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JHav

HBO: Game of Thrones

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What Will Become of Game of Thrones In The Long Run?

For tonight's open thread, a single prompt, brought on by a great article over at Pajiba. What will happen to Game of Thrones, long-term?

Brian Byrd lays out a number of big challenges for the show, including the fact that "There's no way HBO can continue to fund Game of Thrones for another six-plus seasons." In fact, he puts the chances that that problem kills the series at 20%. The bigger potential problem? That George R.R. Martin takes too long to finish the books (or just doesn't finish them), and it kills the series.

I gotta agree, that's a real potential problem.

Before I turn you loose in the open thread, here are a few of my thoughts on the second season.

Loved:

  • Harrenhal
  • The scenes between Arya and Tywin
  • A lot of the changes they made to the books, actually
  • Literally every single scene involving Tyrion
  • How far they took Joffrey's villainy
  • Cersei becoming a more interesting character
  • The casting of Davos
  • The casting in general, actually

  • Worried About:
  • They're going to start losing non-readers
  • They're going to sprawl too hard in the next season
  • There will be significant pacing problems posed by rearranging the next three books to keep all the characters in play
  • The big "reveal" in the final shot was, frankly, a bit disappointing

You know, now that I'm more than halfway through a Storm of Swords, I can definitely see them dividing it into two seasons. Each 10-episode season needs 2-3 character development episodes and a "holy s***" or "the s*** hits the fan" episode. Do that two or three times during the season and fans will continue loving it. I think there's definitely enough of those types of episodes in the first half of the book for a full 10-episode season. Take Jaime Lannister, for example:

Follow him and Brienne for a few episodes, then have the the 3rd or 4th episode end with the epic sword battle with the episode ending with him getting his sword hand chopped off. The fourth season then picks up with him going to Harrenhal and the "oh s***" scene for the fourth season is Brienne getting sent back to the Bloody Mummers (I forget the guy's name).

I don't think they have enough time to cover all of the events in that book in a single season. Imagine, for instance, 4-episodes in and then introducing the "Red Viper". That seems like a natural character to leave off until the 4th season to me. One of the things that could seriously lose non-readers is introducing too many new characters in too short of a time frame.

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Record Numbers Means Game of Thrones Is Here To Stay

Although there has been plenty of controversy over the way certain character plots ended in Season Two, you can’t argue the fact that Game of Thrones is having an enormous impact on the television world. Looking at the numbers from its sophomore season, it’s evident that the idea of a long-term series is highly probable. ”Valar Morghulis” put an exclamation point on the show’s growing popularity when the finale recorded a series high 4.2 million viewers in its initial airing. These numbers were a solid 38% above last year and an additional 910,000 tuned in to watch the replay; creating a total audience of 5.1 million. ‘Thrones impressive ratings shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise though, the appeal of the show has steadily increased since the pilot episode. In fact, 74% more people watched the Season Two premiere than the series’ opener last year.

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As the graph shows, the ratings have continued to be incredibly stable throughout both seasons, proving that viewers are staying loyal to the show and not dropping off after a few episodes. The only noticeable dip occured during the “Blackwater” episode; however, Memorial Day weekend was the cause for the weaker numbers. What’s most impressive is that Season Two averaged a massive 10.4 million viewers per episode across all repeats and viewing platforms (HBOGo, DVR, and HBO OnDemand). This number tops last year’s 9.3 million average by 1.1 million viewers; making it the 3rd most watched show in HBO history.

Keep in mind that these statistics don’t take into consideration all of the viewers who watched the show illegally. Midway through the second season’s run, speculation started to circulate around various websites that Game of Thrones was on pace to become this year’s ”most pirated show”. Well, the numbers are in and according to TorrentFreak.com, ‘Thrones has indeed topped the list with an average of four million downloads per episode. While the black-market popularity continues to be strong, it remains to be seen if this will actually impact the show at all. HBO strongly stands behind their decision not to offer stand-alone HBOGo service to the masses; even though protest groups like Take My Money HBO have rallied against it. It’s not that HBO “doesn’t want your money”, the simple fact is that their business model doesn’t allow it. However, that issue is a completely different article entirely, but the point i’m tyring to make is that the mass appeal of Game of Thrones goes well beyond the numbers that are given in this post.

While it’s obvious that Game of Thrones has been extremely successful, it’s important to note that it’s massive following has also led to a ratings increase for HBO’s two new comedies, Veep and Girls. After the premiere of “Valar Morghulis”, Veep had the second most watched episode in its inaugural season with 1.2 million viewers and a 4.2 million gross audience; while Girls hit a new series high with 1.1 million and a 3.8 million gross viewing audience. It’s nice to see big brother helping out his little sisters!

With the announcement of Season Three coming just two weeks after the second season premiere, and showrunners Dan Benioff and D.B. Weiss both signing on for two more, it’s clear that HBO has big plans for this show. While the first season successfully tested the waters and showed that the series was marketable, Season Two has proven to be the breakthrough that was truly needed. HBO’s loyalty and support of D & D’s vision has paid off considerably in the form of Emmy wins, countless critical acclaims, and of course, record ratings. Even though this is fantastic news for fans, it can certainly get better. There’s no reason to believe that Season Three won’t be bigger and even more badass than the first two. If that is indeed the case, then we should see an even more impressive ratings jump next year.

The writers have said numerous times during interviews that they are developing the story for a long-term series. Considering Game of Thrones has been a magnet for adding new HBO subscribers, it’s quite possible that this will become a reality. After all, subscriptions are what keep the network going, and as we reported back in March, HBO added 190,000 new subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2011. Given the cult-like following, it’s plausible that these subs were largely due to the mystique that has surrounded ‘Thrones. Along with subscriptions, another factor that will prove imperative in the long term viability of the series is DVD sales. The good news is that Season One sold over 350,000 copies in its first week, and with all likelihood, Season Two will trounce those numbers. Given all the accomplishments that this show has earned over the past two years, I expect HBO to start funneling more resources into Game of Thrones’ production. Hopefully, this isn’t just wishful thinking and the writers are rewarded with extra time and a bigger budget to develop this amazing story properly. Whatever happens though, I can say with 100% certainty that Game of Thrones is here to stay.

Note: I’ve read alot of complaints on this site and others about waiting a whole year for Season Three. Believe me, I hate waiting just as much as the next person, but production on a show of this scale is literally a year-long process. First, take into consideration the several months that it takes to film a season of ‘Thrones; then add time for script writing, casting, editing, and promotion, and that pretty much takes up a whole years worth of time. Believe it or not, HBO is actually turning out seasons as fast as they can. Personally, I think we should feel lucky that it’s only a year.

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:P Don't be surprised to see Tyrion drinking out of a Pepsi Can next season ph34r.png

Jon Snow: Winter is coming and the cold winds are rising. But the crisp cool taste of this Bud Lighttm shall keep us warm.

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Every time I see a photo of the author my first thought is "this guy is going to die before he finishes". He just doesn't look all that healthy to me. I'm not necessarily referring to his weight either. I mean he just seems to have this overall unhealthy pallor to him. Kind of a Warren Haynes liver failure kind of look or something...

warrenhaynes.jpg

I hope I'm wrong.

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Martin is not James Patterson, shitting out paint-by-numbers fiction twice a year. The dude writes like a tortoise on Ambien. After three books in a period of four years, Martin apparently decided, for whatever reason, to viciously and repeatedly sodomize the concept of deadlines.

LMAO!!!

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Got the Game of Thrones video game coming up in my Gamefly que. Already know about the average graphics and shoddy combat system so my expectations are pretty low but as a Game of Thrones nerd, if the story's compelling enough I'll consider it a win.

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Warren >>>>>>>>>>>>

No doubt he's a virtuoso on the guitar...Look at his complexion up there though..It kind of matches hi guitar. (yellow tinged even).

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Got the Game of Thrones video game coming up in my Gamefly que. Already know about the average graphics and shoddy combat system so my expectations are pretty low but as a Game of Thrones nerd, if the story's compelling enough I'll consider it a win.

I'm on the 3rd chapter and it is a very good game, The mechanics are very old school RPG, none of this ultra action hand holding stuff in most RPG's today. Also your decisions in dialog dramatically effect the outcome of what happens. There was a part where I return to my home town after my dad who was lord died and I'm now lord. I was given a lot of choices as far as I could shake down the people and make them fear me or chose to listen to the people's complaints and spare their lives etc and I went that route which allowed me to squash a tyrant group of thieves in the town that were causing alot of problems. Had I not chosen that path I would have had to fight them straight on. These choices presented themselves over several different encounters.

Also in one section I decided to torture a traitor for more information instead of killing him quickly, this gave me a stat bonus of having my enemies fear me more etc.

Really cool RPG, much better than Skyrim in the fact what you do actually changes the game as your playing it while Skyrim is just a static place that nothing you do makes any difference.

The combat system is actually well thought out an strategic, it is not a typical action game so that is why alot of people have been dissing it. The graphics are not mind blowing or anything but they certainly serve their purpose and immerse you in the world well.

I went in with pretty low expectations and have been an RPG player since the early 90's and the game has been a nice surprise.

AF89 likes this

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I'm on the 3rd chapter and it is a very good game, The mechanics are very old school RPG, none of this ultra action hand holding stuff in most RPG's today. Also your decisions in dialog dramatically effect the outcome of what happens. There was a part where I return to my home town after my dad who was lord died and I'm now lord. I was given a lot of choices as far as I could shake down the people and make them fear me or chose to listen tot he people's complaints and spare their lives etc and I went that route which allowed me to squash a tyrant group of thieves in the town that were ausing alot of problems. Had I not chosen that path I would have had to fight them straight on. These choices presented themselves over several different encounters.

Also in one section I decided to torture a traitor for more information instead of killing him quickly, this gave me a stat bonus of having my enemies fear me more etc.

Really cool RPG, much better than Skyrim in the fact what you do actually changes the game as your playing it while Skyrim is just a static place that nothing you do makes any difference.

The combat system is actually well thought out an strategic, it is not a typical action game so that is why alot of people have been dissing it. The graphics are not mind blowing or anything but they certainly serve their purpose and immerse you in the world well.

I went in with pretty low expectations and have been an RPG players since the early 90's and the game has been a nice surprise.

Good to know thanks for the heads up. There a alot of games out there that were critically low rated but I liked either because a deep and well thought out story line or just plain fun to play.

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I'm still thinking about getting the game but I have read so many bad reviews it has stopped me and i would have loved to see an open world game just because i want to explore Westeros so bad

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I'm still thinking about getting the game but I have read so many bad reviews it has stopped me and i would have loved to see an open world game just because i want to explore Westeros so bad

I could only stomach a few chapters before I sent it back to GameFly. The graphics are mediocre and the gameplay itself is quirky. But the biggest flaw, I think, is the acting/writing for the characters. It just wasn't believable. The story itself is okay, but the characters and the writing were terrible. I think that "The Walking Dead" game is 10 times better in terms of characters, story, and gameplay.

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I could only stomach a few chapters before I sent it back to GameFly. The graphics are mediocre and the gameplay itself is quirky. But the biggest flaw, I think, is the acting/writing for the characters. It just wasn't believable. The story itself is okay, but the characters and the writing were terrible. I think that "The Walking Dead" game is 10 times better in terms of characters, story, and gameplay.

I didn't even know there was a Walking Dead Game!

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Cinematographer Robert McLachlan Joins the Game of Thrones Team for the Final Two Episodes of the Popular Series’ Third Season

The project reunites Robert with director David Nutter, who he previously worked with on the hit 90s series Millennium

"The episodes are expected to be the biggest and most spectacular to-date for the show..."

I'm ready for season 3 to start right now i guess it's time to start rewatching season 1 and 2

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Not sure what could be bigger or more spectacular that the Battle of Blackwater Bay. Unless they're just referring to an increase in budget to make the scope of things bigger.

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The other day I was reading the scene where Syrio Forel goes up against Ser Meryn and 5 Lannister guards when they come after Arya. I gotta say that the book gives me greater hope for Syrio having survived than the show did.

In the show, it was more like some 3 Stooges sh-t where the Lannister guards kept getting hit upside the head or just looking clumsy. But in the book, Syrio is sticking wooden swords through eye sockets and such, "Five men were down, dead, or dying by the time Arya reached the back door that opened on the kitchen" (p 446 GoT).

The last we see of Syrio is still Ser Meryn slicing his wooden sword in two, but on the show it looked like most of those guards would be able to collect themselves and aid in finishing Syrio off. In the book, Syrio f-cks 'em up much worse to the point that if he was able to escape Ser Meryn, he might've actually made it.

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In the book the last we saw of Syrio was with half a wooden sword going against a fully armored Ser Meryn, as opposed to the other guards he was with who had unarmored, vulnerable points which he took advantage of.

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The other day I was reading the scene where Syrio Forel goes up against Ser Meryn and 5 Lannister guards when they come after Arya. I gotta say that the book gives me greater hope for Syrio having survived than the show did.

In the show, it was more like some 3 Stooges sh-t where the Lannister guards kept getting hit upside the head or just looking clumsy. But in the book, Syrio is sticking wooden swords through eye sockets and such, "Five men were down, dead, or dying by the time Arya reached the back door that opened on the kitchen" (p 446 GoT).

The last we see of Syrio is still Ser Meryn slicing his wooden sword in two, but on the show it looked like most of those guards would be able to collect themselves and aid in finishing Syrio off. In the book, Syrio f-cks 'em up much worse to the point that if he was able to escape Ser Meryn, he might've actually made it.

Maybe in 5 years or so, Martin will decide that characters fate.

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Maybe in 5 years or so, Martin will decide that characters fate.

I'd rather he didn't.

Sometimes it's just better to leave things up to debate and interpretation.

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