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Martin and Feast and HBO.

I finished reading George R.R. Martin's A Feast for Crows last night. I liked it well enough, for what was essentially half an eight hundred odd page interlude, but there ought to be some kind of law about ending such large books on a cliffhanger. After eight hundred pages, I feel that I should leave a book having experienced resolution. I'm funny like that.

The big news, of course, is the Martin's Song of Ice and Fire series has been picked up by HBO to become a series. While I'm sure the money is nice for Martin, I don't particularly greet the news with any joy (or hate--I'm rather neutral to it). I don't need films or tv shows made out of books I enjoy. I have the books. I'm sure they'll settle nicely into the episodic format of HBO, since I've long held the opinion that Martin, having spent some time writing for tv, took those skills learnt there and applied it to his large cast and its central, driving plot line. What will be interesting to see is how all the underage sex gets treated: I suspect characters will become older and no recently 'flowered' thirteen year old girls will be married, sold off, fucked, or whatever. Given the hysteria that exists over underage girls having sex with anyone, much less older men, it still makes me laugh to think that Martin has created this huge series where, book in and book out, it happens. He even makes plot lines over it. Some might argue the authenticity of it, but it's a book with dragons, wights, and one hundred and two year old men, and so I find that argument even funnier.

Anyhow, I suspect that when--or maybe the better term is 'if'--the series is turned into a HBO series, I'll wait and see what the word from everyone is before checking it out. Given that I live in Sydney, and HBO series don't arrive here until a season is done, at least, in the States, I should be able to figure if it's worth tarnishing my mind's eye view of the books with someone else's.

Comments

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ex_chrisbil
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:14 am (UTC)
J'adore ice n' fire, so I guess I'll be watching it whatever.

Next up, The Wayfarer Redemption on Fox!
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
i don't get why you'd like a tv series out of books you like. honest, i just dont' understand it. what's the attraction?
ex_chrisbil
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:18 am (UTC)
Did you like the Tolkien movies?

I guess it's half because you want to see the things you loved in the books on screen... I don't see why anyone wouldn't like that, but I guess it's not everyone's cup of tea. Or coffee.

It's probably half 'cos you've gotta assume it'll be better than most the rest of the shit on tv!
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:37 am (UTC)
yeah, i liked the tolkien movies, but i hated the tolkien books. i made it through the middle of the second one, and just went, 'fucking boring thing. life is too short.' jackson culled all that boring shit out of the books for me, and i didn't have to read tolkien stagnant prose, so... all good :)

as for why i wouldn't want to see it, well, it's in my head, man. i seen it.
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:15 am (UTC)
sometimes it *does* change the books for me, especially in characters. i end up with actor faces instead of my own internal face images. still, who knows? i'm not writing it off. the books will translate easy to HBO, i think, and if done right, it could be really spectacular. i'd heard about PREACHER, too, and i'm curious to see how that will work--especially given that there's a huge chunk in the middle i didn't really enjoy. (after PROUD AMERICANS and before ALAMO, pretty much.)
cassiphone
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:37 am (UTC)
Um, have you seen HBO's Rome? I don't think they're going to have a problem with thirteen year old girls being flowered or deflowered...

benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:40 am (UTC)
i tried ROME, but it sucked :)

still, if the thirteen year old girls are there, fair enough.
wyldemusick
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:46 am (UTC)
If it has to be adapted, HBO is a good place for it to wind up -- because it'll get some money spent on it, and the quality is likely to be fairly high.

It's also not trhe safest place for something this big to be done. They're planning on doing a book per season, which means the thing will run to 84 episodes spread over seven years...if it doesn't get by that great sweaty HBO axe that's felled Deadwood and Carnivale and now Rome (which is doing its last season now) amongst others; curiously it's missed that Mafia Zombie show The Sopranos, which has apparently been renewed again.

Deadwood was killed in part by cost ($50 million for 12 episodes) and partly by David Milch wanting to put time in on his new show. Rome was flat out killed by cost -- $100 million for 12 episodes. I don't see A Song Of Ice And Fire leaning towards the lower end of the cost spectrum, frankly.

This could very well mean that the project will be dead as soon as they start costing it out. I'm not sure HBO will feel like footing a large part of a $700 million bill, even if they get co-financing and even with the $100 DVD sets like the ones for Deadwood et al.
benpeek
Jan. 18th, 2007 09:54 am (UTC)
yeah, it wouldn't surprise me if it's dead once the costing comes out. that's why i said 'if'. i don't think i'll be sorry if it doesn't happen--i'm still a little burnt over the whole DEADWOOD cancellation. i'd kinda like HBO to let shows run their course.
mariness
Jan. 18th, 2007 12:53 pm (UTC)
I think they'll at least do one season -- and filming A Game of Thrones is not going to be too cost prohibitive; large cast, yes, expensive costuming and sets, yes, but the huge battle scenes and special effects, which will cost money, don't really arrive until Clash of Kings. My own bet is that the first two books will be filmed, and then HBO will look at the cost, read the third book, and pull the plug.
ex_benpayne119
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:02 am (UTC)
If it's true they're doing a season a book, I'm amazed they have such faith in Martin bringing out a book a year...

mariness
Jan. 18th, 2007 12:54 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I'm pretty skeptical that Martin will be able to finish writing the series by 2011 myself.
benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:11 am (UTC)
it seems like an unrealistic target, doesn't it ;)
benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:10 am (UTC)
i dunno... they have a head start on him. they either have four books, or five. and filming, if it starts, is another year away, i would imagine. so. you know. time.
strangedave
Jan. 18th, 2007 12:41 pm (UTC)
You don't get excited about books being into TV because it somehow improves the books or substitutes for them, you get excited because the chances that there will something to watch when you feel like watching TV improve. Of course, as you say, it might not turn out to be any good, and waiting to hear other peoples opinions might be prudent - but its at least a distinct possibility that it will be a decent show, which is at least something.

Given that HBO have made Deadwood etc, it actually IS an interesting question about the underage sex, because there is no guarantee that they won't keep it in. I guess it depends how the see the market for the series etc. I'd be guessing its taken out.

Some might argue the authenticity of it, but it's a book with dragons, wights, and one hundred and two year old men, and so I find that argument even funnier.

You know, I've always found the argument that injecting fantasy elements somehow lessens the necessity for a believable/realistic narrative and characters in the same book to be simply intellectually lazy. This argument isn't quite the same, but certainly seems related.

benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:09 am (UTC)
You don't get excited about books being into TV because it somehow improves the books or substitutes for them, you get excited because the chances that there will something to watch when you feel like watching TV improve.

i guess i just don't watch enough tv for that. i've not got anything against the telly--i just don't seem to watch it all that much. when i do, it's usually a dvd.

You know, I've always found the argument that injecting fantasy elements somehow lessens the necessity for a believable/realistic narrative and characters in the same book to be simply intellectually lazy. This argument isn't quite the same, but certainly seems related.

yeah, i don't much have interest in the believable fantasy argument. in fact, i think believability in fiction vs real life is something you can't really compare. making a believable work of fiction runs on a whole lot of things--dragons, people, whatever. it can all work, it can all fail.
strangedave
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:44 am (UTC)
There is that classic quote, no doubt credited to someone famous I could discover with a moments googling if I cared to - oh, whoops, accidentally found out it was Tom Clancy - about the difference between fiction and real life being that fiction has to make sense. Its overstated, of course, but the point is real enough - the things that make fiction seem believable, or at least sufficiently so as to not jar our sensibilities, are not qualities necessarily shared by reality.
paulhaines
Jan. 18th, 2007 11:47 pm (UTC)
I loved DEADWOOD, and enjoyed ROME a lot, (there's some nasty stuff happening in there, Ben, and your criticism of the first episode doesn't take into account that at least a year can occur in each episode and this won't be clearly indicated to the viewer -- and you thought the Brits and Italians were speaking with American accents, and hey, they can't speak in period!).

Looking forward to Ice and Fire being a TV series, mostly to see how they do it more than anything else. It's my favourite fantasy epic, though I haven't read Feast of Crows yet and understand that there's a bit of a furore about the book being split the way it has been into two volumes etc etc, but I've avoided most of it because I want to read the book (fat fantasy has been on a hiatus since my stint as a fantasy judge at the AAs). There is so much nasty sex and violence and betrayal in the books, I'm hoping that HBO, being HBO, don't shy away from it or don't HAVE to shy away from it.

I still don't really believe that DEADWOOD is canned. I haven't seen Series 3 yet, and somewhere deep in my naive and innocent heart that believes all is good and pure in this world, I think that surely, really, they must continue mining the gold that is that muddy filty little town.

benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC)
yeah, what can i say? ROME didn't work for me. maybe i should try it from the first episode, but i'm not hugely keen on that time peroid, and now my interest is lost... well, why bother?

i am, however, bothered by the fact that they canned DEADWOOD. i haven't seen three yet, but i await it.
thumbelinablues
Jan. 19th, 2007 10:35 pm (UTC)
I watched season three religiously and am now drumming my fingers for the two movies to come out. Bloody cliffhangers.

Interesting to see that Song of Ice and Fire will/might be a series...I wouldn't want to be the script adapter for that one. (Unless they, well, paid me.) I just finished Game of Thrones about an hour ago and I'm still very angry, but liking the series, and even if the HBO version is only decent it might be nice to have around. My guess is that they'll still marry off Daenerys but not show the sex quite as much; it's only 12 episodes, after all.
benpeek
Jan. 19th, 2007 11:11 pm (UTC)
what was it about GAME OF THRONES that made you angry?
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