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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Can HBO's Game of Thrones Live up to the Hype?

I recall cracking open A Game of Thrones for the first time so many years ago.  I'd heard a lot of great things about the series and, in need of something new to read, I picked up the paperback at my local bookstore.  That book, and the sequels that followed, kept me up on many a night as I journeyed the lands of the Seven Kingdoms with Ned, Jon, Robb, Tyrion, and the rest of the colorful characters that make up George R.R. Martin's fantastic world.  Not since first reading Lord of the Rings had I felt such excitement in epic fantasy.  I suppose I enjoy the series for the same reasons as thousands of other readers.  The epic scale of the world, the gritty realism, and remarkable characters are just a few of those reasons.  This series, to me, epitomizes everything that is great about this genre of fiction.  The only complaint I've ever had is naturally the same one every reader shares--the long delay between each book in the series.  So, when I first heard that HBO would be making this into a series, I was ecstatic.

In April of 2011, HBO will launch A Game of Thrones upon a mainstream television audience.  Expectations from the fan base are incredibly high at this point and based upon what I've seen through various video clips and behind the scenes interviews, it seems the producers of this show have a very good grasp on the themes behind the story.  I always tend to approach these things with typical fanboy skepticism, yet at the same time, I try to be realistic as well.  No, some of the characters and events won't be just like we imagined in the novels.  There will be, for better or worse, some creative liberties taken with the show in regards to how it correlates with the book.  I understand this as I would hope any fan would.  I won't be pausing every scene on my DVR and analyzing whether they got each particular house insignia correct or not.

In my opinion, the success of this show will lie in how well the characters are portrayed.  These characters aren't driven by black and white, or good and evil.  Instead they have their own motives and ambitions for their own reasons.  What has always intrigued me about the story is how you might perceive a person as a villain, only to have that perception flipped on its head later on.  If they can capture this, along with the visual representation of the Seven Kingdoms, I think the show will stand as a ground breaking piece of entertainment.

What do you think?  Will the show live up to the hype or will it be a failed experiment in the genre of fantasy?

Here's an inside look on the show with some comments by Mr. Martin himself.