In The Game Of Thrones, You Win Or You Take 10 Minutes Longer To die

Courtesy of HBO
The final episode of Game of Thrones season two, Valar Morghulis, will be 70 minutes long, adding an extra 10 minutes on to the standard run time, to give all the story lines a chance to resolve themselves, or at least get to a point where they can hang off a cliff side until next April. And they've got to get through a lot of stuff next week, none of which I'll mention here because of spoilers. So much, though, that I expect some stuff to be left untouched until next year. For better or worse.

The final numbers aren't in yet from Sunday's broadcast of Blackwater, but it's been receiving almost unanimous fan fare. The Cast of Kings podcast on /Film described it as an episode you could show to anyone, regardless of having seen the rest of the series, or even a fan of the genre, and it would be a triumphant stand alone episode of television.

As the show's creators tells it, they nearly had to skip the battle, setting the entire episode in the Keep and the various war camps throughout the land, having the battle being reported on via crow. They went to HBO, hat in hand, and asked for the money Oliver Twist style, and got it. Considering the final product, HBO might be more inclined to give them some extra cash each season in exchange for something equally impressive.

Which I would be against, for two reasons. As I said in my review, Game of Thrones isn't an action movie, it's a character study. They don't need big set pieces and explosions, because those are distractions from the actual purpose for the show's existence: to tell interesting stories involving complex character. If it were being produced by Michael Bay, things might be different. But this show is made by smart people. Luckily, except for the Battle of Castle Black, and the events of Daznak's Pit (if you haven't read the books, don't search for those, because of spoilers), nothing coming up in the books is as grand and expensive to make as the Battle of Blackwater. The rest of the major events tend towards the intimate, and therefore no more complex then anything else the show does on a weekley basis.

Secondly, and more cautiously, the budget must remain manageable. The reported cost of the entirety of season one was $60 million. A drop in the bucket for The Avengers or John Carter, but that makes it the most expensive television series on TV today. Understand, if GoT was on NBC, there would be six characters in the cast, everything would be set in King's Landing, and their armour would be made out of duct tape.

HBO cancelled Deadwood after three years, which cost about the same as GoT, because it was too expensive. HBO cancelled Rome after two seasons, which cost about twice as much as GoT. They cancelled Carnivale after two seasons, and it only cost a third of GoT. Certainly, GoT is far more popular then any of those series ever were, but money is money, and too much makes people nervous. Would you rather the show remain consistent, but lack grandeur, or be more like Sunday night, ride high for a while, then either have to scale back as the budget gets cut, or worse yet, get cancelled without resolving the story lines. To film the remaining three books that exist, it'll take another three, maybe four seasons. And there are two books yet to come. The path they are on now, the show looks to run eight to ten seasons, at least. That's a long time for viewership to remain as high as it is, for the writing to remain quality, and for HBO to keep giving them the better part of $100 million a year. Frankly, it is a lot to ask.

Via Den of Geek and EW.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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