Cogman on the companion book, S3, and favourite episodes
By Hear Me Roar on in Merchandise, Production.

In the wake of  the recent publication of the Inside HBO’s Game of Thrones companion book, the author Bryan Cogman is dishing out interviews, not only for our site, but others as well. A particularly in-depth piece has been published by MTV Geek, which touches many topics beyond the new book itself, ranging from the relationship between the novels and the show, adaptation strategies, and the advantage of having the narrative scaffolding of your story laid out by a novelist, to what he was able to say is coming in season three. Two choice quotes:

“… certainly the relationship to the past is very important seam in the saga, and it’s definitely one that we’re mindful of. We have been very judicious as to when we allude to the past… We have done it, Lyanna and Rhaegar have come up several times, but we’re playing the long game here. The relationship to the past, and the circumstances around the rebellion will all be visited somehow on the show. How we’re going to do that, and the devices we’re going to use, I don’t even know yet.”

Asked about his episode for season three, Cogman hemmed and hawed a bit, before admitting that, “My episode involves some great stuff with the kids. The kids are always my favorite characters to write… Maybe it’s because I’m so fond of the actors who play them, and I’ve watched them grow up for the past four years. But I had some wonderful stuff with Arya that I was really excited to get to adapt. I think Season Three – maybe because Book Three is this way – it’s an emotionally rich season. Not that the first two weren’t, but I think we really dig deeper into the characters this year, and learn more about that, and learn some surprising things about some of them. I think it’s resulted in an emotionally riskier season. Where the last season built up to the big battle episode, this explores the family dynamic in a really rich way.

Bryan also wrote a piece for the Chronicle Books Blog, listing the top five of his favourite GoT episodes to date. Here is my favourite passage:

Fun Fact: We didn’t name the episodes until principal photography was completed. I pitched a number of titles, some of which ended up being selected. The first title I pitched for 102 was “A Direwolf Is No Pet”. My boss David Benioff responded by making me promise that if he were to suddenly croak, no episode of this show would ever be called “A Direwolf Is No Pet.” I made up for it by coming up with “The Kingsroad”.


77 Comments

  1. Cary Storm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    I look forward to reading Cogman’s interview in depth.

    And wow, First.

  2. Macha
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The first title I pitched for 102 was “A Direwolf Is No Pet”.
    Well that was…unexpected.

  3. Shellie
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    It’s been a long held theory of mine that Lyanna & Rhaegar are Jon Snow’s true parents.

  4. Jenny
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Shellie,

    Holy gamolly Shellie!!! Now that you say it, sounds like you may be onto something there…

    LOL!! *runs and hides*

  5. angel
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    I’m very excited about the family dynamic this coming season, it is crucial this season for the audience to feel something deeply for the characters, whether it is love or hate.

    March 31st cannot come quick enough!

  6. Jordioteque
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    One word — FLASHBACKS! I would be happy forever.

  7. HugeFloppyGut
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Shellie:
    It’s been a long held theory of mine that Lyanna & Rhaegarare Jon Snow’s true parents.

    LOL, Everyone thinks that, not just you

  8. Shellie 'the noob'
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Jenny,

    Thanks for having a sense of humour at least!

  9. Shellie
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    HugeFloppyGut,

    LOL, since that was the very first time I ever used (or commented) a GoT site, I wouldn’t know what “everyone” thinks.

    Thanks for the welcome x

  10. Dave Brownell
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Shellie,

    To do that, they would have to bring back Sean Bean XD x1000

  11. Johan Sporre
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    I have to agree with the Cog about his thoughts about Blackwater. How did it happen that that episode didn’t sweep all the Emmys?

  12. MadHatter
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    The ‘no flashbacks’ rule does not make sense. It’s a TV SHOW, a visual medium. The work calls for flashbacks and instead of having actors tell major parts of the backstory (boring), show it. Audience will appreciate it. Some flasbacks are more important than others so just show those ones.

  13. tysnow
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    Johan Sporre,

    I have to agree with the Cog about his thoughts about Blackwater. How did it happen that that episode didn’t sweep all the Emmys

    Simple, because all the talent behind that episode in essence created an exceptional made for television movie of theatrical quality, it would not have been fair to the other more mundane television shows. It short, Blackwater was Oscar caliber material in disguise, and the Emmy voters were jealous; likely felt intimidated and probably threatened by its quality.

  14. HouseLark
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    I do worry a little that Cogman is thinking of this story primarily as the tale of the Starks and the Lannisters as he implies. It’s missing the point somewhat

  15. Mean25
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    tysnow:
    Johan Sporre,
    the Emmy voters were jealous; likely felt intimidated and probably threatened by its quality.

    or Emmy voters are purists :O
    or maybe just maybe season 2 is not Emmy material :)

  16. NewJeffCT
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    Shellie -

    You really pick up on that stuff when you read the books a second time (or a third).

    I read AGOT in 1997 or 1998. I’m normally pretty stingy, but I couldn’t wait for the paperback for ACOK, so I bought the hardcover when it came out. I finally re-read the books last year and was shocked at how often in AGOT that Ned flashes back to Lyanna saying “promise me, Ned” – and, little things like how Anguy the archer won the archery contest in the Hand’s Tourney, then later meets Arya when he’s in the Brotherhood without Banners… or, how Mirri Maz Duur learned her craft, in part, from a maester named Marwyn, who is now an archmaester journeying to see Dany. But, I digress. I think with the clues from AGOT and ACOK, though, it’s pretty clear that R+L=J

  17. The Winter Rose
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

    Lyanna and Rhaegar finally getting some love from HBO! YAY! Soooo excited. This is what I’ve been waiting for. FLASHBACKS!

  18. Conor
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    The Winter Rose,

    Don’t get too excited, they haven’t done it yet. Or even know how they’ll do it but yes I agree SQUEE!! :)

    Alexander Skarsgard for Rhaegar
    Bridget Regan for Lyanna
    Someone for young Robert

  19. Alan
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

    MadHatter: that

    Actually, in the visual medium of television, flashbacks are often considered lazy writing that takes the viewer out of the moment. They are like voiceovers — appropriate in certain places but way too overused and often sloppy.

    Furthermore, Cogman was VERY clear the primary driver of the flashbacks rule, so to speak, was cost. Casting those people, creating those sets, it’s expensive.

  20. Direhound
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

    Usually I agree. I hate flashbacks- they’re usually cheesey but great TV doesn’t get ruled by conventions. Heck Sopranos and Lost had flashbacks (they weren’t always great) but sometimes you have to build the world’s history that way. I’m up for anything that doesn’t involve a brothel monlogue but I trust the showrunners. Maybe at the end of the episodes they should put a tag that says “For more backstory read ASOS Jaimie IV” etc…

    Also I love that Bryan mentions the season building to a rich family dynamic…hmmm….

  21. Cary Storm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

    Conor:
    Alexander Skarsgard for Rhaegar

    No.

    Mainly because one HBO show featuring him is quite enough… but I’m also now coming to the conclusion that further suggestions for actors that require visa cards to work in the UK is probably not helpful.

  22. NewJeffCT
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Alan: Actually, in the visual medium of television, flashbacks are often considered lazy writing that takes the viewer out of the moment. They are like voiceovers — appropriate in certain places but way too overused and often sloppy.Furthermore, Cogman was VERY clear the primary driver of the flashbacks rule, so to speak, was cost. Casting those people, creating those sets, it’s expensive.

    True – you would have to cast the actors, but you could “blur” the edges of the screen so you focused mainly on the actors and not have to do much in the way of set construction.

    Eva Green would be a good Lyanna, though maybe too old by now (she’s in her mid 30s now, I think?)

    Based on the ages of Mark Addy, Sean Bean & Michelle Fairley, young actors in their mid 20s would work for Robert, Lyanna, Rhaegar, Ned, etc.

  23. MadHatter
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t say “do sloppy flashbacks” or fill in for poor writing. NO! I just said the No Flashbacks rule does not make sense given the nature of the text and the medium. And who cares about the conventional considerations? It’s television, so give us the vision part. Show us R&L. Show us the Mad King. It does not have to be expensive or lengthy and they’ve got a wicked fat budget anyway. Not buying the budget excuse.

  24. Selmy
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

    Great stuff with the kids? I think of the kids as Arya, bran, rickon and sansa (jon and robb being so old on the show).

    SPOILERS BEWARE!!!

    But maybe bryan’s episode will have Arya’s cave scene with LB and TH. As for Bran…. A fight with the Reeds? Sansa, yeah i’m lost nothing happens to her until ep 8.

  25. WildSeed
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    NewJeffCT: True – you would have to cast the actors, but you could “blur” the edges of the screen so you focused mainly on the actors and not have to do much in the way of set construction.

    Eva Green would be a good Lyanna, though maybe too old by now (she’s in her mid 30s now, I think?)

    Based on the ages of Mark Addy, Sean Bean & Michelle Fairley, young actors in their mid 20s would work for Robert, Lyanna, Rhaegar, Ned, etc.

    Both you and Alan make good points here, and I am in full support of Eva Green
    ( although unlikely to be cast ), but nothing is written in stone. Benioff & Weiss,
    alongside Cogman and others, have stated the flashback premise as a choice
    they would not employ with the series. In light of Season 3 mishaps, consideration
    for better storytelling ( and Best Series Awards ) may influence their decisions.
    Streamlining does work, it’s efficient and often rids the product of imaginative
    imagery the author uses to ” paint ” the picture. Some people actually call it fluff.
    By allowing limited use of Flashbacks, the need to explain particular sequences
    or significant factors does help facilitate and render a cohesive story. These
    guys are experts, and could find a way to make these budget friendly and efficient.
    But please, no more Littlefinger teleporting or forgettable characters in the mix.
    The need to clarify certain scenes because on new or added plots are sure to
    subtract from the revenue pot as those changes may need explanation at some point.
    As much as I like the fresh face of Talisa, I am still wondering where the writers
    are gonna insert her storyline. Will that warrant a brief flashback ?

  26. Shellie
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

    NewJeffCT,

    Thanks Jeff. Unlike the majority of people here no doubt, I came to the stories after seeing the show (and I was late at that party too!) so I read the books after I saw Season 2 earlier this year. I couldn’t get enough of the writing and characterisations!

    I’d like to read them a second time, as you illustrated, there are undoubtedly lots of subtleties and little mentions to pick up on. (Btw, it wasn’t my intention to suggest the thought of R&L=J was exclusive to me, merely that I was excited that the mention in the Cogman interview was pertinent to its possibility! Apols for the massive fan faux pas :D!) Maybe after season 3 is aired I’ll revisit them at show pace. :)

  27. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    MadHatter:
    I didn’t say “do sloppy flashbacks” or fill in for poor writing.NO!I just said the No Flashbacks rule does not make sense given the nature of the text and the medium.And who cares about the conventional considerations?It’s television, so give us the vision part.Show us R&L.Show us the Mad King.It does not have to be expensive or lengthy and they’ve got a wicked fat budget anyway.Not buying the budget excuse.

    You don’t have to “buy it” in order for it to be a valid reason. Every single letter of every single line of every single page of a script = $$$. A lot of it. I get that most people who watch television do so passively, without really understanding how difficult and monumental of a task it can be to make these programs, but for those of us who do understand the issues surrounding the writing, the pre-production, the shooting, and the post-production, statements like the one you made come across as… Well, optimistic.

    If D&D had an unlimited budget, there’s little doubt that we would be much happier with the adaptation, but that doesn’t equate with a better show. More faithful, possibly, but that doesn’t automatically mean it would be better. Makes sense to me that they would hold back on delving too much into the ‘past’ at this point of the story, considering there is more than enough to cover during the ‘present’, and there will surely be a time where all of these elements more directly affect the narrative. Don’t forget that they have a better idea of where this story is ultimately headed than many (all?) of us.

  28. Mrs. H'ghar
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    Thanks you for posting this and all the links HMR, it’s always enlightening to read more of the behind-the-scenes tidbits. A woman is looking so forward to the collectors addition, love to see those storyboard sketches! And deleted scenes…wow, what a treat that will be. Thanks again Bryan Cogman in for all you do and your dedication to the series and fans!

  29. Ash
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Conor,

    make joe dempsie (gendry) look older n put a black beard on him??

  30. Alan
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    MadHatter:
    I didn’t say “do sloppy flashbacks” or fill in for poor writing.NO!I just said the No Flashbacks rule does not make sense given the nature of the text and the medium.And who cares about the conventional considerations?It’s television, so give us the vision part.Show us R&L.Show us the Mad King.It does not have to be expensive or lengthy and they’ve got a wicked fat budget anyway.Not buying the budget excuse.

    Your argument was that in a visual medium, flashbacks should be more common. They really aren’t, and “show, don’t tell” here doesn’t necessarily override the anti-flashback feeling.

    There’s also a real problem with incredibly common flashbacks. It works with Lost, but the flashbacks were kind of the point of the story.

    I’m not saying they couldn’t do them, either way. I’m saying your commentary that these guys don’t know that in a visual medium you do flashbacks isn’t really valid by anyone standards.

    The reason why not is budget and I assume, screen time as a function of that. That’s great that you don’t buy it. Do you have experience in film production to back it up?

    A flashback requires not only different actors, but different sets, different costumes, etc. Having a new or changed location great increases the time to shoot, which means salaries across the board, not just talent. There’s huge economies of scale in movie-making, and showing sets used for a total of four minutes across six seasons isn’t always cost efficient.

    They could certainly do some of them. They very possibly still will. But limiting them is absolutely the right decision.

    I think people also need to realize that if the history, mythology and world building are your favorite part of ASOIF, it’s never going to be featured in Game of Thrones.

    HBO prefers character-driven drama. Focus is on Dany, not her dead brother, and it’s going to stay that way. They are already cramming 1,000 pages chock full of characters into 10 hours — when cuts come, they are coming from backstory and colorful touches. Goodbye Vargo’s lisp and Qohorik origins, goodbye tragic backstories of dead people, and goodbye prophecy that ultimately means little (I’m not talking about that one specific scene but rather the constant foreshadowing or say, Quaithe).

    Look at the themes HBO has chosen to emphasize: Power, and how the traditionally disenfranchised can find ways to wield it. How successful leaders rules and why unsuccessful ones fail.

    Rhaegar or Lyanna’s backstory really don’t mean much in the HBO world, and only peripherally to a couple of living characters. Before you react to this — I’m talking about the show, not the book. When was the last time we heard Jon moan about who his mother was? When? Being a bastard is a defining characteristic of Jon, even in the book. Is being a Targaryen? I know people find it neat, but to HBO, I am sure, Jon is defined by his actions, not his parentage.

    The most important things will come up, but most will be cut. Because HBO is going to want to spend more time on Arya’s character development than introducing, explaining, and going through Ashara Dayne.

  31. MadHatter
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    “Your argument was that in a visual medium, flashbacks should be more common. ”

    No, that was not my argument.

  32. Alan
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Shellie:
    NewJeffCT,

    Thanks Jeff. Unlike the majority of people here no doubt, I came to the stories after seeing the show (and I was late at that party too!) so I read the books after I saw Season 2 earlier this year. I couldn’t get enough of the writing and characterisations!

    I’d like to read them a second time, as you illustrated, there are undoubtedly lots of subtleties and little mentions to pick up on. (Btw, it wasn’t my intention to suggest the thought ofR&L=J was exclusive to me, merely that I was excited that the mention in the Cogman interview was pertinent to its possibility! Apols for the massive fan faux pas :D!) Maybe after season 3 is aired I’ll revisit them at show pace. :)

    I had read the books twice (there were only three then) and it still took me the internet to pick up on what you theorized. I don’t really look for that stuff, but just because, yes, it’s been beat to death on the web, don’t worry about people being d*cks.

  33. john
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Cary Storm: No.

    Mainly because one HBO show featuring him is quite enough… but I’m also now coming to the conclusion that further suggestions for actors that require visa cards to work in the UKis probably not helpful.

    Just FYI. Skarsgard would not need a visa to work in the UK since he’s a Swedish citizen and Sweden is part of the EU. He could freely work there and live there as long as he wanted to without any limitations.

  34. NewJeffCT
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

    Ash:
    Conor,

    make joe dempsie (gendry) look older n put a black beard on him??

    Great idea – but, you don’t even need a black beard. Robert didn’t grow a beard until he got older to cover up the extra chins he had obtained by getting fat.

  35. Hmm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

    Meh, the flashback rule doesn’t apply to the House of the Undying. That wasn’t a flashback but a vision. And it would be totally fitting to make an exception there. The other stuff in the later novels are just flashbacks, unfortunately. So we’re never getting Rhaegar or Lyanna. :(

  36. Hmm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

    Also – how much would it cost to hire some handsome guy and a girl and a baby and have them sit in a bedroom talking about the Prince that was Promised?

  37. Jen@House Stark
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Cary Storm:
    I look forward to reading Cogman’s interview in depth.

    And wow, First.

    Hell to the yeah! Congrats, Cary! About time news of Rhaegar and Lyanna, thank the Godswood.

  38. Cary Storm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Simon Woods (Rome, Pride and Prejudice) as Rhaegar

  39. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

    Hmm:
    Also – how much would it cost to hire some handsome guy and a girl and a baby and have them sit in a bedroom talking about the Prince that was Promised?

    Yeah, that’s what they should have done! Quality be damned!

  40. novichao
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Shellie,

    same here

  41. Cary Storm
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Jessica Brown Findlay (Downton Abbey) as Lyanna Stark

  42. Hear Me Roar
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    Mrs. H’ghar,

    You’re welcome, thank you!

  43. Omar Brown
    Posted October 4, 2012 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    Mean25,

    The best seasons of the show are yet to come! Let those win Emmy’s!

  44. mags giantsbabe
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    I’m so excited that they’ll be exploring ‘family dynamic’ this next season and yes, the good stuff is still to come ;))

  45. Currer Bell
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 2:03 am | Permalink

    One greatly appreciates Mr. Cogman’s interviews for his insider insights into the reasoning and creataive processes behind the series. After all the writers/creators/talents do not owe the fandom explanations or justifications about hows and whys. Ultimately, the finished product must be judged for itself and not how it came into being. Thank you, Mr. Cogman, for the peeks behind the curtain.

    Sadly, one can no longer read Mr. Cogman’s interviews. In the last interview one read, Mr. Cogman said he was glad that Ros was regarded as a secret main character and stand-in for the audience. One’s dentist sternly warned that one must avoid grinding one’s teeth, so no more Cogman interviews in future. Alas, one realizes that this is a loss for oneself and no one else.

  46. loco73
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 3:32 am | Permalink

    I always appreciate his insights into the machinery and structure of the show, his info tidbits and the work he is doing. Cogman is the man!

  47. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 3:46 am | Permalink

    I think an entire prequel season is the way to go. It will at least give them an extra year for GRRM to write, because I think the show is bound to catch up sometime… As for budget, if they do a whole prequel season, they won’t need many new sets. (I think) they will need The Eyrie, which is built already, Harrenhal, Winterfell and Kings Landing. Riverrun maybe for the weddings. The rest can be filmed outside in the wilderness, like The Trident. The Tower Of Joy won’t need a huge set either… I think they should build Casterly Rock or Lannisport though, just for something new and show the parts with Cersei and Maggy The Frog and the start of Cersei and Jaime’s relationship. I’m not even sure if it’s happens during those times, but it would be cool to see and explain Cersei’s selfishness and why she so badly wants to rid herself of Margaery. They could even show Dany being born on Dragonstone (another set already built) and play the whole ‘Born Amidst Salt and Smoke’ thing after that in the next real time season. I think a prequel season is the best option, probably after they do A Dance With Dragons…

  48. roger reid
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 3:56 am | Permalink

    King DBC,

    Fascinating comments…. But have I missed a book? (Read the 5) e.g. “Tower of Joy”? where’s/what’s that? Help please

  49. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:04 am | Permalink

    roger reid,

    The Tower Of Joy is where Ned Stark and Howland Reed fight the remaining Kingsgaurd and where he finds Lyanna dying and she asks him to ‘promise her’…

  50. HouseLark
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    My view on flashbacks is that they are cheesy and always jar. Jumping timelines within single episodes just doesn’t sit comfortably – I always thought Lost was very tacky.

    However, I do think they need to show the tourney at Harrenhal, the tragedy at Summerhall and the Tower of Joy. Rather than flash back with a few scenes within a normal episode I would pass over a whole episode to each of Harrenhal and Summerhall. They’d feel a bit like standalone episodes but most series can stand a few of these.

  51. roger reid
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:37 am | Permalink

    King DBC,

    Thank you King DBC….. My real name must be Jon; “You know nothing John Snow.” Can’t recall Howland Reed at all (wonder if I have indeed “missed a book’!) I am just having to go back and re-read all the books! Sure I’ll get 3x the message. (Came across another blog with very thoughtful discussion on Jon’s possible lineage. Wowie….!) Thank you, King DBC.

  52. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:44 am | Permalink

    roger reid,

    Sure thing. Hahah, that was my first post here, I will be commenting more often from now on… I really think that a prequel season will be the best way to portray Jon’s lineage. For non-book fans especially. Oh, Howland Reed is Meera and Jojen’s father.

  53. Sjwenings
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:55 am | Permalink

    King DBC:
    I think an entire prequel season is the way to go. It will at least give them an extra year for GRRM to write, because I think the show is bound to catch up sometime… As for budget, if they do a whole prequel season, they won’t need many new sets. (I think) they will need The Eyrie, which is built already, Harrenhal, Winterfell and Kings Landing. Riverrun maybe for the weddings. The rest can be filmed outside in the wilderness, like The Trident. The Tower Of Joy won’t need a huge set either… I think they should build Casterly Rock or Lannisport though, just for something new and show the parts with Cersei and Maggy The Frog and the start of Cersei and Jaime’s relationship. I’m not even sure if it’s happens during those times, but it would be cool to see and explain Cersei’s selfishness and why she so badly wants to rid herself of Margaery. They could even show Dany being born on Dragonstone (another set already built) and play the whole ‘Born Amidst Salt and Smoke’ thing after that in the next real time season. I think a prequel season is the best option, probably after they do A Dance With Dragons…

    I dont think they care much if George finishes or not. They know the post adwd story in broad strokes and would just create the rest off of that. Dont think the casual viewer would be interested in a prequel show anyway

  54. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 5:10 am | Permalink

    Sjwenings,

    I guess so. I’ve heard somewhere that they do know what to do even if GRRM is still writing. I know I do, and most of everyone on this site, would like to see that backstory story portrayed. Casual viewers don’t know much about it, but they’ve heard of Rhaegar, The Mad King ect. If they can do a prequel season as well as they’ve done the show so far, casual viewers, I think, would definitely be intrigued. We want to see those stories play out, but I agree with D&D, flashbacks are cheesy and would not fit in Game of Thrones…

  55. Blood
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Dont think the casual viewer would be interested in a prequel show anyway

    Spartacus did a prequel season and everyone seemed to love that (if they like Spartacus that is). It would be a bit different of course since they couldn’t/shouldn’t use the same actors, but it’s not like doing prequels is unprecedented and I am certain “casual fans” of the show would love to see a young Ned kicking ass with Robert in the rebellion.

    Of course they are unlikely to do that for many different reasons, but I don’t think fear of people not wanting to watch it is one of them.

  56. Lana
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    MadHatter,

    Just consider all the money they could save by simply aborting all those ridiculously superfluous brothel scenes. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather see L+R and Robert’s rebellion, however frugally done, than watch Littlefinger teach his whores the dubious art of feigning sexual pleasure, and don’t even get me started on the cross that is Ros – it makes my shoulders (amongst other things) ache.

  57. B Cogman
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Currer Bell,

    I don’t regard Ros as the secret main character. I was simply glad Alyssa Rosenberg found her interesting and didn’t hate her.

    Regards,

    B

  58. Lana
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    King DBC,

    I daren’t even dream of an entire season dedicated to pre – A Game of Thrones events. I would, however, love to see an entire episode depicting the story of Rhaegar and Lyanna, which, to my mind, should be the first episode of season 7 (with the uncertainty surrounding Jon’s survival at the end of ADwD, it would be wonderful if his being the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna – assuming that this is the case – were revealed through an episode covering the events which led to his birth). Thoughts?

  59. The Onion Knight
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Heath Ledger would have been the perfect Rhaegar Targaryen. Imagine Ledger with that blonde wig that Harry Lloyd wore for Visery’s and that is what Rhaegar would have been like from appearance to attitude.

  60. Julian Walker
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Ya know flashbacks don’t HAVE to be cheesy. Look at the Breaking Bad flashback from last season with Gus. Not cheesy at all. The reason shows like Lost come off as cheesy with their flashbacks because the show is written by guys like Damon Lindelof (who can’t fucking write for shit. see Prometheus).

    I think in the case of addresssing past incidentes like the Tower of Joy or the Tournament at Harrenhal, all they need to do is a COLD OPENING before the credits and the most casual viewer could pick up on the characters from there.

  61. Julian Walker
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Cold Opening #1 : Tournament at Harrenhal

    Cold Opening#2: Ned and Robert discussus Lyanna’s disappearance. We see Robert preparing for battle at the Trident (battle can’t be shown due to budget)

    Cold Opening#3: Ned arrives at Kings Landing and sees the Mad King dead. Cut to him riding with Howland Reed and the other to the TOWER OF MOTHERFUCKIN” JOY!!!!!!!!!! Battle ensues…..

  62. He Who Slithers
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    100,000 characters, 500 locations, numerous languages, cultures and religions… and somehow flashbacks can be smooshed in? Doubtful. I agree with everyone that the history is fascinating and the back stories critical. But, actually filming historical sequences might just make a certain percentage of viewers’ heads explode.

    One aspect of filming flashbacks that has made it easier for some shows to pull of is the simple act of dating the clothing/environment–putting people in period clothes, or filming in b/w, etc. With GoT that wouldn’t be an option. I think things could get very confusing very quickly unless they blinked *flashback* at the top of the screen during flashbacks.

  63. Al Swearengen
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Cary Storm,

    I like that choice.

  64. Ed
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    This just in: The Beatles broke up!

    Shellie:
    It’s been a long held theory of mine that Lyanna & Rhaegarare Jon Snow’s true parents.

  65. Ed
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Awesome.

    The Onion Knight:
    Heath Ledger would have been the perfect Rhaegar Targaryen. Imagine Ledger with that blonde wig that Harry Lloyd wore for Visery’s and that is what Rhaegar would have been like from appearance to attitude.

  66. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Lana,

    I must say, I would be disappointed if it comes to be that Rhaegar and Lyanna are not actually his parents. I know we’re all expecting it, but if they’re not, it should be a reaaaaallly big awesome surprise and not just Ned and Ashara. I would just love to see it play out. Whether it be a whole season or just a few episodes, I hope it’s good… In my mind Gemma Arterton is Lyanna! It’s probably asking too much, but her as Lyanna would be cool. That backstory is so rich, but also so important, that I really think it can fill a season of 10 episodes. If they do a few episode, we’ll get to see the highlights. In a whole season we could maybe even get The Trident like we did Blackwater, The Mad King burning Ned’s brother and father, The Mad King’s blood on Jaime’s sword (and why he even killed him!) I hope they don’t skimp on the backstory, at the least they should do a few episodes of it. Lately I’ve been wishing a lot that they do a season instead, because they can and it will be very good.

  67. lady
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Cary Storm,

    Simon Woods is an excellent call as Rhaegar – but then I saw this photo of Matthew Goode from Watchmen and my mind changed: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2775094784/nm0328828

  68. King DBC
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Alexander Skarsgård is too old for Rhaegar. I think Max Irons would be good! And Herny Cavill as a young Robert, but I expect his career to take of a lot after Man of Steel so…

  69. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Lana,

    Somehow I doubt 6 or 7 minutes of brothel scenes in the first 2 seasons cost that much.

  70. angel
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    In NO WAY, shape or form should they do a prequel season. There is no book to support it and I, as an avid reader and fan, would be super upset unless George himself wrote the entire season!

    Just wait people, just wait for George to tell us!

  71. Gatehouse Ami
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Love the choice of Mr. Cogman for the companion book Just sad we only get to see and hear one episode per season from him. Please, unleash the Cog!

  72. darquemode
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    King DBC,

    I like Cavill as Young Robert Baratheon a lot!

    My pick(s) for Rhaegar if they ever do a flashback or prequel would be Luke Treadaway or his twin brother Harry Treadaway. Both have a look very similar to Harry Lloyd who is our only Targaryen male example…. and Luke (Harry too) has the acting chops to play the complex Rhaegar. The other actor I think just looks the part perfectly is Freddie Fox.

    All of them might be a bit too old to play Aegon in Season 5, but I really like what I have seen of Patrick Hurd-Wood. He should be coming into his own in a year or two and he already has the all important Nina Gold connection having been cast in the upcoming “Blood”.

  73. darquemode
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    Cary Storm,

    I would love to Simon Woods as a Targ…. or any role in Thrones actually!

    Loved him in Rome, Pride & Prejudice, and Cranford…. Someone mentioned he has not acted in years t least done no movies or series). Maybe he has been doing theatre?
    I hope he returns to the screen soon!

  74. Lana
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    The cost would be immaterial, had they contributed in any way to the advancement of the plot, but (and please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken) they did not. That Littlefinger is a ruthless, manipulative bastard has and might have been demonstrated in scenes of far greater narrative and divertive value.

  75. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted October 5, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Lana,

    You mentioned the money they would save. It would not be nearly as much as it would require to cast actors specifically for flashback scenes(younger Ned,younger Robert,Rhaegar,Lyanna,Arthur Dayne,Gerold Hightower,etc.). I’d love to see the Tower of Joy on screen, but placing it in the first few seasons wouldn’t work. IMO. The only time I could see a flashback working is if Bran is able to look into the past with his tree-vision. This is assuming that Jon’s parentage becomes significant to the story.

  76. Currer Bell
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:12 am | Permalink

    B Cogman,

    Thank you, Mr. Cogman, for the correction of one’s misunderstanding of your position regarding Ros as a secret main charater. It is comforting to know that one may read future interviews without fear for one’s dentition.

  77. Lana
    Posted October 6, 2012 at 2:49 am | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    Regarding the cost of casting, you are of course absolutely right. As for R+L and the ToJ, I refer you to my earlier reply to King DBC:

    I daren’t even dream of an entire season dedicated to pre – A Game of Thrones events. I would, however, love to see an entire episode depicting the story of Rhaegar and Lyanna, which, to my mind, should be the first episode of season 7 (with the uncertainty surrounding Jon’s survival at the end of ADwD, it would be wonderful if his being the son of Rhaegar and Lyanna – assuming that this is the case – were revealed through an episode covering the events which led to his birth)


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