This week we sit down to discuss “The Lion and …
george r. r. martin
Author George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire has been a hit among genre fans since its first installment, A Game of Thrones, hit bookshelves in 1996, so when showrunners David Benioff and D. B. Weiss sold HBO on an adaptation of the book series a decade later, they knew they had a daunting task in front of them. Martin’s world is sprawling, with hundreds of characters, rather than the normal handful, decades of complicated backstory, and a distinct, if quasi-medieval, social structure.
It’s been a strange couple of months for Game of Thrones fans who haven’t read the books, such as myself. Book-series veterans (the spoiler-respectful ones, anyway) have looked on with a sense of both dread and dark glee, referring only to “the RW,” which I’d incorrectly assumed stood for “Royal Wedding,” of which we got one last week with relatively little incident There’s about 45 minutes of content in “The Rains of Castamere” that does not consist of the Red Wedding, but you’d never know it for the furor that erupted on social media moments after the doors to the Freys’ hall closed and the strains of the episode’s titular ballad are audible. It’s here, finally, even more than Season One’s “Baelor,” that Game of Thrones finally earns its “anyone can die” motto. This got downright Satanic.
Earlier this year, when Netflix released all of House of Cards’s first season simultaneously, it prompted industry-wide speculation about the implications, and whether or not other series or networks might follow in their footsteps. It’s to our collective detriment that HBO probably won’t be adopting that sort of release strategy for any of its programs for the foreseeable future, because Game of Thrones is an obvious candidate.