[Note: This contains a spoiler for A Dance with Dragons, namely the identity of the new point-of-view character.]
[Note: The following is a response from Parris, George's partner, regarding the Comic-Con reports which seemed to believe the pilot was greenlit.]
I hate to have to tell you this, but the reports coming out of ComicCon that the pilot for HBO's GEORGE RR MARTIN'S 'A SONG OF ICE & FIRE: A GAME OF THRONES' will be filmed in the summer of 2007 are wildly optimistic.
Here's the current status of HBO GRRMs' ASoI&F:AGOT as far as we know today, Februrary 27th, 2007.
The writers/producers, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, are, as all writers who are WGA members must, waiting for the formal contracts, deals, and options to be completed. Then they'll begin work on the first major draft of the pilot script.
Once that first draft is finished, they'll submit it to HBO and then, sometime, maybe in a week, maybe in a month, they'll get Notes.
Then they'll do a second draft, and repeat the process until HBO is satisified and gives them the green light to start pre-production.
So let me clarify for everyone, that there is not much of a possibility that we'll see even the beginning of pre-production this summer.
David Benioff and his wife, Amanda Peet, just celebrated the birth of their first child, born on Feb 20th.
I'd also like to correct an earlier post about WILD CARDS - Melinda Snodgrass has developed an independent new script based in the Wild Cards universe. But it is not for a televison series.
My first stop was the George R. R. Martin session. He began things by stating the rules: no asking who dies, what happens at the end, and when the next book is coming out. He announced that they're re-releasing his book The Armageddon Rag (the book that "nearly ended" his career and sent him to exile in Hollywood). He also announced that Tor will be releasing three new Wildcards books. And, of course, he announced (for anyone who didn't already know it) the deal with HBO to do a set of Song of Ice and Fire miniseries. The one difference in this announcement is that while the original stories that came out indicated that the miniseries would be produced for sometime next decade to coincide with the ending of the heptology, Martin today indicated that the producers were working on a pilot episode now with the intent that HBO would pick it up and start on season one next year. He is very, very happy about the HBO deal, btw, gushing over the quality of television that HBO is producing and saying this was really the only good choice for getting Song produced in the visual media.
Some other bits of info from Q&A: In Song, he considers Bran the hardest viewpoint character to write, while Tyrion is the easiest. The Red Wedding was partly based on a historical event in Scotland called the Black Dinner. His biggest lament in splitting A Feast for Crows from A Dance with Dragons is the parallels he was drawing between Circe and Daenerys. He credits the creative success on Wildcards to the system that they put in place, making all authors sign an agreement at the outset and establishing a point system that gave creators extra distribution of profits for use of their characters in the works of other authors (thus encouraging them to let others play with their creations, making the shared universe cohesive).
On the shooting of a pilot it did seem like it was definate that they would do one but I don't remember him ever specifying "quot;this summer"quot;. He also said he was happy that it was HBO because of the odds of it happening. GRRM said if HBO "quot;develop"quot; 5 shows 3 will be used.
Also, as I said in the "quot;New POV"quot; thread, GRRM kept referring to the new POV as "quot;He"quot;. As in "quot;He will be the last new POV"quot;.
[Note: Thanks to Relic for bringing this to our attention, and to Stag Lord/Chris for providing additional details.]
Some notes form the George RR Martin signing and Q&A that I thought would be of general interest to the community:
A: I was able to distribute every single promo card, play mat/poster and demo deck/rules set within about twenty minutes of my arrival. People seemed genuinely impressed by the art and happy to have cards like Ilyn Payne, Jon Snow, Ghost, and Harrenhall. I was even asked by tow people for demo decks after I had given them all out. It was very encouraging but whether or not it will bear fruit in terms of the local play group remains to be seen.
B. One of the questions Martin fielded was about whether or not he was happy with the ancillary art surrounding AsoIaF. He said that although he wasn’t crazy about the response time of some artists on the comic books, he was thrilled with the job FFG is doing. He talked about how he is aware that "people love the card game and the board game" and the most frustrating thing for him has been with other licensees like Guardians of Order and Testors. He now owns all stocl on the RPG stuff since Guardians bit the dust and he really wants to see the miniatures game get to market -- he seemed annoyed with Testors for how long they are taking. So kudos to FFG -- he was very positive about the work you gushy are doing.
C, He said about the HBO series: Its in development, which means there is nothing like a timetable for when (or if) we will see the series. But he is very optimistic about it getting the go ahead -- they will be shooting the pilot over the summer for submission to and approval by the brass at HBO, and if all goes well there, they will really go into high gear on the series we are all so excited about. He seemed really, really pumped to get going on this adaptation.
D. There will be a new PoV in Dance -- but he isn’t saying who. This will be the last new PoV we get for the series and he expects the current list to be culled down as the story progresses.
E. His dragons have no front limbs -- just rear legs and wings. He said that although the traditional depiction of dragons as six limbed creatures has become a staple of fantasy -- the fact that no animal in nature has ever evolved in such a way always bothered him. As a sci-fi writer originally, he insists on the depiction of the dragons with just four limbs. I never heard that before and though it was pretty neat.. In addition, he said that although AsoIaF dragons are intelligent, they cannot speak and will never evolve into the sort of dragons we see in Tolkien or Le Guin. Specifically he said’ Drogon is never going to share witty aphorisms with Dany. The Targaryens rule by Fire and Blood and that is what the dragons represent in the story". I guess the power icon is more Nedly for them than some of us thought when they were first rolled out back in AfoD.
F. Cersei and Daenerys are intended as parallel characters --each exploring a different approach to how a woman would rule in a male dominated, medieval-inspired fantasy world.
G. He is getting a lot of interest in his Wild Cards series. Specifically I think there are new books coming out and there is a possibility of that being developed for TV as well. He isn’t sure how this is going to fly though in the wake of Heroes -- which apparently is very similar in concept. Either Heroes will open the door for Wild Cards, or it will close it entirely. I’m no really into either -- but I figured a lot of you would be interested in this tidbit.
H. When asked about ideal casting choices, he formally endorsed the idea of Nicole Kidman playing Cersei. He says she has the perfect look for her. But it would never work, because where are you going to find a guy that looks like her to play Jaime? I really got a kick out of that. He also said Ron Perelman would be perfect as the Hound -- but I am pretty sure I had hears or read that somewhere before.
I think that’s all the really important stuff. Somehow I really felt responsible to the CCG community to get back to you guys with some notes form today’s event. If it bores anyone I apologize. However, I urge anyone who gets a chance to go to one of his signings or talks to do so. He is very entertaining and very down to earth. This is the second time I have seen him and would definitely do so again.
He didn't talk about budgets at all.
While talking about how HBO is the perfect medium for the series, h e mentioned Rome and Deadwood several times as examples of how HBO is best equipped to get the look, fell and themes of his work in place without having to cut much of anything.
Just to follow up and reiterate (because I really don't wnat to start any rumors or get anyones hopes up too much) please make it clear - we are still a long way from seeing anything. HBO will see the pilot and decide where we go from there. Although I did get the impression that this part of the project is moving ahead very quickly - Mr. Martin was very matter of fact about it, and I am just worried I heard what I wnated to hear.
I don't want to get anyone's hopes up too high is all I am saying. I love Mr Martin and I love the community.Please make it clear that alhtough I stand by what I worte - we are still very very far of form seeing anything.
OK, just to make this an actual Con report, I'll report on the only panel I was able to attend: The Increasing Rift Between Fans and Pros.
On the panel was Steve Miller, one of the Boskone organizers, Gay Haldeman and GRRM. The panel itself turned into a rather pointed criticism of most professional writers (which naturally angered the professional writers in the audience, as I heard a few bitching to each other after the panel), who think rather highly of themselves and sequester themselves from their audience. The panelists did make the concession that a WorldCon is a different beast from other Cons (in that a shitload of business and flesh-pressing with editors/publishers happens at WorldCon, and doesn't leave most authors a lot of time to socialize), but they were all pretty critical of authors who never showed up to the party floor at a smaller Con.
GRRM's quote that stands out: "There are, what, 50 or more professional writers here at this convention, and I only saw a handful of them on the party floor last night."
(for the record, I remember seeing Daniel Abraham and Gay Haldeman and meeting Nick Mamatas -- at least I think I did. I was pretty hungover at that point. There were at least 4 or 5 others I recognized, but I cannot remember their names. Anyone want to help me out? Which writers did y'all see either Friday or Saturday night?)
I might as well add that it looks like GRRM has a good bit left to write. He is still suggesting that he might add other POVs from aFfC into aDwD but it still depends on how big aDwD will be without these chapters. Since he isn't sure as of now, he clearly has a good few chapters to write. He is currently on the prologue. He is apparently finding it difficult to get right and has made several attempts at it already.
Parris did say that the renovations are done now and they just have to move back in everything. So things are better on that front. She also said that he is anxious to get back into aDwD when they return from Comicon but I know some people will never believe those declarations.
... When we returned to the room, George was already there, as was Daniel Abraham. They were discussing M. John Harrison and his recent essay on worldbuilding. When asked my opinion, I simply said:
"I think he's a pretentious snot."
Daniel agreed, though he admitted to omitting the "snot" part. George, as per usual, kept his own counsel, though he seemed to enjoy the opinions, and did defend Viriconium a bit. This led into a conversation about Tolkien, of course. I do not know if there is anyone who respects Tolkien more than George, and he made some points that would probably have shut Harrison up, had he been there to hear them. (Though he did not aim them at Harrison, per se.)
[Note: The question being asked is whether there is anything that fans can do to improve the odds of HBO putting the proposed "A Song of Ice and Fire" series into production.]
For what it's worth, I asked George your question on the Friday night, Ran. He said that at this point it's up to the writers to develop and deliver a great script, and even after that it may just get to the pilot and HBO can still say no. We can just keep being supportive, but there's not really a write-in campaign or anything that we can do to help directly.