HBO Greenlights “A Game of Thrones”

A couple of days ago, HBO finally made the announcement that fantasy enthusiasts have been waiting for, greenlighting an entire first season of George R. R. Martin’s wildly successful A Game of Thrones. Apparently, the order is for nine episodes in addition to the already completed pilot. Production is slated to begin in June this year, with the show likely to debut in Spring 2011.

Few things in Hollywood are a sure bet, but unless something goes horribly awry, you can count on this being one of them. Martin himself has been intimately involved in the development process, and seems to have nothing but wonderful things to say. Having had the pilot script in hand for many months now, I can assure you that David Benioff and D.B. Weiss have done an admirable job thus far of adapting the books to screen form. Sure, I could quibble here or there, but any viewer could. Besides, I’m looking at this with more than a little envy, since sometimes I think I’d give my right arm (or maybe my left, since that elbow has been giving me fits lately) to be in their shoes. However you look at it, with a faithful translation of such magnificent source material, this is shaping up to be a visual masterpiece that will have folks forgetting all about the premature loss of HBO’s Rome.

Naturally, a lot can still go wrong between now and next spring. The filmmaking process is such that great text does not always equate to great film. But I for one will be greatly surprised and sorely disappointed if this doesn’t do for cable television what Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings did for movie theaters. Let’s just hope the powers that be at HBO find it feasible in terms of budget to continue on with the entire A Song of Ice and Fire series, rather than cutting it short like they have some of their other hugely successful drama series in the recent past.

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