“Game of Thrones,” the hit HBO adaptation of author George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” fantasy novel series, was a hot topic of conversation when network executives met with journalists at the Television Critics Association press tour in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Thursday. What fans of the show need to know:
Martin is onboard, all the way
“George is so excited about the way that we have handled it, and the way that the creators have handled it, that they’re really inextricably linked to each other,” said HBO exec Richard Plepler. “So the truth is, when you see how thrilled he is with the production — he came to our offices last week, and he was floating, both from the reviews of his last book and from the reception of ‘Game of Thrones.’ He is very much a part of the narrative arc that [creators David Benioff and Dan Weiss] and the team are building. He is linked to everything that they’re doing. It’s not like he disappeared. So they rely on him, they talk to him, he talks to them. He’s
thrilled with what they have produced.”
Fans have totally caught HBO off-guard with their devotion
“There’s a great relationship this show has with its fan base, and the books have with its fan base, that we take very seriously,” HBO exec Michael Lombardo said. “I mean, people have been watching casting on this show in a way that we’ve never experienced before. They — when we brought this show up, there was a challenge not only how the general public was going to respond to it, but there was such a high bar set by the fans of the books to execute the show in a way that they felt was respectful of the books. So that’s a relationship that we’re really obviously very aware of and respectful of.”
Ten episodes per season is all we’re going to get
“I’ll tell you, the challenge on a show like that, and the challenge for a lot of our shows, if we could do 12 episodes of ‘Game of Thrones,’ we would,” Lombardo said. “They are already in production on the second season. They had to start writing early to actually produce those shows at the level of execution they need, and deliver in time so we’re not asking a consumer to wait more than a year [to air a season], which we’ve decided is a mistake. There is no way [the creative team] could physically do more than 10 without us making a decision to dilute the quality of the execution, to have them be less hands-on, which is not, again, what we’re about. So I fully appreciate it. I think the only good news is, I hope it lasts for 20 years. You know, I can promise you we won’t stop it before it’s ready to stop.”
As long as Martin is writing, the show will go on…
“We told George we would [produce ‘Game of Thrones’] as long as he kept writing,” Plepler told journalists.
“What is exciting is there is so much storytelling,” Lombardo added. “What was so amazing about the Emmy nominations [for the show] was that they were nominated for writing. And I think that Dan and David are able to distill quantities of storytelling into the essence — and I trust that they’ll do that going forward. And the good news is, as long as they want to keep doing it, and as long as they’re achieving what they did this season in terms of being happy with the result, there’s a lot of storytelling to tell. So I think it’s actually invigorating rather than daunting.”
…well, sort of
Critics translated Lombardo’s sentiment to mean HBO will commit to “Game of Thrones” as long as it is successful — both creatively and in terms of ratings/profits.
Lombardo later clarified the network’s stance on the number of seasons HBO will produce: “I don’t know where the show for us ends as opposed to the books. It maybe would be fantastic to be able to say, ‘This show will go on for 10 years and do every aspect of the books. I don’t know that that will be the case.’
“I think the show has not only performed well, they seem engaged,” Lombardo continued. “I think the challenge for us is always how long do the creators want to stay on a show. Dan and David, I can’t imagine — we have not really been a network that’s embraced the idea of changing creative vision. We’re doing this without any predetermined idea of the number of seasons that we can do this. And Dan and David have signed on for a couple years. And we’re going to have that conversation with them every couple years.”