adapting novels into TV or film (I'm more of a cynic when it comes to that), so I'm sure they would at least consult George if that turns out to be the case. Nevertheless, your points makes reality a little bit more reassuring.

  95. invertebrae
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    @Em

    Good points, but I still say, no way GRRM lets HBO put anything on screen before it exists on paper. Not when he spends four to six years of his life creating a single volume of his heptalogy, for better or (mostly) for worse for him.

    …ryan

    P.S. This is the poster formerly known as "Ryan Dunn", in case any were wondering.

  96. Ausir
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    "Good points, but I still say, no way GRRM lets HBO put anything on screen before it exists on paper. "

    Well, unless he gives up on writing it as a book and decides to finish it on TV… A script can also be on paper. :)

  97. ebleyes
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    The thing that gives HBO the edge over showtime is its miniseries like John Adams, Band of Brothers, The Pacific and TV movies like Grey Gardens.

  98. Chris
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    The difference between HBO and Showtime is that HBO is lacking from where it used to be, and Showtime is doing better than it ever has… and both are somewhat equal right now. With Treme, The Pacific, Boardwalk Empire, Thrones, True Blood, Hung, Entourage, etc… HBOs future is looking real good. That is a killer line-up.

    Showtime is pretty good these days though. I just think HBO easily beats it out in high quality dramas.

  99. Marko
    Posted August 23, 2009 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Do not forget that the Sopranos in effect ran for 7 seasons. They just called the last two Season 6 Part One and Season 6 Part Two.

  100. Em
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    @ invertebrae: I hope so.

    @ Ausir: This bibliophile will then cry if that is the case. Script and novel are two different mediums, and books can give a lot more where scripts cannot.

    @ Marko: Very good point. I'd forgotten about that.

    It seems like HBO wants to put their big three back on the network to pull in more subscriptions and ratings. Previously, these were The Wire, The Sopranos, and Rome. Next year, those places will be respectively filled in by Treme, Boardwalk Empire, and GoT. Treme is headed by The Wire's David Simon, with some of the cast from The Wire on board. The Sopranos's Terrence Winter has been hired to write BE, which also revolves around a mafia (though everything else will probably be different as it takes place in the 1920s). However, I think there'll be parallels or similar dynamics that may play out. I think it's possible that we may see one of Rome's directors hired to work on GoT.

  101. Em
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:28 am | Permalink

    ETA: It turns out Frank Doelger, one of the producers for GoT, has also worked on Rome as an executive producer. So the possibility that that one of Rome's directors on board GoT seems more likely, especially if that director has worked (comfortably) with at least one of GoT's producers before.

  102. Fat Tom
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:02 am | Permalink

    @ Em

    It would be the big four then. I don't see True Blood getting cancelled any time soon.

  103. Em
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:15 am | Permalink

    @ Fat Tom: Yes, but I think you're misunderstanding my point. My point was that Treme, Boardwalk Empire, and GoT are respectively stand-ins for what was known as HBO's Three Great Dramas — The Wire, The Sopranos, and Rome — because of the genre (and some of the crew and even cast) they share with their predecessors.

  104. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    @Ryan – I would even push your start dates back a bit. I think we'd be really really optimistic to think we'll get a fall 2010 premiere, it's more likely to be January 2011, which would push season 7 back to January 2020. That being the case I have always been confident that the series will be finished well ahead of the tv show.

    The real problem I forsee will be the child actors. I mean my god, if we cast a Bran who is 8 right now in 2009, he's potentially going to be 19 years old when the series finishes. Whoever they cast has Hodor better have some broad shoulders…

  105. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    Em…

    HBO's biggest shows so far would have to be….

    - Sopranos
    - Six Feet Under
    - Sex and the City
    - The Wire

    Unless you just mean all on air at the same time? At just two seasons long, I can't count Rome or Carnivale as one of their great dramas.

    We have to hope GoT takes more cues from Band of Brothers (and The Pacific) than it did Rome, if we want to keep it on air for seven seasons.

    And I still l stand by my NO WAY clause regarding making seasons six or seven without books to base them off!

    :)

    …ryan

  106. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Haha, you can def tell someone isn't actually making a serious argument and is just complaining about how long Dance is taking if they try to say that the show will get to season 6 before book 6 comes out. That's just ludicrus, Martin would have to take 8 years to get out book six for that to even be somewhat plausible.

    My theory has always been that for some reason, there is some element to the plot of Dance, some story point that Martin needs to get to or get right that he just has had a particularly difficulty doing, which is the reason it has taken so long.

    I think we have to assume it is most likely that this won't be the case for books 6 and 7 and even if it does happen again, as Ryan said, we're probably fine anyway, because we probably have at least 10 years before we get to a season 7.

    I also agree that as much as I LOVED Rome, I wouldnt' consider it one of HBO's great dramas. It just never had the hype and didn't last long enough for that status.

  107. Em
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:26 am | Permalink

    @ invertebrae: All on air at the same time. I see Rome as a great drama that had the potential to be much, much more had it not been cancelled three seasons earlier* for its "notoriously expensive" budget. I also compare Rome with GoT not only because of the similar costs and historical fiction-esque aspect they share, but also because of the political intrigue and power play (especially amongst the upper classes) involved. But each to their own. (I am rather unfamiliar with Band of Brothers, though, so I can't say much about it.)

    *Quote from co-creator Bruno Heller: "I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end. The second was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There's certainly more than enough history to go around."

    ETA: Reposted because my mistake due to my incoherent brain dead-ness was annoying me. I wish I wasn't so prone to making stupid mistakes and typos. Where's the edit button, blogger, for poor souls like me? All right, now I'm going to sleep. :P

  108. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:52 am | Permalink

    @ invertebrae

    It's worth noting that even on the ultra-low-budget CURB there have been some very long breaks between seasons as well. I think the last season was two years ago and Season 7 is only just starting.

  109. NiceShot46
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    @Winter

    Any luck on getting an interview with any of the shows cast or producers? Maybe even one with GRRM himself?

  110. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    @Em

    Sleep well! Thanks for the banter.

    I think Band of Brothers was also "notoriously expensive", and at the time the most expensive miniseries ever made. That was, until, HBO ordered The Pacific, which is a followup to BoB. My point… I don't think it was budget alone that got Rome cancelled. I think more likely the DVD sales of season one weren't what HBO had expected. And I also think a ratings drop off after the season 2 premiere, would have been deciding factors.

    If it were cost alone, I think HBO would have taken one look at GoT in scope and implied cost and said "forget it!"

    So, let us hope GoT shares in the spoils of the BoB success, and becomes the first ever "notoriously expensive", critically acclaimed, highest rated, seven season miniseries in the history of forever!!

    …ryan

  111. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    @Adam

    Agreed. I think long shows like that tend to wear on the cast and crew. I know that was the case with Sopranos. From the writers to the actors, many wanted a break to vacate or work on something else before resuming their duties.

    I would count this doubly true for the GoT cast and crew. Many will be shooting outside their native homelands, and the shooting itself will be grueling. The production design, wardrobing, even keeping up with the writing, will all be major stressors beyond the normal show.

    I wouldn't be surprised to find a two year gap between one or more seasons either. I don't think you can take a hiatus much longer than that without the worry of a waning audience.

    Good points Adam.

    …ryan

  112. SA_Avenger
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:13 am | Permalink

    I think it's safe with GRRM to count 5 years per book but even with that we're sort of safe. (at worst we'll have the last season same time as the last book)

  113. WinterIsComing
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Ah yes, the sweet sound of a comments thread without trolls. I rather like it. I think I may keep it this way. Hopefully we won't lose some of the other regular posters that didn't have an account though. If you signed up for an account recently but had to pick a different name than what you use to go by, let me know so I know we didn't lose you!

    Lordnedshead: I hear you on those 900 comment threads. Up until last week I had read every single comment on this blog. But there was no way I was going to go through all 1800+ comments on the two big clue threads. I think with the recent blocking of the anons and the fact that there aren't anymore clues to decipher, things should go back to a more manageable 100-200 comments a post.

    NiceShot46: No luck. I guess most actors don't want to do an interview on a project that is still a pilot. Like not talking to your pitcher during a no-hitter. Don't want to jinx it, I guess.

  114. Ausir
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    It's not as if almost everyone doesn't have a Google account these days.

  115. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    @WiC – Just curious, do you have a journalistic or entertanment background (if you're comfortable answering) or is this just a pure hobby for ya?

  116. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    WiC is a janitor at an elementary school in Fargo, ND (not that there's anything wrong with that).

    At least, that's what this one producer on GoT told me the other day.

    :)

    JK!! Happy Monday!

    …ryan

  117. WinterIsComing
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Mr. Mister aka Dan: Neither, really. I lived in Hollywood for about 4 years with the intention of getting into the entertainment industry but other than a 4-month stint as an intern at a small, independent production office nothing really happened. So I guess you could just call this a hobby, yeah. :)

    While we're asking questions of each other, you don't happen to me the same Dan from the NeoGaf forums, do you?

  118. legion_quest666
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    So, when do people think we might hear something more?

    There are still roles to be announced after all, and I kinda miss GRRM's wild clues……..and the wilder speculation!

  119. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    @WiC – Thanks for answering. I just had to google NeoGaf to see what it was, so no that's not me, but it might be something that I will now be checking out.

    Honestly I spend more time than I really should on this blog as it is, so my love for video games has sadly fallen to the wayside the last few years.

  120. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    @WiC — Thank you thank you thank you for making the trolls go away!! Reading the threads the last few days/weeks has been unbearable with all their bleating.

    I just want to say that I agree with a few posters above that have been optimistic about GRRM getting the next few books out faster than DWD. He did say he has had to untie some Merenesee (sp?) knots and that was taking him quite some time. I think he's got a detailed outline that he will follow moving forward. At least, that is what I am trying to convince myself. :)

  121. Marko
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I think it reasonable to believe that the hardest part with book series writing is writing the novels in the middle, rather then the last (couple) of them.

  122. Silverstar
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    I should think so. I imagine GRRM knows exactly where he wanted the books to start, and exactly where he wants them to end. It's how he gets from point A to point B that must be the really tough thing to figure out.

  123. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Man, a green-light from HBO and then new aSoIaF books coming at a 2-3 year pace would make me a happy man. As much as I love this series and don't want it to end, I can't wait to see how things play out… and also to free up this chunk of my brain that is always waiting and wondering about aSoIaF. :)

  124. Tanuki
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    @Chris… I hear you! I've been re-reading the series this last year in hopes of aDwD coming out this winter/spring. I just wanted it all fresh in my mind so I wouldn't feel lost. But to actually have this series finished one day would probably feel like a missing tooth that I was constantly prodding had suddenly grown back!

  125. brhodes
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Cajunman can still post with his LiveJournal ID!
    :)

    I'm also on a re-read. I may be jumping the gun though.

  126. Alexander
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    I'm re-reading it too, got to the really depressing parts of ASOS, you know which ones …

  127. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    i must say i am getting the uneasy feeling that with the ever increasing waits for AFFC and ADWD we may run into a Wheel Of Time issue here. Not comapring the series (WoT is a series where characters never seemed to die, especially the baddies, who kept coming back to life and as we know GRRM has a 'quick trigger finger' so to speak) but I have always feared we would lose our beloved GRRM before he finished the series … here is hoping he stays healthy.

    As for the show I admit I am as excited as anyone (as can be told by my multiple posts as JacopoBelbo on here and Westeros the past year) but there is simply no way that the show will last more than one season or two. We have to face it that fantasy is hated by most adults in America, and despite the blip that was LoTR and HP it probably always will be. I am just hoping that whatever seasons we get do the source materiel justice and don't turn out to be crap (unlike say what was done to His Dark Materiels or how bad The Seeker is on TV … of course those books are pretty crap to start with so…).

    Americans will lap up any number of lame aliens fighting any number of small town sherrifs et al, or love any number of psychopathic murders/monsters/zombies who trap people in elabourate traps, murder them on their vacations or in small backwater towns but put a dragon in something and people just tune out "man that is so silly and unrealistic" … i have always found this odd but it is what it is. So let's hope we get a season or two and that they are fantastic and that we can be proud and happy with them … anything more than that would just be icing on the cake. but i stand by my prediction that there is no way the show will ever run all 7 seasons … almost no show does and especially not a show with "others" and dragons … unfortuantely.

  128. NiceShot46
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Not ALL of the casting is complete and I hope we hear news on the last of the pilot characters some time in the next 3-4 weeks. Here's a list I compiled quickly of the last remaining.

    Large Roles:
    Cersei
    Bran
    Illyrio
    Grand Maester Pycelle
    Sandor Clegane
    Khal Drogo

    Minor Roles with speaking parts:
    Will
    Ser Waymar
    Gared
    Jory
    Hullen
    Maester Luwin
    Benjen
    Rodrick

    Minor roles non-speaking in the pilot:
    Jon Arryn
    Rickon
    Myrcella
    Tommen
    Septa Mordane

    Drogos Blood Riders:
    Cohollo
    Qotho
    Haggo

    Now, we know Vin Diesel was the popular choice to play about 50% of those roles, but who do you think should fill in the last parts? Personally, I'd love to see GRRM as the late Jon Arryn. All he has to do is lie there with his eyes closed after all and he fits the bill as a man in his 60's.

  129. NiceShot46
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    @John Galt

    I disagree in that GoT is more historical fiction than pure fantasy. The fantastical elements like magic, dragons, elves etc. are few and far between in these books or at least don't play much if any role until the last few novels.
    Also, shows like True Blood, X-Files, Star Trek and so on have seen great success while sharing the sci-fi/fantasy genre. I can understand your point though that none of these are true medieval settings that might turn certain audiences off. I think the political intrigue mixed with the true danger these characters see from episode to episode with a few main roles being killed off might keep peoples attention. I'm also hoping the writing and plot pacing being superior to HBO's Rome will give this show a longer life.

  130. Brude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    It's very easy to make a new google account, and of course free. I made one just for this. It doesn't even matter what the email is, you can change the Blogger display name to whatever you want. It's an email address I will never use, but so what?

    So much better this way than before.

  131. gofalcons
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    @niceshot46

    I think most of those roles are going to be filled by actors that most people have never heard of, though we might recognize their faces like Iain Glen. I honestly had never heard of Peter Dinklage before all this started. I had seen him in Prince Caspian (albeit with full glue-on beard) but never knew his name.

    That said here are the predictions I will make:

    Cersei will be fairly well known. Tricia Helfer has enough resemblance NCW to do it and has the geek-cred. Don't know if she's too busy, though, and I wouldn't be upset if she can't do it.

    I can't imagine Illyrio being played by anyone other than Ian McNiece.

    Pycelle could also attract a better known tv actor. Don't know who as it really isn't limited by looks and make up can always age someone up as needed.

    Benjen could be a nobody or a big name cameo (favor to D&D) since he disappears after the pilot (unless he gets cold hands later).

    If Sansa was an unknown then all the rest of the kids will be as well.

    I could see Maggie Smith as Septa Mordane but she essentially did that role in Secret Garden. I would like to save her for the Queen of Thorns. So I'm going to say Judy Dench for the sour Septa.

    Finally Gared (not Jon Arryn) has to played by GRRM. Poetic justice for all the readers!

  132. gofalcons
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Oh, just had a thought: David Ogden Stiers for Pycelle. He did tons of voice work for Disney for a wide range of characters after M*A*S*H ended its run.

  133. Paul Gude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    John Galt, I actually hold the opposite view. I think that a large portion of the mainstream U.S. would get behind a fantasy series if it had the right combination of story, sex, and violence.

    I'm speaking now of people who wouldn't necessarily be fans of fantasy novels, and therefore wouldn't be as interested in GoT for the same reasons as us.

    There simply hasn't been a TV series that has delivered on all of those levels yet.

    Before Deadwood, I would have said that the mainstream U.S. wouldn't want to watch a western-style series, that crime/drama and sitcoms pretty much ruled the airwaves. Deadwood was, for me, exactly what a successful show set in that genre needed to be, and no one had really done it yet.

    I will say this, however, if GoT does *not* succeed, I will wholeheartedly agree that the fantasy genre has no chance of making it in on U.S. television. GoT is exactly what I think a genuine fantasy hit needs to be.

  134. Fate's Bitch
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I don't think Septa Mordane will be played by anyone famous. It's not a particularly interesting, fun, or challenging role that would attract anyone as big as Smith or Dench. Now the Queen of Thorns, that's a different story. Can't you just imagine Judi Dench sinking her teeth into that?

  135. Cristiano Bernardini
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    It would be great to have Tom McCarthy to talk about the project as D&D and GRRM have done, what do you think???

  136. legion_quest666
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Tell you who i'd love as the Queen of Thorns.

    Angela Lansbury.

  137. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Can I jump in here and say that… TRUE, fantasy is not as mainstream as other genres (mystery, romance, espionage, even sci-fi).

    HOWEVER, I think the problem is twofold. 1) the fantasy connotation has to deal largely with naive childhood fancies, and is not interpreted to be grown up enough to reach a wide audience. and 2) love or hate it, dungeons and dragons and all the role-playing games have given fantasy a bad name, one of nerddom (nothing against nerds!) and have thus polarized the audience.

    But guess what? I think HBO realizes it may have the cure. It doesn't hurt that Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings have been some of the top box-office sellers of all time. All we need to do is connect to adults.

    And if ASoIaF doesn't do that, nothing will. Many have dubbed GRRM as "America's Tolkien", and that is a fine endorsement for HBO to get this series to reach the right audience, and then watch it grow, the same way True Blood has proven that people can fall in love with a vampire series without it devolving into cult status like Buffy.

    Film tells us that a good story told well can transcend genre, and I know that I for one felt that way when I read ASoIaF, and I believe the Davids felt the same way. It just so happened that GRRM and his subconscious film background have lent an easily adaptable formula from book to screen, and that bodes well for us fans (nerds) I would say, no?

    …ryan

  138. amir mishali
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    I'll be happy with three seasons, for several reasons.

    First, I'd really want to see the Red Wedding on screen…

    Then, as someone already mentioned, I have no idea what they could do with child actors. By the time we'd have a 4th season, they are going to be ridiculously grown up. Either they recast them or change the story significantly.

    FfC is my least favored book of the four. Though it is good, it is far inferior to the amazing GoT and SoS. It suffers from the fact that several of the most interesting characters are not in it (Dany, Tyrion). Other characters play a very small part (Arya, Jon). It has really few things going on and almost no major twists (The incarceration of Cersei is a major exception). Several relatively uninteresting plot lines (Dorn, Iron Isles). And very low body count…

    They could combine it with DwD, but I don't have any idea how that would turn out. If we do get a 4th season, I hope they throw out alot of stuff.

  139. Dead Angel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Arya and Sansa, Revisited
    new photos on notablog!!
    http://grrm.livejournal.com/

  140. lordnedshead
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    What about Kevin McKidd as Syrio? It could be a good stretch of a role for him and would have minimal time commitments (at least until he makes his surprise return in DwD or WoW).
    P.S. Oh yes I DID just start a "Is syrio alive or dead war on six!

  141. Cristiano Bernardini
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    Our Sansa just stole my heart….

  142. gofalcons
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    As far as longevity of Fantasy on TV goes, keep in mind that Xena lasted for 6 years.

    Don't throw things at me, I'm just saying. :)

  143. Dead Angel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    I hope they dye Sansa's hair red, but yes she does seem like a Sansa cause my Sansa does not have blond hair. Arya does not look quite like i see her in my head, but i hope she can act the Arya part more than care about how she looks.

  144. WinterIsComing
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Dead Angel, thanks for the heads up. They both look good to me! Will update the cast list with these new head shots.

  145. Dave
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Arya looks just how I'd pictured her!

  146. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Wow! I think those two little girls are PERFECT for Arya and Sansa. Exactly how I have always pictured them. Amazingggggg!

  147. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    @Dead Angel — I think they will have to dye Sophie's hair auburn. Having that hair is part of Sansa's identity (and another thing that physically shows how much she is her Mother's Tully and Arya is her Father's Stark). At least I hope so!!

  148. Joel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Holy crap — They got the Stark girls exactly right…those two actresses stepped right out of my imagination.

    Alright! Now let's get a Bran for the trifecta!!

  149. dholds
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    Too bad you haven't had luck securing an interview with one of the cast members, Winter.

    You'd think either Dan, Dave or someone else from HBO would be willing to though … I'd say they owe you for all the hype you're helping generate!

  150. Denis
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    Kudos for the Stark girls!
    They look perfect!!

  151. Dead Angel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    @PlainJane ya i meant auburn, just couldn't remember the right color name.

    and i agree they do look very good for the children.

    btw considering both girls and Arya especially past the first season become somewhat a major POV, does anyone know how many hours children can work on set in a certain period?

  152. JRQ
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    It's funny — I know Sansa has auburn hair, but from her first appearance, I've pictured her as a blonde EXACTLY like Sophie in the photo. Whenever there is a reference in the books to her auburn hair, I just temporarily edit the color in my mind…but for some reason, she always goes back to being blonde when the scene changes, lol!

  153. Paul Gude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Good point, dholds, if nothing else they can be sure of *more* hype if they show up here.

    Also, I think the Stark kids look great. I already feel bad about all the horrible things that'll happen to them. ;)

  154. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    @JRQ — Yea I totally know what you mean with that kind of thing. I always picture Tyrion with dark hair (basically just like Dinklage has naturally), even though I know he has blonde. I guess I never pictured Sansa with blonde hair because of Myrcella.

  155. Silverstar
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    "@Dead Angel — I think they will have to dye Sophie's hair auburn. "

    Wigs?

  156. SaraBear
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    @PlainJane — My Tyrion is in no way a blond, either. I understand you need that for the Lannister-ness, but come on. Tyrion is sooooo not a blond. (I say with respect, as a blond myself.)

  157. Tanuki
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    Maisie Williams is PERFECT for Arya!

    Totally one of my favorite characters! I can just see her now…. "Stick them with the pointy end!"

  158. Penelope Waits
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    The new photos of the Stark girls look great. Does anyone know their ages? In their photos they look perfect for the roles, but I know they could be quite a bit older than their characters. GRRM's comment about Sophie reading for them at her school made me curious about how old the girls really are.

  159. Silverstar
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    No idea about ages. Knowing teenagers today, they could be anywhere from about 11 to about 18!

  160. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    @ The comments that adults hate fantasy –
    I think the problem is that there is a LOT of really bad and cliche fantasy out there. People seem to think of fantasy as poorly written D&D type stories, with princesses and dragons and so forth. What a lot of people don't realize is that there is some REALLY good fantasy stories out there if you know where to look… such as aSoIaF.

    I personally feel that GoT will have the potential to appeal to many different types of people. Looking at the success of LoTR and HP and shows like the Tudors… GoT will be on a whole new level and if people give it the chance, I think they will be hooked.

    The other thing is that GoT has essential 5% fantasy / magical elements besides the fictional Westeros world. So before the fantasy even starts moving more to the forefront, many viewers will have realized that there is so much more to the story than cheesy fantasy… and will be hooked on the great characters and abundance of mystery and intrigue that will translate really well to screen.

  161. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    (heh, I realize that GoT has princess as dragons… but not the cliche knight has to slay a dragon to save a princess story)

  162. Silverstar
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    If you look at some of the biggest grossing movies over the past few years, it'd include things like LotR, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean … lots of fantasy stuff. I think fantasy is becoming a lot more mainstreram than it ever used to be, and this being the first major fantasy tv show could quite easily be a big success.

  163. Marko
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    This is just to say I like the new photos of the girls a whole lot. Thanks for the heads up. I spend a couple of minutes looking at the cast photos and imagining them acting out GRRM's great story … priceless.

  164. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I wonder how much the young actresses know about what their characters go through. Arya goes through some awful stuff, but does a lot of really damn cool stuff in the process. Sansa on the other hand is just one long stream of horrible things happening to her, as well as the weird / abusive / creepy relationships with Joff, Tyrion, Sandor, Littlefinger, etc…

  165. shinyteapot
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    The girls look great. Maisie is perfect for Arya. Sophie needs to either dye her hair or wear a wig, but that's not too difficult. They both have difficult jobs ahead of them, if they do well it could make their careers.

  166. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    As far as I can gather the situation with ROME went something like this:

    ROME was cofunded by the BBC and HBO. Bruno Heller planned a five-season story with the first three forming one cohesive story (running from where S1 starts through to Mark Antony's downfall) and then jumping ahead to the birth of Christianity for the last two seasons, with the possibility of the story going on further beyond that. The BBC agreed to co-fund the first two seasons as a sort-of test run, and contributed about 15% of the budget.

    The BBC, HBO and an Italian company built the immense outdoor, open-air set outside Italy. As has been related, Italy is one of the most expensive countries in the world to film in, and Rome was at the time THE most expensive city. This pushed the budget up to the $100 million + barrier.

    Season 1 of ROME aired in the USA and did decently, but wasn't the huge, break-out hit some had been hoping for. When Season 1 of ROME aired in the UK a few months later, however, it bombed. The BBC badly mis-sold the show and its ratings dropped very rapidly. As a result the BBC told HBO it would not be contributing any money after Season 2. At the same time, HBO's bean-counters told the execs that the only reason S1 had done well in the USA was because THE SOPRANOS had aired just before it. The same would not be true of Season 2.

    With no money coming in from the BBC, with production costs at a high and now being told that S2 would fare more badly, the execs told Heller to wrap up the story in Season 2 (which condensed the original story of Season 2 down to six episodes and Season 3 into four episodes) and they were going to cancel the show.

    Of course, Season 1 came out on DVD and sold quite well. Season 2 then aired in the USA and did just as well as Season 1 had, even without THE SOPRANOS as a lead-in. Season 2 aired in the UK and also did quite well considering the late-night dead slot the BBC had pushed it into. Season 2 came out on DVD and both it and the complete series box set sold quite well. The series also did quite well on legal digital download services.

    The result was that HBO realised they'd killed a money-making show. It wasn't a massive break-out hit like SEX AND THE CITY, THE SOPRANOS or now TRUE BLOOD, but it made a profit and it had won a lot of critical acclaim.

    As a result, HBO vowed never to make the same mistake again.

  167. legion_quest666
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    They both look great for their roles. I wonder if Sansa might get a few lines in the pilot if she's that good?

  168. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

    Relating the ROME mistake to GAME OF THRONES:

    My guess will be that the BBC will market the show more carefully this time around. They will make quite a big deal out of Sean Bean and Jennifer Ehle being in it (Dinklage is virtually unknown over here), and will probably get a RADIO TIMES cover. They'll no doubt trail it heavily for weeks before it comes out, lay on the Tolkien comparisons etc. All of this will help the BBC sell the show a bit more in the UK. Also, the fact it will be on the BBC's free iPlayer service is essential (ROME predated it): a significant number of BBC rating figures comes from iPlayer viewings.

    I think it is also likely that, based on the ROME model, they will give the show two seasons, as they will have to be producing Season 2 when Season 1 airs, or at least by the time it comes out on DVD and Blu-Ray and they can see how well it is doing at that stage. They will likely hold off a decision on Season 3 until the second season is at least airing, maybe even until after it comes out on DVD (I suspect the biggest delay could be between S2 and S3 for that reason). The BBC certainly will want as much info as possible before committing to funding the rest of the series.

    Of course, costs on GAME OF THRONES will be less than on ROME: they're getting the studio for free, they're actually getting some extra money in real terms (as a grant) and further tax breaks from the Northern Irish government, all of which are very attractive. The cost of filming in Belfast is literally a tiny fraction of filming in Rome. The cost of filming in Morocco for the Dany sequences could push things up, but I believe the Moroccan government has laid on special tax breaks and incentives for people to film there which could also keep costs down relative to going somewhere else (like Tunisia or Spain, for similar scenery, for example).

    My conclusion is that even if GAME OF THRONES was going to cost as much as ROME, HBO and the BBC will likely not act as rashly as they did in cancelling that show. The fact that it will likely cost significantly less than ROME means it is even more likely it will stay on the air.

    For my part, I think just getting one season would be good, two would be excellent and three would be brilliant. Anything beyond that is a bonus :-)

  169. Cristiano Bernardini
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    The Rome sets were built in Cinecittà, literally Cinema City, a friend of mine had the chance to visit them thanks to his cousin, an assistant director for season 2, it's true about the costs but at the same time Cinecittà's people are among the best in their business, if you go there you can still see the Gangs Of New York sets.

  170. Brude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    I like the look of both girls for their roles, though Maisie looks very little like my own mental image of Arya. That's okay, because her look still works well. I could say the same for Alfie Allen – not how I pictured Theon at all, but I do get it, I can see him in the role now that he's been cast. I actually really like being surprised by casting choices that aren't the same as I imagined a character (happened a fair bit in LotR, while some were dead on how I imagined them – especially Viggo).

    Sophie is far, far closer to my mental image of Sansa. They look more like each other than I would have normally intended for them, especially in the eyes, but that's not a problem either.

  171. Marko
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Oh, true … forgot about that last part Brude wrote. They really could be sisters, despite the many differences in appearances and characters.

  172. Marko
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

    And not just the eyes, look at their chins (definite match), and also the shape of the smiles (I think).

  173. knowtom
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

    @Adam Whitehead
    I've basically came to the conclusion that as long as ASOIF doesn't become John from Cincinnati with swords (that level of horridness) and the costs don't try to rival Rome (which, I believe is not going to happen), multiple seasons are probable.

  174. legion_quest666
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    The fact we have these siblings looking alike perhaps adds credance to the idea they are really looking for a female NKW lookalike and are actually going to care about that rather than some shows who go with same hair coulour = related

  175. petr
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Maisie is exactly how i pictured Arya, only with darker hair. But i cant picture Sophie as Sansa at all… though i do have faith in characterization :D

  176. dholds
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm | Permalink

    @Adam – I agree with your assessment of AGOT's chances vs. Rome's. I think particularly because of what happened with Rome, HBO and the BBC will give it every opportunity to succeed.

    And the ace up their sleeve this time is the source material. As good as Rome was, we all know the story pales in comparison to GRRM's. Sure, it was loosely based actual events that helped shaped the destiny of the Western world and involved some larger than life historical figures (Ceasar, Cleopatra, etc.) but it had nowhere near the same levels of drama, intrigue, danger and excitement of ASOIAF.

    As long as they air the first season (which is looking more and more likely), I'm not sure how the show doesn't become a huge success. For the first three books/seasons at least, the story's just WAY too good! People will go nuts for it, I'm telling you.

  177. Daniel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    I've fell in love already for the girls.

    I've never had any clear mental picture of Arya, and now I know I won't be reading again her chapters without seeing Maisie. I already can imagine her biting her lip and calling everyone "stupid".

    And Sophie will be the perfect Sansa with the right hair coloring/wig.

    Congratulations on these two are in order.

    Can't wait to meet our Cersei, Sandor or Bran!!

  178. Josh
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Sansa will interest teenage boys.

    Arya will steal everyone's hearts.

  179. Anonymuff
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Someone said I should be for the pilot or get out. But, I am here because I love the books. I believe that is enough to be entitled to an opinion on this blog. Moving on…

    I saw Tamzin Merchant in every episode of Tudors. She failed at that role, and it wasn't because of the writing IMHO. The thing that gives me hope is that Dany is a very different character, and that Merchant will fit into it more easily given her acting range.

    The headshot update on Not A Blog, good looking children of course, but they don't look like how I imagined Sansa and Arya. Sophya Turnerito (after name tweak) at least needs to dye her hair, and Maisie Williams doesn't have the serious, Stark face I pictured for Arya. So when people are saying they are PERFECT, I have to … you know, keepin' it real…. Moving on…

    About the fantasy market. You guys are talking about fantasy book market or movies/shows? There is a real stigma about fantasy, all genre, and all fiction titles that I think you are confusing into tv and movies. The fact is that most fantasy movies and tv shows suck, which is related to how most movies and tv shows suck. .

    I don't think anyone will take the show as seriously as people who have read the books, but the non-readers will just need to get hooked by something or another on the show, the same thing that hooks people to any show. For adults, that won't care whether or not Dany can save the world, they just want to be entertained for an hour, and to feel something in common with the characters.

  180. Wanderer
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

    More interesting than whether Maisie and Sophie look alike is the question how much Sophie and Jennifer Ehle look like each other, as that is quite important (to Littlefinger at least!). Not exactly convinced about that resemblance, myself.

    Obviously Sophie Turner needs to dye or wear a wig, but so does half the other cast too… A little bit funny to wonder or complain about that now. :)

  181. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    @Anonymuff

    Can you post your ideal actresses to play:

    Arya
    Sansa
    Dany

    ? I am beginning to wonder about your tastes :) these stark girls are perfectly matched to what was in my head while reading. I hear you filing complaints. Serve up some alternates so I can see which book descriptions I must have been missing.

    I agree Tamzin wasn't what I had in mind, nor was alfie Allen by a wide margin but dany is one of the less articulated characters description wise so I can live with the choice. Her showreel on GRRM's site was very heartening however. So so what if she's a little different?

    …ryan

  182. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    i understand all of the hopeful optimism about this show … i am hoping it is successful too. but the sad reality is that there is a lot of pre-conceived hurdles that it will have to overcome.

    A. i do not care what any of you say … Americans do not like fantasy. They like vampires. They love zombies. They like aliens. They do not like dragons or fantasy. There are two exceptions. Kids like fantasy and everybody likes Tolkien. Aside from HP and LotR can anybody name a successful/quality fantasy (true epic fantasy) movie/tv show in the US? Willow? The Seeker? Any of the various sundry movies about dragons that some of which were good some of which were bad but all of them flopped? Look, I love dragons. I don't see how people think vampyres are cool but not dragons too. It boggles the mind. I would have loved to see Dragon Riders of Pern and Dragonlance made into something good (like not crap animated movies). And I know that GRRM work is more "historical" and not very "fantasy" and it is "darker" and you think that will make people like it. I would love to believe that but it has been 20 years and nobody has yet to make an Elric Saga movie, a Thomas Covenant Unbeliever movie or make any of Neil Gaiman's non kiddie work (like Sandman or American Gods) into a movie (now there was a Neverwhere series in the UK i hear but it did not come to the US and I loved Stardust and Mirror Mask but both flopped horribly here). I still maintain that adults in America do not like "fantasy" with the odd exception of anything their kids love or Tolkien it seems.

    B. many americans dislike anything british. there have been tons of great british shows that did not make a dent in America until they were remade into "American" (the office, life on mars, and so many others it would boggle the mind). Right now there are great shows on BBC America or the BBC that will only make it to america if they "re-make" them as American (like Skins or Ashes to Ashes). There is a reason that BBC America and PBS (where many British shows appear) are not exactly cash cows and ratings getters. Do I love those channels and many of their shows. Yes. Do many of us on here. Yes. Do 95% of Americans. NO. I think it is a sad sad statement on Americans but what can you do. Let us hope that the few people who do not have an aversion to "Britishy things" will be enough to make the show successful but I have my doubts. The people who like the Sopranos and Sex In The City are the kind of people who love the NBC Office and have no idea that there was a British Office.

    C. American audiences seem to dislike the medieval historical period. Kingdom of Heaven was a great film. With a huge star. By a fantastic director. And it flopped. Americans like ancient Rome/Greece antiquity to some very small extent(ROME, 300). Americans love Nazis/WWII (where "we" were the "heros"). Americans like Revolution/Early Americana (where we were the scrappy underdogs). Americans do not like Medieval nor do they particularly care for Renaissance/Victorian or anything to do with British Imperialism or basically any time period in which "America" does not feature. I think this goes back to Americans disliking all things British (with the exception of a small but strong Anglophile contingent) and an serious historical inferiourity/self-centered complex that dictates if "America" wasn't involved than it wasn't important.

    Again. I love these books and I am certainly hoping they succeed on HBO. But I have to be honest I just don't see it happening for the above mentioned reasons. I hope I am wrong. I would love nothing better than to be holding 7 seasons of AGOT in my hands chuckling to myself about how silly and pessimistic I was.

  183. dholds
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    All the people complaining about the eye or hair colour of some cast members not being right, have you not seen a movie or TV show before? It's really not that hard to make people look different.

    For example, a friend of mine saw Tropic Thunder and didn't realize that the fat obnoxious guy was Tom Cruise until I pointed it out. Granted, she might not be the sharpest tool in the shed but still … if they can make Tom Cruise unrecognizable, they can do anything.

  184. Anonymuff
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    Ryan,

    You will always be left wondering about what's inside someone else's mind. Even when people agree, it is for completely different reasons.

    I believe that some people honestly think those girls are perfect, even though it doesn't make sense to me. Because I believe they are telling the truth, I'm not going to confront them and wonder about their tastes.

    Ryan, I could only draw a picture of how I imagined–I'm not a great artist though. I don't have access to head shots, and I watch less tv and movies than most people here (that is a fact). So you'll just have to trust me for whatever it's worth.

  185. gameofcastings
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    the news about the upcoming pilot is fantastic, but sorry to the pessimist here. With time and effort now diverted from ADWD to the casting and filming of the pilot, it will take……well, just about forever for the long awaited completion announcement. The HBO series' potential is great but I'll take the completion of the book series any day. (not telling Martin to rush, just stating the fact that he's bound to be heck of a lot more distracted)

  186. Anonymuff
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    John Galt,

    Those generalizations are absurd. I shouldn't bother rebuking them, though it would be like shooting fish in a barrel.

  187. Josh
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Anonymuff,

    I'm the one who said "like it or get out". And that stands. If you like the books but think they're screwing up the characters in the pilot, don't watch the pilot, stop posting here and leave us alone.

    It's grown beyond a legitimate concerned and become fanboy whining. It's one thing entirely to say "I don't think she looks like Dany, and I'm concerned, but I'll watch the pilot before I make up my mind" and to start telling us "the less we mention Merchant as Dany the better" or other posters advocating a formal protest until she is removed and the part recast. It's lunacy.

    None of you know what she will look like as Dany. In her showreel she played many different characters and played them all differently. I still don't understand why you don't think she's attractive. If you can honestly look at this shot and say she's too ugly to play Dany then there is something seriously wrong with your eyes.

    Winter, I'm formally requesting that you ban any further discussion about Tamzin as Dany until the pilot has been seen. I'm serious. No, it's not because I don't think people should be allowed to dissent, but it's grown beyond mere dissent or concern and grown into this idiotic assumption that we all know already what she'll be like, and it's unquestionable that she'll ruin everything.

    Liv Tyler didn't ruin LOTR, despite fanboy assurances that she would, and it's way too early to say that Tamzin Merchant will sink GoT.

  188. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    @anynymuff .. i admitted up front they were generalizations … but the fact is they are TRUE generalizations. because you do not fit into the generalization does not make it untrue. and even tho the generalizations may be true it does not mean that there isn't a niche in which the exceptions might find some moderate success. For instance ROME/Tudors are "successful" in very limited terms. Neither approaches the real success of American Idol or CSI: Witchita (or whatever podunk town they are on now) but luckily America is a big market and niches can be found in which a moderate amount of success can be found. But America tends to often overlook or ignore real quality TV (Arrested Development, Firefly, etc) much to it's own detriment and the demise of quality TV shows. AGOT will have some hurdles to overcome. That is a fact. Moreso than a normal non-fantasy show would. I think that is also a pretty indisputable fact. Is the source materiel about as good a bet to have a chance of doing that that there is out there, I would say yes. But the anti-fantasy and other peculiar American taste hurdles still exist. Are the people involved making the show (HBO et al) just about the best one could hope for to make a project like this successful. Yes. But the hurdles I mentioned still exist. There is a reason that not many "fantasy" projects get greenlit on either the big or little screen. There is a reason that even good "fantasy" or other works that fit into the categories I outlined above fail more often than not commercially.

    Feel free to name ONE British hit/quality tv show that has been imported, as is, with british cast and been even a moderate commercial success in the US? **crickets**

  189. gofalcons
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    @Josh

    I like Tamzin but I think it's those red carpet photos that are turning people off. She is beautiful in the pictures from The Tudors (I haven't seen the series) but she really seemed to be having a bad day at that premier. If you want to convince people of her beauty (not me, I'm convinced) refer to the picture WIC has on sidebar.

    @John Galt

    I think you're overgeneralizing about American tastes and conveniently ignoring anything that refutes your argument. Americans love Jane Austen, Monty Python, Pirates of the Caribbean (fantasy AND British), Xena ran for six years. I didn't know there was a British show called The Office before the American one because nobody showed it. Given a choice between Steve Carrell and Ricky Gervais I'll go British every time.

    Gaiman's adult works would, I think, be very difficult to translate to film so that's not a good example.

  190. dholds
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Law & Order: UK!! … oh, wait.

  191. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    @John Galt

    I have to agree and disagree. It's true that fantasy isn't the most beloved genre in America. We like vampires and zombies yes, because they allude to the coveted horror cult genre.

    however, i think hbo has shown its ability to turn people on to new genres they may not have enjoyed before. think of how many females got into sopranos for instance. i have faith that there is a market for this series to do well, mostly because it can eschew all of the connotations and that actually become the hook.

    Game of Thrones. Fantasy Has Never Been So Real.

    someone once had an idea for promos where they parody classic fantasy/fairy tale scenes and then do something unexpected. who was that? one of the ideas was:

    open on a lone princess at the edge of a pond. a frog sits atop a lily pad. slowly, the princess bends over to plant a kiss on the ugly toad. she crouches down, almost there, when a spear pierces straight through her throat. she gurgles once, then falls forward with a splash. the princess floats in the water as the title "Game of Thrones. Winter Is Coming," fades up. The frog hops off its lily pad, disappearing underwater. fade to black.

    this is how they will hook viewers. it will be the anti-fantasy, fantasy.

    …ryan

  192. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    @gofalcons … uh, first of … girls like Jane Austen … well and literati so Jane Austen isn't really a good comparison. and i already admitted that there are a subset of Americans who don't dislike, say, all things British. But I am worried/wondering is this subset big enough is all. You would have to admit that if the topic of this series was the Mob, or WWII or Crime or Medical or Reality it would have a giant leg up as far as finding a "willing audience". I know you are not using Xena as an example of a "quality" fantasy series … really? Xena? With Lucy Lawless? Really? Shows like Xena are the REASON people have an intensely bad opinion of the "fantasy" genre. And Monty Python is decades old. But I will have to admit that you might have stumbled onto something. Both Xena and the British Monty Python did find success of a cultish sort so perhaps we can get HBO quality and cult success and AGOT will continue for all 7 seasons. Admittedly what counts as a "successful" HBO series they will continue is not the same as what would be needed to "succeed" on regular tv. But I completely stand by my generalizations. If you went and asked 100 random americans about the books you would probably find less than 5 who had heard of them much less read them. And if you asked those 100 random americans about the show, whether you included dragons and others in the description or pitched it as a historical/medieval/sex-war-intrigue drama you would be hard pressed to get 5 who would be interested. The question is, is that enough for it to "succeed" on HBO and get to continue for the entire 7 seasons? I do not really know. But my fingers are crossed.

    And I heard the UK Neverwhere series was really good? I could be wrong? Any Brits see and or know about that? I really don't see how American Gods or Sandman or Neverwhere or Good Omens wouldnt make a fabulous movie (done correctly of course) or at least a movie I would love to see. Again. What I like is not what most Americans might like.

  193. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    @John Galt

    I am guessing you are not American? Yes, you are generalizing. Big time. This show isn't something you can compare tit for tat with British shows shown on your cable tv. GOT is going to be on HBO. If HBO didn't think they could market it to the American public, they wouldn't have decided to make the pilot.

    Ugh. I get so frustrated with posts that come across like Americans care nothing for anything but cheesy crap and football. So annoying.

  194. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    @invertebra … ok, now that i can see. anti-fantasy fantasy. that could work. like i said, it isn't that i don't WANT it to be successful I am just worried if it can/will be. I am a long suffering member of the "fantasy" loving underclass in America and I have seen the paucity of what gets made here, the often lack of quality and the often miserable failure of even good projects. so you will have to forgive my aprehension.

    as for your promo ideas. not bad but perhaps a bit A. unrelated to the books and B. over the top. Tho i could see a frog on a lily pad to evoke the "magic prince" thing being skewered by Meera out of the blue?

  195. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:44 pm | Permalink

    yeah, they are going to HAVE TO overcome the achilles heel of the genre, the reason why people make sure nobody's looking before they go check out the fantasy books at borders.

    that promo idea. wasn't mine. but i think it was funny. there were a couple better ones, one with a rapunzel in the tower or something. it's far fetched, but it makes my point. they have to KILL FANTASY, so that fantasy can be reimagined on HBO.

    they did it with the mobster movie. they did it with the western. they even did it to a degree with roman empire.

    i think they can do it again.

    …ryan

  196. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

    @plainjane … i am (unfortunately) an american … and ratings don't like … most americans like only 'cheesy crap' and 'football' … but luckily there are 300 million of us (or unluckily for say the environment and much of the rest of the world) so even a small percentage with non-mainstream tastes make for a decent number … all I am pointing out is that from square 1 the show is at a bit of a disadvantage and I wonder if the potential viewer pool is big enough to be successful (HBO "successful") and thus allow for the whole series being completed.

    and i am sorry that pointing out the reality of America annoys you so much … being surrounded by the reality of idiotic mainstream "America" is what annoys me …

  197. gernikai
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    Thank You Josh for giving your great post 8:01 PM.
    Are you proposing to ban people for giving their opinion, on a blog? This is fantastic, now its your blog, or we are in China and we do not know, or worse, Iran…

    I think that you are the one that has to show some respect. There is life after the pilot.

    Today I saw the pilot for Being Human, well, they changed 2 of the 3 main roles for the series, the vampire and the ghost, what a shock!

    I do not like Tamzin for Dany, get over it, I am not killing her, she'll live, I do not hate her, its only that I do not see her as DAny, nothing more, get over it, it is only my opinion, not the end of the world we know.

    Jon Nieve

  198. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    @invertebrae … i guess you are right. westerns are only slightly more popular in America than fantasy is (at least in this day and age) … and before ROME antiquity might have been even less popular. So perhaps HBO has a penchant for reinventing "disliked" genres … but I will point out that both ROME and Deadwood didn't last very long … sadly. And while the Sopranos did a pretty original take on the Mobster genre … that is a genre which is wildly popular in America at least with males … but you are right that it did manage to appeal a traditionally macho genre to women so ….

  199. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    @John Galt

    I guess we'll just see how the series does in the US when it comes out. I have a feeling it will do just fine. If not, thank goodness I have my budweiser and Monday night football I can rely on.

  200. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    harry potter dispels the british and fantasy myths in one fell swoop, so does lotr. and no, not everybody loved tolkien before peter jackson brought them to the big screen, sorry to say. same with harry potter. many who went to see the films had not read the books.

    i'm not sure the british angle is the right argument here. john adams, plenty british subject matter, and yet it is one of the most watched miniseries of all time.

    also, most of the drones in america you speak of galt, they're watching

    the fantasy connotations are the bigger hurdle, but the content of ASoIaF should help HBO make a case for reinvention.

    …ryan

  201. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    @plainjane … now now, don't get huffy. we are all on the same "team" here. because i am pointing out my worries and potential hurdles doesn't mean i don't want it to succeed. and i never insinuated that "you" were a beer swilling MNF drone … or that even if you did enjoy the occasional brewski and/or watching a game of "the other football" that you couldn't also enjoy things like good fantasy works or the "nerdier" side of america … all I pointed out is that the overwhemlming number of Americans aren't exactly the most open-minded and diverse in their tastes nor are they noted for embracing non-american things (the real football for instance, most things european like say "socialized medicine", the list really does go on) … is this good is this bad … well that is a personal opinion i guess … for me America could do with a hell of a lot more "Europe" and hell of a lot less "Texas" … if you get my meaning.

  202. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    @John Galt
    Ha — you are right. I need to not get so defensive. :) I just think you are underestimating the tastes of many many many Americans. Hopefully in this instance I am right and you are wrong. LOL

    The thing about ASOIAF that is so amazing, is that it has so many different story lines, it truly can appeal to almost all audiences. There's love, revenge, war, betrayal and lots and lots of sex. All things Americans LOVE. Just like Ryan has said in a few of his posts, if HBO puts out a few great teaser commercials and ads that showcase ASOIAF less "dungeons and dragons" and more epic alter-reality, I think it will really take off.

  203. Em
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to jump in here so off-topic; I just wanted to respond to the reply and two comments on the first page.

    @ invertebrae: Thank you for the banter. It seems like HBO really does want their subscribers back. Good luck to them!

    @ Adam Whiteheead: Agreed. Thanks for your well-thought out and informatively detailed posts. I wish I had your ability to explain things so well. :)

  204. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    @invertebrae … you sort of have to exclude HP. Kids. Kids like all kinds of things, some good (HP) some bad (Hannah Montana). The success of HP is mostly due to the overhwelming success with kids overflowing to parents and the mainstream. (not to mention the books are cleverly progressively more and more "adult")

    LotR seems to be the exception to all rules. It doesn't hurt that the source materiel (whether or not people had previously read it) is beyond reproach and the people involved translating it to a new medium were also beyond reproach. all of which bodes well for AGOT i would say since a similar logic applies and the show does not nearly need to be as successful as LotR.

    John Adams was about America … the British were there to be the bad guys. Americans love things about America … and nothing more than about the scrappy underdog America beating the big bad Britain.

    but i think the Tudor parallels are important … normally an American audience wouldn't be inclined towards a show about British Kings and history but it was about Henry VIII, so it was essentially more about sex and death and tyranny than history (the show lacks quite a bit on historical accuracy). I am pretty sure that Elizabeth the movies and the HBO series were not as bit a hit as Tudors is … not as much sex and death I guess. But AGOT is also a lot of sex, tyranny and death so maybe a similar successful formulae might be found?

    I also think it is important that HBO has sort of primed the pump with a number of critically and moderately successful "historical" subject matters … ranging from Rome to Elizabeth to Revolution to WWII. So maybe fitting AGOT more into that invented history as real history niche will fit nicely with the HBO audience. Add sex and death maybe we have something that can overcome the US aversion to dragons?

    I am feeling better already.

  205. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    oh good point jane.

    there's the T&A factor for those who buy HBO and CINEMAX for those reasons, so maybe you'll get some accidental viewers that way.

    :)

    i also wanted to point out that if GoT does well on HBO, and the book sales go up anywhere near what they did for Charlaine Harris after True Blood took off, then GRRM must be shitting his pants at the prospect of HBO picking up the show for a whole season.

    maybe some motivation for him to continue with the rest of the series?

    …ryan

    …ryan

  206. asmodean96024
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    @Ryan

    Either that or now that his creation has the potential to be a mainstream hit he has all the power in the world to tell his editor to stop pressuring him and take as long as he wants with the books.

  207. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    @plainjane … no no, i totally understand … we are all birds of a feather here. i don't imagine that both of us have often found ourselves at odds with the tastes of mainstream america much to our chagrin. and i am not underestimating the tastes of "many" americans … there are quite a few of "us" out here in the hinterlands … i am just reminding "us" that we often forget that in our little alternate reality bubbles that "most" of america is radically different in it's tastes than "we" are. if any of that makes sense.

    and as a once and future Dungeons and Dragons nerd i would like to go on record defending it.

    but i think both of us (and invetebrae) have valid points. there is enough in AGOT (sex, war, intrigue, pseudo history) to potentially attract enough viewers on HBO? maybe. hopefully. but the flip side is it also has plenty of elements (dragons, fantasy, british accents) that often turn off american viewers. enough to kill it? maybe. hopefully not. is the hbo audience more "refined" than the mainstream US (american idol) audience? maybe. hopefully. but it is an interesting discussion.

  208. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    @asmodean let's hope if the book sales go up from the show being successful it will motivate grrm to get a move on … and i mean that in the most respectful and loving way. i miss the days when i was a kid and there were still plenty of fantasy series out there that were A. already completed and B. i hadn't read. unfortunately after 20+ years of reading the genre i am left waiting for authors to finish series … sad but true reality … good thing they are most often worth it.

  209. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    For those who are worried about GoT not catching on because its fantasy, take a moment to think back about the first book. Keep in mind that the first season will have almost ZERO fantasy elements at all. Basically one scene at the beginning and another at the end. That's a huge advantage because it'll be able to bring people in based on the quality of the story that it's telling and once that happens and word gets out, people will be hooked and it'll be off and running. It was already said on this forum, but good story transcends genre.

    I think the best comparison is Lost. I know so many people who would never ever watch a sci-fi shows but LOVE Lost. That show ran a clinic on how to ease people in to watching a sci-fi show. Sure there were a couple odd elements to begin with, but nothing too sci-fi-ish. So by the time it got to all the time travel stuff going on all those people who had been watching who dont watch scifi were already all in.

    You don't need to have faith in the American viewing public, just have faith in the power of hte story.

  210. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    It also depends on how HBO sells it. If the promos are focus on the opening scene with the Others and winters that last for decades and a "magical realm" that could be an issue(although I actually believe it would still be a great success if they did that). But if they market it as a dynastical struggle with swords and war and sex, well that's a different story

  211. PlainJane
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    @ Mr. Mister — GREAT comparison. Although I know many people are getting frustrated with how "crazy" LOST is getting now, but I honestly think that even with dragons and direwolves, ASOIAF is more believable than LOST. LOL

  212. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Hey, if GoT gets to season 6, but some people are getting frustrated about how "crazy" it's getting, that'll be just fine with me. Haha.

  213. Anonymuff
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    Josh,

    I began reading your post but then became bored. By the way, I am not so much against her looks, but rather her acting ability. Or her character in The Tudors which is extremely annoying. But in true Tudors fashion, I am sure they will try to give the audience a reason to like her as they always do before killing a character. And again, Tamzin might fit better into a Dany role.

  214. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    @mr. mister … of course there are those of us who thought Lost was and is a big steaming pile of donkey excrement … but i totally get and agree with your basic point … there will be a way for HBO to market it that plays to it's mainstream strengths and away from possible weaknesses and I am fairly sure that is what they will do … let's just hope it turns out better than that utterly ridiculous Gilligan's Island meets Twilight Zone abomination that is Lost.

    I don't really like Lost, … in case you couldn't tell.

  215. Dead Angel
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    @all ppl that think fantasy cannot work on HBO

    any of you heard of this small show called True Blood? It has more fantasy than a GOT(half the characters are not human). It had the highest TV show dvd sales ever, and is more popular than any other show on HBO.

    A GOT is a combination of a little fantasy and a fake medieval Europe, plus an attitude of anything goes, (wolf heads galore)

    I am not worried. This show already has a loyal base(us) and ppl will be attracted to the Sex and intrigue, (it is what makes reality work for Americans). American guys will love the sex scenes and fighting, Women will like the sex scenes, and the intrigue even more. It has it all…

  216. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    @dead angel … vampyres are not fantasy (in the way we were discussing it) they are horror … and it is well established that America loves all things zombies and vampyres. (altho oddly americans seem less inclined towards werewolves for some reason?) … the rest of your points are valid (sex, intrigue) but True Blood and vampyres are a different kettle of fish than "epic fantasy" and dragons and AGOT.

    but i also think Mr. Mister did point out something important that i often overlook because i think about the series as a "whole" but the fact that the first "season"/book is almost entirely bereft of "fantasy" will be a great benefit to the show …

  217. Paul Gude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I'd also say that the subset of Americans HBO wants to win over is slightly different than network television.

  218. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    I would actually argue that True Blood the way it does vampires is fantasy. Same with Buffy. If its just vampires and its just shock value stuff, that's horror. But I when you are opening up the entire world of mystical (vampires, shapeshifters, were-animals and other various mystical creates) I think it is exactly fantasy as we are talking about it. True Blood is pure indulgence and if I had to pick one or the other, I'd say its more fantasy than it is horror and it shows that the American audience is open to it IF the quality is there.

  219. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    @paul … very true, the hbo audience is different than the network audience. and HBO "success" and network "success" are quite different. Plus hbo has done a good job making some very good tv on some usually very under appreciated topics. Rome, Deadwood, Elizabeth all took usually less than popular topics and made very good shows out of them but none of them were very long lived for whatever reason (popularity, cost or HBO decision). Does anybody know what kind of viewer numbers/dvd sales numbers constitute a "hit" on HBO vs a moderate success vs a "miss"? or compared to numbers for a normal network success or a cable success? i am not an industry expert so i really don't know. maybe if somebody had these numbers we could more easily judge the potential "hit" or "longevity" for AGOT series?

  220. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Hbo wants to regain the days when it TOLD it's viewers what was worth watching. They put out so much quality programming that simply bring an HBO production was a stamp of approval in and of itself.

    Staff changes and resting on laurels with expiration dates led them to a point in their history when they find themselves wanting to reestablish that credibility.

    And they're making their climb right now, with true blood in full force, and their comedies doing very well. Treme, Boardwalk Empire and Game of Thrones seem to be the new wave of dramas they're aiming to use to catapult back to the top.

    As long as the marketing is a Fantastic Drama closer to historical fiction and less Dungeons & Dragons, they stand a chance. I think we all agree they will have to work at getting viewers hooked. Once hooked however, I think this quibbling about anti-British Americans and lowest common denominator viewership will go out the window.

    BTW, the BBC is funding this as well, so there WILL be a European market from the jump.

    …ryan

  221. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Lastly, Americans have always had an infatuation with Arthurian legend and Shakespearian lore, both of which are clear avenues to market in GoT!!

    …ryan

  222. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    The root of the problem is that there really haven't been that many good fantasy movies or series. Harry Potter and LotR are both popular and successful because they were good stories and made really well. Shows like Xena and The Lengend of the Seeker weren't popular because they were awful. Fantasy is a difficult genre to bring to screen because… its all fantasy and requires a lot of movie magic. And if done bad, it comes off as ridiculous.

    I believe, without much doubt in my mind, that GoT has the potential to be a huge hit… there's so much there besides the fantasy elements, and I really think if its done right, its going to be an incredibly intriguing and gripping show, week to week, and will hook a large amount of viewers who would never consider picking up a fantasy book. My opinion of course.

  223. Chris
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

    The bigger problem with Americans is that they don't like to read. (Generalization, I know) Since there's never really been a good fantasy movie before HP and LotR, they haven't really been exposed to anything but the drivel that's been on TV / film.

  224. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    @invertebrae …. i am not so sure about how much most americans love arthurian legend or shakespeare (i mean i do but i am hardly the norm) … but your previous points are well made.

    it is weird how things go in cycles. vampyres are all the rage now but there was a time in the past that really decent shows about vampyres (Forever Knight and Kindred: The Embraced) never really caught on (and even Buffy was more of a cult hit).

    from perusal of some numbers it looks like the current HBO hits seem to get 2.5-3.5 million viewers for the original airing and 8-11 million for cumulative (replay/DVR) viewers. i couldn't find any numbers for previous shows like Sopranos, SItC, ROME, Deadwood etc.

    Supposedly Hung premier had the biggest numbers since … wait for it … John From Cincinnati (3.7 MIL) … so initial numbers do not always turn into long term success. but then again i cannot imagine AGOT being anywhere near as abysmal as JfC.

    I cannot find anything on GRRM cumulative book sales so I am not sure how big of a built in 'fan base' audience there is for AGOT show.

  225. Brude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    John Galt, The performance of LotR and Harry Potter (books and movies alike) in the US demonstrates just how popular fantasy is in the U.S.. LotR made over $1 billion in the US alone ($1.25 billion when adjusted for ticket price inflation). I haven't bothered to do the HP math, but it's even higher on average per movie and also there are more movies.

    The Narnia movies have also done very well with $432 million so far between the two movies and another on the way. I wouldn't use Golden Compass or Eragon as examples because these were frankly inferior movies.

    Go back in time to Conan The Barbarian, that too was considered quite a big hit in its day, enough so that the studio was very willing to make a sequel (that unfortunately was very poor).

    What has held back the genre, at least until LotR came along, was a series of mostly very poor attempts as clearly Hollywood really didn't understand the genre and didn't know what audiences were looking for. For every good movie like Conan, The Dark Crystal or Dragonslayer, you had a dozen pieces of crap like Krull or the Beastmaster movies (okay, the first Beastmaster was kind of fun, but you can't deny it was a B-grade film).

    Unfortunately, many Hollywood producers still don't understand what makes the genre tick, so you still get a lot of misses, but more and more people get it and the fans respond when it's done right.

    Fantasy is very popular in the US right now, which is exactly why you are still seeing so many projects going into production. It was even just announced that an Excalibur remake is in the works that Bryan Singer wants to do (really, though, do we need ANOTHER King Arthur movie…there are a LOT of other stories they can draw from…even other Arthurian legends…).

    Anyway, fantasy as a genre is every viable still in the U.S., in fact it is probably currently – next to comic book films (which might be argued are another type of fantasy story) – the most popular genre around, taken from the box office standpoint.

  226. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    Stardust did $135M worldwide also.

    I'm not that worried. HBO is going to get some True Blood crossover viewership and a slew of new viewers if/when the show premiers.

    …ryan

  227. Brude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    $135M worldwide is not very good…also, I was just looking at "Domestic" box office (which is what Hollywood calls the US and Canadian cume).

    I WISH Stardust did better, but I don't think it was marketed well. I think they should have compared it directly with "The Princess Bride," as it was really like the modern update of that film (also another fantasy film that did very well).

  228. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Brude

    ha you're totally right. I was just about to post my rebuttal. ESP since most of it's success was international and not domestic.

    Moving right along……..

    …ryan

  229. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    @invertebrae: now now, there are lies, damn lies and statistics. let's be honest about Stardust (and I am a huge Gaiman fan) it may have done 135M worldwide but only 28% of that was domestic (compared with something like Public Enemies which grossed 170M worldwide and broke down 55% domestic/45% world). which only goes to help prove my point about America and fantasy.

    but i would love to see HBO let True Blood be a lead in for AGOT (when the time comes). I did find an interesting set of numbers about True Blood viewership numbers. It seems the season 1 premier only got 1.8 million viewers (on it's original airing) and slowly built to season 2 premier which got 3.7 … so hopefully HBO has learned that a hit show can often start slowly and build. which i think may be the case with AGOT … as people get over their initial hesitations about the 'fantasy' aspects and the quality of the story and production win them over.

  230. invertebrae
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    worth noting. GRRM replied to a poster worried that the tv series would eventually replace his writing of the books….

    "The books are going to continue and not be replaced by the TV series."

    …ryan

  231. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    so i looked up Stardust on boxofficemojo.com and i think that it might be a good example:

    Stardust: DOM: $38.6M WRLD: $97M TOT: $135.5M

    30 Days Of Night: DOM: $39.5M WRLD: $35.7M TOT: $75.3M

    The Brave One: DOM: $36.8 WRLD: $33M TOT: $70M

    With most movies that are released the US gross is 50% or more of the world-wide gross but with Stardust, an ostensibly "fantasy" movie, the US gross was less than a third of the worldwide gross. The vampire movie (30 Days of Night) and the "typical suspense" movie (The Brave One) had equal US numbers but Stardust was a much bigger hit in the rest of the world than it was here in the US.

    None of this means that AGOT cannot and will not succeed, the more we discuss it the more my fears are allayed, but the numbers are an interesting adjunct to my point that "fantasy" (again, aside from kiddie stuff HP/Narnia and LotR which transcends all boundaries) is less popular here in the US than in the rest of the world and struggles against a stigma or negative feeling.

  232. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    @Brude not to be argumentative, but Princess Bride has only grossed $30.5M domestically in the 22 year time it has been out. less than stardust. and it is one of my favourite movies of all time. but maybe these Stardust/Princess Bride are not really a good parallel since they are more Fairy Tales than Epic Fantasy but still … it is weird how many of these type of things don't do well commercially in the US but often become cult hits (the princess bride being a great example) or big hits in the rest of the world.

  233. Blue
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Catelyn

    I think the strength of the characters and the intricacy of the plot will carry this series through regardless of how fantastical it is. At the end of the day, GoT is about characters with very human issues. The fantasy supplements the story; it is not fantasy for the sake of fantasy.

    I'm just so glad we've made it as far as we have. :)
    Remember when we didn't know if we'd even get a pilot?
    And imagine if they had to trim down GoT to a 2.5 hour movie!

    P.S. Is it now not possible to post as "anonymous" or as a name and url?

  234. Anonymuff
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm | Permalink

    Stardust was not a great movie. The two lead actors bombed.

  235. Silverstar
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    "P.S. Is it now not possible to post as "anonymous" or as a name and url?"

    Nope. WiC removed the option to get rid of the trolls, and so far it seems to have worked,

  236. Brude
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    @Brude not to be argumentative, but Princess Bride has only grossed $30.5M domestically in the 22 year time it has been out.

    Ancillary markets – Princess Bride became a classic and a hit on TV and DVD and more than made it's money many times over by now. It's a lot like "A Christmas Story," that way. A Christmas Story only made $19 million when it came out, but now it's one of the most beloved movies of all time.

    My point with Princess Bride (also enormously beloved now), was that if they made a direct comparison to it, they might have gotten more of those countless millions who love that movie to see "Stardust." It was more a point about bad marketing than about the original box office of Princess Bride (which by this point doesn't matter).

  237. Who Is John Galt?
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    @Brude: very true. Stardust would have very much appealed to the Princess Bride crowd had they known about it. and as for the person who said it wasn't great, maybe not, but it was quite a good film IMHO. but i do think that both films are illustrative of the initial resistance by mainstream America to certain genres traditionally. but quality always seems to win out in the end so i guess that, in the end, is the best thing AGOT has going for it.

  238. coltaine777
    Posted August 24, 2009 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Can someone tell me how the scripting of the series will work ?…what I mean is at this point will D+D have scripted more episodes at this point or would they have only scripted the pilot ?…sorry if I'm using the wrong terminolgy…

  239. Brude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    Regarding scripting, I think they've been scripting all along. Unlike many shows which have large writing staffs, they are scripting all of the episodes themselves (save one per season, which GRRM will be doing).

    We know from the casting sides that went out there have been scenes used for auditions that are not in the pilot, some even from episodes very late in the season. I think they pulled these from their completed or partially completed scripts up to that point. Not all of the scripts going forward may be done, but I suspect they are well along in the process.

  240. coltaine777
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:14 am | Permalink

    And will D+D be the only writers (excluding George)…or is it likely they will have a team of writers?

  241. coltaine777
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:18 am | Permalink

    sorry Brude …you already answered it …this post was delayed a little a bit …thanks for the answer !

  242. coltaine777
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:38 am | Permalink

    Another question…I realize HBO/BBC are financing this project…but what I don't understand is the relationship between HBO and the producers…do the producers take an idea to a network and if the network or cable channel like the idea they agree to pay for it ?….How does it all work ? …..it's all Greek to me LOL

  243. coltaine777
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    ok seriously …last question …for tonight …I have already asked this but it got lost in the shuffle about 4000 post ago LOL …and that question is …is this solely an HBO decision to go ahead with a series order or does the BBC have to agree ?

  244. Brude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 1:12 am | Permalink

    There are different ways a producer/network or studio relationship can work and there are different kinds of producers who do different things. Many producers don't really do anything at all, but they have control of some important element (like own the rights to the story involved, maybe) and so are given a producer credit and a cut just so everyone else can use what they have to get the project completed. Sometimes they area powerful manager of some talent involved and so get to take their pound of flesh.

    In this particular case, Dave & Dan contacted GRRM with a desire to do the show because they liked the books. They weren't the first to approach GRRM for rights but they were the first he agreed to work with. Dave & Dan then pitched the concept of the series to HBO and HBO optioned it (and later bought it) for them to produce and write.

    I'm not sure the relationship of the other producers involved and what they specifically bring to the project. Some might bring financing to the show, some might be helping in the development process. Some are probably internal HBO people charged with overseeing the project for Corporate, making sure it remains on track and under control. It could be any number of things.

    Shows can also be developed internally at a studio or network, and then farmed out to a producer to shepherd along further. These might be projects their own people had an idea for and then hired some people to write for them, or (more likely), it's something they bought, like book rights or an old script, and they bring talent on board to try and turn it into something viable.

    Studios and networks own lots of projects that are basically in some state of development or production. Other times they are in a kind of limbo where nothing is happening. It's often little more than a script on a shelf (that they might have paid a million bucks for) and some production notes in a file cabinet somewhere. Sometimes when a project is completely dead, another studio or producer will decide they like the project and will buy it out, paying off the development/production costs up to then, and thus gaining the rights to the property. This process is called "turnaround."

    Producers that have gained a good track record will often get what is called a "first-look deal" with a studio. These can range to small deals to very, very big ones. With such a deal, the studio agrees to pay all of a producer's office overhead (sometimes just putting them in offices on the studio lot and paying for one assistant and their photocopy and FedEx bills) and in return the producer has to bring any projects they want to make to that studio first. Occasionally producers have exclusive deals, but that is more rare. If the studio passes on the project, the producer has the right to try and set it up elsewhere if they can. More likely, though, a good agent/manager trying to sell the project has already been able to get it seen by most studios who will either pass on it or not (they almost always pass), so that can be hard. I could probably write about another 30 pages for you about this particular process, since it's the area of the business I dealt with most (I was a literary manager), but I don't think the minutia will help.

    So after all that, to answer your question, coltaine, Yes…pretty much all of those things you guessed are possible, it just depends on the project and the particular situation.

  245. Brude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Dunno how it works between HBO and the BBC. HBO owns the rights, so it's up to them if it goes forward. Depending on the deal between HBO and the BBC, they could either be committed to help fund/produce it if HBO says "go," or maybe they can drop out – I honestly don't have that answer. I'm guessing the latter, but then again I'm not expert on that aspect of things. If, let's say, HBO wanted to go forward but the BBC wiggled out of it somehow, HBO could still do it, but might need to find other partners somewhere, else foot the whole bill themselves.

  246. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:04 am | Permalink

    We'd have to think more in Narnia Dimension's.
    I think it might have a similar appeal once it's out.

  247. About Yea High
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    I blame my new Google account (and my new Blogger account, and my new LiveJournal account) on the trolls that infested and lambasted this forum with their screech-voiced text-spewing hate-spawning diatribes, and I wish Tamzin Merchant a billion dollars in success.

    On the plus side, with LiveJournal, I can now yell at Mr. Martin for having two football teams.

    My only comment to the subject at hand is I think McCarthy – and the show – will be fine. I actually cannot imagine it going any other way, save for actors perishing, sets burning down, the Black Plague returning (and so far north!), making Game of Thrones the television equivalent of MacBeth.

    I'm raising a toast to the not-a-jinx.

  248. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    The most important thing is to have a lot of beautiful people having sex with one another and killing the others accompanied by some great music.
    And goose bump trailers.

    That always does me in.

  249. amir mishali
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:12 am | Permalink

    Narnia? I fail to see the resemblance. The Narnia movies/books: 1. are geared toward children/young adults 2. have a strong christian religious subtext 3. don't have any sex or (significant) violence

  250. amir mishali
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:14 am | Permalink

    The most important thing is to have a lot of beautiful people having sex with one another and killing the others accompanied by some great music.

    you ARE talking about GoT, right? lol

  251. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I was just talking about the "appeal" of popular fantasy novels.

    I didn't like Narnia (hated Stardust), but the Narnia Trailer had me cry and shiver.

    I really hope we get a sexy gloomy hound. Such shows live with the hearththrobs…
    the Mcdreamy and Mcsteamy of Westeros.

    I'm talking about how to get NON GRRM fans into the boat.

  252. Marko
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:17 am | Permalink

    A belated OT reminder, because I am bored: the FAQ needs an update of the cast list.

    On-topic mood: Optimistic.

  253. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:00 am | Permalink

    It occured to me that HBO may have already started the process of marketing it away from its fantasy elements by renaming the series from A Song of Ice and Fire to A Game of Thrones.

    That just may be a little glimpse into what HBO is planning.

  254. Alexander
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:24 am | Permalink

    A Game Of Thrones is a better name to TV series than A Song Of Ice And Fire. Also, A Game Of Thrones is a much better description of what's going on.

  255. Jonias
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    I have been contemplating a way HBO could create a larger audience base for their shows and makes more money to boot. This won't work with all their shows, but they should consider given it a try with GoT. I am speaking of HBO releasing GoT on the big screen right after it airs each week on HBO. Hollywood back in the 30's and 40's would just pump out a series of movies with the same characters and I am not talking just serials either. I believe GoT has the ability to not only captivate the HBO audience but the Worldwide moviegoers too. If GoT has the production quality of Rome and the performance to go along with it, HBO should consider taking each episode or maybe combine 2 episodes together and dropping them on the big screen.
    I mean this could be a boon for the movie industry. Imagine GoT playing like the old serials but be actually like Gone with the Wind broken down into 3 parts and released in theatres over 3 months. GoT would reach a whole new sector of the market and HBO might even get an increase in subscribers. You won't want the these movies being released to close to each tv episode, lets say combine 2 episodes and release them on the big screen when the 3rd or 4th episode airs. So each movie is released in theatres every 2-3 weeks, since most movies make 70% of their gross those weeks anyway. The particular movie is replaced then by the next one and so on. HBO subscribers wont' feel ripped because they watched the episodes first, and then many would go to the theatres to watch them again on the big screen, imagine the possiblilties.
    HBO execs could crunch the numbers and figure the percentage of average moviegoers subscribing to HBO, if it is like 30% or less they might seriously consider this. Afterall reaching more consumers with a product to make more money off that product is one of the purposes behind industry. This might be the engine that brings back a modern version of the ole movie serial and revitalizes the movie industry.

  256. Bubba
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:32 am | Permalink

    Mr. Mister,

    I doubt HBO wants to move away rom the fantasy elements. A Song of Ice and Fire is just too long for a tv series name.

  257. Mr. Mister
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:45 am | Permalink

    Just to clarify, I don't think HBO wants the series to get away from the fantasy elements, I just think they may not be looking to immediately highlight them in their marketing. Game of Thrones is a much better name in general, but I just wouldn't be surprised if getting away from a more fantasy based name was also part of the equation.

    This being said, I am not of the opinion that fantasy couldn't do well in the U.S. I actually think they could market it as pure fantasy and it would still be a hit. I just think they probably won't.

  258. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:57 am | Permalink

    "I still maintain that adults in America do not like "fantasy" with the odd exception of anything their kids love or Tolkien it seems."

    Sales disagree with you: the 25 million copies of THE WHEEL OF TIME that have been sold in the United States by itself, the 12 million or so copies of THE SWORD OF TRUTH that have been sold in the USA alone, Christopher Paolini's enormous success etc. Epic fantasy was the dominant subgenre of speculative fiction as recently as five or six years ago, and has only recently been edged out by 'urban' fantasy (only due to a vast output, however), but even so a good epic fantasy can achieve a name recognition and sales in a short space of time that urban fantasy authors would die for. It took Butcher and Harris years and multiple releases to achieve the level of success which Rothfuss did in weeks with just one book for example.

    Also remember that ASoIaF does have zombies, so it swinging with the zeitgeist ;-)

    "Let us hope that the few people who do not have an aversion to "Britishy things" will be enough to make the show successful but I have my doubts."

    Well, ROME got good audiences despite the entirely British and Italian cast. DOCTOR WHO pulls in big figures on SyFy (bigger than the much-lauded BATTLESTAR GALACTICA). THE TUDORS has a wholly British cast and has done excellent business for Showtime. British films like LOVE ACTUALLY have done huge business in America.

    I'd be interested to see how the MERLIN 'experiment' has worked out for NBC. Rather than remaking the British show, NBC hit on the earth-shatteringly original idea of importing the original and showing it at primetime. They could have chosen a much better show, of course, but at least it's a start.

    "American audiences seem to dislike the medieval historical period. Kingdom of Heaven was a great film. With a huge star. By a fantastic director. And it flopped."

    KINGDOM OF HEAVEN was a poor movie by a director much better things were expected of. It was also under-marketed at the time and shown in an incomplete format (with over a third of its length missing), the main cause of its poor quality. It also had an excellent cast but a mediocre lead. Those things damaged its chances, particularly in the USA. However, it has been a strong seller on DVD ever since.

    There are significant barriers to all seven seasons getting on air, but the producers' approach seems simply to take each day as it comes, make the pilot as good as possible, make Season 1 as good as possible etc. If they keep the job up, then the series will be completed and everyone will be happy. If they do not, then it will end. But the key difference here is that this isn't ROME, where we are left hanging on the fate of Lucius Vorenus or wondering what Caesarion's reaction to news of his parentage will be. If we only get one season so be it, people hooked in can go out and pick up a copy of CLASH OF KINGS to see how the story continues.

  259. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    I do think the fantasy connotation has to be reimagined in order for HBO to call it an HBO Original. Carnivale established a world much more akin to Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes. That is what HBO has to hope for: a darker, more rich, more violent, more scandalous world than even Tolkein's.

    You'll see that in the marketing to be sure. This isn't shrek, some comedic satire of the genre. It's a genre overhaul altogether. The anti-Fantasy Fantasy as I said earlier.

    Personally I thnk it's genius, and that we are going to see this show explode on the airwaves. I mean, can you imagine when people at work will talk about an episode of GoT the way they pondered Sopranos after it would air on Sunday? It's going to be insane!

    …ryan

  260. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:03 am | Permalink

    "We know from the casting sides that went out there have been scenes used for auditions that are not in the pilot, some even from episodes very late in the season."

    It should be pointed out that GRRM said that Alfie Allien auditioned using the scene where he confronts his father, which will likely be in the first episode of Season 2.

  261. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:05 am | Permalink

    Can I also take a moment to recommend to the producers to follow in Peter Jacksons footsteps a d document the journey to filming the series? From the direwolves to locations to how to hide magic in plain sight, some video diaries or webisodes behind the scenes.

    I remember how much hype it built for LOTR as far as two years before the films were completed.

    Anyone with me here?

    …ryan

  262. Invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    @Adam

    I wonder if they'll start season 2 with Cressen at Dragonstone or jump right into Yoren giving Arya a haircut?

    Personally I'd like S02EP01 to end with Arry and Yoren meeting the Goldcloaks. EP02 is where I would introduce Davos and then revisit Theon.

    So many options it's fun to think about!!

    …ryan

  263. Silverstar
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Does anyone else have this strange feeling that we're somehow seriously involved in the making of this show, despite that fact that all we're actually doing is discussing things to death on a fan blog? :P

  264. Blue Rose
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    I agree with you, Ryan. They should make some kind of diary. But, that'll hardly happen. I think they'll keep it secret, only to make a few slips.

    @Silverstar: I think you are right. We are here to spread the news. :)

  265. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    @ John Galt

    Sorry for the delay in responding.

    No, I am NOT holding Xena up as an example of good fantasy, just successful fantasy.

    I think the real issue is defining what we mean by "commercially successful." You seem to think (correct me if I'm wrong) that it needs to be a Nielsen top 20 show to be successful or a hit. The only cable show to hit the top 20 last week was The Closer (somewhere around #15) and that is on basic cable. When you talk about HBO/Showtime even True Blood doesn't come close to that level of viewership. HBO's main concern is subscribers, positive buzz and DVD sales and cult hit status drives those. I don't subscribe to HBO right now and never have. I will when GoT comes on and cancel when it goes on hiatus. I think a lot of readers will do so as well and that fluctuation will encourage HBO to keep the show running.

  266. Jonias
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    @INVERT,

    Great Idea Invertebrae, I like your proposal for HBO to document it as Peter Jackson did LOTR and KING KONG. The daily diaries on the internet would be awesome and keep buzz going.
    Having one or more of the actors do a commentary while filming just like Andy Sertis for KONG, mixing humor in with it.

  267. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    I've mentioned before. When Sopranos was in it's prime, HBO's subscriptions would drop an average 30% the day after the season finale. Crxy to thnk about but it makes sense. Sopranos essentially made up almost half of HBO's subscriptions.

    I guess the point is that, the programming I'd the revenue. There's no advertiser here so the risk of picking up and producing a show isUCH greater a commitment. If they pick up GoT, they are telling us they believe it can succeed. And by and large (with only a few major exceptions) HBO has had the proverbial crystal ball in these matters.

    …ryan

  268. Jonias
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    This is an edit for my earlier post:
    I have been contemplating a way HBO could create a larger audience base for their shows and make more money to boot. This won't work with all their shows, but they should consider given it a try with GoT. I am speaking of HBO releasing GoT on the big screen right after it airs each week on HBO. Hollywood back in the 30's and 40's would just pump out a series of movies with the same characters and I am not talking just serials either. I believe GoT has the ability to not only captivate the HBO audience but the Worldwide moviegoers too. If GoT has the production quality of Rome and the performance to go along with it, HBO should consider taking each episode or maybe combine 2 episodes together and dropping them on the big screen.
    I mean this could be a boon for the movie industry. Imagine GoT playing like the old serials but be actually like Gone with the Wind broken down into 3 parts and released in theatres over 3 months. GoT would reach a whole new sector of the market and HBO might even get an increase in subscribers. You won't want these movies being released too close to each tv episode, lets say combine 2 episodes and release them on the big screen after the 3rd or 4th episode airs. So each movie is released in theatres every 3-4 weeks, since most movies make 70% of their gross those weeks anyway. The particular movie is replaced then by the next one and so on. HBO subscribers wont' feel ripped because they watched the episodes first, and then many would go to the theatres to watch them again on the big screen, imagine the possiblilties.
    HBO could consider two options, toning down the sex some and getting a hard PG13 rating or keeping it with an R rating. Fantasy is very popular with moviegoers, Harry Potter, LOTR, NARNIA, STAR WARS, PIRATES etc. If successful it could generate an extra 100-150 mil for an R rated version or 250-300 mil for a hard PG13 one and that is each movie. The marketing execs at HBO would figure which version. Those numbers are just U.S. gross, worldwide fantasy grosses are usually 2 1/2 times US market, so we could be talking about 300-350 mil or 600-650 mil for each 2 episode movie. Multiply that by 6 movies per year and you are talking almost 2 billion for a R rated and 3.5 bil for a PG13.
    HBO execs could crunch the numbers and figure the percentage of average moviegoers who subscribe to HBO, if it is like 30% or less they might seriously consider this. Afterall reaching more consumers with a product to make more money off that product is one of the purposes behind industry. This might be the engine that brings back a modern version of the ole movie serial and revitalizes the movie industry.

  269. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Hey,

    For those earlier posters who worried that Sophie would have to dye her hair to become Sansa (duh!) and those who wondered whether Sophie looked enough like her mother, Jennifer Ehle, I submit the following (doctored) image for your consideration. I don't see ANY problem whatsoever… NONE.

    - Catelyn & Sansa

    …ryan

  270. coltaine777
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    @Brude….thanks for the info…

  271. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Ryan – I'm with you and Jonias as far as the production diaries go. I absolutely think production diaries/making of videos could keep the momentum of this going.

    Silverstar – Yes, I do get the feeling like we're actually discussing things as though we can influence the outcome. That's why during the casting riddle thread I kept writing, "Now, someone has *already* been chosen…" It was more for myself than anyone else. While HBO may be reading what we write, I would say that we flavor how decisions feel to make, not the actual outcome of the decision. It's like when a sports team wins and all the fans say, "We won!" They have even *less* influence on the outcome, but still feel like they're a part of things.

  272. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    @ Jonias:

    That's an interesting idea which has been tried on a smaller scale. Some movie theatres played the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA finale in them the week after it aired in the USA. Apparently it did okay, but didn't really attract anyone other than the hardcore fans who'd been hooked via the television broadcast anyway.

    The system you are talking about is simply unworkable. You'd need a huge cinema marketing budget as well, you'd need to print thousands of copies and you'd need to tone down the adult elements (as apparently you can't get films into the cinema unless they're PG-13, not unless you don't want to make any money). The economics don't really exist to show a TV series, even a high-quality, high-budget one, at the cinema on any kind of mass level. Small, fan showings at conventions and stuff? Sure, but not a large-scale release to rival blockbusters.

  273. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    Is Melisandre in GoT? If so, Polly Walker is out for that role as she was just announced for a role in John Carter of Mars.

  274. Silverstar
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Melisandre doesn't show up til the prologue of A Clash of Kings, IIRC.

  275. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    That's what I thought. Thanks, I can continue to dream.

  276. Chris
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    @gofalcons & Silverstar –
    Correct, just finished GoT last night and Melisandre was not mentioned at all.

  277. PlainJane
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Love that image comparison Ryan! It feels like the producers plucked Sophie right out of my head for the perfect Sansa. I can't wait to see the other children cast.

  278. Chris
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Yea, that picture comparison is real cool to see. They could easily pass for mother and daughter.

  279. PlainJane
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I'm really excited to see who they cast as the Hound. For some reason, that character has always been the hardest for me to place in my head. I never image him with the burns on his face (which is such a defining characteristic of his)and always picture him older than I think the books have him. Really can't wait to see who the producers pick for him.

  280. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I really like this fanmade trailer, even though it's from before the times of HBO…
    The first time it had almost fooled me.

    Trailer

  281. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Sorry, I meant THIS FAKE TRAILER

  282. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I put a running mosaic of the Starks so far. Two more to go!

    - The Starks on HBO

    …ryan

  283. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    *cough* ryan… it's eddard, not neddard…

  284. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    @Jenny – that is really cool. If they can pull off that kind of sfx in the series this could be huge.

    Anybody know what movie the little girl with the sword is from?

  285. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    eddard typo fixed. whooooops.

    …ryan

  286. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Great job, Ryan!

    When they're all together like that I can see the resemblance even more. HBO is doing a great job of casting.

    And Jenny, for some reason that trailer always makes me tear up. I can't even imagine what the first official one is going to be like.

  287. Wanderer
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the comparison pic Ryan, I was really hoping someone would make such. And yes, I think Jennifer and Sophie do look close enough, though the chin structure might be a little different etc. But children aren't clones of their parents. :)

  288. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Wanderer, children aren't clones of their parents? You've obviously never seen me and my daughter together (except for that whole gender difference thing) :)

  289. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    updated with a new img of ned, i think it shows that arya and her father should have some nice resemblances as well.

    …ryan

  290. sven20
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    True Bloods ratings just went up again! This is like 5th or 6th week in a row. This time it was a 20% spike up to 5.3 million.

    http://ausiellofiles.ew.com/2009/08/25/true-blood-ratings-theyre-huge/

  291. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    I found a picture of Harry Lloyd where he has blonde hair, from a photo around the time of he was in a production of Arthur Miller's "A View From the Bridge."

    I put it next to a similar photo of Tamzin Merchant, and think they'll be doing okay as siblings.

    http://sgnp.com/lloyd_merchant.png

  292. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Rather, I meant:

    I put it next to a similar photo of Tamzin Merchant, and think they'll be doing okay as siblings:

    http://sgnp.com/lloyd_merchant.png

    My apologies to the HTML Nazi.

  293. sven20
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I can already see him pinching her nipple!

  294. PlainJane
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Harry Lloyd gives me the serious creeps. Perfect casting there. LOL

  295. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Wow, I already was afraid of the HTML Nazi when I saw those UNLINKED LINKS!

    (Being german I have some issues with his name though… so lightly used…)

  296. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    i think i'd see Sean as Ned in this

  297. BP
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    @ invertebrae

    No Jon Snow? Man, everyone's making him sit at the bastards' table.

  298. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    @Jenny, is there a larger version of that sean bean image? i like that one!

    @BP, i'll add in jon now! you're right, bastard's table :)

    …ryan

  299. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    @Paul

    Nice! Even though neither of those photos are very flattering, you get to see their features, bothing having similarly sharp features. chin, lips, nose, and even eyes to a degree, though i think her eyes will be very distinctive.

    Good find!

    …ryan

  300. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Ryan.

    And, Jenny, that image of Sean Bean is great. As grim as they come.

  301. prometevsberg
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    @gofalcons
    "Anybody know what movie the little girl with the sword is from?"
    Probably "Joan of Arc"

    The poster previously known as
    Thoros of Myr

  302. Marko
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, perhaps you could use another photo for Robb, there was a Madden-Robb comparison one somewhere, where they had the same kind of head tilt. Better than this shaven-head one, IMO.

  303. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    updated stark family mosaic…

    - The Starks on HBO (Revised)

    …ryan

  304. BP
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    Nice work, Ryan. Now we just have to squeeze Lyanna in there and we can put an end to the question of who is whose.

    Any chance of putting together a mosaic of Robert's bastards? :)

  305. Smoldering Hound
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Can you switch Robb and Jon's picture, so the "Starkish" types are next to each other on top and the "Tullyish" types are on the bottom (other than Bran).

  306. Anonymuff
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    SH Nice idea, like the Brady Bunch

  307. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    You know, SH, just even doing it with my brain I can totally see how they line up. HBO is obviously paying attention about this.

  308. Paul J
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    @BP

    Might as well put in Rhaegar too. Then we'll finally know the truth.

  309. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Brady bunch…. heh you guys are funny. Yes I'll switch those two when I get home tonite. I actually already did that but can't upload from train. It makes a big diff switching them so good idea!!

    hopefully next week I can make a full lannister mosaic incl. cersei and tywin. Myrcella if were lucky!

    …ryan

  310. Kim
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Long time lurker, first time poster.

    First of all: thankt you WiC for a fantastic blog.

    Second of all: @ John Galt: Even if what you say is 100% true that does not necessarily make AGOT a flop in America. I read a LOT of fantasy when I was younger. Not annymore. In many ways I view fantasy in the same way as your 'americans'. For me the WAST majority of fantasy produced is utter crap. As a result I don't read fantasy anymore. But I LOVE aSoIaF.

    aSoIaF is not fantasy, it's HBO.

    And I for one is very hopefull it will do well.

  311. Knurk
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, thanks very much for the Starks. I have them now as the background of my computer. What a killer line-up!

    to WiC: your blog is the best, can't stop lurking since your very first post!

  312. HKCavalier
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

    I never got the feeling that Deadwood's success had anything to do with its being a western. I thought it had everything to do with the extremely dark portrait of life–the dark brutality of that world and the difficulty virtue had against the odds. That and HBO's patented 2 bare breasts & 10 curse words minimum/episode formula.

    Too bad GoT doesn't share any of those characteristics…oh, wait

    Sell it bloody, sell it sexy, sell the fantasy as horror and push the historical authenticity and GoT will make a splash. If it was gonna be on the SyFy (why'd they start spelling it that way?) Network I would be worried, but with HBO? I'm not worried.

  313. Errant Venture
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I'm just hoping that they don't muck up the action and combat. Give me something out of I:33, not some bullshit 'sword-as-clubs' crap.

  314. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    Stark mosaic updated one last time, putting the "Starkish" ones along the top, and the "Tullyish" ones along the bottom.

    :)

    The Starks on HBO (Brady Bunch Edition)

    …ryan

  315. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Errant, HKCavalier has the right of it. HBO takes care with what they do. I have every confidence that people who are supposed to fight well are going to be technical and bad-ass at the same time, others will have brutal efficiency, and still more will be sloppy and extremely violent. I'm not worried.

    I am, however, very interested as to who'll be doing the fight choreography, as well as production design and every other little part of the project.

    And, Ryan, great work. That's pretty darn amazing.

  316. PlainJane
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    After looking at the "Brady Bunch" version of that mosaic, I was struck by how much Robb and Jon look like each other in their pictures. Anyone else think so?

  317. lordnedshead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Americans don't like lame fantasy. We're too smart for it. Throw in some intelligent, exciting fantasy and we'll be there. The problem to date isn't with the American viewing audience, its with the drivel pawned off as "good fantasy" that we have been force fed in SyFy and other outlets.
    There is a reason LoTR and HP are exceptions. They are great! There rest of it has been junk.
    We're waiting for something to be produced that the adult viewer can buy into.
    I had much the same view on fantasy a few years back. I was craving something thoughtful to read. Tolkien was my fave series ever. Some of the other series I'd read were enjoyable (Drizzt, Xanth) some weren't (Dragonlance) but nothing really slapped me in the face and did what LoTR did to me all over again as an adult.
    Then I picked up a little something called A Game of Thrones and my world was blown!
    Its my sincere hope that the series has a similar effect on the general American viewing audience. The story has layers upong layers of everything I want in a mature fantasy series and I believe it will be a smash. If at such time GoT flops, I'll come back here and declare you right WIPG but until then I just ain't buyin it.

  318. lordnedshead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

    BTW I did a little research. This is just since 2000.
    Academy Award winners and nominees that either come from British created source material, take place in Britain or are about Bristish figures.

    2001 Gosford Park nom
    LotR: Fellowship of the Ring nom
    2002 The Hours nom
    LoTR: The Two Towers
    2003 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the
    World nom
    LotR: Return of the King winner
    2004 Finding Neverland
    2006 The queen
    2007 Atonement

    I'm not really even sure what the argument has anything to do with GoT, but there are quite a few movies over the past decade that have attained at least critical acclaim here in the states. Also, critical acclaim means alot more to HBO than it often does to a big Hollywood Blockbuster.

  319. lordnedshead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, don't forget to include the actress playing Septa Mordane in the Alice's middle square!

  320. Anonymuff
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    Ryan, awww no Septa in the center as a stand-in for Alice?

    ARYA : Sansa, Sansa, Sansa!

  321. Demokritos
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    @Josh

    Sorry to drag something up from the last page, but this is too ridiculous for me to not point out…

    "Anonymuff,

    It's grown beyond a legitimate concerned and become fanboy whining. It's one thing entirely to say "I don't think she looks like Dany, and I'm concerned, but I'll watch the pilot before I make up my mind" and to start telling us "the less we mention Merchant as Dany the better" … It's lunacy.

    … Winter, I'm formally requesting that you ban any further discussion about Tamzin as Dany until the pilot has been seen."

    In a single post, you first complain very strongly against someone for not wanting to discuss Tamzin Merchant as Dany. How rude of them! And your solution… Is to request a moratorium against discussing Tamzin Merchant as Dany?

    I completely understand where the anti-Tamzin people are coming from, as I was very much displeased by the idea myself at first, but currently am quite willing to give her a shot, and expect that my initial reaction will be proven wrong. So I really don't have a "side" here. I just can't let that kind of self-contradiction go unmentioned. Personally I'm all for a polite discussion of whether Tamzin is a good choice for Dany, which apparently both of you are against. I admit, however, that since it's a moot point, I'd much rather the discussion move in other directions, as it has been doing. Sorry again for bringing this up, but seriously…

  322. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    I'm wondering how much of this "People in the U.S. don't like shows with British accents" thing is just "common knowledge" that doesn't take the primary examples to the contrary into account.

    I would say the case of shows from Great Britain not being successful until they're remade in the U.S. has more to do with our network structure than the preferences of our citizens. As far as I know, the big three don't simply import shows that often. I know that growing up I used to watch tons of British shows on PBS.

    How many students on college campuses quoted Monty Python to the point that you wanted to do them physical violence in the early 90s?

    Movies like Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels and Snatch did pretty well here, I think.

    I'd also say that Jason Statham is arguably a mainstream action star, and his British accent is pretty prominent in a lot of his movies.

    In fact, I'd say that people who have tried to compensate for U.S. audiences disliking British accents end up ruining things more often than not. The U.S. Red Dwarf didn't see the light of day, Life on Mars didn't last long. The shows that *do* succeed seem to do so because they end up finding their own voice, rather than remaining pale imitations of the originals.

    All that being said, we still aren't sure what HBO is going to do with the accents. Conventional wisdom says that they're going to use British accents, and that's what I'm hoping they do. It will cause the least amount of static from fans, for sure.

    However, I'm prepared for them to experiment. If they do so, however, I think it'll be because they want to, not because of some perceived anti-British bias.

  323. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Just curious, if we have any British posters on here, do the British networks import many American tv shows and are they successful? Movies are another matter as Hollywood is a colossus the world round.

  324. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:37 pm | Permalink

    also, i rather loved EXTRAS, and we americans are quite fond of ricky gervais in general. at least, we who like our humor a little more obscure and perhaps higher brow?

    we also love kate winslet and rachel weisz.

    we rather like jude law as well. and ewan mcgregor when he's not in star wars.

    i could go on, but what's the point. the proof will be in hbo's pudding once Got makes it on air. (that sounded gross, sorry.)

    …ryan

  325. gofalcons
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Oh, but we only love Kate Winslet when she's playing an American or a Nazi ;)

  326. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    On the completely non-British tip, I'm starting to like the idea of Derek Mears as Biter.

    Maybe not bulky enough, but still…

  327. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    @gofalcons…

    "i'll never let go jack."

    i have to disagree with you there.

    :)

    …ryan

  328. Adam Whitehead
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

    Are people still thinking of Elizabeth Banks for Cersei?

    Because she's shooting a movie starting next month which I'm going to guess will clash with the GoT shooting schedule and would rule her out of the series:

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/hr/content_display/film/news/e3ia3f0e0ee831a6936064bb67ea0ca8c05?imw=Y

  329. HKCavalier
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    @Mr. Gude,

    You're gettin' me worried again–this time, that HBO might not go with British accents. Of course, I'm not overly worried–they've been casting heavily British as it is–seems ever so slightly asinine to go to all that trouble only to end up forcing them all to sound like American news anchors.

    Remember why G.R.R.M. got into the fantasy business in the first place–he wanted to write historical fiction and change the endings! He's gone to so much trouble to set up the houses of Stark and Lannister to correspond to their real world cousins, York and Lancaster, it would be a disfiguring dumbing-down to turn them all into de facto Californians.

    But they won't. For a show like this to work everyone involved has to do research, research, and more research! And they ain't gonna be researching Terry Goodkind. They'll be digging deep into English history! A major part of English history, of the English character, is its regionalism. I'm really hoping HBO is going to retain the robust tension between north and south in this fictionalized England, even if we rube Americans wouldn't notice.

    Fortunately, the casting of Sean Bean–a Yorkshireman if ever there was one–as the head of House of Stark, suggests to me that HBO knows exactly what they're doing.

  330. Blue
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Catelyn

    Sorry to be random, but could someone remind me if Varys is in the pilot? I know it's on the blog somewhere, but I can't remember where…thanks!

  331. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    @Blue,

    no, varys is not in the pilot. in fact, he doesn't appear until about 100 pages in, after Catelyn and Rodrik race to King's Landing on the Stonn Dancer. She meets up with Littelfinger shortly after landing and Varys joins them to share his condolences.

    …ryan

  332. invertebrae
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:22 pm | Permalink

    i meant varys doesn't appear until about 150 pages in. sorry. the pilot episode covers the first 75 pages of the book, ending with "the things i do for love."

    …ryan

  333. Blue
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:24 pm | Permalink

    Catelyn

    Thanks ryan!
    The sad thing is, as much as I adore the ASoIaF books, there is so much detail in them that I just can't remember everything…I have noooo idea what the Stonn Dancer is. It'll be nice to have it condensed into a tv series to jog my memory!

  334. Paul Gude
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    HKCavalier, all I can say is, WOW, and thanks!

    that's a really great piece of background that I had absolutely no knowledge of until you mentioned it!

    I always had assumed they would use British accents because of the shorthand of "British Accent = Fantasy" that already exists. Now that you point that out, I can see even more reason for them to be kept.

    I had always assumed that it would be easy for HBO to say, "Hey, it's not our world, they can talk however we want them to," if they *really* decided to experiment. Now, I doubt they'd overlook the point you made.

    Thanks again!

  335. HTML Nazi
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    @Jenny

    Hi

    You shouldn't be afraid – you haz a very proper links! We ze Germans should stick together! One Blog, one Nation, one HTML!

    (but srsly – don't feel offended by this stupid net persona;p, cheers)

    @Brude

    Hi, Brude.
    Because of your bad links I had to take a hostage !

    Use a proper HTML next time or you'll zee this poor hungry child eating a cute guinea pig!

  336. Ausir
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    @Paul Gude

    "I always had assumed they would use British accents because of the shorthand of "British Accent = Fantasy" that already exists. Now that you point that out, I can see even more reason for them to be kept."

    I don't, given how both modern British and American English have just as much (or little) in common with Medieval English, and both are equally descended from it.

  337. Punctuation Fascist
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    @HTML Nazi

    "Because of your bad links I had to take a hostage !"

    Ze hostage has been shot. Lebensraum before exclamation mark ist verboten.

  338. Jenny
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    @ Paul Gude

    I'm on a cycling trip through north Cornwall (my favourite Monty Python quote).

  339. Mauberly
    Posted August 25, 2009 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

    They probably have already cast Gared and Maester Luwin and maybe other small roles too. George said he expect to hear several more roles to be filled by (last) weeks's end. I hope we get at least two annoucement in Sep/Oct instead one last big one of rest of the cast in October.

  340. HTML Nazi
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:01 am | Permalink

    @ Adam Whitehead
    Because of your Aryan Surname you were given a chance – but you blow it. Now I haz no choice…I issue a warning!
    Use a proper HTML or your family will shiver on a mere zight of a chefs hat!

  341. coltaine777
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:05 am | Permalink

    HTML NAZI…your hilarious….a bit strange …but funny .

  342. coltaine777
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:17 am | Permalink

    @ Html Nazi …How do I create links on my iPhone …is it possible ?

  343. HKCavalier
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 12:34 am | Permalink

    @Ausir,

    lol Yeah, it should all be in Middle English with subtitles! That's the ticket!

    Whan that Aprill, with his shoures soote
    The droghte of March hath perced to the roote…

    I'm so there!

  344. HTML Nazi
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 1:48 am | Permalink

    @ Coltaine777
    Gettin' lazy, eh? ;p

    Try this , and next time…
    Go Go Google Rangers!

  345. Silverstar
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 1:59 am | Permalink

    "I don't, given how both modern British and American English have just as much (or little) in common with Medieval English, and both are equally descended from it."

    They're going to go with British accents, almost certainly.

    They have a cast of actors who are almost entirely British, with currently just one single, solitary American and one single solitary Dane. What would be the sense in asking an entire cast of actors to put on a false accent to match the single American (including British children, remember – children are unlikely to be able to sustain a believable accent for a long period of time), rather than just asking the one American and the Dane to put on an accent to match the rest of the cast.

    All the extras will be British, too.

    Which is more likely not to cause nightmares for the continuity guys?

  346. Ausir
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    @Silverstar

    There was speculation of e.g. Lannisters and generally people from the west of Westeros having American accents.

  347. Silverstar
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 3:11 am | Permalink

    Well, we have an American and a Dane so far, so they could just as easily have Danish accents. Tall and blonde sounds Danish to me ;)

  348. shinyteapot
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 3:50 am | Permalink

    There was a request for comment from a Brit- I'm probably not the only one here, but I'll answer.

    Our TV channels import quite a lot of American shows, some do better than others. I seem to recall one channel even had the tagline 'shamelessly importing cool stuff' or something like that for a while- probably in response to the widespread opinion that too many imports may not be a good thing. We don't tend to remake American (or Australian, or any others that speak English) shows, but have a lot of original stuff in spite of the imports.

    These days, the 'imported shows are ruining our tv industry and killing our culture' argument has more or less been eclipsed by the 'reality tv is ruining our tv industry and killing our culture' argument.

    I have to say I have a strong dislike for American remakes of British shows- in most cases they just don't work, and seem more than a little pointless, the originals are good, why not watch those? I saw the American Red Dwarf pilot, it was awful. We can understand your shows, so I'm sure the opposite is possible. And taking out the 'British humour' rather defeats the point.

    Shows with BBC involvement, like Rome, are often seen as at least partially British. Generally speaking though, if it's a good show and in English (we're not very tolerant of dubbing or subtitles, even Welsh language shows don't tend to make it outside Wales) it will do well regardless of the country of origin.

    As regards the accents, given the majority of the cast is British, I'd expect some form of British accents to be used for most of the show (the Dothraki and so on being an exception). Of course the extras will mostly be from Northern Ireland, so that accent is a possibility too, but since most extras won't speak I doubt it. Personally I'd like to see a range of British accents, though they probably shouldn't be too strong. I always imagined the Tullys with a bit of a Welsh lilt for example. And the Iron Islands should have a distinctive accent- both to set the islanders apart, and show how Theon doesn't fit in when he tries to return- he'll sound like a Stark to them. I can imagine him trying to sound like the locals and failing.

  349. gofalcons
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    Invertabrae

    Rose was on her way home to Philadelphia, very upper crusty but still American IIRC.

  350. prometevsberg
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 4:51 am | Permalink

    This might interest you, fellow junkies:

    http://thewall-film.com/

    The poster formerly known as
    Thoros of Myr

  351. HTML Nazi
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 5:21 am | Permalink

    @prometevsberg

    Dear Thoros,
    Hope you'll enjoy that movie cause personally I'd send to The Wall for not referencing with HTML.

  352. Silverstar
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    @HTML Nazi

    Are you a fan of the books?

  353. gofalcons
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 5:58 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Kate Winslet, wouldn't she make a great Lysa Arryn? Don't see it happening, but even so…

  354. HTML Nazi
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    @Silverstar

    No I'm just an internet persona used to put a little order in URLs here (unreadable! ppl this days…so lazy!)

    But I know a guy who is;p

  355. Alexander
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 6:14 am | Permalink
  356. gofalcons
    Posted August 26, 2009 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    @ Alexander

    Bravo!!!


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