As many are aware, the Writer’s Guild of America has begun a strike over various issues. What this means for the entertainment industry in the States is that the writers will not work on anything at all until the issues are resolved. Shows that have episodes filmed will likely have them shown, but their seasons will likely come to a close early in most cases. The question that has recently come up in several places is what the strike means for the option held by HBO for producing a show based on the series.
At the recent World Fantasy Con (just before the strike), GRRM revealed that HBO also had a proposal for a project based on the legends of King Arthur. Because of some similar terrain covered by both concepts (medieval fantasy), GRRM indicated that if HBO went forward with a project in this genre, it would only choose one of them rather than both. Since then, a very well-placed source has provided more information on this and various other matters related to the series.
Because of the strike, active development and preparation to shoot a pilot for the show simply is not possible. That said, it may be that some small anticipatory work might be carried out by the studio to view the feasibility of the project. For example, HBO may work to nail down where the best location for filming might be found.. The fact that HBO has a complete pilot script, plus at least a partial breakdown for a part of whole of the first season, means that they might be able to do this in a way that could feasibly make an “A Song of Ice and Fire” pilot closer to being ready to shoot when the strike is eventually resolved. Notably, the “King Arthur” proposal in to HBO appears to be in the very early stages, with no script in, so if the studio is interested in producing a medieval fantasy show and it wants to do so as soon as possible following the strike, “A Song of Ice and Fire” would appear to have a leg up.
Regarding the reception of the script at HBO, it has been said by the same source that the response has been very positive. This does NOT mean that HBO has suddenly decided to go with it. It merely means that they are liking what they’re seeing—so far—and that they’re willing to explore some of the details that can be explored at this early stage. Any number of things could lead HBO to choose not to continue the option. But currently, they still have it on the table, and appear to be giving it as much serious consideration as the strike allows. The option, in any case, will last a number of months more (and can be extended as necessary, if HBO really wants) and during that time it will remain on the table as a possible show to develop and produce.
Because of the strike, learning anything more while it is ungoing is unlikely.