Monday, January 22, 2007

Any George R. R. Martin Fans in the House?

I ran into an interesting article while scanning the sci-fi channel's site. Apparently HBO is planning on producing their own fantasy show based on George R. R. Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series. HBO Playing With Ice and Fire HBO has acquired the rights to turn George R.R. Martin's best-selling fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire into a dramatic series, to be written and executive-produced by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, Variety reported. Fire is the first TV project for Benioff (Troy) and Weiss (Halo) and will shoot in Europe or New Zealand. Martin, a former TV writer, will write one of the episodes himself. The rest will be written by Benioff and Weiss. The series will begin with the first book, 1996's A Game of Thrones. Each season to follow will be based on one of the subsequent novels, which average about 1,000 pages each. Martin has nearly finished the fifth installment, but won't complete the seven-book cycle until 2011. The author will co-executive-produce the series along with Management 360's Guymon Casady and Created By's Vince Gerardis. Ice and Fire is a period epic set in imagined land, in the spirit of J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. But Martin's characters, from seven noble families, aren't as clearly good or evil. The book has a decidedly adult bent, with sex and violence comparable to series like Rome and Deadwood, the trade paper reported. "They tried for 50 years to make Lord of the Rings as one movie before Peter Jackson found success making three," Martin told the paper. "My books are bigger and more complicated, and would require 18 movies. Otherwise, you'd have to choose one or two characters." Hmmm, interesting. I wonder if HBO will handle a fantasy series better than the sci-fi channel? Martin's books do seem like a big project, but I really did like the first two books that I read before I began to fear the series may never end. So any fans of George R. R. Martin out there? If so, what do you think?

19 comments:

Stewart Sternberg said...

"They tried for 50 years to make Lord of the Rings as one movie before Peter Jackson found success making three," Martin told the paper. "My books are bigger and more complicated, and would require 18 movies. Otherwise, you'd have to choose one or two characters."

I've seen the books and considered picking them up, but after reading the above quote, I'm not sure I will. This guy is really a pompous ass, isn't he?

Hey there, Skippy said...

He's really not, Stewart! OK, so that quote doesn't exactly make him sound like the shy and retiring type... but he;s pretty much right. He's got four books thus far, each of them 800 pages+ long (two even running close to 1000pp); and that's in small fonted hardback. There are about 20 characters who have PoV storylines; and a supporting cast of at least a hundred other important individuals. It really is a vast undertaking. 18 movies might be slight exagerration, but he's not far off. (check out his 'not a blog' on his website - he's rather sweet, really)

As to whether or not you should pick the books up - YES! they're splendid. I think he's probably the best writer in Fantasy fiction at the moment. I've given the first book as a present to a few friends who don't typically read sci-fo or fantasy, and they're all addicted. If my reputation meant anything, I'd stake it on you loving the books!

As to the HBO series, I'm cautiously optimistic. It's not so much a question of can HBO do fantasy (which generally tends to look a bit 'Hercules and Xena' on TV), but can they do the complexity of Martin's books? With 'The Wire', HBO have definitely shown that they can do a 'TV novel' from several different character PoVs. They've also got the cash. 'BSG' has proved that there's an audience for grown-up fantasy/sci-fi - I just wonder how many of them have HBO?

And then there's the casting...

SQT said...

Stewart

I've only read two of the books, but they were darn good.

Skippy's right about the complexity too. He does sound pompous; but they are pretty complicated books and the way they are laid out would make it hard to make one or two movies to tell the story.

Sarah said...

He's definitely right. There is just so much going on. I am back and forth on this. I don't think it's a story that's meant for TV or movie form. It has the kind of complexity that might only work on the page. I think it would depend on how many hours HBO made it. I would imagine many of the subplots and minor characters would have to be cut. There are so many.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

That would be a long miniseries.

SQT said...

Jon

I think they're planning on making it a full TV series.

DesLily said...

I haven't read those books but from the comments I'm reading it sounds like they will do a chop job on the books in order to make it work for television...

(now if this were the Pern series I'd be jumping out of my skin with happiness! lol)

Stewart Sternberg said...

Okay, I will get one of his books from the library and check it out. That quote just rubbed me the wrong way.

You know, Jordon wrote gigantic book filled with tons of characters and complex subplots, but I would never compare his books to The Trilogy.

Still, I will reserve judgement until I have at least read one book.

Crunchy Carpets said...

I think they would do a great job. Rome was amazing and they are doing Preacher as a series too!

Will said...

I'm really excited about the HBO series. I just hope that it doesn't take too much time away from the books. I hope the wait isn't too long.

jedimerc said...

Were I more of a fantasy fan, this would seem interesting... I do like the quote about him and Lord of the Rings.

And to be fair to Tolkien, the plots of the books weren't that complex by todays standards, though I enjoyed his histories more... as one might expect :)

Wavemancali said...

I have read the books. He's one of the few authors I buy in hardcover. I also consider him one of the best writing today but I think Steven Brust, Neil Gaiman, Robert Jordan and Tad Williams are up there too.

The books could be pared down but there would be no reason to want to.

I don't know that they'd adapt well to screen though. Certainly not as well, as Stewart put it, "The Trilogy" did.

I'd prefer to see Steven Brust's Jherig series done. That would make my day.

Lee said...

Oh my gods!! Now it's a lightening wielding wizard! Must go play some more!

ShadowFalcon said...

I've tried Martin several times. I just keep losing the bits of paper I need to track all the characters...

Dixiechick said...

Thanks for stopping by. I will be back to look around. Not really into much Sci-Fi...but do like some of it...

Happy WW!

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

hi sqt! i just stopped by to look around in your comments room and see who's in here and just, well, snoop around i guess. there's a toy under that table honey. in case you're looking for it. looks like a bunny or something, see it? alrighty then, i'll pop in again to say "hi"! still lovin' my boa!!! bee

OddMix said...

I have read the first three and have started the fourth. I like the books fairly well. My only complaint was that the "dark times" get overly long. Things get so bad for the protagonists that it becomes a bit depressing. I kind of got to a point where I doubted that there was any plausible way to pull a decent tending out of the morass of evil and betrayal.

As far as a visual rendition goes, I am very dubious. First, I am not sure a tale this dark and protracted would make very stimulating fare.

Second, I think "complex" might not tell all the tale. The plot lines are too dissociated. I can think off the top of my head of five entirely distinct stories being told in these books that have absolutely no interaction (or at least no more than a tenuous link) for well over a thousand pages. I am sure they will tie in at the end, but even reading the books, with the ability to turn back and refresh, it is hard to keep track.

Epics are very hard to put on a screen. I think this one might just be "too epic" to pull of without changing the nature of the story as written beyond recognition.

SQT said...

Oddmix

I haven'te read them in a while, but I remember when I was reading the second one I would get a little depressed when characters I liked seemed to have a hard time of it virtually throughout the whole book. And I do remember the chapters that were titled after the various characters and how the perspective would change each time. I do wonder how they'd pull that off in a series.

weenie said...

Hi, sorry for the random commenting but I'm just catching up on my blog reading!

Nothing comes close to George RR Martin right now when it comes to fantasy. I've just reread the first two (for the 3rd time) and they seemed as fresh as the first time I read them!

I for one am looking forward to the tv adaptations but am realistic enough to know that they could never 100% capture Martin's wonderful characterisation.