Vanity fair is featuring a big Game of Thrones special and aside from some pretty nice pictures they also get some interesting comments from showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss as well as book author George R.R. Martin’s concerns about the show possibly outpacing the books:
The most interesting part about this article is that both the showrunners as well as Martin are cited about the future of the series (both book and film).
The writers are catching up?
They are. Yes. It’s alarming.
George R.R. Martin in VanityFair
With two more books to write before the book series A Song of Ice and Fire – which Game of Thrones is based on – comes to an end there certainly is a lot of pressure. Yet the good thing about this adaption (unlike Harry Potter for example) is that the writers already know the ending. Writer Bryan Cogman already talked about the fact that David Benioff, D.B. Weiss and he know where Martin plans to end the stories for the most important characters which they re-iterated in the VanityFair interview:
Last year we went out to Santa Fe for a week to sit down with him [Martin] and just talk through where things are going, because we don’t know if we are going to catch up and where exactly that would be. If you know the ending, then you can lay the groundwork for it. And so we want to know how everything ends. We want to be able to set things up. So we just sat down with him and literally went through every character.
David Benioff in VanityFair
Yet knowing the outline and having a written book to adapt from are two completely different things. Furthermore D.B. Weiss stated that the plan for Game of Thrones is to have about 7-8 Seasons (which they already said in another interview):
It doesn’t just keep on going because it can, […]
I think the desire to milk more out of it is what would eventually kill it, if we gave in to that.
D.B. Weiss in VanityFair
So the splitting of book 3 into 2 Seasons doesn’t have to become a standard thing for Game of Thrones – which is nice to hear for me because I feel like 90% of those splits to “do it justice” are not necessary and Season 3 of Game of Thrones was the exception to that rule because it already had an incredible amount of story.
VanityFair has posted an interview with Benioff and Weiss where they adress what they learned from Breaking Bad. Here are some of the most interesting quotes:
If you look at the shows that we love, it’s so rare for a series to go beyond that length and maintain quality. And, you know, looking at Breaking Bad, which is probably the most consistently great show in history, and I think the fact that they decided relatively early, it’s going to be five seasons and that’s it, I think that was an incredibly smart choice.
One of the things that made Breaking Bad so powerful, for me, was I’d never felt that somebody was more on the job, in the control tower, than on that show. Everything little thing I was seeing was there for a reason and would come back into play in some surprising but retroactively inevitable way, shape, or form.
And via Winteriscoming.net here is another statement that 7 Seasons is the current plan:
“It feels like this is the midpoint for us,” Benioff says. “If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point.”
The seven season goal-line has been floated in the media before, but the writer-producers of the acclaimed fantasy hit series says they’re firmer than before that three more seasons sounds about right.
“I would say it’s the goal we’ve had from the beginning,” Benioff says. “It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we’re going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”
But for the sake of speculation let’s take those quotes and dive in even further into how this might all turn out:
Rough overview about the adaptions
(skip if you already know how the books and TV show correspond with each other)
- A Game of Thrones (1996) – Season 1 (2011)
- A Clash of King (1998) – Season 2 (2012)
- A Storm of Swords (2000) – Season 3 and 4 (2013, 2014)
Not yet adapted (aside from some storylines that have been pushed into currrent Seasons):
- A Feast for Crows (2005)
- A Dance with Dragons (2011)
- The Winds of Winter (unpublished – probably 2015)
- A Dream of Spring (unpublished)
A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons happen sort of parallel to each other but let’s say that those two books comprise two Seasons (Season 5 – 2015, Season 6 – 2016) then 2017 would mark the adaption of the Winds of Winter (Season 7 by that logic) and 2018 would be the final Season of the series. Which going from the (not yet confirmed) release date of 2015 for The Winds of Winter would give Martin about 3 years to write the final book (2 years or less if one takes production into account).
And if one looks at the time between A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons – or the current four year gap until the Winds of Winter it is clear why GRRM feels the pressure.
So with the news that it would be seven Seasons the final Season would arrive 2017 – two years after the current speculated release date of The Winds of Winter – all this makes the pressure for A Dream of Spring even bigger. But it could be a simultaneous release of the final Season and book. But from the current point it looks as if the TV show will be faster than the books.
As I said before I think the Harry Potter series is an inferior adaption of the books and there are many things one can point out that might be the cause for that. But a big issue for me was that the series never left the shadow of the books. There were so many moments when you had no idea what was going on unless you had read the books or somebody explained it to you.
Conversely Game of Thrones stands on its on feet. I have no statistics to back it up but I am sure that at least 50% (though I guess it’s way more) have not read the books and most of them don’t seem to lack some essential understanding.
I would love if the series and the books would end around the same time and feature the same ideas but a different interpretation of the material. Kick-Ass is something that springs to my mind. The movie was started while the series by Mark Millar was still written. That way both comic and movie feature similar stories and themes but each one has their very own signature so that it is hard to judge which one is “better” because both are told by an artist expressing himself within the framework of a given story.
Game of Thrones drew my into this fantastic world and it would be a shame if the series at the end did the same as the Potter films and just replicated the source material with no regard for the medium.
Then again they already changed things to fit the TV show and the story told by the TV show if we look at the House of the Undying from Season 2 which empathised the visuals of the TV show and worked within the story of the TV show – then again again this was an aspect that wasn’t as beloved by fans from the book because the House of the Undying is an incredibly dense chapter filled with foreshadowing and visions and all the crazy stuff that might or might not happen in the future.
Still, Benioff, Weiss and Cogman have always proven that they know when to follow the book and when to change the path so I remain optimistic that the 7-8 Season run of Game of Thrones will be a great ride.
….come to think of it, this means that we are almost halfway through the TV show!!