By Jef Dinsmore on Apr 2, 2012 to Game of Thrones

Hot off the heels of the amazing season 2 premiere Jef chimes in today with his thoughts on how Game of Thrones could be better.  Have mercy on his soul, fans!

OK, OK, please sheath your swords. This is nothing for anyone to lose their head over. It is in my nature to rock the status quo a bit and since everyone is on a GAME OF THRONES rave right now it is perfect time to throw into the court my one complaint. Again, there is no reason to raise ire for when I am done here you will see that this complaint is truly a minor one at that. Also note that this complaint is not about the overall production quality of the work but more about the structure of the series. Simply put… they are burning through this series too fast!

There, I have declared it from the top of the Wall at the top of my lungs. This thought arose after watching  Season 1 play out in only 10 episodes. Hmm, let’s do some simple math here. my copy of the book “Game of Thrones” has 806 pages broken down into 73 short chapters so, that is burning through 80 pages per episode. Surely, they, as in Executive Producers David Benioff and D. B. Weiss,  could have stretched that a bit couldn’t they? They could have easily gotten two 10-episode seasons out of the first George RR Martin book.
The other option could have been an HBO first if they had aired a 22 episode season like broadcast TV does.. HBO shows air only 8 – 13 episodes per season. If you are like me, don’t you see yourself saying ‘ This that it and I have to wait how long to see more?” Oh, the frustration.

And the next season, the second, is now upon us and we are going to burn through it in 10 quick episodes as well.  It sounds like just a petty negative rant but, with Hollywood struggling to find good material to capture audience’s attention, whether it on the big screen or the ones you have at home, you would think the industry would want to milk every ounce of goodness out of the material instead of condensing it and/or rushing through it. Our attention spans are quite capable of watching something good like the product HBO delivers.  At least, there are three more seasons ahead and possibly two more after that if  the books are written in time and the show stays strong and within budget. Anyway, by my theory GAME OF THRONES could last twice as long as it is actually going to run. Wouldn’t we all want that?
The other side of the issue is of course that the show is an action story of clashing families through the years. The show needs to keep that exciting pace and not turn into a TREME which examines the minutiae of life. That is not what GAME OF THRONES is about, Viewers want the clash of wars and personalities but, there are interesting internal moments of many a character that gets lost in this action-oriented story that were great embellishments in the books.
It is still the old movie-making conundrum of converting literary works to the screen.

I’m excited that this story is on HBO and is being given the quality production value it deserves. However, I wish it could play out a bit more slowly and find time to get to know characters even deeper than we do instead of rushing to the action and rushing to its end. And that is my weak complaint. So you see, no need to send the dire-wolves after me.; I’ll enjoy the show as much as you and be disappointed along with you when the story is done. Enjoy GAME OF THRONES!

  • I do think (and worry) that HBO will catch up to the books in a few years. It’s all but certain that they’ll divide season 3 into two parts, why not divide 4/5 into 3 parts or something of that nature? Book 6 should at least be out by the time they hit season 7+ and who knows whether that book could be broken into 2 as well.

    I haven’t really noticed they “missing” anything with the 10 hours they used on season 1 so I think they’re doing well in that department!

    No doubt bringing this thing to screen is a HUGE issue even if Martin were a professional director and was doing it himself I would worry, ya know? I think these people (HBO, Martin, Benioff and co. are the best shot we have at doing it right)… Wait.. is Peter Jackson available?

  • Jefd

    That would be the old Quality vs, Quantity problem. Are you happy for a small amount of high quality product or will you possibly sacrifice some quality for more of it.

    I am not really supporting the notion of lengthier seasons as more as I am stating the plot of Book 1 could have been told in more than one season. The production company were going forward with a Season 2. It could have been GAME OF THRONES PART II instead or going into the plots of BOOK 2 so soon.

    Either way it is good entertainment.

    • Carl

      That’s still not a realistic option though, for several reasons. As it stands, if HBO keeps the show on long enough to tell the whole saga, it will last longer than any HBO drama series ever has. If you split up all of the books into two, how long would the show go on for? 14 seasons? That’s far too many, and ignoring all of the obvious problems with that (like the ever rising costs or the children being full grown adults by series end), by that point there’s no way the show would be anywhere near as good as it is right now. Furthermore, it’s not so simple as just splitting the books in half; each season needs to feel like a proper season of television. It needs to have a clear beginning, middle, and end, and have proper pacing in between. Where, for instance, could the first season have ended if they were going to be doing two seasons to tell A Game of Thrones the book? Where would be a good point that would feel like a proper conclusion to all of the character’s current story’s while also setting up interesting stories for each character in the next season? Perhaps they could find something if they tried, but I can’t imagine it would be in the best interest for the story as a whole.

      In an absolutely perfect world, yes, there would be a few more episodes per season. But the fact is, this current adaption model is really the only possible way the ASOIAF saga can be told on the screen.

  • Carl

    Given the cost of just making 10 episodes and having so many child actors, a significantly longer season isn’t a realistic option.

  • I guess they have to burn through it at a decent rate, if only because the actors are likely to move on to other projects or – in the case of the children in the cast – grow up too quickly to be feasible in their roles anymore.

    Also, I quite like the idea of the pacing of the show putting pressure on George R.R. Martin to churn out the final two books in the series! I’m halfway through A Dance With Dragons right now, and then…nothing. I need the next book to be ready within the month, dammit!

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