Alyssa Rosenberg, one of the more interesting commentators on HBO’s Game of Thrones, has a great interview with Bryan Cogman (who we’ve interviewed this season) discussing a lot of what goes into the adaptation. Rosenberg touches on some of the topics and concerns that fans have expressed (ourselves included) after this season finale, and Bryan provides cogent answers. Many of them are very much in line with things I’m not bothered by—compression, moving some things around, budget issues, and so on.
Very much worth reading, as Cogman—who, however much he hates it, is indeed the “keeper of the mythos”—is as big a fan of the material as anyone, and is at hand when decisions are made by the showrunners.
But one particular feature, a remark Cogman refers to from executive producer David Benioff, is a point I do take some issue with. I’ve made no bones about the fact that I think the House of the Undying was very unsatisfactory because it missed the opportunity that Martin took to really expand the scope of the narrative, to strongly bind past and present and future together and so create a sense of mystery and enigma. It’s part of the heart of the story, part of the over-arching “song of ice and fire” which is, after all, the title of the series. The remark from Benioff suggests that using the material can “collapse” the story beneath the weight of mythology. But this seems to be presented by Benioff—by proxy—as an argument for not touching on that material at all until some unspecified future date when it can be quickly resolved. And that, I think, is a genuine error on the part of the show.
I’ve discussed this in some detail in my “Valar Morghulis” analysis, and on the forum, but I’ve written a brief essay explaining in more detail why I think this material is important, why I think it was important to have it now rather than to hold on to it until much later, and why I don’t agree with those who argue that a few hints and clues that open up the chance to wonder, and to get a sense of the fact that there is a greater scope to the story than what has been glimpsed so far, is detrimental to the viewership. You can find the essay, titled “Talking Game of Thrones: Mysteries and Enigmas”, over at Suvudu, Random House’s SF/F news portal.