The Game of Thrones series may soon be as dead as all its characters. The series has become HBO’s biggest and most successful series since The Sopranos, and there is no doubt that it is the biggest and most successful show in TV currently. But even with all that the show is still in danger of being “killed off” so to speak. One of the biggest issues with the show is that it is based on the epic novel series by George R.R. Martin, which although it has been spectacular to watch Martin’s words come to life on TV, there is still the fact that the author is still in process of writing the novels.
The issue here is that the show is running out of books to make, seasons 3 and 4 of Game of Thrones were a combination of Martin’s third book A Storm of Swords. In total there are five novels out of a planned seven novels already out that set up the Game of Thrones series, and so far the HBO series has filmed up to the third novel with some parts of the fourth weaved in this last season. (The first two seasons covered the first two novels entirely.) This leaves the series with novels 4 and 5 to adapt as Martin finishes the sixth book, while the seventh has not even yet been started. The thing is that Martin is notorious for taking years to write a novel, it took Martin six years to write the last released novel and that was in 2011, and before that it took him five years apiece to write the previous novels. This means that at the earliest Martin would be done with the sixth novel by 2016, and since it takes about a year of production to film the series we would not get to season 6 of the HBO series till 2018. Which still leaves the seventh novel that would be completed by at the earliest 2021 if Martin writes at his usual pace, and the final Game of Thrones season by around 2022 if HBO is lucky.
So what is the solution to this timing issue? It seems no one has a real concrete answer, and HBO has been known to take a hiatus for two or more years with their series, an example of this the Larry David series Curb Your Enthusiasm which is still technically under hiatus. While this may solve the timing issue, it brings about a much bigger issue involving the Game of Thrones series.
The other issue why the Game of Thrones series may soon be dead is that with all this waiting time for Martin to finish the novels, the actors will have aged too much to play their characters, an issue that is already present. The show is filled with child actors in major roles, and already by season 4 their ageing is becoming noticeable. How will this be handled if the creators must wait and take a hiatus as Martin finishes up writing? A good example of this is with the character of Arya Stark, who is supposed to be a 14-year-old in the series and is being played by a 17-year-old actress. How believable will she be in her late 20s still playing a 14-year-old?
Another factor to throw in is how much it cost to keep the show running, right now the production of each episode costs about 6-million dollars. The money is well spent, unlike other shows whose entire budget is focused toward the main star, in Game of Thrones the budget goes mainly to the massive sets, the world-wide shooting locations and to the best CGI looking dragons to have graced the TV screen. Now money is not an issue while the show is popular, but what happens if the show must take a long hiatus and it loses a large portion of its fan base? Then it would not be so profitable for HBO to keep spending millions per episode. The same thing occurred with the HBO series Rome being cancelled soon after.
Fans can only hope that Martin somehow manages to get both books done in time, or Game of Thrones may soon be dead. Realistically what will happen is that HBO will not wait almost a decade to film the last 2 seasons of the show, and will instead come up with their own versions of the story to tell. So fans will be left with a TV version and a Novel version that have different endings, which in a way truly does kill Game of Thrones.
Opinion By Miguel A. Tamayo