Could The Game of Thrones ever be made into a film?
Hollywood is a land of adaptations. Film-goers often decry the ‘current trend’ of adaptations remakes and reboots, but really this has always been Hollywood’s business, from the very first films over a hundred years ago. Putting lots of money into an original tale is far more risky than adapting an existing story with a built in fanbase.
This tendency has led to some of the greatest films of all time from Bram Stoker’s Dracula to the recent The Avengers, but has also led to some of the worst movies like Doom. On the whole, adaptations are no more or less likely to be terrible than original films, but when an original film is terrible, no one cares. When an adaptation is terrible, especially a science fiction or fantasy adaptation, the fans can be made upset, and sometimes the entire brand can suffer.
Game of Thrones is one of the most popular television shows right now, and the books are picking up in popularity because of it, but could a trip to Hollywood be in the future of Westeros? It’s been frequently theorized, or at least fantasized about, but a few things must be taken into consideration.
First, the rights. Currently, the live action rights to A Song of Ice and Fire, the book series that the Game of Thrones series is based on, are owned by HBO. Despite the name, HBO is not in the business of making films, and they’d either have to shake up their usual way of doing things or hire a studio, either way, they’d also need a distributer if they want it in theaters. All that is pretty unlikely, so if there ever is a Game of Thrones film, it would have to be after HBO is done with the license. This alone makes the prospect pretty unlikely.
In addition, George R.R. Martin, the author of A Song of Ice and Fire, considers it very important to retain a level of control over his intellectual property, being on-hand to consult the showrunners perpetually, and even writing some of the episodes himself. This is a level of control that Hollywood would never allow. Not even Stephen King gets to keep that kind of creative control over his films.
More importantly, we should consider if we would even want Game of Thrones films. The story is an epic one with lots of details, and lots of different characters to follow. A film would, by necessity, have to cut out quite a few of those characters, and to tell the story properly, it would have to turn each book into several films.
The fact of the matter is that the current set-up over at HBO is ideal in nearly all ways. The production value is sky-high, rivaling the best film studios. Nor is the talent lacking or the source material being disrespected or abandoned, like so often happens when fantasy comes to television – you remember Sword of Truth, right?
The only thing I would like better is if it occurred more frequently. Ten episodes per year is very few for an American audience, and especially to get them all at once like that, and then nothing for over nine months. I almost wish that they would only show one episode per month, so the break between seasons would be shorter, but such a schedule would undoubtedly present its own problems, especially with keeping a regular audience.
The only other thing it’s missing is the theatrical experience. It’s epic and dramatic, but it’s in my house, and whenever I’m watching, I’m wishing that it was on a silver screen, as impractical as that would be to do once per week.
What it really comes down to in the end is the same point I made when I decided to stop reading the books. The television show is so good that it makes us want more. It makes us desperate for the show to return, and for every scrap of media we can get in the meantime.
We think we want a movie. We think we want a series of comic books. We think it would be cool to have more, but we’re wrong. What we really want is for the TV show to be finished and ready to watch in whole right now, but we can’t have that. We get 10 hours/year of Game of Thrones, and that’s good enough.
It’s going to have to be.