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Game of Thrones: Your Nonexistent HBO Series Update

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Game of Thrones—the HBO pilot based on George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire fantasy novels—is getting ready to shoot next week in Northern Ireland and has cemented its cast. If you’re not familiar with the show, you have a good excuse, since it does not yet exist and there’s still no guarantee that it ever will.

Still, as James Hibberd notes at The Hollywood Reporter, HBO does not generally like to shoot (presumably) expensive pilots like this for nothing. I’m basing this on no inside information, mind you, but just considering HBO’s history, I would guess that the pilot would have to pretty badly screw the direwolf, as it were, not to get a shot at the air.

Another factor in the show’s favor is that it has generated a possibly unprecedented amount of buzz and fan interest for a show that has yet to be made. If you want to keep up on GoT shooting and casting news, see the Winter Is Coming blog, which has been all over this, the Tower of the Hand site, Maureen Ryan’s blog at the Chicago Tribune, and the blog of George R. R. Martin himself. (Can you imagine J.R.R. Tolkien having had a blog?)

Having contributed a little to that premature buzz myself, I’ll point you to my original argument why HBO needs to make this series. I’ve since read all four of the novels in print so far now, and I’m only more convinced. (Not that the novels are perfect, but they’re pretty perfectly suited for HBO, and I actually think that the adaption to TV might improve on some of their flaws.)

Advance fan buzz is no guarantee the show will be picked up, of course. But it is an essential part of launching a franchise like this, and to pass on a show that already has such a strongly invested cheering section would be like giving up free money. (Intense fan interest can, of course, also be a burden, since novels and TV are different media with different needs; to really make a great series, HBO will have to be willing to disregard fans who want to see a literal illustration of the books.)

As Ryan noted recently, if HBO picks up the series and brings it to the next Comic Con, it will be insane. I may even have to go in costume.