The challenges of adapting A Clash of Kings
By Winter Is Coming on in Editorial, Speculation.

A Clash of Kings with HBO tie-in cover artio9′s Charlie Jane Anders has an interesting editorial on the challenges of adapting A Clash of Kings to the screen. Here is her setup to the article:

Game of Thrones comes back for its second season on April 1, and there’s just one question on everybody’s mind: Can this show keep up the amazingly high standard it set in its first season?

We’ve seen plenty of shows rock out in year one, only to hit a sophomore slump. Plus A Clash of Kings, the second book in George R.R. Martin’s series, presents huge challenges for anybody trying to wrangle it into a ten-episode television show. Here are some reasons why Game of Thrones season two could have trouble… plus some reasons to have faith that they’ll pull it off.

Anders goes on to provide a comprehensive list that I thought would be an interesting jumping off point for discussion here. Be warned though, the article is FULL OF SPOILERS for events in A Clash of Kings as well as a few from A Storm of Swords. So if you haven’t read those two books yet, best to not read the article or engage in discussion here.

To those who have read the books, what do you make of the challenges that Anders puts forth? How do you think the producers will handle them in this season? And can you think of other reasons to add to her list of why this season will be a success?

Winter Is Coming: I think the biggest challenge the writers face is the growing amount of storylines. From doing my own scripting, I’ve realized just how many different storylines we follow this season. Advancing each of the separate storylines and developing the characters and laying down backstory, all while producing an entertaining and cohesive hour of television, is a tough task. The other three reasons she lists I’m not too worried about, but the expanding nature of the series is the one that I fear could become a problem. Because, guess what, it doesn’t get any better as the series progresses.


66 Comments

  1. Caedes
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Read this essay two days ago. Insightful, well-written and a good read indeed.

    I have an inner feeling (and hope) that the sprawling nature of Martin’s story would not be so harmful to the tv medium, budgetary issues aside.

  2. Michaelmann
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    I think until aSoS it will work. It might get harder for the viewer to understand everything that is going on and to see the big picture, but it will work afterall. But from Feast and onwards, they will have think off something. no matter in which order they film book 4 and 5, they need to make it more interesting for the viewership.
    Personally i liked those books as I liked the ones before but I agree – its not made for television from that point on.

  3. The Rabbit
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Yeah interesting article.
    Pretty much agreed with Michaelmann that it should work till the end of ASOS.
    It would be interesting to see (and I hope we would have a chance to see it) what approach the producers would choose when they would come near the Feast.
    Would they put some of the Feast material in the third or fourth season (if we got 2 seasons for ASOS) then the rest of the Feast just merge with Dance?
    I wonder also about the Dornish storyline and storyline going on on Iron Islands during the Kingsmoot and so.
    Anyway it would be interesting to see what they are gonna choose to do. It won t be easy job, that s all I know.

  4. Robbet
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

    Really interesting essay, it presents some strong arguments and ideas. About thr challenges, I don’t believe magic and fantay to be one of them. Yet, I kind of agree with the part of not being a high hope, like we had with Ned!
    I think that the major challenge is the fact that the story is spreading, there are more locations and secondary characters and it’s harder to make transitions…
    But I believe these challenges will only motivte HBO and this season will be powerful and amazing, because they can always add new scenes (the ones with Varys and Littlefinger are wonderful) and get scenes from SoS!

  5. Michael Harper
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

    I was looking on Amazon and came across the HBO tie-in version of A Clash of Kings. Something I noticed which is different about the UK version to the US version is the really quite pathetic addition of a number 2 in the title. For some random reason the novel has been titled: GAME OF THRONES 2: A CLASH OF KINGS

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/images/0007465823/ref=dp_image_z_0?ie=UTF8&n=266239&s=books

    I find this odd, as the US version is simply titled A CLASH OF KINGS at the bottom of the cover.

  6. dizzy_34
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

    I think this guy sells the T.V. audience a bit short. A Clash of Kings expanding of the story is what keeps you interested in the events following A Game of Thrones. Martin’s way of not giving you what you want but giving you what you need to keep following the story is what makes A Song of Ice and Fire so addictive, in my opinion. The people who make this show are amazing, I don’t have any doubt that season 2 will be as big or bigger than season 1.

  7. Maxwell James
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Advancing each of the separate storylines and developing the characters and laying down backstory, all while producing an entertaining and cohesive hour of television, is a tough task.

    Agreed. I don’t see the other issues as a problem, but fitting an increasing number of storylines into a constant number of hours each season could eventually cause the series to fray.

    There is one big advantage they have that she doesn’t mention, however: the first season did a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of exposition, especially in the first four episodes. While there are new characters and factions being introduced, the amount of backstory should be mild compared to the first season. For that reason alone, I expect season 2 will have less “sexposition” (if not less sex).

  8. Dan Spicer
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    i think they will lay the groundwork for future seasons now and in Season 3. We will get glimpses of the Iron Islands this season and expnded looks in Season 3. We will get glimpses of Dorne in Season 3 and then much more in Season 4. I also think there is a possibliity that D&D might be able to pitch a 20 episode arc and combine Books 4&5 for season 4, but exend the wait for season 4 by 6 months, and then delay season 5 by 6 months after the 20 espisode season 4. It would save money, and they would have 40 episodes to show in re-run during the exta wait for Season 5

  9. Ed
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Great article, a really good read.

    It’s so weird, we all watch from a different perspective than the TV viewer that’s never read the book (most of us anyway), so there’s really no way we can get “into their heads” and know how it’s all working out.

    (shrug) Oh well, 23 more days, regardless!

  10. Two Feathers
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34: I don’t have any doubt that season 2 will be as big or bigger than season 1.

    I am with you on that Dizzy………..bigger and better.
    I have no doubt this time next year we will be saying , how can season 3 possibly top the awsomeness that was season 2 ?
    As season 2 plays out, Castle Wycnet will, once again, fill to bursting with common folk. Those who can read and write will be vastly out numbered by those in motley and filthy trolls. Chaos and argument will be rife. Lord Winter will need his bannermen (and banner woman) to keep their blades sharp.
    I wonder will Castle Wycnet still be standing after eight seasons? And if it is , will its number of followers quickly dwindle once all has been said about the final box set ?
    I know you and I will be there at the end of ( Westeros ) days Dizzy, if the old gods spare us.
    Along with a few other die hards we can log on to winterisover.net and talk about the good old days………….:)

  11. darquemode
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    I think the two biggest issues are the many divergent storylines and the “unsatisfactory” endings to seasonal arcs for some characters.

    I think D&D have a deft hand at handling the many storylines. Trimming down to the meaningful events in a given story, the insightful dialog and the needed points that will relate to future events and combining them in such a way it both holds true to the spirit of the books and streamlines the content into a more linear, TV-friendly format. I have little doubt they will accomplish the tasks at hand related to this.

    I think the more difficult prospect may be providing the season long personal story arcs that most TV viewers expect and almost need frankly. A few of the characters have very natural stories that culminate in a specific event nicely, but not many! Many TV viewers, if not most, expect the traditional TV formula of a season long problem building to an outcome at the season’s end. This seems a harder task to achieve in my mind.

  12. Nick Larter
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Yeah I liked this article, though I didn’t entirely agree with her take on arcs. Clash has a decent arc leading up to Blackwater and ASoS has decent arcs as well leading to weddings and the siege of the Wall. That seems to be the prevailing opinion in the comments here too. The books that really lack arcs are AFFC and ADWD and again I can only concur with other commenters here that it is going to take real imagination to structure them into a season that is interesting for (non-reader) viewers. I still hold out hopes that the relief of Hardhome will be on screen and will be a S5 or S6 arc.

  13. John W
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the producers will have a problem adapting the stories, for them the biggest problem will be whether or not the casual fans, the ones who have not read the books, will be able to keep up and not get turned off by all the twists and turns.

    I’m talking about the folks who screamed bloody murder when Ned met his untimely end in season 1.

  14. rezze23
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    It really seems some of these blog writers/interviewers are scared that GOT will starting seeing more fantasy elements. Interviewers are asking how the actors like fantasy/will we be seeing more. This blog is scared as shit on how it will be portrayed. Little annoying as it seems the media is just learning this series IS fantasy. But it is understandable I guess as some of these new elements may scare away viewers.

  15. Michaelmann
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I was just wondering…
    If Book 3 is split into

    a) Season 3
    and
    b) 3/4 Season 4 and the other 1/4 of Season 4 is taken from Feast and Dance,

    Maybe Season 5 will be rest of Feast and Dance + some arc resolution from a possibly released Winds of Winter?

    If Martin wants to finish the series in the next two volumes, he has to hurry up – not just in reallife, but also concerning the “ingame” time…
    So many things need to get finished and if we do not want a thousand loose strings, sh*t has to get real everywhere very soon in Winds.

    Depending on how long WoW is going to be, maybe we will see the resolution to Stannis vs. Boltons + Mereen pretty early on in the book, which would be climatic enough for TV i suppose.

    And there would still be a lot of conflicts going on for Season 6 then, of which exactly we dont even know for sure at this point.
    Also, D&D know the big events in the future of aSoIaF as they have spoken to GRRM, so they probably have a idea of how to stretch the story into seasons pretty well.

  16. Rob Guy
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Was hoping to like this site but way to many ads. Actual content is almost below fold. Stayed just long enough to get link to good site.

  17. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

    Rob Guy,

    Cool story, Bro. Have fun in Westeros or wherever you end up. Let us know if you find out “where Whores go”?

  18. GrzebykK
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

    Good read indeed.
    If D&D truly expanded the roles of Pycelle, Littlefinger, even Ros to give season 2 the momentum while Starks are spread and lost somehow, I’d call them geniuses.

  19. Queensmoot
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    Very well written and considered.

    I think Clash will be hard, but do-able. As someone said above – it’s going to get really hard in ASOS. I’ve been trying to roughly plot the next few seasons during a reread. For Clash, I could almost divide the chapters into 10 segments and then adjust for the changes we know about and better pacing. For ASOS, spread over two seasons, that method really doesn’t work. The chapters are long and would have to be cut into multiple, tighter scenes, and sometimes you’d miss characters for half a season. They did a great job balancing Dany and Jon last year, so I’m sure they can reach a good balance.

    That said, thats nothing to the challenge of AFFC and ADWD. I assume that they will combine them and spread the two together out over two seasons. Messy, but if anyone can do it’s D&D!

  20. DavosFTW!
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

    Season two will easily shit on season one because season two has DAVOS! End of discussion.

  21. Matthew
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t read the article yet but I did want to respond to the quote… I don’t really believe in the phenomenon of a “sophomore slump” when it comes to high quality TV series. We could run through all the counter-examples, which are numerous… Season 2 of Breaking Bad was a masteripiece, the best of the 4 seasons by far, in my opinion. Season 2 of Boardwalk Empire (another HBO series) blew Season 1 out of the water. Season 2 of the Sopranos was definitely in the same ball park (slightly better/slightly worse than S1, depending on your tastes). Ditto Mad Men. The X Files kept getting better and better until around season 6. Even comedies like The Simpsons and Seinfeld had awesome second seasons. In fact, of all the great shows I can think of, only the much-maligned season 2 of Twin Peaks stands out as being significantly worse than the 1st. I am expecting amazing things from Season 2 of GoT. Ok, off to actually read that article.

  22. Dreamlife
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    One thing I’m curious (and worried) about is whether we’re going to have major main character death(s) each season, and if after, say, season 2, viewers are going to start expecting it and getting tired of it. Obviously, spoilers follow.

    Season 1: Ned and Drogo die. Both deaths shocked me in the books; in the TV series, I think Ned’s death affected people more than Drogo’s, but there was clearly a sense that the 2 potential heroes—the hero of the North and the hero across the sea were cut from the story before they could reach their potentials.

    Season 2: Assuming we get that far, Bran and Rickon’s “deaths”. I guess they may hold off until season 2 for this, but whenever they do this part of the story, if they treat it as a cliffhanger, and we have to wait until the next season to find out their fates, this might test the patience of the audience. If it is revealed too soon, it will be cheap.

    Season 3: Shit hits the fan. Robb and Catelyn are murdered. At this point, viewers will be seriously pissed. Depending on how they handle Bran and Rickon, the audience might almost expect another Stark to die. And if they show a Previously on Game of Thrones scene of Robb promising to marry a Frey girl right before the Red Wedding episode, I guarantee a lot of viewers will figure it out.

    After Robb and Catelyn are killed, book and TV viewers might treat it like a running gag that the show is just going to continue killing off Starks/fan favorites.

  23. sunspear
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t really think that main arc is going to be a problem. Tyrion is arguably as big a deal in clash as Nd was in season one. The rest of the points though are going to be a drag.

    And in season three, fans are going to be furious over Catelyn and Robb getting murdered. I really think they are going to have to end that season with joffrey’s death just so fans won’t refuse to keep watching.

    As far as the Feast/Dance seasons, I can think of a lot of things they can add to keep the interest up, without even taking away from the books. They can show Loras take dragonstone, Stannis meet the mountain clans, and especially expand on Aegon after Selhorys to make him the new Robb.

  24. Perkins
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Alright, so I am watching the current episode of spartacus vengence. I swear the actor that plays the mountain from season 1 is in this episode can someone confirm or deny(i know he was filming some other movies according to imdb.. but come on.. spartacus?!??)) He had time for spartacus and not GoT? please tell me its not true. I hope he comes back for season 3 of GoT.

  25. Perkins
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    Perkins,

    ehh nevermind, quick google search answered it. sad.

  26. Hexonx
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

    Perkins,

    Yeah, I don’t think he believes Spartacus is better but I think he left GoT for larger roles. I believe he is doing The Hobbit also. The Mountain has a few awesome scenes but is pretty much a minor character.

  27. Hexonx
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    One of the “optimistic” points she made about Robb could also lead to bigger problems. I think the non-readers, especially (but not limited to) the younger females, are going to REALLY fall in love with Robb due to his hotness (or so I’ve been told) and expanded role & love story. The RW is really going to piss them off.

  28. Steelyuhas
    Posted March 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    ASOS spoilers I think the best way to minimize the effect of the RW on audiences (which will be probably more devastating in the show) is to not have it until season 4. If ASOS gets two full seasons, timeline wise, the RW doesn’t happen until about 2/3 through the book, making it at the end of the third season would be pushing it up. Most of the events from the RW until the end of ASOS are like a giant rolling conclusion of a lot of the plotlines from the first three books. I really feel that they should all be in the same season, and the RW will be a lot easier to take if it’s not at the end of a season.

  29. Shikatsu
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:58 am | Permalink

    I think HBO can pull it off IF they get that far. I’m hoping along with all the other book readers that they make it to the end but A. HBO has a record of not letting shows go bast 4-5 seasons. and B. At the rate Mr. Martin releases books the show will be out of production for a couple years by the time the last book is in our hands. lol A sad but honest truth. But also back in July the creators said that IF they get a season 3 (which of course they will I’m sure season 2 will knock ratings out of the park) it is where they will be deviating from the books. Between the two above factors they pretty much have to if they want to give the show a proper ending. So I’m sure it’s where a lot of secondary folks will get cut. And probably some of the odder aspects like Catelyn post ASoS.

  30. Pink Dragon
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    I think there’s going to be issues with plot revelations in the later seasons. Aegon’s ADwD re-appearance was left-field enough, and I don’t think viewers will buy it — they’ll see it as a cheap ploy to keep people watching. Meanwhile, if the ‘Varys-is-working-for-the-Targaryen-pretenders’ theory is true, when in the hell are they gonna have time to describe that? If they do, will it seem inorganic?

    And, if the popular theory that Jon is a Targaryen happens to be true, unless they start dropping hints in the show, non-bookies are going to roll their eyes so far back in their head they’ll start seeing infinity. Again, it’ll seem like the writers pulled it out of their ass, regardless of whether or not it becomes established canon in the books. In the show they never stopped to give us the backstory or the gossip and I’m not wholly sure they ever will — too much to tell in the present.

    Also also, if y’all think bookies are mad about Daenerys still kicking it in Essos, imagine show-watchers six years from now?

    Of course, a lot of these deal with theories, but it’ll be a little shaky for the show if these theories end up being true. That’s what I fear.

    In short, they’re probably going to have to condense like hell and past Storm I think we’re going to start seeing some severe changes. Most will be understandable, but they’ll amount to a whole new show with the same characters in different circumstances; I don’t think book purists will be happy.

  31. Dee
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Pink Dragon,

    You make very valid points, especially with regards to Aegon’s reveal. If the show does get renewed for a 3rd & 4th season, I would expect Aegon to be introduced to the show far earlier than the books, certainly before Tyrion crosses the Narrow Sea, and possibly even before RW. New scenes would be conceived to introduce us to Young Griff, his cohorts and his background, with only his reveal as a possible Targ left for Tyrion. That way the show audience has another young male contender to the throne with a sympathetic story to cheer, or jeer, for post RW, and another pretty face. It’s either that, or cut him our of the show all together, which may not be possible given his potential role going forward in the books.
    As for the theory of Jon’s Parentage, I think we’ll get the answer to whether or not it will be included in the show this season. We know that Ned will be showing up this season in flashbacks – possibly also in a House Of Undying vision? – and I have a feeling the Tower of Joy scene is the main reason for his return. If it’s not forshadowed one way or another this season, then I would bet on R+L=J never playing a role in the show.

  32. Joshua Taylor
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 3:22 am | Permalink

    Dee,

    Couldn’t agree with you more! R + L =J has to be hinted at this season in some capacity. I have faith that David and Dan are fine tuning the continuities of the novels to make everything work in a cinematic sense. Reek/Ramsay burning of Winterfell, the Tullys/ Riverrun are hopefully being pushed to season 3. This will work well if ASOS is going to be two seasons long as rumoured. I also agree that the RW needs to be either the second last episode of season 3 (with the finale being the other wedding) or pushed to the third episode (how about the premiere?) of season 4.
    That said, the ADWD we experienced on paper is going to be vastly different (and better if you ask me) once it is adapted to television. Maybe HBO has secretly cast a Rhaegar for a cameo in the HOTU (Neil Marshall and Liam Cunningham are pretty tight with Michael Fassbender http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-KG4AJhh3A7c/TVTXT0t9-uI/AAAAAAAAArg/7Ns9DNU7Lyc/s1600/stelios1.png….) and we will hear those immortal words: “He has a song, he is the prince that was promised. His is a song of ice and fire.” Goosebumps!

  33. Magnus
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 4:18 am | Permalink

    About the R+L=J theory, many tv watchers guessed this already after episode 2. It is easier in the tv show because you are given fewer options. If you limit Jon’s mother to someone who has been mentioned (which is sensible) and to someone who are not a random peasant girl (Wyla), Lyanna is really the only option.


    As for Sean Bean appearing in a flashback, I think that is a false rumor. It was said by someone in an interview, but that came strongly off as a joke or as saying “that is the only possible way he could return”. The show has shied away from using flashbacks before, and there isn’t much room for it in season 2.


    Introducing Aegon before the RW other than in the name? I can’t see that happening. Book 3 is already complex enough. I don’t see a reason to actually show him before he starts doing anything interesting. And he won’t do anything interesting before he moves to Westeros unless you greatly rewrite the story. After the Red wedding, or after book 3 rather, a lot of storylines come to a conclusion, and it is much more natural to introduce new plots like Aegon at this point.


    All they have to do is to establish his name and who he was before that. This can be done through exposition that talks about Amory Lorch and the Mountain. I’m sure there will also be a lot more Targaryen backstory filled in in season 2 and 3 with Jaime talking about the events during and before the sack of Kings Landing, as well as Tyrion discovering things about these. There could also be conversations between Dany and Selmy.

    I also agree that the R+l=J could be hinted at in the House of the Undying.

  34. Restore The Day
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    Dreamlife,

    It’s something that pisses me off to no end too when watching a lot of shows, that the “Previously on” segment can tell you everything that’s going to happen in the upcoming episode. I’m already pretty good usually at figuring out plot devices and twists, but summaries just ruin it for me way too often, and in the case of shows like GoT, they just shouldn’t exist IMO.

  35. Anvil
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 4:39 am | Permalink

    In other news: Conan Stevens was in last night’s episode of Spartacus: Vengeance.

  36. Jambo
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    Anvil:
    In other news: Conan Stevens was in last night’s episode of Spartacus: Vengeance.

    Yep, just finished watching tonight’s (awesome!) episode. He had a lot more lines than in the entire s1 of GoT, it’s just too bad he got his face literally cut off.

    Still a bit put out he won’t be back as the Mountain for season two.

    Btw, if people aren’t watching Spartacus, you should check it out – it’s a great show. Especially the last couple episodes have been crazy good :)

  37. HERP-DERP
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:34 am | Permalink

    1) I’ve seen the phrase “R+L=J theory” posted a lot of times between spoiler tags.
    2) I have NOT read the 5th book yet [I've only read the first 4].

    Now my question is: is the “R+L=J theory” based on something in the first 4 books, in which case I can safely look it up without ruining events in the 5th book for myself, or will it spoil the 5th book for me???? plz no 5th book spoilers in your response!

  38. Magnus
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:43 am | Permalink

    HERP-DERP,

    It is almost entirely based on the first book, though there are some more details for it in the second and third. Reading the theory will maybe spoil for you the moment when (if) it is answered in the book unless you have figured it out for yourself by then. I won’t say if it is conclusively answered in book 5, as that would be a spoiler in itself.

  39. Matt Chung
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    HERP-DERP,
    it’s a theory that has out together over the course of the first four books, mostly, so looking it up will not spoil it as far as I know.

  40. Dee
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    HERP-DERP,

    The theory is based mostly on events in GOT and Clash.

    Magnus,

    If Ned’s return in a flashback is a false rumor, then they can hint at R+L in the HotU, but they have to foreshadow it this season if they’re going to use it in future. None of the show watchers I know guessed at Jon’s parentage. They wonder about the identity of his mother, but no one I know questions Ned as his father.

    As for Aegon, as Pink Dragon said, his sudden appearance at such a late hour, as done in the books, would simply feel too contrived for TV, imo. The show will have to mention Aegon’s background earlier, perhaps like you said in convos with Jamie, Tywin or about the Mountain. They could then introduce Young Griff and his cohorts, as minor characters, early enough so as to make his eventual reveal him as Aegon when he meets Tyrion seem more more credible as plot expansion and less like a rickety plot device.

    I’m one of those who hated the way YG was suddenly introduced in the books, and am pretty sure it would translate badly if it were done the same in the show.

  41. goober
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:22 am | Permalink

    a fine read.all the thoughts that occupy my mind when anticipating the second season.

  42. JTex
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    I’m not worried about the next couple of seasons. Sure, they diverge pretty far from the tight plotting of Book 1, but viewers will stick with it, just like they did with “THE WIRE.”

  43. Magnus
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Dee,

    I see what you mean, but I think it would be more damaging to introduce him before he is of any significance than it would be to do it like in the books. I think it will seem jarring at first, but by the time of book 6 (season 6-7-ish) he will already be accepted as a part of the story. I also found his reveal in the books very sudden, but now I accept him as an integral part of the story just like any other character.

  44. Bathory
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Good read.

    I personally don’t see a problem for the future seasons, they have all the freedom to re-arrange chapters to make the story flow seamlessly.

    I do agree that I would prefer new characters introduced gently, gradually, so they are much easier to accept for the people not reading the books. This would also go a long way to make them more plausible. Especially the R+L story line, I really hope we get to see it sooner rather than later.

  45. Knurk
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    The second book, meanwhile, leaves some important characters in the middle of a storyline, without any clear turning point having been reached. True, there are some resolutions: Jon Snow makes an important decision, Daenerys leaves Qarth in her three boats, Tyrion has a major change in his fortunes, Arya decides to flee Harrenhal, and it appears that Catelyn Stark has made a decision about Jaime Lannister (though we don’t know what.)

    soooooooooo, literally every character has some kind of conclusion in Clash, don’t see the problem here. Maybe she could have given us an example of a character who doesn’t reach a turning point?

  46. userj
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Dee:
    As for Aegon, as Pink Dragon said, his sudden appearance at such a late hour, as done in the books, would simply feel too contrived for TV, imo.

    Why would it feel contrived? Every long running TV series ever has new, major characters appearing in each season. Aegon’s appearance is extremely similar to other such appearances in TV series. Buffy’s a great example, new characters were introduced commonly – sometimes just for the season, but sometimes permanently – for example Anya, Tara, and Dawn.

    In fact, we don’t really know which camp Aegon falls into yet… I’m leaning towards 1-2 season run since I bet he’ll die early in twow.

    I’m hardly a book purist but it’s silly to think that new characters are never introduced in TV. Happens all the time. Now, if you think that Aegon’s appearance in the book itself is contrived, that’s another matter.

  47. Ed
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I think there will be much more exposition in Season Two.

    Not in a bad way, either. I think D&D learned what works, and what doesn’t (anal probing prostitutes being first on that list) – either way it will be necessary to get a lot more history across for the coming episodes and seasons.

  48. Benjen_S
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I agree with those who have said that ACOK will not pose as big an adaptation challenge as this article seems to indicate. (spoilers ahead) For one thing, it seems pretty clear from the previews that Tyrion’s storyline will be the “main thread” of this season just as Ned’s was in the first. Furthermore, casting tells us that at least one big plot event has been moved back to S3: the “deaths” of Bran and Rickon plus the sacking of Winterfell. They simply cannot depict these events, I feel, without casting someone as Reek. Others may disagree, but I see Bran/Theon’s plotlines ending in this season with Theon taking over Winterfell and then getting his verbal smack-down from Asha–excuse me, Yara–telling him how much of a d-bag he is. If this is the case, I think it’s a wise decision. It fills out Bran, Theon and Reek’s stories for Seasons 3/4.

    I’m actually quite excited to see how the two season ASOS will work out. Splitting it gives them some nice opportunities to NOT cut things (the Brotherhood, for one, probably will get a lot more screen time than it would have otherwise under this two-season format, I hope). It will be problematic in terms of how they END season three (the place where it cuts). I see there being two options:
    A) RW and B) Joffrey’s death
    A seems like a more natural split point given the length of the book, but B seems a lot wiser in terms of not completely alienating non-book people in between the seasons. I would actually be okay with either, but I think they will ultimately go with B, and maybe put off some stuff that, in terms of book chronology, happens before the RW. That means that season 4 will be dominated by Tyrion’s trial/the RV and the siege of the wall. I think this could work for a complete season.

  49. HERP-DERP
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    OMG i had never even thought about the R+L storyline… u guys ruined it for me…

  50. baldyr blüetooth
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Benjen_S,

    I really hope your are right about certain events being withheld for season three.
    But considering several recent inteviews I am afraid the “Killing” of the Stark boys and the sack of Winterfell is goin to happen this season which means there is probably not going to be a Ramsay ever. Because if you feel you need to cut for time one of the more important characters now, I don´t see how to make the time later to introduce him when he´s not as necessary storywise anymore .
    I understand there have to be cuts and changes, sorry Reeds, sorry Blackfish et al. but the whole Roose/Ramsay/Reek /Theon stuff was for man fans one of the things that made the novels outstanding. I´d rather they cut the dragons stuff then this seriously.

    Still looking forward though..

  51. Magnus
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    HERP-DERP,

    Whaat? I even warned you about it. If you looked it up it is your own fault :P

  52. Obsidian
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    HERP-DERP..If you’re not just teasing us , :)… it’s not so bad …many a book reader was 2 or 3 books in before thinking of it , but anyone who was curious enough to visit any of the sites devoted to ASoIaF was inevitaby “spoiled” ..But now , 5 books in … it’s still just a theory. So it’s not really so spoiled, is it ?..Everyone’s just speculating , as I’m sure GRRM expected us to do.

  53. Macha
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    baldyr blüetooth,

    regarding your fears about Ramsay in the show, I too was surprised he was not cast this season, however I’m pretty sure he’ll be there for season three. With Joffrey’s death in ASOS, the story needs a strong negative character, and you can’t really find much worse than Ramsay at this point. GRRM manages a great crescendo in terms of baddies, doesn’t he? :) I completely agree with you on the Theon/Ramsay storyline being an outstanding piece of writing on GRRM’s part (I’d actually call it the best in my book), and I’m pretty certain the show-runners will want to do it justice, that’s probably why it had to be pushed back for now. Keeping my spirits up for the Blackfish doesn’t work that well though. :) *sigh* there will be Blackfish, there will be Blackfish, don’t despair, don’t bloody despair…breath…

  54. userj
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    baldyr blüetooth: Because if you feel you need to cut for time one of the more important characters now, I don’t see how to make the time later to introduce him when he´s not as necessary storywise anymore .

    Disagree - Ramsey is much more important later so it absolutely makes sense to put off his casting until absolutely necessary. Think of the mechanics of it. If they cast Ramsey now, they have to put an actor on retainer for three years. If they put it off until season 4, then they only need to start paying him then.
    I think they’d have a hard time finding a good actor that will agree to contract with a year missing in between.

    Benjen_S: A) RW and B) Joffrey’s death
    A seems like a more natural split point given the length of the book, but B seems a lot wiser in terms of not completely alienating non-book people in between the seasons.

    There’s an option C) End the S3 Westeros Story at the RW in Episode 9, but end the Essos story with Dany’s triumph in Astapor in Episode 10. That way, just like S1, we get a moment of horror, but a moment of triumph to make up for it. Indeed the symmetry to S1 is obvious. Tyrion’s wedding to Sansa will most likely also be a major climax (E8).

    This will make B) Joff’s death in S4 approx. mid-season, and then S4 climaxes will incude Tyrion’s trial, Jon declared LC, Dany conquering Meereen and exiling Jorah.

  55. Robbb
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    I think this season might be the easiest one to adapt in the entire series. (easy being a relative term) Last season they had to setup the extensive back story and in seasons to come, things get so splintered it will be a real challenge. So this season the producers already have a great story in CoK with an amazing central figure in Tyrion who has a wonderful arc – he’ll get loads of screen time and is a total badass in CoK.

    I think the challenge (or the fun, depending on how you look at it) for the producers/writers will be the added original content they’ll need to develop. Thats what I’m most worried about, but also most excited to see on screen. Whats the Robb and Jeyne plot going to look like, and most importantly how do they address Danyerius’ limited presence from CoK. After an amazing season one for Dany, they’ll just have to add more scenes with her as she is not really a focal point of the book. So this season they have like 80% awesome material and they’ll write in the other 20%.

    For a SoS, things get even more complicated as characters continue to scatter around the place. The real hard part will be after SoS, where I’m guessing (hoping) the producers/writers will have to come up with all sorts of original material as things are just way too disjointed and to be honest not that riveting. Thinking about it in those terms kinda makes the adaptation of CoK a piece of cake. Can’t wait to see the final product.

  56. Giselle Glasgow
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Wow lots of interesting theories in this discussion. One of the theories which i agree with in the editorial is that the ‘borrowing of storylines’ from ASOS will increase. Judging from that scene between Jamie and Catelyn in season 1, which was part of ACOK, I expect to see similar ‘borrowings’ with Daenarys arc and Jamie/Brienne ‘adventures’ (as I like to call it) in season 2. ASOS is very dense and I think even with all the borrowings can still churn out a full and entertaining Season 3.
    Book 4 and 5 in my opinion will have to run co-currently when adapting the series. By doing so they may reveal some things from ADWD in the end of season 3 just to set up the story. But i guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

    Either way… IS APRIL 1ST HERE YET???!!! lol….

  57. Stannis
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m a non-reader, and I can safely say it would easily work for me having Tyrion as the main Protagonist for season 2, as he proved his legendary quality in s1. And trust me, these challenges are insignificant compared the to grave into which True Blood has dug itself, and I will certainly not be surprised if there’s 7 or 8 seasons of that.

  58. Jeremy Sadler
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    Hexonx,

    Warning: 5th book (A Dance with Dragons) spoilers.

    Many young (and not so) women I know have a “thing” for Jon Snow (Kit Harrington). So while Rob may attract that sort of following, I sense late S4 or S5 (if we get that far AND they are still watching) will be a real heart-render for them. (I admit to almost throwing my iPad at that point in ADWD. Does GRRM not let ANY good person triumph?)

    I can see how though the producers will use Rob and Jeyne to build the “romance” side of the story and (they think) attract female viewers. But anyone who was surprised and angered by Ned’s death with lose their shit over the Red Wedding.

  59. Josh Atreides
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Jeremy Sadler,

    That’s assuming of course that Jon Snow is actually dead. We know the first chapter of the WOW will take place before the last quarter of ADWD, therefore it is not within reason to assume that Martin left us with a cliffhanger there in order to create buzz for the next book. It kind of reminds me of Gethsemane, the fourth season finale of the X Files wherein it is believed by the end of the season that Fox Mulder has committed suicide. The announcment from Scully in front of the FBI chief confirms it. Then in the fifth season premiere, we see the events leading back to what REALLY happened…so maybe ADWD will go the same way. Question is: If he is not dead than what really happened to Jon Snow?

    I can tell you now that if Jon Snow is dead, Martin will rue the day. I know several hardcore Song of Ice and Fire fans who have told me that if Jon Snow has bit the big one than this will be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. He is one character in the saga that should have plot armour until the very end…

    I myself will grin and bear if it is the case, as there are several characters that I am invested in. But if he is dead, then we will have a polarizing effect to deal with in the fanbase I think. It’s really hard to say.

    But if Jon is alive and somehow resurrected from death, I guarantee you D & D are not going to depict such an event in a season finale, it will be an episode 9 scenario and the hero will be resurrected by the end of episode 10. That’s my prediction anyway.

  60. Josh Atreides
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Winter, there’s something messing up with the spoiler text. Can you spoiler my entire post? Thanks…

  61. Jeremy Sadler
    Posted March 10, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    Josh Atreides,

    I took Jon for dead, as it was done in GRRM’s “style” – a sudden, surprising moment of violence with no true knowledge of the outcome until you hear about it later via third parties (which we haven’t, yet). However I would also not be surprised if Jon is spared; GRRM threw Tyrion off a boat as a minor cliffhanger and spared him, so Jon may survive this. Regardless, the Wall and the Gift with his stabbing would have exploded with violence as wildlings fought the Watch, both afraid of the power vacuum that Jon’s absence creates. I can only think that GRRM intends the confusion at the Wall to provide the opportunity for the Others to break through into the south.

  62. taekwonjohn
    Posted March 11, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

    I think the biggest challenge is adding new characters and working in old characters (like Robb Stark) that have a lesser role in this book. They seem to be doing a good job so far….but I’m still bitter about the omission of the Reeds this season. Possibly all together for the series. Bad choice in my opinion. Without them, they must rewrite Bran’s path throughout the rest of the entire series. Looking further down the road, I wonder what they’re going to do when they get to Feast of Crows and Dance with Dragons when some of the main characters are absent for entire books.

    Another challenge is keeping everything suitable for television. Even with HBO’s loose restrictions on mature content, the Ice and Fire series gets pretty hardcore even for HBO’s standards. They didn’t cut much during the first season. They wisely changed the age portrayals of characters like Danaerys, Robb Stark, Jon Snow, etc. to make things a little more palatable. However, Clash of Kings and Storm of Swords are far more brutal with depictions of child (toddlers in some cases) being brutally murdered and young girls being raped (Lollys). They will have to tame some things down to stay within the R rated framework of premium cable.

  63. caz
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:43 am | Permalink

    Benjen_S,

    Good point there about the casting, I see no hint of Jojen and Meera, which is so disappointing, but it may hint at a possible ending point for that part of the narrative in this season. :( and i was so looking forward to meeting the Reeds…… I’m with you taekwonjohn, but i can’t see how it would be possible to leave them out. They had better not at any rate…

  64. caz
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:55 am | Permalink

    taekwonjohn,

    eek! Where’d my last comment go?? I see the Reeds haven’t been cast for season 2, i’m hoping this is just a hint as to where that story arc will be paused at the end of s2. They had better not omit them altogether or i may have to set MY direwolf on their asses

  65. caz
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 2:56 am | Permalink

    caz,

    oh. there it is!!

  66. Ye Olde Wolfe
    Posted March 22, 2012 at 3:17 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Sadler:
    Josh Atreides,

    I took Jon for dead, as it was done in GRRM’s “style” – a sudden, surprising moment of violence with no true knowledge of the outcome until you hear about it later via third parties (which we haven’t, yet). However I would also not be surprised if Jon is spared; GRRM threw Tyrion off a boat as a minor cliffhanger and spared him, so Jon may survive this.Regardless, the Wall and the Gift with his stabbing would have exploded with violence as wildlings fought the Watch, both afraid of the power vacuum that Jon’s absence creates. I can only think that GRRM intends the confusion at the Wall to provide the opportunity for the Others to break through into the south.

    See, I don’t think it was done in GRRM style. He’s always given us immediate confirmation of a death. I feel like if George kills someone, he wants us to know it immediately. Ned, Renly, Robb, Catt, Joff, Tywin, Quentyn: All given quick confirmations of their deaths. In Feast, we hear through the grape vine that Davos was supposedly killed, but in Dance we find out that was just a ruse. In Clash, Theon’s last chapter makes it seems as though he might have been killed, but he later turns up as Reek.
    The last line in Jon’s chapter is “He never felt the fourth dagger, only the cold.” Could the cold be referring to a White Walker attack? I think (and hoooooope) Jon is alive. I think it’s very unlike GRRM to have something like that happen and make us wait all this time to find out he’s actually dead.


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