A little over a month away from the premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones and excitement for all things George R.R. Martin is reaching critical mass. Even better than the great early reviews for the show is the announcement that A Dance with Dragons has an actual, foreseeable release date of July 12th. This could really, finally be it.
Ellen B. Wright and myself will be covering Game of Thrones episode reviews, but in the meantime, we’re pouring over news items and re-watching trailers, getting excited for the televised adaptation of one of fantasy’s biggest series. What are you most excited to see? A particular character? A place? A scene? Are you re-reading the books in anticipation of the show and Book Five? Forging a maester’s chain?
This is also a great place to let us know how you’d like us to navigate book spoiler country. While the show will be fleshing out certain aspects, it looks like a relatively strict adaptation, at least on the big events. Sound off in the comments.
A confession: I didn’t read The Lord of the Rings until the first movie was out. I’d several times gotten a few pages into “Concerning Hobbits” and given up. Eventually I got around to seeing the movie at my college’s cheap theatre (at the time, I think tickets were $2.50), and then something clicked in my brain and I raced through the whole thing in a week. But in the lead-up to The Fellowship of the Ring, all my friends were excitedly dissecting each casting announcement, each picture, each trailer, and I just didn’t get it. “It’s just a movie,” I thought.
To all those friends: I’m sorry, guys. I get it now.
What I’m looking forward to more than anything else is seeing this world that’s been living in my head since 2004—and in lots of other heads for spans longer or shorter—come to life for the first time. There are moments that stand out as I think back over the series because they’ve stuck in my head so thoroughly and so vividly—the Stark children discovering the direwolves. Jon’s gift to Arya before he leaves for the Wall. Jaime saying, “The things I do for love”… and then doing them. Viserys’s “crowning”—and finally I’ll get to see them for the first time.
I’m also looking forward to scouting for clues to things that haven’t yet been revealed in the books. We already know that some things are fleshed out in the TV show, like Loras and Renly’s relationship.
For me, I’m most looking forward to seeing Westeros come alive with the characteristic attention to detail HBO brings to all of their shows. Deadwood. Rome. All period pieces given the freedom and budget to really immerse viewers in a unique world. From the casting, the trailers, and the production videos, it really looks like HBO went all out with Game of Thrones. I can’t wait to see the Wall, Winterfell, and Vaes Dothrak. Luckily, the series isn’t a fantasy in the vein of Lord of the Rings, where tons of CGI effects are needed in every scene, but I worry the budget will be difficult to maintain. None of HBO’s period shows went beyond a third season in part because they were cost prohibitive. Will the show stick around long enough to get to the events of A Storm of Swords? But those other series were also criminally under-watched when they were on-air, which is something I don’t think Game of Thrones has to worry about.
After that, it’s really all about Peter Dinklage as Tyrion. The best character in the series played by a fantastic actor. Now would be a great time to watch him in The Station Agent and get a feel for his formidable talents. I held off reading the books for a long time because it’s been taking so long for Martin to finish the series, but I finally broke down and read the first one over Christmas break. Then the next. And the one after that. A great deal of that was to learn what happened to this devious little man who also happens to be immensely likable. It was hard not to picture Dinklage as Tyrion while I was reading, but if he’s as good as was in my head, his performance is going to generate a ton of buzz once people see all of the twists and turns his character has to go through.
Next, it’d be Sean Bean wielding a sword again. Eddard Stark is the last truly honorable man in Westeros. He’s flawed, definitely, but strong. Sean Bean’s kind of made a career out of this kind of character.
Lastly, I’m looking forward to the romance between Daenerys and Khal Drogo. It’s HBO, things are going to get really hot between these two. Emilia Clarke is clearly the Next Big Thing for HBO. She’s all over the press for this show and, like her character, a lot is riding on her. Will she be able to pull it off?
If you really, really can’t wait for the premiere, check out a 15-minute preview on HBO April 3rd at 9PM. Visit HBO’s official site for more details.
Theresa DeLucci watches a lot of TV for Tor.com. She’s covered Heroes, Dexter, True Blood, Lost, and BSG with varying degrees of snark.