Mon
Mar 14 2011 5:15pm

Game of Thrones Anticipation Station

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.

Ellen says:

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. I’d love to get a flashback glimpse of Lyanna Stark to refine speculations about a certain character’s real parentage, or a current glimpse of Coldhands to see if he looks familiar...

Theresa says:

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 cant wait for the premiere, check out a 15-minute preview on HBO April 3rd at 9PM. Visit HBOs 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.

Ellen B. Wright lives in New York, where she works in publishing and takes an excessive number of pictures. Let's face it, what she's really most looking forward to is hearing some more Dothraki.

22 comments
Edwin D
1. Edwin D
Two things I'm looking forward to:

1) As you both mentioned, how well they bring the world to life. I expect great things from HBO and this series is the perfect setting.

2) The reactions of people who haven't read the books to major plot points. They do some stuff that I never expect and seeing it played out on screen will be amazing. During the red wedding for example, I had to go back and reread a few times, I just didn't believe what was happening.
Justin Golenbock
2. jgolenbo
For me, I think a lot rides on Kit Harrington (playing Jon Stark) and action on the wall and beyond. Jon is one of the most sympathetic characters in the series who is also at the heart of the mystery behind the story: the war up north and what's going on with The Others (heh, Lost connections anyone?). And we gotta have more Sam!

Maybe this is one of the storylines HBO plans to push in seasons 2/3 if the show takes off, but I hope Jon gets his due!
Edwin D
3. cranscape
Perhaps when episodes start to air you can specify TV 'verse vs Book 'verse. Only talking about what has aired so far for TV 'verse, at least on your part, shouldn't be too hard to do. The comment section would probably still remain dangerous at best though. The rabble's ability to keep their mouths shut always disappoints. I read all of the books last year for the first time and got spoiled once on character death when I was looking at just casting photos for the series and my eyes jumped to a comment. I had to boycott chunks of the Internet until I had finished the last book to avoid doing that again.

The book 'verse can live on segregated in the A Dance with Dragons posts where there would obviously be spoilery talk about everything that has been written.
Eli Bishop
4. EliBishop
jgolenbo: It sounds like there will be at least a little more Sam, based on this really nice interview with the guy who's playing him: http://www.westeros.org/GoT/Features/Entry/Interview_with_John_Bradley-West/
Tricia Irish
5. Tektonica
Hey, Leigh Butler is doing a spoiler free READ, not Reread of the series. Can we discuss spoilers somewhere? Please!

I'm so excited for this series. There's so much to discuss. It will be most interesting to compare the film/tv version to the books...what must change to make it work visually and in dialogue? How are characters portrayed on screen as opposed to how we all view them in our heads?

How we can separate all that from spoilers and knowledge of future books is beyond me. After all, the author was intimately involved in this project, and he knows the whole arc. (I hope ;-) )

This should be plot informative for us, if on a subtle level. We need to be able to compare notes! IMHO, of course.
Theresa DeLucci
6. theresa_delucci
Yeah, my opinion is that it's impossible to spare people from spoilers in the comments when we talk about the show. (I consider the casting of Sean Bean in pretty much any project to be a spoiler in and of itself. I'll leave it at that.)

I was not aware that Leigh's read is spoiler-free, so there should be a space on Tor.com where people can talk about the books. Maybe even institute some spoiler tags.

@jgolenbo
Nooooooo! No mention of Lost! If the ending of ASoIaF is that Dany is existing in some sideways limbo universe in the future... I will set something on fire. ;)
Rob Munnelly
7. RobMRobM
Tek and Theresa- I still think Leigh's blog should follow Gestalt Mash model - posts should indicate whether they will have spoilers or not; those that do should have five or six lines of spoiler space so that things don't get inadvertently read before launching in with points. To me, that is only workable model.
Rob Munnelly
8. RobMRobM
To the show itself - yes, I'm very excited about the series and happy to make the acquaintance of you, Ellen and Theresa. Most anticipated scene: The dancing master shows his stuff. Most anticipated character: Dinklage as Tyrion. Biggest concern: Is Kit Harrington is up to snuff as Jon Snow. Most curious re how filming is actually going to work: Bran's dreams; the approach through the gates up to Castle Arryn (tie). Gorgeous woman anticipation, HBO style: Dany and Shae (tie). Biggest concern with the entire series: Are we going to lose the audience during Clash of Kings, which is non-linear and not as epic as GoT, and not get to Storm of Swords.

Rob
Tricia Irish
9. Tektonica
Hi RobM....I knew I'd see you over here!

As for Spoilers....I guess we could just post "Spoiler" at the top of each of our posts and those that choose to read them, can. Maybe if each of us just posts that their posts will ALWAYS contain spoilers, then newbies can just skip Us Spoiler People all together. That way we could actually have a discussion.

I can hardly stand the tiptoeing around over on the Malazan thread.....in the middle of a post someone posts a spoiler line, then there's the thinly disguised innuendos, and attempts at white out type that often doesn't work, thanks to this boxes' problems. The No Spoiler policy has severely curtailed discussion, imho. The gurus often don't bother to post. They read to get enjoyment from the newbies, but the real in depth dissection is missing. *sigh* I miss the debates of the minutia like we have on the WoT thread. And Malazan it's FAR more complicated!

YMMV

As for the show.....I am really looking forward to the visualization of this world. HBO did such an incredible job with Rome, I am very hopeful. The casting seems excellent....although there are several actors that I don't know. They "look" right. Sean Bean, Dinklage = excellent. I just hope Jon Snow is right. Finally something on TV that I want to watch!
Theresa DeLucci
10. theresa_delucci
We definitely want to foster a lot of discussion here, both about the show and the books. I'm picturing running a disclaimer either at the top or bottom of a post that ASOIaF newbies enter at their own risk of being spoiled. The internet is a treacherous land. Thinly veiled innuendos always seem transparent to me. I'm racing through A Feast for Crows before the show airs so that I'm caught up in the books. (And, yes, I've been spoiled along the way for certain events in the series. Including a very callous spoiling of the last goddamn page of A Storm of Swords on my Facebook profile when I very clearly said I was reading the series for the first time. It sucked. I am still angry and contemplating a petty drive-by spoiling of a certain event in AFFC because I know this person hadn't read it yet. Hey. I said it was petty.)

HBO's running a puzzle game called The Maester's Path and it leads to short un-aired clips. So far three have been revealed and I have to say, I'm a little nervous about Dinklage! The majority of the cast is Brittish/Scottish, and from his accent, it's clear Dinklage is not. I don't want to make judgment until the show airs, but I hope he nails that scene where Tyrion talks to Jon about bastards and dwarves.

Here's Catelyn, Rodrick, and Tyrion at the Inn:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jwq-Ae2JZB8&feature=related

I've never heard ofthe actor playing Jon, but I'm feeling hopeful. Jon's another one of my favorites. The girl playing Arya is adorable.

Jon gives Arya a gift:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDtsYjNV0eI&feature=related
lake sidey
11. lakesidey
I look forward to seeing my favourite character - Arya - in action. The young lady playing her seems likely to do a good job - I sure hope so. Tyrion and Jon are high on my list of "to see" people as well.

~lakesidey
Tricia Irish
12. Tektonica
theresa@10:

Thank you for those clips! They do make me hopeful! Arya and Jon look good. I'm not sure about Catelyn, but then I haven't seen her talk yet.
Oh boy, oh boy....
Theresa DeLucci
13. theresa_delucci
Catelyn is the Marge Simpson of Westeros.

If the actress frets and frowns a lot, she's fine.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
@10 - I'm more interested in Tyrion's scene with Robb on the way back south (The "My clothing is disheveled and my breeches are unaccountably damp, but I'm fine" bit, combined with the "Your brother Jon asked me - I have a thing for bastards, cripples and other broken things" bit).

@13 - Does that make Sansa Lisa?
Gabriele Campbell
15. G-Campbell
Why not have two separate discussion threads? The one of Leigh's read as spoiler free zone, and below an new post that says, Discussion of ASOIAF Read Chapter x - Spoiler Zone. That way people can pick their poison (or lack thereof). :)
Marcus W
16. toryx
I have no idea if HBO is going to suffer the series long enough (I hope it does) but what I'd most like to see is the evolution of Jaime Lannister. Books will always be better than a tv show or movie for me but I really dig seeing a gifted actor develop as a character in the visual medium and Jaime's development is what I've been dying to watch.
Sarah Evenstar
17. ElfQueen90
Why does the video say 'private'? It will not let me view it...T-T
Edwin D
19. cthulhu512
I'm still trying to decide to I keep letting the books fade in memory as I wait for the show, or do a reread now.

With LoTR, I deliberatly did not reread the books the year before the first film so that I would not nitpick over details ommited as I watched. with GoT, I'm not sure I want to do that, or have the details fresh in my mind so I notice everything I might want to.
Rob Munnelly
20. RobMRobM
Lots and lots more videos available from HBO. Go to winteriscoming.net for stories re the links. Also, the HBO store in NYC has a big Game of Thones exhibit. Read GRRM's Not a Blog for info.

Rob
Marcus W
21. toryx
I was in NYC last weekend and stopped in the HBO store just to see if they had anything on display. Sadly, I was a week too early. The only thing they had were stacks of the t-shirts which, sadly, are ridiculously thin for the $24 they were charging for them.

GRRM's wife was selling much better t-shirts a few years (er, a decade) ago. I hope she gets a bunch of those old shirts made and put up on the web somewhere, because after the show premieres I'll bet there'll be a big demand for them again.
Theresa DeLucci
22. theresa_delucci
@Rob

Thanks for the tip. I'm a total sucker for TV-show related marketing pushes (yes that sounds very specific,) so I'll have to take a peek at the HBO store. I still think Showtime's Dexter gets the best campaigns - storefront exhibits on 5th Ave., sponsored theme nights at bars, and art installations at Grand Central. HBO needs to step up their game. I get excited when I see the posters in the subway, but they should do something bigger for this!

None of these t-shirts are doing it for me.

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