Rumor: HBO reaction to screening “not positive”
By Winter Is Coming on in Rumors, Speculation.

All may not be sunshine and rainbows on the Game of Thrones front. Commenter Michael has remarked that he has a source that is stating that HBO’s reaction to the pilot screening was “not positive” and that they are “back editing, trying to make it work.” He later goes on to say:

I should probably elaborate since I’m sure I’ll be attacked, but HBO just wasn’t as positive as they thought they would be. That doesn’t mean it won’t receive the light, but the show is so expensive that it just doesn’t bode well. I am told that Sean Bean is terrific, though.

Adam Whitehead of The Wertzone adds some conflicting info from his own sources:

Consulting my own sources suggests that whilst Michael’s comments that the pilot may not be 100% perfect (and no pilot ever is) and some elements may need further work might be correct – I’d be surprised if this was not the case – the overall vibe and enthusiasm for the project remains quite high at HBO.

Winter Is Coming: My feeling is that the original comments from Michael are reflective of, like Adam says, the normal pilot process being played out. Of course, HBO is likely to want some tweaking here and there. But based on everything else we have heard, HBO still seems excited about the project. Either way, this rumor is a good reminder that a green light is still not 100% guaranteed.


149 Comments

  1. @sallyarmstrong
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    when I read that title I felt a little sick, haha. I hope whatever HBO isn't happy with they're able to easily change…

  2. phunkysai
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    I wonder what their reaction to the initial True Blood pilot was….that was not the best pilot in the world…

  3. dizzy34
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    "Everything looks fantastic," said Lombardo, who's become a fan of the George R.R. Martin books upon which the project is based. "The director got great performances. Unlike a lot of projects like this, everything was shot on location. It has such a rich texture that it looks more expensive than it actually was."
    … this was a little over a month ago…everyone take a collective deep breath it will be o.k.

  4. Paul
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I think my heart skipped a beat when i read your tweet…but the rest of the post calmed me down :)

  5. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

    I think I may I have caused a riot.

    Hello, though. I'm open to any questions I can answer.

  6. Rer
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    this post made a small part of me die inside :(

  7. Erik
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the special effects are not finished yet. Or the editing need cuts or re-shot. We don't know which subject the producers found negative. However I think it is about a technical question and not about the atmosphere, the scenario, the directing or the actor's play, according to Lombardo.

  8. Davidio
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    Man, I got the tweet and I was like whaaaaaaaat. I'm feeling a bit better now, though. :)

  9. JackSparrow
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

    Hey, Michael, I have some questions though I have no idea what you'd feel comfortable answering. Does HBO feel that the exec producers/showrunners are good, decent, getting their feet wet, incompetent. Do they think there's a problem with the narrative flow, and is the show just too confusing (I assume at least somebody who hasn't read the books has watched it). I've wondered about whether the books will fall very naturally into episode form; also whether or not the show will feel rushed, as all dramatic moments are kept in and slower parts of the book are cut (or just don't realy adapt well, like internal monologue). Is there any feel of a particular actor or role just not working? Not necessarily needing a new actor, but just to reshoot the scenes with a different approach? These are the kinds of questions that have sprung to mind, but I will understand if they are beyond what you have knowledge about to answer, or if answering would require too much specific info.

  10. sjwenings
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Michael: In an earlier comment, you said that HBO simply "did not like it".

    Thats pretty "extreme", so to speak. You haven't really told us why, as far as i'm concerned. The fact that they are worried about cost and sprawling cast does not translate into "didn't like it". Because they knew about the cost and sprawling cast already. And that could not have been the new big issues when they saw and then decided they didn't like the pilot.

    So what were you talking about?

  11. @wabawanga
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    As for his claim, it's plausible but it's at odds with everything we've been hearing from ACTUAL sources. The burden of proof is on him. Winter, can you please vet him for us?

  12. Matt
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    If there is any truth to this rumor, I think it can be chalked up to HBO drinking the same Kool Aid that we have been for the past 6 months. When every comment by every actor, director, crew member, set visitor, production designer, etc, has been positive, it's easy to assume the only people that matter (HBO execs) will start getting as excited as we are. Perhaps they suffered from unrealistic expectations regarding what the finished product would be. I agree with some earlier comments to think it is unrealistic to think HBO was just rubber stamp this without any tweaking whatsoever. In other words, I expect this pilot to have ths same issues all pilots have …. it's just that the vibe has been so good surrounding AGOT that perhaps we all (HBO included) fooled ourselves into believing that wouldn't be the case.

  13. Nymeria
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    Transfering this from the previous thread as I didn't realize there was a new post already…

    ———-

    Well thanks to Michael, About Yea High, WiC and Adam W for these enlightments.

    @Adam
    Interesting, I didn't know you had a foot in the industry. Early March sounds awesome!

    @Michael
    I get what you are saying. I was one of the first to "attack" you the first time around…. if by "attack" you mean my asking you to give us a hint about your source if you want to be taken seriously.

    Of course, you can't "name" your sources, and we don't expect you to if those are compromising, as you need to protect your ass first of all. But you must understand that you can't just post something like that on a blog with no clue whatsoever as to why we should believe you supporting your statement. Other people have posted information here without revealing themselves completely but managed to gain our trust with hints as to where they work or how they heard their news.
    There is also the fact that we are naturally suspicious of non-regular posters who could just happen to be messing with us.

    Anyway, now that you insist and are staying around, although we still don't know much about you, I am willing to believe you, and would welcome any more information you are willing to share with us.

  14. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    First of all, I'm certainly not a troll. I love the series and am completely hopeful for a pick-up. That will never change. I'm not here to start or pick a fight. I'm fan just like the rest of you.

    As far as HBO not liking it — you can ask anyone working in Hollywood — you really never know until you have the product. You can guess, you can estimate and you can brainstorm, but it's all down to the product. And from what I'm hearing is that they liked it, but it wasn't the earth-shattering, goose bump raising pilot they'd been hoping for. It certainly doesn't mean that show won't get green-lit and go on to win countless awards — it's just a mediocre first cut. Films have this same problem. It's a process.

  15. sjwenings
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    How does Michael beeing from LA make him more trustworthy? HBO headquarters is in NY, at least.

  16. Nymeria
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    @Michael
    Do you know when the actual screening took place?
    Was there a lot of enthusiasm in the days that lead to it by the people lucky enough to be invited to attend?

  17. sjwenings
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    So lets recap:

    Michael: "They did not like it."

    Michael: "They liked it."

  18. Nicole
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    It’s possible that Michael has a legit source and knows what he is talking about… Let’s give him a chance to explain himself and answer some questions before calling him a troll and attacking him.

  19. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    And that's taken completely out of context. There's a reason why I came back, y'know…

  20. Dennis Brennan
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Taking Michael at face value that the producers are "back editing, trying to make it work”– I wonder what the re-edit would accomplish? Is it possible that the pilot won't begin with the book's prologue ("We should start back") or end where we have been assured that it does ("The things I do for love")?

  21. sjwenings
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    The first post about this you simply said "They did not like it." That was your whole post. You did not elaborate.

    And now you elaborate by saying "they DID like it, but…."

    That doesn't work for me, at least. But hey. Give it another go if you want. Seriously, i'm not beeing sarcastic or anything.

  22. Marko Hladnik
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Hm … yes, good to keep the expectations low, then you can be positively surprised. It would be strange if there was no second thoughts about budgeting. Just wish we'd get a more official opinion soon, regardless of their green light decision, as I would want to know what HBO sincerely thinks.

  23. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Correct. I said the word I was hearing was that HBO didn't like the pilot. Which is true. They didn't like it. Maybe I should have phrased it as "they didn't love it". That probably would have been better and more accurate. I've since elaborated.

  24. Matt
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Keep in mind that the first part of a game of thrones ISN'T actually that earth shattering. It's ALOT of characters and ALOT of exposition. The whole Bran II theory came about because most die hard fans aren't hooked from page one, but from when Bran takes his tumble. Maybe HBO was expecting some insanely memorable scenes, but the books are a slow build up, containing so many characters and so much history that you know that Martin isn't dumbing anything down. The show will be the same way. Less explosive, more addictive.

  25. Adam Whitehead
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    I will quickly add that my 'sources' (who are second-hand at best) have not commented at all on this issue that Michael raised above, but all their prior indications from some weeks ago were that the pilot had been positively received and absolutely nothing beyond that.

    My point in that statement, which was poorly worded, was that many pilots are works in progress, are often re-edited and even re-shot, and a problematic or even an outright weak pilot can be saved through judicious editing and selective reshoots. In addition, some pilots (like LOST's) appear weak or problematic in the editing room but are great when presented in their final cut with music and sfx added. All of that is personal opinion.

    The only new sourced material I have is that HBO's decision should come closer to the start of March than the end, and it is unknown which way HBO will jump. My own opinion is that HBO should greenlight the series based on the vibe they are sending out so far.

  26. mwj
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    It's not hard to imagine that the pilot could have pacing problems, at the very least. The book itself has some pacing issues, especially early on. I know that I personally felt impatient with the story until the fateful "The things I do for love" scene. The first several chapters were slow, filled with unfamiliar names and history that was yet to be explained. Martin's approach of letting things be explained in context turns out to be a great strength of the books, but it's initially very difficult, and I know a few people who quit reading before page 85. Having a prologue so seemingly disconnected from the rest of the story doesn't help.

    The flip side is that in pacing is something that is largely driven by editing, and this is especially true in movies and TV. If I'm right and the primary problem is pacing, this is something they can address.

  27. Dunkeltroll
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    I think it's only natural everyone involved in a work in progress has only good things to say about it, especially if it might be one they hope to be involved in for many years to come. In this light, every series ever was the best thing you hadn't seen yet…

    So now the HBO guys may or may not be very impressed by the first cut, but I guess its kind of normal that they try to push the envelope to what they think will make it a commercial success. Minimising risk and maximising potential profil are their main concerns, which are vastly different from those of the creativ crew and cast.

    Since it's already 3 month since the shooting wraped, I think we will manage to wait a few more weeks for the official statement. @Winter: what are your plans if they turn the show down? ;-)

  28. dizzy34
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

    Here's my problem with Micheal: you give no indication of how you came by this information other than you have a "source". So you come on a message board and start posting random "they didn't like it" comments. You do realize that is the equivalent of a school yard rumor of "I heard this from so and so"? Now if I had this information that you claim to have, I would have contacted Winter directly and gone from there. Winter has proven in the past that he hasn't given up any sources. I'm not calling you a liar, but you can see how this is pretty suspect?

  29. ECUdan
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    .Wait, you have said "they didn't like it" and you have said now that "they liked it". You may be legit, but you are really bad at sounding like it.

  30. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    All I can say that, again, I have a source that would… know this type of stuff, I guess. And I came on this site to share as I thought the dedicated fans would like to be privy to the information. I've never said that HBO hated the show or were disgusted by it — they just didn't love the first cut. So it's being edited. Which always happens. I can't contain people saying otherwise.

  31. Marko Hladnik
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I believe Michael. Thoughts – one, people screening had high expectations, understandingly. Two, it's a costly project, and one that is not safe – a slowly developing, complex story with a long arch, casting issues … Risky, given that the investment is big. But in the long run I'm sure it is going to pay out. Three, every pilot needs polishing. A combination of all these gives you a result Michael mentioned, I'd say, when people see the first cut.

  32. sjwenings
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    What Michael says is believable, its the way he says it that makes me react.

  33. Dunkeltroll
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

    Your first posting here happened to be quite short, disturbing in nature and from an unknown source all at once. Excuse me for reacting like I did, but it really made the impression you simply came in to throw a stink bomb.

    Being critical about a project in such an early state is not only understandable, but indispensable for people in their position. It's their job to invest in the right projects, and right now they have a few to choose from.

    If there would be valid reasons why HBO wouldn't go forward with GoT, and if these reasons would be presented to us fans in a detailed and comprehensible fashion, I guess we could live with it. Noone would be happy for sure, but TV is still a business and the ends have to meet somewhere.

  34. The_Rabbit01
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    All the things you have mentioned above are true; costly project, enormous cast, complex story..etc, but IMO all that things were known well before the screening of the pilot.
    I do not have to see the pilot on screen, to know all these things.

    So I am asking myself, why would they (HBO) ever wanted to even greenlight the pilot, if they were aware of all that things.
    Just to tease us ;) I do not think so.

    I admit, I am not in the industry, and I know very little about the business, I just try to make it clear to me.
    The rough cut of every pilot is not probably ever perfect. And it needs editing.
    But who knows, will see it :)
    It is not the end of the world if it will not be greenlighted.

  35. SA_Avenger
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    really got scared when I saw your tweet (didn't have access to the link) icy cold.
    A bit worried of course. We can't know without seeing it but everything seemed so much of quality so far that I (like almost everyone else) was 100% sure it'd be smooth greenlighting, apparently it isn't. Hope they can make it right in time :)

  36. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I'm remembering way back when to a time when Winter posted a report that an unnamed executive at HBO was airing misgivings about McCarthy as a director. That gave a bit more background as to who was talking and what exactly the "issue" was, so it was easier for us to discuss.

  37. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Expanded on that:

    Right now all we've gotten is that "a source that would… know this type of stuff" says that "HBO" "just didn't love the first cut."

    "HBO" is such a broad bucket, as is "a source that would…know this type of stuff." It doesn't matter that Michael is in LA as far as how he gets his information. For example, an editor working at the post-production company who had to go-back and re-edit the pilot could relay this to a friend. A driver may have overheard a conversation on the way back from the screening. We're jumping to conclusions if we assume that the reason Michael has this information is because he knows someone in the "inner circle" of HBO that complained to him about the pilot.

    With all the time, effort, and money that has gone into the pilot, I have a hard time believing that they'd want any negatives about it coming from there camp. As many have mentioned, both HBO and third-parties have publicly praised what they've seen so far.

    So, I'm not saying Michael's information isn't legit, just that I'm betting it's gleaned from a report from a non-decision maker.

    If that's *not* the case, Michael may want to be a bit more cautious about spreading information told to him in confidence around the web like this. If casting leaks were causing problems, I can't imagine how someone leaking negative reports about the pilot would be viewed.

    Regardless, as many have stated, this sounds like part of the pilot process. I think the only thing unusual about it is that the fact that there's going to be another edit has been made public.

  38. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

    Expanded on that:

    Right now all we've gotten is that "a source that would… know this type of stuff" says that "HBO" "just didn't love the first cut."

    "HBO" is such a broad bucket, as is "a source that would…know this type of stuff." It doesn't matter that Michael is in LA as far as how he gets his information. For example, an editor working at the post-production company who had to go-back and re-edit the pilot could relay this to a friend. A driver may have overheard a conversation on the way back from the screening. We're jumping to conclusions if we assume that the reason Michael has this information is because he knows someone in the "inner circle" of HBO that complained to him about the pilot.

    With all the time, effort, and money that has gone into the pilot, I have a hard time believing that they'd want any negatives about it coming from there camp. As many have mentioned, both HBO and third-parties have publicly praised what they've seen so far.

    So, I'm not saying Michael's information isn't legit, just that I'm betting it's gleaned from a report from a non-decision maker.

    If that's *not* the case, Michael may want to be a bit more cautious about spreading information told to him in confidence around the web like this. If casting leaks were causing problems, I can't imagine how someone leaking negative reports about the pilot would be viewed.

    Regardless, as many have stated, this sounds like part of the pilot process. I think the only thing unusual about it is that the fact that there's going to be another edit has been made public.

  39. Lord_of_Starfal
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    I'm interested in knowing what they liked and did not like. Michael, you say they liked Sean Bean, does that mean that in general the Winterfell parts worked well, or were there actors they were not impressed with there? I can't imagine that Dinkalage was anything but great. I'm making a leap here, I know, but I suspect from this info that perhaps they found Dany's scenes to be weaker than the others – which is what the fans feared all along. Any thoughts?

  40. Bob
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    Don't worry guys, about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright.

  41. @RahBur
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

    I was really skeptical of Michael's initial post to the site. It's tone screamed "troll" to me. But, since then, he's come back to explain himself. How many times does he have to say it? I think the message here is that HBO saw the pilot, wasn't as wow'd as they'd hoped to be, and are working on it. So they didnt leave the screening clapping and jumping for joy … apparently that happens.

    Give Michael a break. He's a fan. I think he was trying to toss in some realistic expectations amid all the wishful thinking. It kinda looks like some people are taking his comments too personally.

    It's so nice to get these tid-bits of information, and I'm so appreciative of WiC for putting this all together for us! It's fun to dream, discuss, and speculate, but it doesnt change anything. As eager as we are to see it air, we simply dont know the decision yet.

  42. PersonalJustice
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Really the most likely scenario is that he is trolling, if in a slightly more elaborate style than your typical garden-variety troll. This blog is a particularly easy target, given its relatively high level of fanboy fanaticism. I don't mean any disrespect when I say that (I mean I'm making a post here too). But this is a blog about a tv show that hasn't even been picked up yet, based on a series of books that itself has a relatively small and extremely loyal fanbase. There are few small fans here.

    But to hell with the likely scenario, I propose a much more interesting one.While HBO might not have been overly happy about this site possibly spoiling casting announcements, they can't be disappointed in the online buzz that it generated. News about the show really died down after the casting finished, and the online buzz with it. If I were someone behind the scenes trying to stir up buzz, without actually being seen to do so, a simply anonymous rumor like this is the perfect way to do so.

  43. @thedude37
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I like how peoples definition of "troll" is just "someone who opposes or disagrees with one's own ideas, hopes, or way of thinking."

  44. @thedude37
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    I wouldn't stress to much about it. For example, "The office" (american version) and "30 Rock" was regarded by the studio as not a very good pilot, yet the show got picked up and became a success. However, as far as HBO is concerned remember that the "True Blood" was as well received as they hoped which led to the recasting of Tara (and refilming of those scenes).

  45. Lord_of_Starfal
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    When I think about it, I realize that there has been, essentially, nothing but good news about this series since the announcement of HBO optioning it so very long ago. It makes sense that we would try to knock-down or minimize bad news, for we are spoiled.

    I ask, can't we look at this news and accept it? Given the piles of good news we have had over the last few years, isn't this something we can live with?

  46. The_Rabbit01
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    The bad news itself is not the issue there.
    The issue is that the bad new was brought to us in such a strange way, on this very blog.
    If I found it on someones tweet on the entire net, I would believe it.

    If someone told me: well, the pilot has not been accepted very well by the HBO heads because of that and that thing, I would be sad, but I could live with it.
    Every bit of good news we heard so far (from different sources was argumented somehow.), but sadly, maybe Micahel is telling the truth, but if I were him I would written that differnetly, thats for sure.

  47. ECUdan
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    The more I read this stuff the dumber I feel. At this point I could come on with a random name and say, "Just got word, they are on the verge of axing the whole thing because Dinklage scared one of the exec's kids…" and it would have just as much credibilty as the initial post causing controversy.

    But he could also be 100% right, all I am saying is there is nothing here yet that warrants any real attention.

  48. Molda
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    I believe, that Michael is maybe telling us the truth. We want it so desperately, that we are blinded to accept anything negative.
    There was so much buzz about it, that HBO execs expected something perfect and they were probably dissapointed with what they saw. We all want the show, because we love the books and we know them well, but if somebody showed me rough cut of first episode from GoT, i would be maybe dissapointed too (if i would not knew the books in that moment) aSoIaF is run for long distance and i fear that by the time that GoT will get to the point, where it is fantastic, there will be only us fans of the books and few other viewers watching it. Because average viewers are very impatient and they want tons of action a interesting things to happen in every single episode. And they dont forgive.
    Sorry for not being optimistic, but i cant help myself.
    I think that the show will get greenlight, but there will be no more than one season.

  49. @Ajanelewis
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Oh my goodness. Just got so nervous when I saw your tweet with this blog post. I wish we could screen the pilot, too!

  50. Blue
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

    For what it's worth, I think that if there are any glaring problems with the pilot, they've still got time for plenty of editing and tweaking and fixing. It would be sad if the pilot isn't earth-shattering (and I think all of this hype has made it so that we kind of expect to be earth-shattering), but at the same time, as long as it's solid enough to get the green light then they'll have even more time to make it awesome.

    And, even if the first episode isn't as brilliant as we're expecting, if the series as a whole just takes a little time to develop into something majestic, we'll all still be happy to be able to see it. :)

  51. @thedude37
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Permalink

    Maybe will get lucky, and the issue is they don't like the girl playing Dany and want an new one.

  52. Gregory Kelton
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    My Troll-o-meter is fully pegged. First "Michael" is having an argument with "Steve" (who was clearly a troll) by saying some highly suspicious things that go counter to everything else we've heard. Then, when the troll, I mean "Michael" starts getting attention, he changes his name to "Michael Sourcenator" and continues to stir the drama. Then, when people start calling the troll a troll. "Nicole" shows up to defend Michael. If it walks like a troll and quacks like a troll, it's probably a troll.

  53. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

    We're still dealing with an ambiguous term here, when we talk about, "HBO" not being as positive as they thought they would be. Until there's a more specific definition of who the "HBO" in this case refers to, and how many people the information passed through before reaching Michael, this kind of boils down to:

    "They're editing the pilot some more."

    I would believe that.

    Still, that's not all Michael is saying. He mentioned that cost is an issue, and then, in another thread, says this:

    "One of the problems is also the cast: how do they execute it? And well? You're dealing with sprawling locations, a massive cast and by the end of the first season, story lines that aren't wrapped until the third. In many cases, not even. It's an issue."

    These aren't pilot issues, they're "problems with the series as a whole" issues.

    Editing isn't going to fix that. In fact, these are issues that I figured might have been brought up in the pitch sessions, rather than after they spent a lot of money on the pilot.

  54. @wabawanga
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    As far as I'm concerned, Michael is a troll until proven otherwise. His and "Steve's" back and forth is very reminiscent of Davey's conversations with his alt accounts.

  55. @wabawanga
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    As for his claim: it's plausible, but it's at odds with everything we've been hearing from ACTUAL sources. The burden of proof is on him. Winter, can you please vet him for us?

  56. Gregory Kelton
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    And then "Bob" shows up to keep things going. Come on ppl, connect the dots. Even if what Michael says is credible (which it clearly isn't), there is nothing to worry about if the folks at HBO want a re-edit on the pilot.

  57. @thedude37
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    By your definition, you are being a troll right now.

  58. Ryan Dunn
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

    @Michael

    When you submit one misleading or poorly worded post, and spend the next ten posts explaining what you REALLY meant, I think you need to consider the genesis of people's confusion. I didn't source it, but if Gude's quote where you cite the cast and locations being part of the problem, your credibility tends to waver.

    Can we stick to the core facts of what your source said, and leave your speculation of why the people screening may or may not have liked it to a minimum? It's counter productive, because on one hand you're baiting us with "intel" and on the other you're using this expertise or inside information to lace in your own op ed, and it's annoying.

    We're not asking you to share your source, but the way you've back pedaled on this (and other) threads implies a bit of sketchiness on your part. You don't have to educate us on the editorial process of a television show, unless you're in the business of editing television shows perhaps. But even then, most of what you state is obvious, not insider intelligence.

    …ryan

  59. Winter Is Coming
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    I can verify that Steve and Michael are not the same person (at least they aren't posting from the same IP address). And also that Michael does seem to be posting from the LA area.

  60. The_Rabbit01
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Am I the only one remembering that the pilot would go into post-production in February?

    Lombardo was speaking in public that dailies looked fantastic.
    And Lombardo belongs to the HBO stuff.

    Somehow I think that we should not be too much concerned.

  61. Nymeria
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

    If I read correctly, the only info provided by Michael was the part about HBO not being wowed by the pilot and Sean Bean being terrific. The rest was only him contributing his own opinion about the reasons that could justify HBO's reaction. As a self-proclaimed fan of the books and series, he is just as entitled as anyone else on the blog to share his opinion on the subject.
    Perhaps he should nuance his words more carefully, but then again, not everyone is as good a writer or has as much time to write perfectly worded posts as, let's say, Paul Gude.
    (And before anyone suggest it just because I happen to somewhat defend Michael in this post, I'm no troll!)

    @Michael
    Perhaps a way for you to give us an indication of the quality of your source would be to rate it… ? On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being "you are an HBO exec or heard it first hand from an HBO exec" and 1 being "you heard it from your mom who heard it from her friend who read it on the tweet of a girl who says she slept with the janitor of the school attended by an HBO secretary's son", how reliable is your source?

  62. Mats
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:23 pm | Permalink

    Can anyone refresh the memory of this lazy lurker: did the WiC community establish whether the "costumegate" picture was legit or not? 'Cause that one has been nagging me this whole time and is about the only thing that has made me doubt the awesomeness of this production. If the costumes are that bad I can understand that HBO finds the pilot lacking. When it comes to the whole Mickey Troll drama I find it mildly amusing and a fine way to pass time until the green-lighting announcement. I believe he is either a troll or just a clumsy commenter (like me I'm afraid – that's why I mostly lurk). My advice would be NEVER to feed suspected trolls. Oh, but I just did, didn't I? *re-lurking abashedly*

  63. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Awwww…thanks!

  64. The rabbit
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Paul , thats right, you have pointed out it better than I have.

    One thing is the "bad" pilot due to bad costumes, bad acting, bad special effects, and another thing is the massive cast, budget, story lines etc.
    To repeat myself: I do not need a pilot on screen to know this things.
    If I thought the things in that way, I would never shoot the pilot.

    @Micheal
    That is why every body over here ask you for the reason why the HBO did not like the pilot?

  65. Chris
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Michael has already let us know his source is entirely reliable… to quote him, he said he is "a source… who would know." :)

  66. Nymeria
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    The actual quote would be "I have a source that would… know this type of stuff, I guess", which doesn't sound that affirmative.
    But I already said I believe him.
    I was just trying to find a way to clarify things a little further for people who are still skeptical.

  67. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Also, I wanted to say that I think Nymeria and Ryan did a good job putting out what I was trying to put across. It's not that I think Michael is lying, just that his information is wrapped in editorializing and cloaked in vague definitions. Therefore, it's hard for us to take anything off of his report, separate what's "true" and what Michael thinks is true.

    Also, he doesn't owe us any additional information than he's given, and definitely has as much of a right as anyone to his opinions about the series. It's just that he needs to realize that the amount of information he's given isn't going to be enough to get a majority of people on this board to support those conclusions yet.

    As I've advocated in the past, it's healthy in cases like this to keep your ideas pretty fluid. We just saw a post recently where Harry Lloyd seemed confident the pilot would go forward. The opinions of an actor from the show may not be greater than those of all HBO executives involved in the production, but that's not what we've got yet. We have a source "who should know" about the reception the pilot has received.

    Until the unknown quantity of "HBO" and the information path has been defined, all we have is a rumor, as Winter correctly categorized it. It's not because the information isn't true, but that any truth it may have is slippery, and wriggles away when you try to get a firmer grasp on it.

    - The poster formally known as Paul Gude

  68. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and I forgot to add that I don't think Lloyd's statement is a guarantee either. I'm basically waiting until March like the rest of you good people, cautiously optimistic but not subscribing to HBO just yet.

  69. spacechampion
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:08 pm | Permalink

    If you're a fan of the books and want the show to be a success, I fail to see why anyone would post a negative rumour that does nothing to help the fans or the show. "The pilot isn't good so they might not greenlight the series" is suspect in motivation. Why would anyone post that except to worry the fans? There is not other possible motivation. TROLL.

  70. @sgnp
    Posted February 18, 2010 at 11:19 pm | Permalink

    There's one other motivation I can think of, which is simple, honest bragging. If Michael wants us to know that he knows something we don't, even if it's something negative, it may be enough for him to share it even if he doesn't have the authority to tell us where he heard it or enough information for it to be useful.

  71. Arch
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    I believe its fun that as long as the rumors are positive they are credible, but as long as they are negative it is troll news!

  72. Steve
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:46 am | Permalink

    I agree. Chill people. It's listed as a rumor. It's true, or its not. That's what rumors are– unsubstantiated. Take it with a grain of salt.

    I also find it amusing that if the news is good no one says anything. But the moment it's negative its a troll. Lordy.

    Mostly, I'm just really excited that Martin seems to be making real progress on Dragons. Woohoo!

  73. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:02 am | Permalink

    So I'm back.

    I understand the questions, the concern and of course, the suspicion. I've long been a fan of the series, so hearing the news didn't exactly light a fire under me. That having been said, understand that I'm not in any way connected to the people who make these decisions. I'm just a guy who has a friend who does know people like that, and he's someone I trust very, very much. And he's a huge fan, too, so again, I ain't tryin' to ruin the parade around here. I do think it'll get a pick-up and I hope it's as successful as it deserves to be. I think, like everyone else, I'll be drooling as I watch Ned unsheathe Ice to behead a certain black-cloaked fella…

  74. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    I'd agree with Steve that we can't be sure if Michael's a troll, but I'd also agree with some other folks that he's relatively indistinguishable from one until he gives us more information.

    If someone came in and said, "OMG you guys, I can't tell you how I know this but HBO has seen the pilot and it rocks! HBO is definitely picking it up, no edits needed! This is it, guys, hang on!" I'd be saying the same thing I am now. We can't make any real judgments without the source.

    Most of the "good news" up until now has been coming from interviews from people involved in the production, or named folks, which is why not many of us have had problems with it.

    Of course, being "indistinguishable" from a troll doesn't make you one, and I've been pretty careful not to leap to that conclusion when figuring out Michael's motives.

    Still, it is a little odd that he went from "things aren't going well, guys" to "all I'm saying is they're editing things again, it's not *my* fault if people read more into it" in my opinion.

    If all he's doing is letting us know that it's back in editing as he said in a later comment, his initial statements where this fact "doesn't bode well" and his comments about the characters and multiple plot lines being problematic come off as trying to drum up undo concern. I think that's where the other thoughts that he may be a troll came from.

    He's stated that he's a fan, and that he wants the project to go forward, so this is an odd position for him. The only "proof" some people will accept that he's legit (without any more info) is if the series doesn't get picked up. At that point, most of us won't really care if he was right or not.

    I say this because his later statement that all he's doing is letting people know it's being edited comes further down in the comments. Unless Winter amends Michael's statements above, a lot of people may not see that clarification.

    Still, who knows? If the pilot *does* get picked up, maybe Michael will be free to give us more information about who his source was, what the problems were, and what the fix ended up being.

    I know I'd be interested to hear it.

  75. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:25 am | Permalink

    Hi, Michael.

    Obviously, I took a long time writing that below, because I didn't see your post until after mine went live.

    So, your information comes from a friend who knows people that makes decisions on which HBO shows get picked up?

    This would be then:

    Some HBO Executive(s) See the Pilot -> They Tell Your Friend About Problems with the Pilot/That Sean Bean Is Good -> Your Friend Tells You – > You Tell Us

    Is that pretty much the chain of information?

  76. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:31 am | Permalink

    Paul — I appreciate the sincerity and honesty. Trust me, it goes a long way. I can't say anything else other than that I'm not a troll and was just trying to fill some of the fans in on the process and where the pilot's at. If that upset anyone, then I apologize.

  77. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:41 am | Permalink

    Hi, Michael.

    Not to put words into your mouth, but can you confirm:

    1) The concerns you voiced (budget, plot lines, etc.) were all things that your friend told you were being discussed at HBO.

    2) When you (as others termed it) "Backpedaled" and stated that all you knew was that the pilot went back for more editing, that what you were really doing was separating the "speculation" aspects of the HBO executive discussion your friend related with the more concrete, "Okay, this is what I know *for sure*" info about the pilot being edited?

    If #2 is correct, then what may be viewed as an inconsistency could just be us not being in on your thought process.

    Again, not to put words in your mouth, it's just a solution I puzzled out and I wanted to know if I was close. (Without asking you to reveal anything more.)

  78. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    1. Those are concerns. Like I said, it's a big show with big cast and big story lines. HBO wants to make they can actually do it. It's just one of the many conversations happening. People don't seem to understand that many factors go into green lighting a show. It's the old adage: "it's called show business, not show art."

    2. I know that the reaction was, as I said, decent. They didn't love it — which, because of the immense hype, I took as "they didn't like it". That was wrong. I should have said that it wasn't an "over the moon" reaction. That's why I came back and elaborated. Once again — loud and frickin' clear — HBO did not hate the pilot. They were lukewarm. And that's why it's doing a second edit, which is one-hundred percent normal. Many shows do this.

  79. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:04 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Michael.

    I think that clears up all of my questions.

    Appreciated!

  80. sjwenings
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:14 am | Permalink

    Michael:

    So you're not going to tell us what problems HBO had with the pilot? Or do you just don't know? I mean – If HBO had some additional problems (aside from the obvious ones – pacing, sprawling story – all that we knew already) what were they?

    What where they?

    You still really haven't mentioned any probøem not bleeding obvious….

  81. Kimi Raikkonen
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    I think Michael should be given the benefit of the doubt. If it was good news, he'd be lauded. Instead its news none of us like to hear so we HOPE that he is a troll and the news is fake.

    I think its quite normal that the execs may not be wowed as their expectations may have been as high as ours. Dont forget execs hated The Godfather on first viewing, you just never know and some small adjustments may go a long way to making it into a great pilot.

    My concern is that we all get hung up on "Things I do for Love" as being a great cliffhanger ending to the episode and the moment that got us into the books. I think we've neglected the fact that up to that point – the book isnt as spectacular as the rest of the series.

    I think the icy prologue would have been better replaced with historic glimpses of the war (and then elaborated further in the series), but we'll just wait and see.

    Oh and as someone said – maybe we will get lucky and they replace the girl playing Dany ;)

  82. sjwenings
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:18 am | Permalink

    Michael: You still haven't told us what they did not like about it, apart from the problems we already knew the show would have.

    So…

    What where the problems?

  83. sjwenings
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Michael: You still haven't told us why HBO were lukewarm about it – apart from the bleeding obvious stuff we already knew.

    So… what was it?

  84. gleamingcircuit
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:22 am | Permalink

    Funny how everyone is attacking por Michael, as if he is the reason the show may not go. Listen folks, whole movies are filmed at huge expense and then shelved because they suck. Also, the folks at HBO thought that stupid show about the surfing family (Steve from Cincinnati, or something like that, can't even remember the title) was good enough to greenlight, and it was absolutely awful. Who knows what these execs may think. How many people out there have watched a TV show or moivie and spent the rest of the day wondering how it ever got made because it was so awful. Television and Movie executives have gievn us stuff like G.I. Joe the Movie, and Spartacus the series (so very bad). They do not always make good decisions. Never underestimate their potential to drop the ball, and deprive us of seeing this series. Also, we are a very small group of people here who love this story more than most, so try to see your own bias in this. And get off Steven's back, he was only trying to add what he heard to the discussion. Best for us all not to be thinking this a slam dunk.

  85. sjwenings
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:23 am | Permalink

    yeah

  86. gleamingcircuit
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:33 am | Permalink

    Besides, maybe if HBO does drop the ball and not go forward, it will inspire Georgie to finish the series in a timely and awe inspiring manner. Maybe he'll want to make them sorry they passed up on the GREATEST FANTASY SERIES ever written.

    Now go listen to the audiobook, and the absolutely fabulous Roy Doltrice, who brings to life each player with an amazing characterization in his reading.

  87. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:39 am | Permalink

    I'm not really sure on specifics. My source wasn't either. I really only know that it's being edited again, that the reaction was lukewarm and some discussions that are being had about going the first season. I've never claimed to know the nook and cranny specifics, just some general things that people here didn't seem to know.

  88. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Oh and that Sean Bean was terrific. Forgot to mention that (just so no one starts the whole fraud thing again).

  89. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    I'm not too worried about "poor Michael" in this instance.

    (Apologies for the third-person, Michael.)

    He posted here knowing that there'd be some resistance to what he had to say, as he stated himself. He's in a position where he can't "prove" what he says without giving away information that he seems to want to keep secret, such as the identity of his friend and the details of HBO's issues. He decided to post it anyway, and to me seems to be taking the lumps that come from that pretty well. Not only that, but he's perfectly capable of holding a reasonable discussion about it.

    As stated, I for one don't agree with the idea that he wouldn't have been vetted a bit if he had come bearing good news. Still, I will admit that people are much more willing to listen to good news.

    As others mentioned, if you take his revised statement into account he's not saying anything too out of the ordinary. HBO watched the pilot and ordered another edit, there are still concerns with the plot, characters, etc.

    Honestly, what bearing does Michael's information/motivation have to do with the announcement in March? None. If it's picked up, it may be because Michael was right and in this pass they changed something that worked, or Michael got some bad information from his friend and it was great all along, or Michael deliberately mislead everyone and it's been fine this whole time. Or whatever.

    With that in mind, what reason do we have to write this off as being trolling? Michael says he heard something from a friend who was talking to some people at HBO. Sure, I could say he was making it up, but it doesn't change anything, so why not believe him?

    If he was to come back after the show is picked up in March and say, "Hahahah, you saps! I had you believe there was a problem!" would *anyone* feel stupid for having believed him? Not me. It'd just be weird.

    And again, if *isn't* picked up, I won't really be worried whether he was a troll or not.

    So why sweat it? He seems like a nice, thoughtful guy.

    Too be honest, the information that Sean Bean was terrific *is* good news, perhaps overshadowed by the other aspects of his story. A lot of us assumed he would be, but we've heard more about Peter Dinklage and the kids, so that's kind of cool.

    (And not to start another war, but you know what *wasn't* mentioned? How awful any particular actors/actresses were. A good performance standing out rather than a horrible one is pretty great. If Michael was *really* a troll, he could have said, "There's some subplot that they just can't stand. All of a sudden they're in a totally different country and it's like a B movie all of a sudden. The actors are *awful* in it!" Not only would it start arguments, but there's enough emotions in there that people may be more apt to believe it.)

  90. Nymeria
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:54 am | Permalink

    Thanks Michael. It is much clearer (and easier to believe you) when you explain yourself a little and stay around to discuss any questions. Otherwise, like the first time you posted your information, it does feel like all you want to do is drop a bomb and then stay hidden and laugh at our reactions…

  91. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:59 am | Permalink

    It should go without saying that the "Sean Bean is terrific" information is being taken with the same grain of salt as the other information. I realize you could keep expectations low and throw in one tiny bit of information if you wanted to dupe the masses. It's just easier to trust that (whether or not you think the information is true) that *Michael* heard it from his source and believes it.

  92. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:01 am | Permalink

    I promise everyone here: I will not come back and start hurling insults. I'll be down, just like everyone. But there's a really good chance for a pick-up. So let's hope together, yeah?

  93. Nymeria
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Now that the Michael saga is pretty much solved, what will we talk about tomorrow?
    No, wait a minute. This is WiC. There is always something to discuss here. I just can't foresee where it will come from this time. A new interview perhaps?
    Start googling people!

    And on that note, I'm off to watch some Olympics before I call it a night.
    See ya'all

  94. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:29 am | Permalink

    I never said I was a role model. ;)

  95. Lord Ned's Head
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:34 am | Permalink

    I say relax guys. If Michael is a troll you are just giving him what he wants. If (as I suspect) he is the real deal, he's just tryign to get the word out. I do think that his comments about HBO brass viewing the script are a bit subjective though.

    In short, I'm not worried.

  96. blueb
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    hahahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahahahha

  97. Steve
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:14 am | Permalink

    Come on guys.. This is Steve the Troll. I admit it; I'm the kinda troll that don't lie. I'm here to let you know you've been trolled by Michael. Sure, you can reason it out. But for once you should have stuck to your instincts on this one.

    Here's my argument:
    This Michael posted immediately after it was known (or believed) that the Conan guy was gonna see the pilot. He posted that HBO didn't like it.

    Then soon afterward, the Conan guy tweeted he hadn't seen the pilot, but clips. The truth is there was no pilot yet, and no pilot screening, and it was too early to tell anything from HBO execs. If anything, some post production guy was bitching about this suck.

    Then weeks later Michael sees my awesome brilliant post and decides to get some attention again. Congrats, he got it. There are over 10 million people in and around LA. You've gave one of them, and apparently nice guy, a huge boner. His source probably works as a clerk at a Waldenbooks.

  98. Grimtuesday
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:24 am | Permalink

    Now that Michael has clarified his origenal statement he seem way less like a troll and like at least some of the information he is giving seems to have some marit. this is actually kind of good news because it shows they seem to want to make this show work by fixing anything they felt was a weakness to the show.

  99. @sgnp
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:26 am | Permalink

    Steve, if Michael is a troll, then the extent of his trolling is to get us to give him the benefit of the doubt, and believe him when he says he knows a guy who says he talked to some people at HBO who ordered a second pass at the pilot.

    Not saying that it isn't an accomplishment of some sort if that's the case, just that I don't feel particularly foolish about it.

  100. Steve
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    Alright.. keep at this.. it's incredible dull.

    I will say though that fundamentally you guys are suggesting that HBO exec have creative power over the vision of the producers, which isn't what HBO is known for. And why do you bring that up? So that you can make Michael's inane comment believable.

    Come on. … Just ignore him… no matter how bored you little bloggies are.

  101. pualo
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:08 am | Permalink

    I'm not that concerned that they won't pick it up. If they don't, they don't, and we move on.

    Here's what worries me: they don't like they story as-is, so they make massive changes that ruin it for us. Then we get a show that sucks with a plot and characters that don't match the real thing and smears the name of our favorite books.

  102. Lex
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    Yikes… The title of this post felt like a kick in the stomach. I think I feel sick. :(

  103. Omagus
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:12 am | Permalink

    By itself, I wouldn't worry too much about HBO not being wowed by the pilot. The execs weren't too crazy about the pilot of The Wire either. And that's only turned out to be the greatest television drama in history.

  104. Nymeria
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    absolutely!

    @Paul
    Looks like somebody was in hurry and didn't take time to reread themselves… or did my complements go to your head already? You disappoint me Paul… (Just kidding!!!)

  105. Lord Ned's Head
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:47 am | Permalink

    One additional comment. I'm not certain wether or not HBO puts any stock at all in boards like this, but in the future they could save themselves possible negative speculation by A) Being a little less super-secretive (yeah I know probably not realistic) and B) Shortening their time table for series pickup announcements. Non-industry ignorance on my part here I am certain, but I simply fail to see how it would take this long to have a definately idea about the worthiness of the (or any) show.
    That said, the time for a decision grown neigh. Soon the waiting will be behind us. The the equally frustrating, but far less worrisome waiting for the actual first show will begin. Now that is a wait I "can't wait" for!

  106. Brienne
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    ?

  107. Brienne
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    ?

  108. loco73
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:55 am | Permalink

    I put no stock in rumours or second or third hand sources…until HBO makes an official announcement on the matter I frankly don’t give a rat’s ass! George RR Martin has not yet commented on that, and he definitely (I would think more than anybody else) has something to gain/loose with this project and seeing it greenlit as a full series.

    On the other hand, perhaps people around here have been too self-assured and self-congratulatory about ASOIF on HBO. I have seen plenty of TV and movie projects in my day that had all the right ingredients, all the resources and everything else in place, fail, get dropped, cancelled or just left in creative limbo! So we should all put things into perspective and realize that things don’t always go as planned or as they should, just because we wish it so!

    Perhaps we need a doze of reality to understand that it is HBO and BBC and the people over there that will make the ultimate decision in so far as this project goes. It is their money, their resources, their time etc. so they have ultimate say, not us no matter how passionate we are. Until I hear with my own ears that HBO has approved “A Song Of Ice And Fire”, I will pay no more attention to any further innuendo, rumours etc. This creates a false sense of hope and a high-pitched level of frenzy which if (God forbid) HBO drops this project, will be a big, bg leddown.

    While this blog and the countless devoted fans of this epic saga, as well as any outside support from critics and other parties, can only enhance the chances for “Game Of Thrones” to get the go-ahead, this show will need to attract an audience that numbers in the hundreds of thousands if not millions, to justify the investment about to be made. A few thousand won’t work…

    Many fans of the books in other parts of the world, have perhaps no access to HBO, or it is too expensive etc…Even if the show gets greenlit, I myself don’t know if I would be able to afford getting HBO, no matter how much I would like to. So I’d have to wait for the DVD or watch it on the internet.

    In addition, besides “True Blood”, HBO does not have a good track record with shows that are in the fantasy/sci-fi realm. The only ones they did have, like “Spawn: The Animated Series” and “Carnivale” did not last and were cancelled rather quickly. “ROME”, “Deadwood”, “John Adams”, “Band Of Brothers” and “Generation Kill” are excellent examples of the fact that HBO can handle epic productions if need be, but most of them are miniseries or lasted only a few seasons. Also if one looks at HBO, Showtime, F/X and Starz (they do have “Spartacus: Blood And Sand” but it pretty much sucks) there are no purely epic fantasy shows on any of them…large projects in the realm of fantasy/sci-fi/historical fiction continue to remain largely relegated to the big screen.

    Let’s hope that HBO makes the right decision and ASOIF will be the one show that will change that! Still we have to keep in mind that failure is a definite possibility.

  109. loco73
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    I also wanted to add that it will be important to see how the newest HBO miniseries, “The Pacific”, will fare when it airs in March! It represents a considerable investment, way more expensive than “Band Of Brothers” ever was!

    If “The Pacific” does not do well financially and critically, and HBO does not profit from it, this will not bode well for any future large-scale projects.

    Already, HBO has shifted focus once more and seems to be producing a lot more half-hour or so shows, more reality based programing (even more so than in the past). The current financial situation doesn’t help either!

    I also think that it was a mistake to think that “Treme” and “Bordwalk Empire” getting picked-up as series is a good omen for “Game Of Thrones”. I rather think that that is discouraging, because to me it signifies that HBO would rather stick to its true-and-tried formula for shows…

    Still, having said all that, I do hope for the best outcome for ASOIF!

  110. White
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Well problem about ASOIF is that it's very expensive (many, many locations, loads of characters and some big battles), i guess even more expensive than Rome but only slowly developping.

    There are a lot of breathtaking moments in the series, but until they are reached, the books spend a lot of time developping the characters and describing the world…even Rome developped faster.

    This leads to a lot of episodes without real tension, just good dialogues, nice landscapes and character development.

    And compared to other series, ASOIF has really many characters. Compare it to Rome, where you have:
    Caesar, Brutus, Cicero, Atia, Servilia, Octavian, Octavia, Mark Antony, Vorenus, Pullo and Niobe as important characters. This makes 11 and the series was very complex

    In ASOIF we have: Eddard, Catelyn, Robb, Jon, Theon, Bran, Arya, Sansa, Tyrion, Cersei, Jaime, Tywin, Robert, Daenerys, Viserys, Jorah, Khal Drogo, Sandor, Littlefinger, Varys, Pycelle and all the Night Watch guys this makes >20 and all play an important role in the first season.

    I still hope for a pickup, but i can understand that ASOIF has not the best requirements for a series.

    (sry for my bad english^^)

  111. Adam Whitehead
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    But then you have THE WIRE where at one point in Season 4 or 5 there were over 80 recurring, named characters in the mix simultaneously.

    Even in Season 1 alone you had as major characters: McNulty (plus his ex), Bunk, Daniels, Kima, Herc, Carver, Sydnor, Freamon, the two fat guys who were also in the detail, Rawls, Burrell, Bubbles and his sidekick, Stringer Bell, Avon, D'Angelo, Bodie, Wallace, Poot, Omar and his two gangmembers and a few others I've no doubt forgotten, all of whom were reasonably major additions to the storyline. With the addition of the docks, that cast doubles in Season 2, and with the addition of Marlo's gang and the city hall storyline increases again in Season 3, then gets bigger in Season 4 with the addition of the school storyline.

    With regards to ROME, I note you leave out Pompey, Timon (Atia's Jewish thug), Cleopatra (not in every episode but a major presence in those episodes she is in) and in Season 2 there's also Agrippa, Octavian's other friend, his wife, Caesar's servant and the girl he marries, Timon's brother etc. Some of those characters easily have as much screentime and story importance as say Viserys or Pycelle in ASoIaF, whilst Cleopatra's importance is more akin to Dany's.

  112. loco73
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 6:12 am | Permalink

    The one other thing that I was reluctant to adress was the choice of director. I do not think that Todd McCarthy was necessarily the best director they could have chosen to helm the pilot for what is suppossed to be the introduction to such a complex and impossing series…

    While McCarthy is a good director, I don’t see anything in his body of work to really indicate that he has the vision necessary to capture the essence of George RR Martin’s work.

    I know that this is only the pilot, but still, for something as important as this, they should have gone with a director that has the necessary understanding for feeling the texture and complexity that Martin brings to his work. “The Last Station Agent” and “The Visitor” were good, even very good movies (and he was good in his role in “The Wire”), but not really examples to point towards an ability to handle ASOIF.

    Even before directors such as Peter Jackson, Guillermo Del Toro, Bryan Singer, Christoper Nolan and others, came to prominence, one could tell even from their early work, the promise and vision they held, so their subsequent success kind of makes sense, even though it was not readily apparent at first. I just don’t see that with McCarthy. There are other examples, like Ridley Scott, David Fincher, Alex Proyas whose early work at least indicated the promise they held.

    While it would have been unrealistic to hope for any of those directors, they would have done better to have stayed with directors that have worked previously with HBO and have at least a proven track record. I’m thinking specifically of Michael Apted who did a wonderful job with some episodes of “ROME”, or with Tom Hooper whose talent was amply on display with “Elizabeth I” and “John Adams”. They could even have gone after directors like Phillip Noyce, Peter Weir or Jim Sheridan, those guys would have been a coup for this burgeoning project.

    But, I guess this whole point is now moot and what’s done is done…

  113. loco73
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Sorry I made a mistake in my previous posting, I meant Thomas McCarthy not Todd, and I meant “The Station Agent” not “The Last Station Agent”.

  114. Adam Whitehead
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    I disagree about Jackson, as a lot of people did back in 1997 when he was announced as the LotR director. The notion that the director of a couple of splatter horrors (BAD TASTE & BRAINDEAD), a supernatural comedy (THE FRIGHTENERS) and a very low-key psychological drama (HEAVENLY CREATURES) could handle the vast, sprawling epic of LORD OF THE RINGS seemed ludicrous, and I remember people predicting the failure of the movie due to Jackson's involvement rather than an exprienced director with lots of big epic pictures to their names.

    Considering that THE STATION AGENT is a stronger first movie than BAD TASTE (to put it very mildly) and the GAME OF THRONES pilot is nowhere near the size of LotR, I think McCarthy should have done a very good job with it. He could have totally wrecked it, of course, but I see nothing in a comparison of his previous movies to give a cause for concern.

  115. @RahBur
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Ahem… to change up the discussion a bit, GRRM himself addresses the mounting rumors::

    "Meanwhile, March creeps ever closer, and with it the HBO decision about whether or not to greenlight the GAME OF THRONES series. I am pretty much out of the loop on this, so there's nothing I can do to impact it either way… but as much as I have tried to adopt a "que sera, sera" attitude, I'm growing increasingly anxious. All sorts of rumors swirling around the internet, both good and bad. And of course Hollywood has broken my heart before. Ask me politely and I'll show you my DOORWAYS scars…"

    If anyone has cause to be anxious, it's George ^^

    Also, it seems Game Of Thrones is not the only literary work of GRRM getting some on-screen attention:

    The Skin Trade

  116. @RahBur
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Ahem… to change up the discussion a bit, GRRM himself addresses the mounting rumors::

    "Meanwhile, March creeps ever closer, and with it the HBO decision about whether or not to greenlight the GAME OF THRONES series. I am pretty much out of the loop on this, so there's nothing I can do to impact it either way… but as much as I have tried to adopt a "que sera, sera" attitude, I'm growing increasingly anxious. All sorts of rumors swirling around the internet, both good and bad. And of course Hollywood has broken my heart before. Ask me politely and I'll show you my DOORWAYS scars…"

    If anyone has cause to be anxious, it's George ^^

    Also, it seems Game Of Thrones is not the only literary work of GRRM getting some on-screen attention:

    The Skin Trade

  117. Dunkeltroll
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Wow, cool News!

    "The Skin Trade" is included in Dreamsongs, but so far I didn't read it – I can only take in a few pieces of short fiction in a row, since each takes place in a universe of its own. But if this project goes forward, I sure as hell will check the story out before I watch it!

    By the way, I wonder why nobody tries to turn "Fevre Dream" into a movie. With vampires being all the rage right now, it seems like a solid choise for an adaptation.

  118. Kai Alexis Price
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    I'm sure everything will be fine, and if anything at all, this is just about some minor editing touches to make the show even better. I don't think we will be put in a position where we need to raise our swords up against HBO executives. But of course just in case, we should probably keep them sharpened.

  119. @RahBur
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    By the way, I should have noted that the above quote and link came from GRRM's Not A Blog site. You can see his entire post there.

  120. Dennis Brennan
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    ROME's not necessarily the best parallel, as many viewers can be reasonably expected to understand who some of the characters are (like Julius Caesar, or Mark Antony, or Octavian, or Cleopatra, or Brutus) as soon as they hear their names.

    Very, very few of the members of the AGOT show's audience will have even a passing familiarity with the story's characters. As popular as the books are, their audience is miniscule compared to the audience that the developers of the show are trying to attract.

    THE WIRE is a better parallel; but there, the audience can at least tell at a glance whether a given character is a cop or a member of the drug ring. The race of the characters is a handy visual marker. (I'm watching THE WIRE for the first time now; wow, what a great show.)

    As I've pointed out before, enabling the audience to keep the AGOT characters straight is a major challenge for the show's producers. The danger is that the audience will simply see a bunch of white guys, in armor, on horseback. Color-coding the costumes (i.e., Lannisters wear red, armor included) will help.

  121. QueenBee
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I was going to say – I think y'all scared George!

  122. @ddaimyo
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Remember that time this guy came to the site and claimed there was a bit of trouble with the pilot and everyone argued over whether he was a troll because we had nothing else to talk about?____Awww good times.

  123. Who Is Jacopo Belbo
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

    i think it is important to keep a few things in mind. first, let's assume for the sake of argument that "michael" is not a troll and is being as honest as he can. even if we do that we still run up against the biggest problem. who is "hbo" that didn't "love the pilot"? hbo is not one collective borg mind. i am sure there is some ex-frat boy schmuck at HBO who got to sit in on the pilot that hates hobbits and wizards and anything that doesn't involve beer bongs and mobsters and fast cars. it is even possible that one of any number of executives that have a say is less enthralled (and has been so since the begining) about this project. remember this project is very unique and very genre. there are going to be folks, from regular HBO subscribers to HBO executives who have an "anti-fantasy" mindset that no amount of GoT being different and good will overcome. having said that it is also odd that most of the 'not love it' complaints that michael has revealed have anything to do with the pilot. all of the 'issues' he raised were all things that any and everyone knew going in. people, these are books that are already written so there was no hiding their scope, vast characters, expansive world etc. it isn't like many shows that are just an idea or based on an old concept (like bsg or t:tscc) but have no specific story arc or destination or even execution in mind (as we can all atest to by the horrendous last season of the otherwise fantastic BSG). all of this means that any 'issues' with those things have to be considered moot at this point because we are at this point already. nobody spends 10M on a pilot if they have major reservations about known issues. so we are left with the pilot itself about which we know only two things. sean bean was 'fantastic' and 'it is being re-edited'. well all i can say on both counts is duh and duh. we know sean bean is fantastic and was likely to be so in this (as well as some others i'd imagine) and news confirming this is in the 'good' category. the news that the pilot is being 're-edited' is also obvious to anybody who listened to the RDMoore podcasts for BSG, those shows got re-edited like 5 times each, (and that was just for a typical episode) and sometimes very drastically. the "hbo" (single executive at best and hbo sports intern at worst) not "loving the pilot" is a single opinion even if everything michael says is true and is not necessarily related to the pilot being re-edited (correlation is not causation).

    that is all, thank you. discuss.

  124. Gregory Kelton
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    Am I really the only one that thinks, much like Einhorn is Finkel, that Michael is Steve?

  125. Steve
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Gregory, yes. Your thinking is outmoded. Michael, though he is a poor liar, can pull off writing messages without a trace of sarcasm. That is beyond my the best of my otherwise boundless genius. If I ever had one of you poes thanking me for my honestly and giving me the benefit of the doubt, my stomach would churn with disgust.

    Jaco, I would discuss, but as soon as I see BSG mentioned, I tune out. That doesn't even take into consideration that your premise, that Michael isn't a troll, is outrageous. I can't pretend that for a second.

  126. Dunkeltroll
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone want some homemade troll cookies?

    Seriously, let's all relax for a few more weeks and wait for HBOs official anouncment. Michael may be right or not, it won't change the outcome of the decision.

  127. pualo
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting that GRRM apparently doesn't know any more than we do at this point. I think we can take that as near absolute confirmation that a decision has not yet been made, it we still needed one.

  128. Gregory Kelton
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Oops, sorry for feeding the Troll folks. I'll go back to lurking.

  129. Frank Johnson
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Lol, in this case, that is very true.

  130. Hodor
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Permalink

    HOOOOOOOOOODOOOOOOR!

  131. maxlongstreet
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea whether this source knows what they are talking about or not, but I think there's one point that hasn't been made:

    A Game of Thrones, the book, starts rather slowly. Until Bran gets the shove, it is mostly background information, and not a lot seems to set it apart from most fantasy series. Later on, we understand the groundwork that Martin was laying, and the different plot threads coming together in spectacular ways, but to expect the pilot to be 'spectacular' when based on a book beginning that is expository and relatively low-action, is hoping with the heart. I love the books with all my heart. But the series beginning doesn't lend itself to a fantastacular, edge-of-your seat pilot.

  132. Valyrian Daisies
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    This is just a thought, but I wonder if maybe we need to take a step back from the discussion for a bit? In my opinion, it doesn't really matter who's a troll and who isn't, or any of that. Certain peoples' information may be accurate and it may be false, but either way we'll know when the official decision comes out. When George knows, we'll know, and none of this will make a difference. We've waited this long, would it really be so difficult to just wait until March, and not be at each other's throats in the meantime?
    I really don't mean this in a negative way, I don't mean to offend and I apologize if I have. I just think that we should remember that at the end of the day we're all here because of our shared love for a wonderful series and a wonderful author, and I think it's a little unfortunate that such negativity is showing up here. If we're lucky, someday soon we'll all be able to enjoy seeing ASOIAF come to life onscreen, and i think it would be better if we could just drop the antagonism, share our excitement in a positive atmosphere, and hope for the best together.

  133. sjwenings
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    You go do that.

  134. LittleFinger
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 12:23 am | Permalink

    I just heard that the show will be cancelled

  135. Adam Whitehead
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    On a completely different note:

    "Last fall, Momoa was cast as the brutal warrior Khal Drogo in “Game of Thrones,” a pilot and potential HBO fantasy drama. He will start filming more of the TV series in Ireland and Morocco at the end of June."

    http://blogs.desmoinesregister.com/dmr/index.php/

    I'm guessing that's, "IF THE SERIES IS PICKED UP he will start filming…" etc.

    Still, gives us a clue as to HBO's timescale. Assuming the show is picked up, of course.

  136. pualo
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 1:04 am | Permalink

    Like we're gonna believe someone named LittleFinger. Should have gone with Ned (unless you're talking about your bastard's mother).

  137. Adam Whitehead
    Posted February 19, 2010 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    To be honest, I think that angle with ROME is oversold. Certainly amongst my non-historian friends, all of them had head of Julius Caesar but not his exact role, a couple knew Brutus killed him and had heard of Cleopatra, but only one of them – the one who taught Roman history – knew the exact details of the story.

  138. Allan
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 5:31 am | Permalink

    want me to ask Nikolaj Coster Waldau the next time I see him?

    dont know if he will answer though…

  139. Brienne
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    I think if you couple the above interview with Esme's teasing it's just another in step in the long winding staircase towards a pick up. (Hi, long time no see.)

  140. sjwenings
    Posted February 20, 2010 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    NO! If its one thing we hate here at WiC its spoilers and rumours!

    But seriously: If he would be careless enough to spoil it if he knows, you shouldn't say you got the word from him.

  141. Jonas
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 3:00 am | Permalink

    I have a gut feeling, since reading about HBO's reaction to Sean Bean's performance that they just might alter the story and have Ned last longer in the series. If they feel Sean's performance is a big audience draw, they won't want to lose that, at least not in the first season. It won't bother me too much as long as it's done properly, maybe let him survive till the Red Wedding. Afterall look at how many changes have been done to previous books when they make the transfer from page to screen. The Lord of the Rings extended edition is over 11 hours long and Games will clock in at just an hour longer. Jackson, removed, condensed and added to the books characters. So HBO and the writers will more than likely edit and make changes too while still trying to keep to the basic structure, emotion and plots of the book.

  142. @sgnp
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Jonas, I think that's a lot of speculation just from Michael's unconfirmed report. By your own criteria, postponing Ned's death would radically alter the structure, emotion, and plot of the book. It's more than a minor edit. I'm sure some of our posters with a bit more time would be happy to expand on exactly how this would affect the events of the book.

    As I've stated before when the concept of keeping more Ned in the series longer was brought up as a joke, I'd totally still watch it just to see how they'd work around the issue.

    Like I mentioned earlier, though, it's fun as a thought exercise, but not something to seriously consider based on one unconfirmed report.

  143. Michael Sourcenator
    Posted February 21, 2010 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    I have absolutely no clue why they would keep Ned alive. I would think, if they go series, they'd aim for the most powerful performance for him to go out on.

  144. @sgnp
    Posted February 22, 2010 at 12:32 am | Permalink

    Good point, not to mention the speculation that one reason Sean Bean signed on was because it wasn't a huge time commitment.

  145. loco73
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    Speaking of previews and trailers you guys should, if you haven't already, go to the HBO site and watch the extended, uncensored trailer for "The Pacific". I got to say that it looks terrific and everybit as captivating as "Band Of Brothers". I must admit I got goosebumps watching the trailer…I will definitely get the DVD set when it comes out!

    The trailers for "Treme" and "Boardwalk Empire" are up already also and they look interesting. Let's hope and pray and cross our fingers, that soon a preview trailer will also become available for "Game Of Thrones" and HBO comes to its senses and finally greenlights ASOIF as a series! Damned the suspense is killing me!

  146. George
    Posted February 23, 2010 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    Even though all of the commotion has died down over Michael's comment, I wanted to say that it's not necessarily a bad thing that a second editing has been asked for. Considering the buzz around this project, it makes sense that HBO would hold this project to a higher standard. In order for this show to be successful, it has to meet the expectations of the fans it already has and then bring in more. Disappointing a fan base is no way to create a successful show. It's kind of ironic that all the commenters on this blog are the ones likely to be most devastated by bad news, but are part of the reason that the show needs to be great simply to get started. HBO's doing the right thing.

    Frankly, I'd prefer no Game of Thrones to a bad Game of Thrones anyway.

  147. the waif
    Posted February 27, 2013 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    hi guys. i m from the future and you shouldnt worry. ;)

  1. [...] is Coming), and either the screening of the pilot didn’t get a good reaction, or it did (also from Winter is Coming). More news as it is [...]

  2. [...] there were certainly bumps along the road: stuff like rumors that the screening of the pilot to HBO executives were [...]


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