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[[File:Eddard promo.jpg|thumb|250px|right|A HBO promotional image of [[Sean Bean]] as Lord [[Eddard Stark]].]] [[File:Season2CastEW.png|thumb|right|250px|An Entertainment Weekly promotional photo of some of the [[Season 2]] cast. From left to right [[Kit Harington]], [[Emilia Clarke]], [[Lena Headey]], [[Nikolaj Coster-Waldau]] and [[Peter Dinklage]].]]
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[[File:GOT_Logo.png|right|350px]]'''''Game of Thrones''''' is an American fantasy television series produced by the [[HBO]] cable network. It is based on the novel series ''[[A Song of Ice and Fire]]'', written by [[George R.R. Martin]] who serves as a producer, creative consultant and scriptwriter on the television series. [[David Benioff]] and [[D.B. Weiss]] created the television series and serve as executive producers, showrunners and the main writers.
 
'''''Game of Thrones''''' is an American fantasy television series produced by the [[HBO]] cable network. It is based on the novel series ''[[A Song of Ice and Fire]]'', written by [[George R.R. Martin]] who serves as a producer, creative consultant and scriptwriter on the television series. [[David Benioff]] and [[D.B. Weiss]] created the television series and serve as executive producers, showrunners and the main writers.
 
   
 
To date, the series consists of four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned,<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-renewed-two-more-694544 The Hollywood Reporter]</ref> taking the show up to a sixth year/season.
 
To date, the series consists of four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned,<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-renewed-two-more-694544 The Hollywood Reporter]</ref> taking the show up to a sixth year/season.
   
Production of the series is based in [[wikipedia:Belfast|Belfast]], [[wikipedia:Northern Ireland|Northern Ireland]], mainly at the Paint Hall Studios. It is the largest and most expensive television production ever mounted in Northern Ireland. Filming for the series has also been conducted in [[wikipedia:Malta|Malta]], [[wikipedia:Iceland|Iceland]], [[wikipedia:Croatia|Croatia]], [[wikipedia:Morocco|Morocco]] and the [[wikipedia:United States|USA]].
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Production of the series is based in [[wikipedia:Belfast|Belfast]], [[wikipedia:Northern Ireland|Northern Ireland]], mainly at the Paint Hall Studios. It is the largest and most expensive television production ever mounted in Northern Ireland. Filming for the series has also been conducted in [[wikipedia:Malta|Malta]], [[wikipedia:Iceland|Iceland]], [[wikipedia:Croatia|Croatia]], [[wikipedia:Morocco|Morocco]], [[wikipedia:Spain|Spain]], and the [[wikipedia:United States|USA]].
   
 
==Production history==
 
==Production history==
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[[File:Eddard promo.jpg|thumb|250px|right|A HBO promotional image of [[Sean Bean]] as Lord [[Eddard Stark]].]] [[File:Season2CastEW.png|thumb|right|250px|An Entertainment Weekly promotional photo of some of the [[Season 2]] cast. From left to right [[Kit Harington]], [[Emilia Clarke]], [[Lena Headey]], [[Nikolaj Coster-Waldau]] and [[Peter Dinklage]].]]
 
See the [[production timeline]] for a more detailed history of the show's development and production.
 
See the [[production timeline]] for a more detailed history of the show's development and production.
   
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HBO officially greenlit the series on 2 March 2010. Filming of [[Season 1]] began on 23 July, with Malta replacing Morocco for overseas filming. Several actors from the pilot were recast, requiring the re-filming of most of the first episode. The season wrapped filming on 15 December. HBO later confirmed that the first season had a budget of $60 million. The first season aired on HBO on 17 April-19 June 2011, garnering critical acclaim and steadily rising ratings. HBO confirmed after the transmission of the first episode that a second season had been commissioned.
 
HBO officially greenlit the series on 2 March 2010. Filming of [[Season 1]] began on 23 July, with Malta replacing Morocco for overseas filming. Several actors from the pilot were recast, requiring the re-filming of most of the first episode. The season wrapped filming on 15 December. HBO later confirmed that the first season had a budget of $60 million. The first season aired on HBO on 17 April-19 June 2011, garnering critical acclaim and steadily rising ratings. HBO confirmed after the transmission of the first episode that a second season had been commissioned.
   
Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, whilst additional filming took place in Iceland. The budget for Season 2 was 15% higher than Season 1, necessitated by the addition more ambitious effects sequences and the use of CGI creatures such as [[direwolves]] and [[dragons]]. The second season aired from 1 April to 3 June 2012, garnering additional critical acclaim and increased ratings. By the end of the second season, the show had become the third-most-successful series in HBO's history, behind only ''[[wikipedia:The Sopranos|The Sopranos]]'' and ''[[wikipedia:True Blood|True Blood]]''. In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray set of Season 1 was released just prior to transmission of Season 2 and immediately became HBO's fastest-selling media release in its history.
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Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, while additional filming took place in Iceland. The budget for Season 2 was 15% higher than Season 1, necessitated by the addition more ambitious effects sequences and the use of CGI creatures such as [[direwolves]] and [[dragons]]. The second season aired from 1 April to 3 June 2012, garnering additional critical acclaim and increased ratings. By the end of the second season, the show had become the third-most-successful series in HBO's history, behind only ''[[wikipedia:The Sopranos|The Sopranos]]'' and ''[[wikipedia:True Blood|True Blood]]''. In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray set of Season 1 was released just prior to transmission of Season 2 and immediately became HBO's fastest-selling media release in its history.
   
 
Production of Season 3 began on 10 July 2012 and wrapped on 24 November. Morocco was added to the filming roster alongside Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland, with the complexities of filming requiring the addition of a third filming unit to the existing two. An additional scene was shot in Los Angeles for safety reasons, meaning that Season 3 was filmed in five separate countries on three continents. The season aired from 31 March to 2 June 2013. The penultimate episode ''[[The Rains of Castamere (episode)|The Rains of Castamere]]'' won widespread critical acclaim for its shock twist ending. By the end of the season the show had supplanted ''True Blood'' as the second-most successful HBO show in the United States and ''The Sopranos'' as its most successful series worldwide.
 
Production of Season 3 began on 10 July 2012 and wrapped on 24 November. Morocco was added to the filming roster alongside Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland, with the complexities of filming requiring the addition of a third filming unit to the existing two. An additional scene was shot in Los Angeles for safety reasons, meaning that Season 3 was filmed in five separate countries on three continents. The season aired from 31 March to 2 June 2013. The penultimate episode ''[[The Rains of Castamere (episode)|The Rains of Castamere]]'' won widespread critical acclaim for its shock twist ending. By the end of the season the show had supplanted ''True Blood'' as the second-most successful HBO show in the United States and ''The Sopranos'' as its most successful series worldwide.
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The third novel, ''A Storm of Swords'', was so long that it pushed the limits of how large a published book could physically be without pages falling out. Because the third novel was so long, the production team realized it would be impossible to condense it all into a single season, so the decision was made to adapt its contents across two seasons. While [[Season 3]] ends with the [[Red Wedding]], this actually happened in the ''middle'' of the third novel (similar to how [[Renly Baratheon]] suddenly died in the middle of [[Season 2]]). [[Jon Snow]] returned to [[Castle Black]] by the middle of the third novel. [[Daenerys Targaryen]] had not yet reached [[Meereen]] by the middle of the third novel. A few characters did advance further than this in Season 3, i.e. [[Bran Stark]] actually passed north of the Wall at the end of the third novel (he had so few chapters in the entire book that the TV producers didn't want to space it out for two full seasons).
 
The third novel, ''A Storm of Swords'', was so long that it pushed the limits of how large a published book could physically be without pages falling out. Because the third novel was so long, the production team realized it would be impossible to condense it all into a single season, so the decision was made to adapt its contents across two seasons. While [[Season 3]] ends with the [[Red Wedding]], this actually happened in the ''middle'' of the third novel (similar to how [[Renly Baratheon]] suddenly died in the middle of [[Season 2]]). [[Jon Snow]] returned to [[Castle Black]] by the middle of the third novel. [[Daenerys Targaryen]] had not yet reached [[Meereen]] by the middle of the third novel. A few characters did advance further than this in Season 3, i.e. [[Bran Stark]] actually passed north of the Wall at the end of the third novel (he had so few chapters in the entire book that the TV producers didn't want to space it out for two full seasons).
   
As a result, while there are projected to be seven novels, splitting the third novel into two seasons should mean that the TV series will end with Season 8.
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As a result, while there are projected to be seven novels, splitting the third novel into two seasons should mean that the TV series will end with Season 8. Even so the producers have never been sure about this, and often simply gave the figure of "seven or eight" seasons.
 
Even so the producers have never been sure about this, and often simply gave the figure of "seven or eight" seasons.
 
   
===Seasons 5 and 6: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novels===
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===Seasons 5: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novels===
   
 
What was originally planned as the fourth novel was even longer than the third novel, so Martin split it into two novels: ''A Feast for Crows'' (the fourth book) and ''A Dance with Dragons'' (the fifth book). The fourth and fifth books occur during a simultaneous timeframe: all of the chapters set in the [[Seven Kingdoms]] were moved to the fourth book, while all chapters set outside of the Seven Kingdoms (at [[the Wall]] or across the [[Narrow Sea]] in [[Essos]]) were moved to the fifth book. Though of course, despite splitting them because as one book they would have been longer than the third novel, Martin kept making additions to the fourth and fifth novels during the writing process, so both are nearly as long as the third novel.
 
What was originally planned as the fourth novel was even longer than the third novel, so Martin split it into two novels: ''A Feast for Crows'' (the fourth book) and ''A Dance with Dragons'' (the fifth book). The fourth and fifth books occur during a simultaneous timeframe: all of the chapters set in the [[Seven Kingdoms]] were moved to the fourth book, while all chapters set outside of the Seven Kingdoms (at [[the Wall]] or across the [[Narrow Sea]] in [[Essos]]) were moved to the fifth book. Though of course, despite splitting them because as one book they would have been longer than the third novel, Martin kept making additions to the fourth and fifth novels during the writing process, so both are nearly as long as the third novel.
   
It would be odd to spend an entire season with one set of characters while the rest do not appear, then reverse this in the subsequent season. So the TV series's plan is that Seasons 5 and 6 will be intercut to chronological present events in the order that they happened. This is comparable to how J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Two Towers'' actually consisted of two halves: the first half entirely follows Aragorn since the end of the first novel, then the second half backs up in time to follow only Frodo's perspective, but during the same timeframe since the end of the first novel. Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, however, chose to simply intercut between the two storylines to show events in the chronological order in which they occurred.
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It would be odd to spend an entire season with one set of characters while the rest do not appear, then reverse this in the subsequent season. So the TV series's plan is that Seasons 5 will chronologically present events in the order that they happened. This is comparable to how J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Two Towers'' actually consisted of two halves: the first half entirely follows Aragorn since the end of the first novel, then the second half backs up in time to follow only Frodo's perspective, but during the same timeframe since the end of the first novel. Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, however, chose to simply intercut between the two storylines to show events in the chronological order in which they occurred. Thus "Season 5" will consist of the majority of the material from ''A Feast for Crows'' and ''A Dance with Dragons.''
   
Thus "Season 5" will consist of the first half of ''A Feast for Crows'' and ''A Dance with Dragons'', and then "Season 6" will adapt the second half of ''A Feast for Crows'' intercut with the second half of ''A Dance with Dragons''. The combined result will be the same: "two books worth of material" will be adapted by "Seasons 5 and 6", but simply, Season 5 will cover the first half of both books, Season 6 the second halves of both. David Benioff has also commented that while it was relatively easy to end Season 3 with the Red Wedding, and Season 4 with the actual ending of the third novel...Season 5 doesn't really have a clear "climax", because it will end in the ''middle'' of the storylines from the fourth and fifth novels.
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===Future of the show: How many seasons?===
   
===How many seasons?===
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Given that there are currently five novels (with the third split into two seasons), but given the fact that the majority of the last two novels will be adapted in season 5, there is currently only enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 5 (for most storylines). Even so, Martin has told producers Benioff & Weiss the general outline of how the final two books are going to progress (so if a bolt of lightning strikes Martin, they'd still be able to finish according to Martin's general plan).
   
Given that there are currently five novels, and the third was split into two seasons, '''there is currently enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 6.''' Even so, Martin has told producers Benioff & Weiss the general outline of how the final two books are going to progress (so if a bolt of lightning strikes Martin, they'd still be able to finish according to Martin's general plan).
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During [[Season 3]], in an interview with ''Mother Jones'' magazine, Benioff & Weiss said that they thought the TV series might run as many as eight seasons, for a total of 80 episodes, though they were unsure:
   
After Season 3 ended, there was considerable discussion about the future of the TV series, particularly the question what would happen if the TV series began to outpace the novels.
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:Mother Jones: "So I gather that Game of Thrones could last eight or nine seasons. Does that mean putting novel writing on hold for a decade?
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:Benioff & Weiss: "Yes, if we live that long and HBO keeps wanting to make the show. '''We have the opportunity here to tell a coherent story that lasts for 80 hours.''' And while a canvas of that size presents all sorts of storytelling problems, it also allows us to spend more time with these characters we love than we'll ever get again.<ref>[http://www.motherjones.com/media/2013/03/hbo-game-thrones-season-3-interview-david-benioff-dan-weiss Benioff & Weiss ''Mother Jones'' interview.]</ref>
   
Soon before [[Season 4]] began, in early March 2014 executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss made several comments that they actually felt Season 4 was the "midway point" of the TV series, which would probably last ''seven seasons''. On March 11, 2014, they said in ''Entertainment Weekly'':
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Soon before [[Season 4]] began, however, in early March 2014 executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss made several comments that they actually felt Season 4 was the "midway point" of the TV series, which would probably last ''seven seasons''. On March 11, 2014, they said in ''Entertainment Weekly'':
   
 
:"It feels like this is the midpoint for us...If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point...I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning...It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”<ref>[http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/11/game-of-thrones-7-seasons/ Entertainment Weekly], March 11th, 2014]</ref>
 
:"It feels like this is the midpoint for us...If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point...I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning...It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”<ref>[http://insidetv.ew.com/2014/03/11/game-of-thrones-7-seasons/ Entertainment Weekly], March 11th, 2014]</ref>
   
Even so, Benioff and Weiss had earlier used the figure of ''eight'' seasons, because the third novel was split into two seasons. Making seven seasons would short one of the later novels.
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The repeated statements Benioff and Weiss made throughout Season 4 that they "always" intended for there to be seven seasons simply contradict previous statements they made in formal print interviews, such as with ''Mother Jones'' in 2013 (though plans can and do change over many years).
   
Moreover, George R.R. Martin originally planned the entire story of the ''A Song of Ice and Fire'' series to be a trilogy of books, but during the writing process the story massively expanded. He knew by the time that the first book, ''A Game of Thrones'', was released that it would have to be far longer.
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Benioff & Weiss, as well as George R.R. Martin himself, then provided comments for the April 2014 issue of ''Vanity Fair'' (which was released about two weeks after Benioff and Weiss said in ''Entertainment Weekly'' that there might be only seven seasons). Contradicting his statements made at the same time in ''EW'' that "we're going for seven seasons, it's been our goal since the beginning", Benioff instead repeated that the production team wasn't sure if the TV series would last "seven or eight" seasons.
   
Martin's originally planned trilogy would consist of three novels: ''A Game of Thrones'', ''A Dance with Dragons'', and ''The Winds of Winter''. He had to split to subsequently split these into different novels. The storylines originally planned for "Book 1: A Game of Thrones" were split across three novels: ''A Game of Thrones'', ''A Clash of Kings'', and ''A Storm of Swords''. Thus the ending of the third novel is actually the climax which was supposed to conclude "Book 1" of the original trilogy.
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:"If we're a series and we're four seasons, five seasons in, and it's indefinite as to how long it's gonna go, then I don't think there’s as much pressure as far as, the end is coming, the end is nigh. So, for us, whether it ends up being seven or eight, it's right around there. I think we've always felt we just completed the fourth season this is the midpoint. And we're coming around the bend right now."<ref>[http://winteriscoming.net/2014/03/benioff-and-weiss-on-planning-for-the-end-were-coming-around-the-bend-right-now/ Vanity Fair], April 2014</ref>
   
Originally, George R.R. Martin even planned to emphasize how much of a break this was by making a five year time-jump between the end of ''A Storm of Swords'' (the finale of Season 4) and the beginning of the next novel (Season 5), though he later abandoned the time jump because he felt it was irresistible so show what actually happened immediately afterwards.
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Elio and Linda of Westeros.org analyzed these conflicting statements before Season 5 began, and offered an explanation: most TV series do not make their starring cast members sign contracts which last longer than six years. If a TV show is successful enough that it lasts longer than six years, the starring cast members can renegotiate their contracts - and because the show is now a guaranteed hit, their pay can increase drastically. A starring cast member on a longrunning and popular TV series can easily leave the show after the sixth season and enter into a lucrative film career, being paid ''millions'' of dollars instead of the several hundred thousand that a TV series can easily afford to pay them in the same time period. A hit TV series might be popular enough and generate enough revenue to sustain this - but the ''Game of Thrones'' producers have no way of completely guaranteeing that the TV series's ratings will be as high three seasons in the future.
   
However, because the third novel was split across two seasons, the finale of "Season 4" is what actually adapts the ending of the third novel, the climactic ending of the ''originally'' planned "Book 1".
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As a result, in Season 4 the executive producers started backtracking and saying that they had ''always'' intended for only seven seasons, because they were in heavy contract negotiations between the starring cast and [[HBO]]. Now unsure if they would have more than seven seasons (even though they had previously said they felt they needed at least eight to tell the story in full), they didn't want to promise more than they could confirm.
   
Put another way, if the entire story can be divided into three classical "Act" breaks, they would be:
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Westeros.org therefore theorized that going into Season 5, the writers were adapting to a "worst case scenario mode" for the event that they only had seven seasons. This included drastically cutting several major subplots from the novels, such as omitting [[House Greyjoy]]'s subplots almost entirely, not making mention of [[Doran Martell]]'s other children (including his daughter and heir, Arianne), and cutting out many major characters that appear in Tyrion's storyline in the Free Cities. They went on to speculate, however, that once Season 5 had finished production, the TV writers would probably know how the cast contract negotiations worked out, and if it was indeed confirmed that they would get more than seven seasons, they would then restructure accordingly - i.e. not omitting these storylines, but pushing them back to Season 6.<ref>[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Q69aQeKWLQ ]</ref>
   
Act I:
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As events unfolded, it was announced in October 2014 that HBO was indeed able to reach a settlement with the starring cast members: based on the unprecedented and continued success of the TV series, HBO agreed to give them all major pay raises. Part of this involved instituting a pay-grade system: while it a large ensemble cast, a few cast members who can arguably be called the core cast. These "Tier A" cast members as they called them were [[Peter Dinklage]] (Tyrion Lannister), [[Lena Headey]] (Cersei Lannister), [[Nikolaj Coster-Waldau]] (Jaime Lannister), [[Kit Harington]] (Jon Snow), and [[Emilia Clarke]] (Daenerys Targaryen).<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/game-thrones-cast-signs-season-744314 ]</ref> [[Maisie Williams]] (Arya Stark) and [[Sophie Turner]] (Sansa Stark) are not in the Tier A cast - it is possible they aren't paid as much due to being underaged. A later interview with ''Entertainment Weekly'' in March 2015 reported that for Season 5, the Tier A cast members were each paid $300,000 per episode.<ref>[http://watchersonthewall.com/hbo-wants-more-than-seven-seasons-of-game-of-thrones-new-inside-information-on-season-5/ ]</ref>
   
*''A Game of Thrones'' - adapted as "Season 1" of the TV series
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As predicted, with these cast contract renegotiations settled, HBO and the writers began intimating that the TV series could run for more than seven seasons. In the same ''Entertainment Weekly'' interview, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said that the network would eagerly accept the TV series going on for eight to ten seasons, but only if writers Benioff and Weiss felt it served the story instead of dragging it out (though of course, the TV series has not been "padding" the massive novels series, but omitting many subplots for time). Lombardo said:
*''A Clash of Kings'' - adapted as "Season 2"
 
*''A Storm of Swords, Part 1 of 2 (ending with the Red Wedding) - adapted as "Season 3"''
 
*''A Storm of Swords, Part 2 of 2 - adapted as "Season 4"''
 
   
Act II:
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:"We'll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they [Benioff and Weiss] weren't comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that's the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I'm not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they've finished with the story.<ref>[http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/11/game-thrones-end ]</ref>
*''A Feast for Crows'' - first half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6
 
*''A Dance with Dragons'' - second half adapted in Season 5, second half in Season 6
 
   
Act III:
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Therefore, now that the crunch of the cast contract renegotiations in Season 5 is over, it seems that HBO is adopting more of a "wait and see" attitude, and while unlikely, they no longer dismiss out of hand the possibility of the show running for ten seasons. This also might mean that plotlines that were omitted in Season 5 will somehow be reintegrated back into Season 6.
*''The Winds of Winter'' - adapted as Season 7?
 
*''A Dream of Spring'' - adapted as Season 8?
 
   
"The second half of the third novel" (adapted as "Season 4" of the TV series), is therefore not the "midway" point of the story, but the end of "Act 1 of 3".
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Westeros.org, WatchersOnTheWall.com, and ''Entertainment Weekly'' all agreed, however, that what increasingly seems most probable is that like other major TV series such as ''Mad Men'', ''Game of Thrones'' will probably end with a "double-sized" seventh season, which is then split into two halves and aired a year apart (i.e. 16 episodes instead of 10, broken into two 8 episode blocks). This would ''functionally'' result in the TV series getting "eight seasons", though for purposes of prohibitively expensive cast contract negotiations, it technically wouldn't count as another full season.
   
===Catching up with the books===
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Benioff and Weiss also noted in the March 2015 ''Entertainmenet Weekly'' interview that the pay issue has largely been solved after successful negotiations, and the series continues to bring in revenue with high ratings, but the major issue they deal with now is the time issue: ''Game of Thrones'' is one of the largest TV productions in history, spanning multiple countries with different units filming simultaneously, and the shooting schedule for Season 5 officially lasted a massive 202 days. As they have said before, they physically cannot hope to produce more than 10 episodes at such high quality in a single year, and the scale keeps increasing, with an ever-expanding cast and new set locations. As Weiss said:
   
Benioff & Weiss, as well as George R.R. Martin himself, then provided comments for the April 2014 issue of ''Vanity Fair'' (which was released about two weeks after Benioff and Weiss said in ''Entertainment Weekly'' that there might be only seven seasons).
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:"The money issue was largely supplanted by the time issue. There’s still the money issue; since television budgets are not movie budgets, you’re always making Sophie’s choices in terms of visual effects. We ran up against the absolute limit of how many days we can shoot in a year."<ref>[http://www.ew.com/article/2015/03/17/game-thrones-showrunners?asdf ]</ref>
   
Contradicting his statements made at the same time in ''EW'' that "we're going for seven seasons, it's been our goal since the beginning", Benioff instead repeated that the production team wasn't sure if the TVseries would last "seven or eight" seasons.
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===Catching up with the books===
   
:"If we're a series and we're four seasons, five seasons in, and it's indefinite as to how long it's gonna go, then I don't think there’s as much pressure as far as, the end is coming, the end is nigh. So, for us, '''whether it ends up being seven or eight''', it's right around there. I think we've always felt we just completed the fourth season — this is the midpoint. And we're coming around the bend right now."<ref>[http://winteriscoming.net/2014/03/benioff-and-weiss-on-planning-for-the-end-were-coming-around-the-bend-right-now/ Vanity Fair], April 2014</ref>
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George R.R. Martin himself, in the same April 2014 issue of ''Vanity Fair'', addressed the major and related question which is frequently asked: what will happen if the TV series outpaces the remaining books? What if Martin cannot finish the next novel (the sixth, ''The Winds of Winter'') before Season 6 has to enter production?
   
George R.R. Martin himself, in the same issue of ''Vanity Fair'', addressed the major and related question which is frequently asked: what will happen if the TV series outpaces the remaining books? What if Martin cannot finish the next novel (the sixth, ''The Winds of Winter'') before Season 7 has to enter production?
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Martin stated that while he is trying to focus on writing the remaining novels, he is opposed to ''rushing'' them to finish to match the TV series, given that he wants his novels to stand the test of time for decades, like J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Lord of the Rings''. Thus while Martin is hurrying, he has accepted that it a real possibility that he cannot finish the next two novels in time.
   
Martin stated that while he is trying to focus on writing the remaining novels, he is opposed to ''rushing'' them to finish to match the TV series, given that he wants his novels to stand the test of time for decades, like J.R.R. Tolkien's ''The Lord of the Rings''. Thus while Martin is hurrying, he has accepted that it a real possibility that he cannot finish the next two novels in the four years between Season 4 and Season 8.
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Martin declined writing an episode for Season 5 to focus on writing ''The Winds of Winter'', and in March 2015 canceled all of his future convention appearances to focus on writing it. Even so, it now appears all but certain that at least the final season of the TV series will probably be released before the final novel, ''A Dream of Spring''.<ref>[http://www.westeros.org/ASoWS/News/Entry/GRRM_on_Season_5_Cancelling_Appearances ]</ref>
 
Martin also made two major points:
 
 
First: If the producers of the TV series are worried that they will outpace his books...why would they ''decrease'' the length of the TV series from eight to seven seasons? This would mean that material from the fifth (and current) book would have to be condensed, and ultimately, they'd use up all printed material even sooner. So if they don't want to outpace the books (for fear that they would lack direction), why would they rush to finish the TV series in only seven seasons? It makes more sense to try for eight seasons.
 
 
Second: For that matter, the fourth and fifth novels were nearly as long as the third novel. They form "Act 2 of 3" for the overall story, when it took the TV series four seasons to tell the story of "Act 1 of 3". Martin's suggestion is therefore that instead of making two TV seasons out of books four and five, why not simply spread out the material more to make three seasons out of it? In this case, they would have enough print material to sustain through Season 7, before having to worry about adapting his final two, unpublished books. This would not mean they would have to pad out the material: on the contrary, a large amount of material from the books is cut for time from the TV series adaptation. Similar to splitting the third novel across Season 3 and Season 4, if they split the fourth and fifth novels across Seasons 5, 6, and 7, it would not only forestall outpacing the printed books, but also make for a more cohesive story that doesn't require drastic condensations. In this case, expanding to make yet another season, the TV series could potentially run for '''nine seasons'''.
 
 
In Martin's own words:
 
 
:"The season that's about to debut covers the second half of the third book. The third book [''A Storm of Swords''] was so long that it had to be split into two. But there are two more books beyond that, ''A Feast for Crows'' and ''A Dance with Dragons''. A ''Dance with Dragons'' is itself a book that’s as big as ''A Storm of Swords''. So there’s potentially three more seasons there, between ''Feast'' and ''Dance'', if they split into two the way they did [with ''Storm'']. Now, ''Feast'' and ''Dance'' take place simultaneously. So you can't do ''Feast'' and then ''Dance'' the way I did. You can combine them and do it chronologically. And it's my hope that they'll do it that way and then, long before they catch up with me, I'll have published ''The Winds of Winter'', which’ll give me another couple years. It might be tight on the last book, ''A Dream of Spring'', as they juggernaut forward.<ref>[http://winteriscoming.net/2014/03/george-r-r-martins-plan-to-keep-the-show-from-catching-up-in-vanity-fair/ Vanity Fair], April 2014.</ref>
 
 
Martin went on to suggest that anything is possible and if worse comes to worst, if the TV series doesn't want to outpace the books, they might simply take a year off the way ''Breaking Bad'' or ''Mad Men'' have done. Nor would this need to be a year with no actual new content: HBO could make a prequel miniseries or TV movie adapting other time periods in the history of Westeros, then return to the main "Game of Thrones" TV series after he has released the final two books.
 
 
It is entirely possible that HBO might make prequel projects based on the events of [[Robert's Rebellion]] (featuring young Eddard Stark and setting up the events of the main series), or going even further back to adapt Martin's ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel series set ninety years before the main series, which detail the adventures of Ser [[Duncan the Tall]] ("Dunk") and Prince [[Aegon V Targaryen]] ("Egg") - Aegon V being the younger brother of Maester [[Aemon]]. Martin even pointed out that his recent novella ''The Princess and the Queen'', detailing the devastating civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" fought between [[Rhaenyra Targaryen]] and her half-brother [[Aegon II Targaryen|Aegon II]], would be an interesting project to adapt.<ref>[http://www.vanityfair.com/vf-hollywood/george-r-r-martin-interview Vanity Fair], "George R.R. Martin Has a Detailed Plan For Keeping the Game of Thrones TV Show From Catching Up To Him.</ref>
 
 
Subsequently, Martin half-jokingly told ''The Hollywood Reporter'' on March 19th, 2014, that the TV series might even need a major theatrical movie to serve as an ending, because the CGI budget would be massive. Or that HBO might consider making, ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' theatrical movies, because they are relatively episodic and stand-alone novellas (or maybe just as TV-movies):
 
 
:It all depends on how long the main series runs...Do we run for seven years? Do we run for eight? Do we run for 10? The books get bigger and bigger (in scope). It might need a feature to tie things up, something with a feature budget, like $100 million for two hours. Those dragons get real big, you know."<ref>[http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/heat-vision/game-thrones-movies-eyed-by-689629 Multiple 'Game of Thrones' Movies Eyed by George R.R. Martin]</ref>
 
 
Martin was then, however, interviewed by ''The Wall Street Journal'' a few days later on March 21st, 2014. He responded to the speculation his comments in ''The Hollywood Reporter'' had caused, which seemed to contradict Benioff and Weiss leaning more towards seven than eight seasons. The interview asked about his comments that the TV series could simply make up to nine seasons, by expanding the current remaining books instead of outpacing the ones he hasn't finished yet, or that it might even need a movie to finish:
 
 
:Question: "There’s been recent talk about a ''Game of Thrones'' movie to finish the series."
 
:George R.R. Martin: "Yes, I got in trouble for that." ''[laughs]''
 
:Question: "What happened?"
 
:Martin: "This is all pie-in-the-sky stuff. People are asking me how the series is going to end. Is it going to be seven seasons? Is it going to be 10 seasons? Are there going to be movies? We talked about all these possibilities. But right now we have four seasons. That's all that's been ordered. HBO has not ordered Season 5, so we certainly don’t know about Season 7, Season 10, or any movies. But there's a lot of possibilities that are being kicked around, and it all depends on so many things. Will our ratings continue to go up? Will the show continue to be popular? Sometimes shows fall off. Sometimes people change. Executives change or something, and the new guy doesn't love the show. You don't know anything. I worked in Hollywood from 1985 to 1995, and the one thing I learned is nobody knows anything and it's a day-to-day process. So right now we’re enjoying Season 4 and we’re hoping we'll get an order for Season 5 within a month or so, and then we'll do that one. And then we'll see where that leads.<ref>[http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2014/03/21/george-r-r-martin-shelved-game-of-thrones-cameo-to-work-on-winds-of-winter/ The Wall Street Journal], George R.R. Martin interview, March 21st, 2014.</ref>
 
 
===Summary===
 
 
Generally:
 
 
*As George R.R. Martin himself has pointed out, no one is entirely sure how long the series will run, because even shows that are very popular in their fourth season might get very low ratings in their sixth season and get abruptly cancelled. The future is unknown. HBO only actually orders the series one season at a time, so while the production team is beginning to work on Season 5 (as of early 2014) it hasn't been officially ordered yet. Nothing is guaranteed for years in advance, and HBO might cancel it later.
 
*No matter how many seasons ''Game of Thrones'' has, HBO as well as Benioff and Weiss have tentatively said that they are willing to subsequently make prequel projects focusing on other events from centuries' worth of Westeros's history. Specifically, they might want to adapt the ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel novellas set ninety years before the main series. Martin has pointed out that they might want to adapt other prequels such as the great Targaryen civil war known as "The Dance of the Dragons" (featuring large amounts of dragon versus dragon combat), or they might even want to make a flashback prequel project about [[Robert's Rebellion]], showing Eddard Stark and Catelyn Tully as young teenagers, and setting up the events of the main series.
 
**HBO and the production team have pointed out that they cannot possibly make prequel projects at the ''same time'' as the main series, there simply isn't enough time to focus on it and ensure high quality, particularly when they physically cannot produce more than ten episodes of the main series a season. This is similar to the reason why, after book three was split into twenty episodes instead of ten, the two halves aired as two separate seasons, instead of a single massive season of twenty episodes produced in a single year - that would have been physically impossible.
 
**No one is exactly sure what format such a prequel project would take: a short TV series, a miniseries, a made-for-TV-movie, or even a theatrical movie. The ''Tales of Dunk and Egg'' prequel novellas are episodic, so each one could either be a short miniseries or TV movie, released as an ongoing series across several years.
 
 
Outpacing the books:
 
 
*Because the third novel was so long, it was split in half and adapted as two seasons: Season 3 and Season 4. With seven projected books in total, with two left unpublished, this means that the TV series may continue up to Season 8.
 
*It is a very bold prediction to ''guarantee'' even seven seasons, and around the Season 4 premiere, Benioff and Weiss began leaning more towards saying they think it will run seven seasons, though when pressed they said "seven or eight".
 
*George R.R. Martin does not want to rush the final books out, lowering their quality, just to match the release of the TV series's final seasons.
 
*Martin is in extensive discussions with HBO, as well as Benioff and Weiss, that a possible solution might be to simply adapt the fourth and fifth novels as ''three'' seasons, instead of two, similar to how they adapted the third novel as two seasons. Given the extreme length of the novels this doesn't mean they would have to invent filler, but actually that they wouldn't have to condense as much material.
 
*Thus the series could run for anywhere between seven to nine seasons, depending on what the production team feels they are capable of, and ''far more importantly'', if the TV series continues to be the highest rated series airing on HBO and winning the network major awards. If Season 6 has a sudden and massive drop in ratings, HBO may force the production team to make Season 7 the final one.
 
**Martin has suggested - as pure speculation - that apart from expanding books four and five into three seasons worth of material, HBO might want to simply take a year off from the main series and instead produce one of the prequel projects before, instead of after, the main series ends.
 
**HBO is indeed interested in making prequel projects, even after the main series ends.
 
   
 
==Casting==
 
==Casting==
Line 95: Line 96:
 
For the third season, the cast was further swelled with additions, including [[Diana Rigg]] as [[Olenna Tyrell]], [[Iwan Rheon]] as [[Ramsay Snow]], [[Ciaran Hinds]] as [[Mance Rayder]], [[Kristofer Hivju]] as [[Tormund Giantsbane]] and [[Nathalie Emmanuel]] as [[Missandei]].
 
For the third season, the cast was further swelled with additions, including [[Diana Rigg]] as [[Olenna Tyrell]], [[Iwan Rheon]] as [[Ramsay Snow]], [[Ciaran Hinds]] as [[Mance Rayder]], [[Kristofer Hivju]] as [[Tormund Giantsbane]] and [[Nathalie Emmanuel]] as [[Missandei]].
   
For the fourth season, the new cast members included [[Pedro Pascal]] as [[Oberyn Martell]], [[Indira Varma]] as [[Ellaria Sand]], [[Michiel Huisman]] as [[Daario Naharis]] and [[Roger Ashton-Griffiths]] as [[Mace Tyrell]].
+
For the fourth season, only a few new cast members were added, including [[Pedro Pascal]] as [[Oberyn Martell]], [[Indira Varma]] as [[Ellaria Sand]], [[Michiel Huisman]] as [[Daario Naharis]] and [[Roger Ashton-Griffiths]] as [[Mace Tyrell]].
  +
  +
The fifth season marked the introduction of many new cast members, including [[Alexander Siddig]] as [[Doran Martell]], [[Jonathan Pryce]] as the [[High Sparrow]] and [[Keisha Castle-Hughes]], [[Jessica Henwick]] and [[Rosabell Laurenti Sellers]] as the Sand Snakes: [[Obara Sand|Obara]], [[Nymeria Sand|Nymeria]] and [[Tyene Sand]].
   
 
==Premise==
 
==Premise==
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** [[House Umber]] of the [[Last Hearth]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the lands between Winterfell and the Wall. Led by Lord [[Greatjon Umber]].
 
** [[House Umber]] of the [[Last Hearth]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the lands between Winterfell and the Wall. Led by Lord [[Greatjon Umber]].
 
** [[House Karstark]] of [[Karhold]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the north-eastern lands of the North. Led by Lord [[Rickard Karstark]].
 
** [[House Karstark]] of [[Karhold]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the north-eastern lands of the North. Led by Lord [[Rickard Karstark]].
** [[House Glover]] of [[Deepwood Motte]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the north-western lands of the North. Led by Lord [[Galbart Glover]].
+
** [[House Mormont]] of [[Bear Island]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over Bear Island, which is north west of Winterfell. Led by [[Maege Mormont]].
** [[House Mormont]] of [[Bear Island]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over Bear Island. Led by Lady [[Maege Mormont]].
 
** [[House Reed]] of [[Greywater Watch]]: vassals of the Starks who rule over the southern-most parts of the North. Led by Lord [[Howland Reed]].
 
 
* [[House Lannister]] of [[Casterly Rock]]: rulers of the [[Westerlands]]. Richest house in Westeros. Led by Lord [[Tywin Lannister]].
 
* [[House Lannister]] of [[Casterly Rock]]: rulers of the [[Westerlands]]. Richest house in Westeros. Led by Lord [[Tywin Lannister]].
 
** [[House Clegane]] of [[Clegane's Keep]]: a house of landed knights in the service of the Lannisters. Led by Ser [[Gregor Clegane]], the Mountain.
 
** [[House Clegane]] of [[Clegane's Keep]]: a house of landed knights in the service of the Lannisters. Led by Ser [[Gregor Clegane]], the Mountain.
Line 117: Line 118:
 
* [[House Tully]] of [[Riverrun]]: rulers of the [[Riverlands]], the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord [[Hoster Tully]].
 
* [[House Tully]] of [[Riverrun]]: rulers of the [[Riverlands]], the well-traveled central region of the continent. Led by Lord [[Hoster Tully]].
 
** [[House Frey]] of [[the Twins]]: vassals of the Tullys who hold the only major crossing of the [[Green Fork]] of the [[Trident]]. Noted for their large numbers and tendency to always pick the winning side. Led by the ancient Lord [[Walder Frey]].
 
** [[House Frey]] of [[the Twins]]: vassals of the Tullys who hold the only major crossing of the [[Green Fork]] of the [[Trident]]. Noted for their large numbers and tendency to always pick the winning side. Led by the ancient Lord [[Walder Frey]].
** [[House Bracken]] of [[Stone Hedge]]: loyal vassals of the Tullys, noted for their prickly relationship with their neighbors, the [[House Blackwood|Blackwoods]]. Led by Lord [[Jonos Bracken]].
 
 
* [[House Greyjoy]] of [[Pyke (castle)|Pyke]]: rulers of the [[Iron Islands]] off the west coast of the continent. The [[ironborn]] are fierce and independently-minded, but a [[Greyjoy Rebellion|recent attempt]] to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. Led by Lord [[Balon Greyjoy]].
 
* [[House Greyjoy]] of [[Pyke (castle)|Pyke]]: rulers of the [[Iron Islands]] off the west coast of the continent. The [[ironborn]] are fierce and independently-minded, but a [[Greyjoy Rebellion|recent attempt]] to rebel against the Iron Throne was defeated. Led by Lord [[Balon Greyjoy]].
 
* [[House Martell]] of [[Sunspear]]: rulers of [[Dorne]], the southern-most region of the continent. Separated from the rest of Westeros by extensive mountains and a sea, the Dornish mostly keep to themselves. Led by Prince Doran Martell.
 
* [[House Martell]] of [[Sunspear]]: rulers of [[Dorne]], the southern-most region of the continent. Separated from the rest of Westeros by extensive mountains and a sea, the Dornish mostly keep to themselves. Led by Prince Doran Martell.
Line 181: Line 181:
 
* [[Mark Addy]] as King [[Robert Baratheon]], King of the Seven Kingdoms.
 
* [[Mark Addy]] as King [[Robert Baratheon]], King of the Seven Kingdoms.
 
* [[Jack Gleeson]] as Prince [[Joffrey Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest son and heir.
 
* [[Jack Gleeson]] as Prince [[Joffrey Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest son and heir.
* [[Aimee Richardson]] as [[Myrcella Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest daughter.
+
* [[Aimee Richardson]] (Season 1-2)/[[Nell Tiger Free]] (Season 5-) as [[Myrcella Baratheon]], King Robert's eldest daughter.
 
* [[Callum Wharry]] (Season 1-2)/[[Dean-Charles Chapman]] (Season 4-) as [[Tommen Baratheon]], King Robert's youngest son.
 
* [[Callum Wharry]] (Season 1-2)/[[Dean-Charles Chapman]] (Season 4-) as [[Tommen Baratheon]], King Robert's youngest son.
 
* [[Gethin Anthony]] as Lord [[Renly Baratheon]], King Robert's youngest brother, Lord of [[Storm's End]].
 
* [[Gethin Anthony]] as Lord [[Renly Baratheon]], King Robert's youngest brother, Lord of [[Storm's End]].
Line 236: Line 236:
 
===House Martell and retainers===
 
===House Martell and retainers===
 
{{main|House Martell}}
 
{{main|House Martell}}
  +
* [[Alexander Siddig]] as Prince [[Doran Martell]], the ruling lord of Dorne, who is heavily suffering from gout and confined to a wheelchair.
  +
* [[Toby Sebastian]] as Prince [[Trystane Martell]], Prince Doran’s son and heir to Dorne.
 
* [[Pedro Pascal]] as Prince [[Oberyn Martell]], popularly known as the Red Viper. Younger brother of the ruling Prince Doran Martell of [[Dorne]].
 
* [[Pedro Pascal]] as Prince [[Oberyn Martell]], popularly known as the Red Viper. Younger brother of the ruling Prince Doran Martell of [[Dorne]].
 
* [[Indira Varma]] as [[Ellaria Sand]], Oberyn's paramour and mother to several of his children.
 
* [[Indira Varma]] as [[Ellaria Sand]], Oberyn's paramour and mother to several of his children.
  +
* [[Keisha Castle-Hughes]] as [[Obara Sand]], a fearsome warrior and the eldest bastard daughter of Prince Oberyn. 
  +
* [[Jessica Henwick]] as [[Nymeria Sand]], the second eldest of Prince Oberyn’s bastard daughters. 
  +
* [[Rosabell Laurenti Sellers]] as [[Tyene Sand]], the daughter of Prince Oberyn by Ellaria Sand, his paramour. 
  +
* [[DeObia Oparei]] as [[Areo Hotah]], the long-serving captain of Doran Martell’s palace guard, renowned for his loyalty and his longaxe.
   
 
===In the Riverlands===
 
===In the Riverlands===
Line 254: Line 260:
 
* [[Julian Glover]] as Grand Maester [[Pycelle]], the master of wisdom on the king's small council.
 
* [[Julian Glover]] as Grand Maester [[Pycelle]], the master of wisdom on the king's small council.
 
* [[Conleth Hill]] as [[Varys]], the [[Master of Whisperers]] on the king's small council.
 
* [[Conleth Hill]] as [[Varys]], the [[Master of Whisperers]] on the king's small council.
  +
* [[Jonathan Pryce]] as the [[High Sparrow]], who serves those forgotten by much of the world – the poor, the downtrodden and the infirm – and quickly amassed a large following.
 
* [[Ian McElhinney]] as Lord Commander [[Barristan Selmy]], the head of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[Ian McElhinney]] as Lord Commander [[Barristan Selmy]], the head of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[Ian Beattie]] as Ser [[Meryn Trant]], a knight of the Kingsguard.
 
* [[Ian Beattie]] as Ser [[Meryn Trant]], a knight of the Kingsguard.
Line 278: Line 285:
 
* [[Owen Teale]] as Ser [[Alliser Thorne]], in charge of training new recruits.
 
* [[Owen Teale]] as Ser [[Alliser Thorne]], in charge of training new recruits.
 
* [[Peter Vaughan]] as Maester [[Aemon]], Lord Mormont's closest adviser.
 
* [[Peter Vaughan]] as Maester [[Aemon]], Lord Mormont's closest adviser.
* [[Brian Fortune]] as [[Bowen Marsh]], the First Steward of the Watch.
+
* [[Michael Condron]] as [[Bowen Marsh]], the First Steward of the Watch.
* [[Dennis McKeever]] as [[Othell Yarwyck]], the First Builder of the Watch.
+
* [[Brian Fortune]] as [[Othell Yarwyck]], the First Builder of the Watch.
 
* [[Francis Magee]] as [[Yoren]], a recruiter for the Watch.
 
* [[Francis Magee]] as [[Yoren]], a recruiter for the Watch.
 
* [[John Bradley-West]] as [[Samwell Tarly]], a nobleman's son, a fresh recruit to [[the Wall]].
 
* [[John Bradley-West]] as [[Samwell Tarly]], a nobleman's son, a fresh recruit to [[the Wall]].
Line 289: Line 296:
 
* [[Burn Gorman]] as [[Karl]], a ranger.
 
* [[Burn Gorman]] as [[Karl]], a ranger.
   
===Wildlings===
+
===Beyond the Wall===
 
* [[Natalia Tena]] as [[Osha]], a wildling warrior-woman.
 
* [[Natalia Tena]] as [[Osha]], a wildling warrior-woman.
 
* [[Robert Pugh]] as [[Craster]], a wildling whose keep provides a safehaven for rangers of the Watch.
 
* [[Robert Pugh]] as [[Craster]], a wildling whose keep provides a safehaven for rangers of the Watch.
Line 299: Line 306:
 
* [[Ciarán Hinds]] as [[Mance Rayder]], the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]], the leader of all the wildlings by acclamation.
 
* [[Ciarán Hinds]] as [[Mance Rayder]], the [[King-Beyond-the-Wall]], the leader of all the wildlings by acclamation.
 
* [[Yuri Kolokolnikov]] as [[Styr]], the Magnar of [[Thenn]].
 
* [[Yuri Kolokolnikov]] as [[Styr]], the Magnar of [[Thenn]].
  +
* [[Struan Rodger]] as the [[Three-eyed raven]].
  +
* [[Octavia Alexandru]] as [[Leaf]], a child of the forest.
   
 
===In the Free Cities and Vaes Dothrak===
 
===In the Free Cities and Vaes Dothrak===
Line 328: Line 337:
 
* [[Ramon Tikaram]] as [[Prendahl na Ghezn]], a mercenary commander.
 
* [[Ramon Tikaram]] as [[Prendahl na Ghezn]], a mercenary commander.
 
* [[Joel Fry]] as [[Hizdahr zo Loraq]], a master of Meereen.
 
* [[Joel Fry]] as [[Hizdahr zo Loraq]], a master of Meereen.
  +
* [[Enzo Cilenti]] as [[Yezzan zo Qaggaz]], an extremely wealthy slave trader in Meereen.
   
 
==Credits==
 
==Credits==
 
* [[David Benioff]] - writer/executive producer.
 
* [[David Benioff]] - writer/executive producer.
 
* [[D.B. Weiss]] - writer/executive producer.
 
* [[D.B. Weiss]] - writer/executive producer.
* [[George R.R. Martin]] - writer/executive producer.
+
* [[George R.R. Martin]] - writer/co-executive producer.
* Guymon Cassidy - executive producer.
+
* [[Frank Doelger]] - executive producer.
* Carolyn Strauss - executive producer.
+
* [[Carolyn Strauss]] - executive producer.
* Ralph Vincinaza - executive producer.
+
* [[Bernadette Caulfield]] - executive producer.
* Vincent Gerardis - executive producer.
+
* [[Guymon Casady]] - co-executive producer.
* Frank Doelger - producer.
+
* [[Vince Gerardis]] - co-executive producer.
* Mark Huffam - producer
+
* [[Christopher Newman|Chris Newman]] - producer (season 3-).
* [[Thomas McCarthy]] - director (pilot).
+
* [[Greg Spence]] - producer (season 3-).
* Sean Bobbitt - director of photography.
+
* [[Bryan Cogman]] - producer (season 4-).
* Sean Guest - 1st assistant director.
+
* [[Michele Clapton]] - costume designer.
* [[Tatiana S. Riegel]] - editor.
+
* [[Deborah Riley]] - production designer (season 4-).
* Gemma Jackson - production designer.
+
* [[Ramin Djawadi]] - composer.
* Michele Clapton - costume designer.
+
* [[Nina Gold]] - casting director.
* Marisa Clayton - digital post-production.
+
* [[Robert Sterne]] - casting director.
* Julia Frey - production supervisor/location scout (pilot).
+
Former:
* Robert Stromberg - VFX supervisor (pilot).
+
* [[Vanessa Taylor]] - co-executive producer (season 2-3).
* [[Ramin Djawadi]] - music (series).
+
* [[Alan Taylor]] - co-executive producer (season 2).
* Buster Reeves - stunt work (pilot).
+
* [[Ralph Vincinaza]] co-executive producer (season 1).
* [[wikipedia:Corvus Corax (band)|Corvus Corax]] - music (Winterfell feast scene).
+
* [[Mark Huffam]] - producer (season 1).
* Nina Gold - London casting director.
+
* [[Gemma Jackson]] - production designer (season 1-3).
* Amy Berman & Carrie Frazier - Los Angeles casting directors.
 
* Michelle Taylor Spellman - Los Angeles casting associate.
 
* Kerry Barden & Paul Schnee - New York casting directors.
 
* Allison Estrin - New York casting associate.
 
   
 
==Writers==
 
==Writers==
* [[David Benioff]] & [[D.B. Weiss]]: episodes 1-3, 5, 7, 9-12, 15, 17-18, 20-21, 23-24, 26, 28-31, 33, 35, 37-40.
+
* [[David Benioff]] & [[D.B. Weiss]]: episodes [[Winter is Coming|1]], [[The Kingsroad|2]], [[Lord Snow|3]], [[The Wolf and the Lion|5]], [[You Win or You Die|7]], [[Baelor|9]], [[Fire and Blood|10]], [[The North Remembers|11]], [[The Night Lands|12]], [[The Ghost of Harrenhal|15]], [[A Man Without Honor|17]], [[The Prince of Winterfell|18]], [[Valar Morghulis|20]], [[Valar Dohaeris|21]], [[Walk of Punishment|23]], [[And Now His Watch is Ended|24]], [[The Climb|26]], [[Second Sons (episode)|28]], [[The Rains of Castamere (episode)|29]], [[Mhysa|30]], [[Two Swords|31]], [[Breaker of Chains|33]], [[First of His Name|35]], [[Mockingbird|37]], [[The Mountain and the Viper|38]], [[The Watchers on the Wall|39]], [[The Children|40]], [[The Wars to Come|41]], [[The House of Black and White|42]], [[High Sparrow (episode)|43]], [[The Gift (episode)|47]], 48, 49 and 50.
* [[Bryan Cogman]]: episodes 4, 13, 25, 34 and 36.
+
* [[Bryan Cogman]]: episodes [[Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things|4]], [[What is Dead May Never Die|13]], [[Kissed by Fire|25]], [[Oathkeeper|34]], [[The Laws of Gods and Men|36]], [[Kill the Boy|45]] and [[Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken|46]].
* [[Jane Espenson]]: episode 6.
+
* [[Jane Espenson]]: [[A Golden Crown|episode 6]].
* [[George R.R. Martin]]: episodes 8, 19, 27 and 32.
+
* [[George R.R. Martin]]: episodes [[The Pointy End|8]], [[Blackwater (episode)|19]], [[The Bear and the Maiden Fair (episode)|27]] and [[The Lion and the Rose|32]].
* [[Vanessa Taylor]]: episode 14, 16 and 22.
+
* [[Vanessa Taylor]]: episodes [[Garden of Bones|14]], [[The Old Gods and the New|16]] and [[Dark Wings, Dark Words|22]].
  +
* [[Dave Hill]]: [[The Sons of the Harpy|episode 44]].
   
 
==Directors==
 
==Directors==
* [[Thomas McCarthy]]: pilot episode (unscreened).
+
* [[Thomas McCarthy]]: [[Pilot episode|pilot episode]] (unscreened).
* [[Tim Van Patten]]: episodes 1-2.
+
* [[Tim Van Patten]]: episodes [[Winter is Coming|1]] and [[The Kingsroad|2]].
* [[Brian Kirk]]: episodes 3-5.
+
* [[Brian Kirk]]: episodes [[Lord Snow|3]], [[Cripples, Bastards, and Broken Things|4]] and [[The Wolf and the Lion|5]].
* [[Daniel Minahan]]: episodes 6-8, 21-22.
+
* [[Daniel Minahan]]: episodes [[A Golden Crown|6]], [[You Win or You Die|7]], [[The Pointy End|8]], [[Valar Dohaeris|21]] and [[Dark Wings, Dark Words|22]].
* [[Alan Taylor]]: episodes 9-12, 18 & 20.
+
* [[Alan Taylor]]: episodes [[Baelor|9]], [[Fire and Blood|10]], [[The North Remembers|11]], [[The Night Lands|12]], [[The Prince of Winterfell|18]] and [[Valar Morghulis|20]].
* [[Alik Sakharov]]: episodes 13, 26, 36-37.
+
* [[Alik Sakharov]]: episodes [[What is Dead May Never Die|13]], [[The Climb|26]], [[The Laws of Gods and Men|36]] and [[Mockingbird|37]].
* [[David Petrarca]]: episodes 14-15.
+
* [[David Petrarca]]: episodes [[Garden of Bones|14]] and [[The Ghost of Harrenhal|15]].
* [[David Nutter]]: episodes 16-17, 29-30, 49-50.
+
* [[David Nutter]]: episodes [[The Old Gods and the New|16]], [[A Man Without Honor|17]], [[The Rains of Castamere (episode)|29]], [[Mhysa|30]], 49 and 50.
* [[Neil Marshall]]: episodes 19 & 39.
+
* [[Neil Marshall]]: episodes [[Blackwater (episode)|19]] and [[The Watchers on the Wall|39]].
* David Benioff: episode 23.
+
* David Benioff & D.B. Weiss: episodes [[Walk of Punishment|23]] and [[Two Swords|31]].
* [[Alex Graves]]: episodes 24-25, 32-33, 38 & 40.
+
* [[Alex Graves]]: episodes [[And Now His Watch is Ended|24]], [[Kissed by Fire|25]], [[The Lion and the Rose|32]], [[Breaker of Chains|33]], [[The Mountain and the Viper|38]] and [[The Children|40]].
* [[Michelle MacLaren]]: episodes 27-28, 34-35.
+
* [[Michelle MacLaren]]: episodes [[The Bear and the Maiden Fair (episode)|27]], [[Second Sons (episode)|28]], [[Oathkeeper|34]] and [[First of His Name|35]].
* ​D. B. Weiss: episode 31.
+
* [[Michael Slovis]]: episodes [[The Wars to Come|41]] and [[The House of Black and White|42]].
* [[Michael Slovis]]: episodes 41-42.
+
* [[Mark Mylod]]: episodes [[High Sparrow (episode)|43]] and [[The Sons of the Harpy|44]].
  +
* [[Jeremy Podeswa]]: episodes [[Kill the Boy|45]] and [[Unbowed, Unbent, Unbroken|46]].
  +
* [[Miguel Sapochnik]]: episodes [[The Gift (episode)|47]] and 48.
   
 
==Filming locations==
 
==Filming locations==
===Northern Ireland===
+
* Northern Ireland ([[wikipedia:Northern Ireland Screen#The Paint Hall|The Paint Hall Studios]] in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.)
* [[wikipedia:Northern Ireland Screen#The Paint Hall|The Paint Hall Studios]] in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.
+
* Malta (season 1)
* Location filming for the prologue and the discovery of the direwolf cubs took place at [[wikipedia:Tollymore Forest Park|Tollymore Forest Park]] near [[wikipedia:Newcastle, County Down|Newcastle]] in [[wikipedia:County Down|County Down]].
+
* Croatia (season 2-)
* Location filming for some exteriors near Winterfell, including the execution in Season 1 Episode 1 of Will, who fled the Night's Watch, took place at [[wikipedia:Cairncastle|Cairncastle]] in [[wikipedia:County Antrim|County Antrim]].
+
* Iceland (season 2-)
* Location filming for some courtyard scenes at Winterfell, including Tommen and Bran's practice bout, took place at [[wikipedia:Castle Ward|Castle Ward]] in County Down.
+
* Morocco (season 3)
+
* Spain (season 5-)
===Scotland===
 
* The Clanranald Trust's 'Combat International' team have confirmed they will be taking part in the production for some scenes that will be filmed at a castle in [[wikipedia:Scotland|Scotland]]. [[wikipedia:Doune Castle|Doune Castle]], used for some scenes in the movie ''[[wikipedia:Monty Python and the Holy Grail|Monty Python and the Holy Grail]]'', is being used for some scenes involving guardsmen displaying the livery of House Lannister, suggesting that it will be used to depict the courtyard of Winterfell. Filming of the pilot began at Doune Castle on 24 October.
 
 
===Morocco (pilot only)===
 
* [[wikipedia:Morocco|Morocco]] was used for the filming of the scenes involving Daenerys and Viserys Targaryen in [[Pentos]]. Some of the castle sets constructed for the movie ''[[wikipedia:Kingdom of Heaven|Kingdom of Heaven]]'' were also reused for the project.
 
* Atlas Studios and some other locations at [[wikipedia:Ouarzazate|Ouarzazate]] are the primary locations where filming took place in Morocco.
 
   
 
==Filming dates==
 
==Filming dates==
Line 399: Line 409:
   
 
==External links==
 
==External links==
* [http://winter-is-coming.blogspot.com/ Winter is Coming] - a blog dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
+
* [http://watchersonthewall.com/ WatchersOnTheWall.com] - a fansite dedicated to covering all developments on the production as they happen.
 
* [http://www.westeros.org/GoT/ Westeros.org] - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
 
* [http://www.westeros.org/GoT/ Westeros.org] - a subset of the Westeros.org website which covers developments on the series.
 
* <span style="font-size:13px;font-family:arial,sans,sans-serif;color:#000000;text-align:left;">[http://britmovietours.com/bookings/game-of-thrones-tour-of-locations-belfast Game of Thrones Tour Belfast]</span> - A tour of filming locations in Belfast Northern Ireland.
 
* <span style="font-size:13px;font-family:arial,sans,sans-serif;color:#000000;text-align:left;">[http://britmovietours.com/bookings/game-of-thrones-tour-of-locations-belfast Game of Thrones Tour Belfast]</span> - A tour of filming locations in Belfast Northern Ireland.

Latest revision as of 19:56, March 28, 2015

GOT Logo
Game of Thrones is an American fantasy television series produced by the HBO cable network. It is based on the novel series A Song of Ice and Fire, written by George R.R. Martin who serves as a producer, creative consultant and scriptwriter on the television series. David Benioff and D.B. Weiss created the television series and serve as executive producers, showrunners and the main writers.

To date, the series consists of four transmitted seasons comprising fourty episodes in total. Two further seasons have been commissioned,[1] taking the show up to a sixth year/season.

Production of the series is based in Belfast, Northern Ireland, mainly at the Paint Hall Studios. It is the largest and most expensive television production ever mounted in Northern Ireland. Filming for the series has also been conducted in Malta, Iceland, Croatia, Morocco, Spain, and the USA.

Production historyEdit

Eddard promo

A HBO promotional image of Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark.

Season2CastEW

An Entertainment Weekly promotional photo of some of the Season 2 cast. From left to right Kit Harington, Emilia Clarke, Lena Headey, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage.

See the production timeline for a more detailed history of the show's development and production.

David Benioff was sent a collection of the first four novels in the series (A Game of Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows) by George R.R. Martin's agent. Initially sceptical of the fantasy genre, Benioff became a big fan of the books and invited his friend D.B. Weiss to develop the project with him for a screen adaptation. They initially considered a movie adaption, but realized this would mean losing most of the plot and characters from the books. Instead, they began working on an adaptation for television. They met with George R.R. Martin and spent several hours discussing the project. Martin was impressed with their enthusiasm and that they had already worked out the resolutions to several key mysteries in the books. He agreed with them that the series was a good fit for the cable company HBO, which Martin was already a big fan of.

HBO agreed to option the project in 2007 and active development of a pilot script began. However, this was delayed by the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike. In October 2008 HBO exercised its option to buy the rights to the series and ordered a pilot episode a few weeks later. Casting announcements were made throughout 2009, with Peter Dinklage the first actor formally announced for the series. The pilot episode was filmed in Northern Ireland and Morocco in October and November 2009.

HBO officially greenlit the series on 2 March 2010. Filming of Season 1 began on 23 July, with Malta replacing Morocco for overseas filming. Several actors from the pilot were recast, requiring the re-filming of most of the first episode. The season wrapped filming on 15 December. HBO later confirmed that the first season had a budget of $60 million. The first season aired on HBO on 17 April-19 June 2011, garnering critical acclaim and steadily rising ratings. HBO confirmed after the transmission of the first episode that a second season had been commissioned.

Production of Season 2 began on 25 July 2011 and wrapped on 12 December. Malta was dropped as a filming location, replaced by Croatia, while additional filming took place in Iceland. The budget for Season 2 was 15% higher than Season 1, necessitated by the addition more ambitious effects sequences and the use of CGI creatures such as direwolves and dragons. The second season aired from 1 April to 3 June 2012, garnering additional critical acclaim and increased ratings. By the end of the second season, the show had become the third-most-successful series in HBO's history, behind only The Sopranos and True Blood. In addition, the DVD and Blu-ray set of Season 1 was released just prior to transmission of Season 2 and immediately became HBO's fastest-selling media release in its history.

Production of Season 3 began on 10 July 2012 and wrapped on 24 November. Morocco was added to the filming roster alongside Croatia, Iceland and Northern Ireland, with the complexities of filming requiring the addition of a third filming unit to the existing two. An additional scene was shot in Los Angeles for safety reasons, meaning that Season 3 was filmed in five separate countries on three continents. The season aired from 31 March to 2 June 2013. The penultimate episode The Rains of Castamere won widespread critical acclaim for its shock twist ending. By the end of the season the show had supplanted True Blood as the second-most successful HBO show in the United States and The Sopranos as its most successful series worldwide.

Production of Season 4 began on 8 July 2013 and concluded on 21 November. Production was more focused this season, with only two units used and filming restricted to Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia. This was to allow more of the budget to be concentrated on several major action and effects sequences late in the season.

Two further seasons have been commissioned,[2] taking the show up to a sixth year.

Future seasons, and catching up with the booksEdit

The initial planEdit

It is generally projected that the TV series will last seven or eight seasons, but no one is entirely sure.

As of 2014, five books have been published in the A Song of Ice and Fire series, and author George R.R. Martin has predicted that there will be two more (though he is struggling not to let the final book run long, in which case it would have to be split, for a total of eight books).

The third novel, A Storm of Swords, was so long that it pushed the limits of how large a published book could physically be without pages falling out. Because the third novel was so long, the production team realized it would be impossible to condense it all into a single season, so the decision was made to adapt its contents across two seasons. While Season 3 ends with the Red Wedding, this actually happened in the middle of the third novel (similar to how Renly Baratheon suddenly died in the middle of Season 2). Jon Snow returned to Castle Black by the middle of the third novel. Daenerys Targaryen had not yet reached Meereen by the middle of the third novel. A few characters did advance further than this in Season 3, i.e. Bran Stark actually passed north of the Wall at the end of the third novel (he had so few chapters in the entire book that the TV producers didn't want to space it out for two full seasons).

As a result, while there are projected to be seven novels, splitting the third novel into two seasons should mean that the TV series will end with Season 8. Even so the producers have never been sure about this, and often simply gave the figure of "seven or eight" seasons.

Seasons 5: Intercutting the fourth and fifth novelsEdit

What was originally planned as the fourth novel was even longer than the third novel, so Martin split it into two novels: A Feast for Crows (the fourth book) and A Dance with Dragons (the fifth book). The fourth and fifth books occur during a simultaneous timeframe: all of the chapters set in the Seven Kingdoms were moved to the fourth book, while all chapters set outside of the Seven Kingdoms (at the Wall or across the Narrow Sea in Essos) were moved to the fifth book. Though of course, despite splitting them because as one book they would have been longer than the third novel, Martin kept making additions to the fourth and fifth novels during the writing process, so both are nearly as long as the third novel.

It would be odd to spend an entire season with one set of characters while the rest do not appear, then reverse this in the subsequent season. So the TV series's plan is that Seasons 5 will chronologically present events in the order that they happened. This is comparable to how J.R.R. Tolkien's The Two Towers actually consisted of two halves: the first half entirely follows Aragorn since the end of the first novel, then the second half backs up in time to follow only Frodo's perspective, but during the same timeframe since the end of the first novel. Peter Jackson's movie adaptation, however, chose to simply intercut between the two storylines to show events in the chronological order in which they occurred. Thus "Season 5" will consist of the majority of the material from A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons.

Future of the show: How many seasons?Edit

Given that there are currently five novels (with the third split into two seasons), but given the fact that the majority of the last two novels will be adapted in season 5, there is currently only enough print material to adapt through the end of Season 5 (for most storylines). Even so, Martin has told producers Benioff & Weiss the general outline of how the final two books are going to progress (so if a bolt of lightning strikes Martin, they'd still be able to finish according to Martin's general plan).

During Season 3, in an interview with Mother Jones magazine, Benioff & Weiss said that they thought the TV series might run as many as eight seasons, for a total of 80 episodes, though they were unsure:

Mother Jones: "So I gather that Game of Thrones could last eight or nine seasons. Does that mean putting novel writing on hold for a decade?
Benioff & Weiss: "Yes, if we live that long and HBO keeps wanting to make the show. We have the opportunity here to tell a coherent story that lasts for 80 hours. And while a canvas of that size presents all sorts of storytelling problems, it also allows us to spend more time with these characters we love than we'll ever get again.[3]

Soon before Season 4 began, however, in early March 2014 executive producers David Benioff and Dan Weiss made several comments that they actually felt Season 4 was the "midway point" of the TV series, which would probably last seven seasons. On March 11, 2014, they said in Entertainment Weekly:

"It feels like this is the midpoint for us...If we’re going to go seven seasons, which is the plan, Season 4 is right down the middle, the pivot point...I would say it's the goal we've had from the beginning...It was our unstated goal, because to start on a show and say your goal is seven seasons is the height of lunacy. Once we got to the point where we felt like we're going to be able to tell this tale to its conclusion, that became [an even clearer] goal. Seven gods, seven kingdoms, seven seasons. It feels right to us.”[4]

The repeated statements Benioff and Weiss made throughout Season 4 that they "always" intended for there to be seven seasons simply contradict previous statements they made in formal print interviews, such as with Mother Jones in 2013 (though plans can and do change over many years).

Benioff & Weiss, as well as George R.R. Martin himself, then provided comments for the April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair (which was released about two weeks after Benioff and Weiss said in Entertainment Weekly that there might be only seven seasons). Contradicting his statements made at the same time in EW that "we're going for seven seasons, it's been our goal since the beginning", Benioff instead repeated that the production team wasn't sure if the TV series would last "seven or eight" seasons.

"If we're a series and we're four seasons, five seasons in, and it's indefinite as to how long it's gonna go, then I don't think there’s as much pressure as far as, the end is coming, the end is nigh. So, for us, whether it ends up being seven or eight, it's right around there. I think we've always felt — we just completed the fourth season — this is the midpoint. And we're coming around the bend right now."[5]

Elio and Linda of Westeros.org analyzed these conflicting statements before Season 5 began, and offered an explanation: most TV series do not make their starring cast members sign contracts which last longer than six years. If a TV show is successful enough that it lasts longer than six years, the starring cast members can renegotiate their contracts - and because the show is now a guaranteed hit, their pay can increase drastically. A starring cast member on a longrunning and popular TV series can easily leave the show after the sixth season and enter into a lucrative film career, being paid millions of dollars instead of the several hundred thousand that a TV series can easily afford to pay them in the same time period. A hit TV series might be popular enough and generate enough revenue to sustain this - but the Game of Thrones producers have no way of completely guaranteeing that the TV series's ratings will be as high three seasons in the future.

As a result, in Season 4 the executive producers started backtracking and saying that they had always intended for only seven seasons, because they were in heavy contract negotiations between the starring cast and HBO. Now unsure if they would have more than seven seasons (even though they had previously said they felt they needed at least eight to tell the story in full), they didn't want to promise more than they could confirm.

Westeros.org therefore theorized that going into Season 5, the writers were adapting to a "worst case scenario mode" for the event that they only had seven seasons. This included drastically cutting several major subplots from the novels, such as omitting House Greyjoy's subplots almost entirely, not making mention of Doran Martell's other children (including his daughter and heir, Arianne), and cutting out many major characters that appear in Tyrion's storyline in the Free Cities. They went on to speculate, however, that once Season 5 had finished production, the TV writers would probably know how the cast contract negotiations worked out, and if it was indeed confirmed that they would get more than seven seasons, they would then restructure accordingly - i.e. not omitting these storylines, but pushing them back to Season 6.[6]

As events unfolded, it was announced in October 2014 that HBO was indeed able to reach a settlement with the starring cast members: based on the unprecedented and continued success of the TV series, HBO agreed to give them all major pay raises. Part of this involved instituting a pay-grade system: while it a large ensemble cast, a few cast members who can arguably be called the core cast. These "Tier A" cast members as they called them were Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister), Lena Headey (Cersei Lannister), Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Kit Harington (Jon Snow), and Emilia Clarke (Daenerys Targaryen).[7] Maisie Williams (Arya Stark) and Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark) are not in the Tier A cast - it is possible they aren't paid as much due to being underaged. A later interview with Entertainment Weekly in March 2015 reported that for Season 5, the Tier A cast members were each paid $300,000 per episode.[8]

As predicted, with these cast contract renegotiations settled, HBO and the writers began intimating that the TV series could run for more than seven seasons. In the same Entertainment Weekly interview, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo said that the network would eagerly accept the TV series going on for eight to ten seasons, but only if writers Benioff and Weiss felt it served the story instead of dragging it out (though of course, the TV series has not been "padding" the massive novels series, but omitting many subplots for time). Lombardo said:

"We'll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they [Benioff and Weiss] weren't comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that's the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I'm not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they've finished with the story.[9]

Therefore, now that the crunch of the cast contract renegotiations in Season 5 is over, it seems that HBO is adopting more of a "wait and see" attitude, and while unlikely, they no longer dismiss out of hand the possibility of the show running for ten seasons. This also might mean that plotlines that were omitted in Season 5 will somehow be reintegrated back into Season 6.

Westeros.org, WatchersOnTheWall.com, and Entertainment Weekly all agreed, however, that what increasingly seems most probable is that like other major TV series such as Mad Men, Game of Thrones will probably end with a "double-sized" seventh season, which is then split into two halves and aired a year apart (i.e. 16 episodes instead of 10, broken into two 8 episode blocks). This would functionally result in the TV series getting "eight seasons", though for purposes of prohibitively expensive cast contract negotiations, it technically wouldn't count as another full season.

Benioff and Weiss also noted in the March 2015 Entertainmenet Weekly interview that the pay issue has largely been solved after successful negotiations, and the series continues to bring in revenue with high ratings, but the major issue they deal with now is the time issue: Game of Thrones is one of the largest TV productions in history, spanning multiple countries with different units filming simultaneously, and the shooting schedule for Season 5 officially lasted a massive 202 days. As they have said before, they physically cannot hope to produce more than 10 episodes at such high quality in a single year, and the scale keeps increasing, with an ever-expanding cast and new set locations. As Weiss said:

"The money issue was largely supplanted by the time issue. There’s still the money issue; since television budgets are not movie budgets, you’re always making Sophie’s choices in terms of visual effects. We ran up against the absolute limit of how many days we can shoot in a year."[10]

Catching up with the booksEdit

George R.R. Martin himself, in the same April 2014 issue of Vanity Fair, addressed the major and related question which is frequently asked: what will happen if the TV series outpaces the remaining books? What if Martin cannot finish the next novel (the sixth, The Winds of Winter) before Season 6 has to enter production?

Martin stated that while he is trying to focus on writing the remaining novels, he is opposed to rushing them to finish to match the TV series, given that he wants his novels to stand the test of time for decades, like J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. Thus while Martin is hurrying, he has accepted that it a real possibility that he cannot finish the next two novels in time.

Martin declined writing an episode for Season 5 to focus on writing The Winds of Winter, and in March 2015 canceled all of his future convention appearances to focus on writing it. Even so, it now appears all but certain that at least the final season of the TV series will probably be released before the final novel, A Dream of Spring.[11]

CastingEdit

With 250 speaking roles, almost 90 of them named, the cast was the largest ever assembled for the debut season of a HBO project. The cast grew even larger in the second and third seasons.

The cast includes Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Mark Addy as King Robert Baratheon, Kit Harington as Jon Snow, Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister, Harry Lloyd as Viserys TargaryenRichard Madden as Robb StarkCharles Dance as Tywin LannisterAidan Gillen as Petyr BaelishAlfie Allen as Theon GreyjoyConleth Hill as VarysRory McCann as Sandor CleganeJerome Flynn as BronnJohn Bradley-West as Samwell TarlyIain Glen as Jorah MormontJames Cosmo as Jeor Mormont, Joe Dempsie as GendrySibel Kekilli as Shae and Jason Momoa as Khal Drogo. The cast is also notable for including a number of teenage and child actors in prominent roles: Sophie Turner as Sansa Stark, Maisie Williams as Arya Stark, Isaac Hempstead-Wright as Bran Stark, Art Parkinson as Rickon Stark and Jack Gleeson as Joffrey Baratheon.

Jennifer Ehle was initially cast as Catelyn Stark, but after filming the pilot HBO decided to recast the role with Michelle Fairley. No further details have been given for the reason behind this decision, except that it was amicable. In a similar manner, Tamzin Merchant was initially cast as Daenerys Targaryen, but after filming the pilot she was replaced by newcomer Emilia Clarke.

For the second season, a number of new cast members were introduced, including Stephen Dillane as Lord Stannis Baratheon, Carice van Houten as Melisandre, Liam Cunningham as Davos SeaworthNatalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell, Gwendoline Christie as Brienne of Tarth, Michael McElhatton as Roose Bolton, Rose Leslie as Ygritte and Hannah Murray as Gilly.

For the third season, the cast was further swelled with additions, including Diana Rigg as Olenna Tyrell, Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow, Ciaran Hinds as Mance Rayder, Kristofer Hivju as Tormund Giantsbane and Nathalie Emmanuel as Missandei.

For the fourth season, only a few new cast members were added, including Pedro Pascal as Oberyn Martell, Indira Varma as Ellaria Sand, Michiel Huisman as Daario Naharis and Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Mace Tyrell.

The fifth season marked the introduction of many new cast members, including Alexander Siddig as Doran Martell, Jonathan Pryce as the High Sparrow and Keisha Castle-Hughes, Jessica Henwick and Rosabell Laurenti Sellers as the Sand Snakes: Obara, Nymeria and Tyene Sand.

PremiseEdit

The series is set on a world where the seasons can last for years at a time. The main setting is the continent of Westeros, which was home to seven feuding kingdoms until they were united by the Targaryen family using dragons some three centuries ago. The dragons died out and the Targaryen Mad King was unseated in a civil war led by Lords Robert Baratheon and Eddard Stark, seventeen years before the series opens. Robert has ruled as King ever since, but when the series opens his rule is increasingly undermined by other factions. At the same time, two surviving Targaryen children, having grown to adulthood in exile on the eastern continent of Essos, are now planning to return and retake the Iron Throne, and to this end are seeking a military alliance with other factions.

As both civil war and an external invasion threaten Westeros, another danger arises in the lands to the far north, beyond the vast Wall that forms the realm's northern border, where a supernatural threat believed to be mythical seems to be stirring after millennia of sleep. The only defense lies with the Night's Watch, an under-manned, under-funded order of soldiers once held in honor but now used as a dumping ground for criminals and exiles.

The Great HousesEdit

Westeros is ruled by nine noble houses, who in turn command hundreds of lesser vassal houses. Each of the Great Houses rules a large region and commands significant armies and power in their own right. A list of the Great Houses and some of their more significant vassals follows:

CastEdit

This list of characters describes their location and status as of the first episode of the series.

House StarkEdit

Main article: House Stark

Retainers at WinterfellEdit

Vassals and allies of House StarkEdit

House Bolton and retainersEdit

House LannisterEdit

Main article: House Lannister

Vassals and allies of House LannisterEdit

House BaratheonEdit

Main article: House Baratheon

Vassals and allies of House BaratheonEdit

House Arryn and retainersEdit

Main article: House Arryn

House Tyrell and retainersEdit

Main article: House Tyrell

House Greyjoy and retainersEdit

Main article: House Greyjoy

House Tully and retainersEdit

Main article: House Tully

House Frey and retainersEdit

House Martell and retainersEdit

Main article: House Martell

In the RiverlandsEdit

Main article: Riverlands

In King's LandingEdit

In the Night's WatchEdit

Main article: Night's Watch

Beyond the WallEdit

In the Free Cities and Vaes DothrakEdit

In QarthEdit

In Slaver's BayEdit

CreditsEdit

Former:

WritersEdit

DirectorsEdit

Filming locationsEdit

  • Northern Ireland (The Paint Hall Studios in Belfast is being used for all primary interior sets.)
  • Malta (season 1)
  • Croatia (season 2-)
  • Iceland (season 2-)
  • Morocco (season 3)
  • Spain (season 5-)

Filming datesEdit

  • The pilot was originally expected to be filmed between 12 October and 6 November 2009, but there was a two-week delay in pre-production. A read-through of the script was held on 12 October 2009. Production and on-location rehearsals began on 24 October. Filming commenced on 26 October and concluded on 19 November.
  • Scenes at Doune Castle were filmed on 26–27 October 2009 and are believed to include the Winterfell feast to celebrate King Robert's visit. Some filming was also done in the courtyard.
  • The prologue was filmed on 29 October 2009 at Tollymore Forest Park.
  • Filming at Cairncastle took place on 2 November 2009, including the scene of Gared's execution and finding the dead direwolf in the snow.
  • Filming of the scene between Ros, Tyrion and Jaime in King's Landing was filmed on or prior to 3 November 2009, possibly at the Paint Hall studios.
  • Filming at Castle Ward took place on 5 November 2009, including the scenes of Tommen and Bran sparring and Sandor and Joffrey insulting Rodrik and Robb.
  • The UK filming bloc was expected to last for 18 days, suggesting that it would finish around 12 November 2009. George R.R. Martin confirmed on his blog that after this date production would move to Morocco for the remainder of the shoot.
  • Daenerys and Khal Drogo's wedding was filmed on 16 November 2009.
  • Production of the rest of Season 1, including reshoots on the pilot, commenced on 23 July 2010 and ran through 18 December 2010. Filming took place in Northern Ireland and Malta.
  • Production of Season 2 ran from 25 July 2011 to 12 December 2011. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia (replacing Malta).
  • Production of Season 3 ran from 10 July to 24 November 2012, with Morocco added to the filming roster. An additional scene was also shot in Los Angeles, meaning that filming for Season 3 took place in five countries and on three continents.
  • Production of Season 4 ran from 8 July to 21 November 2013. Filming took place in Northern Ireland, Iceland and Croatia, with Morocco dropped. Filming in Iceland was expanded to encompass locations in the south of Westeros as well as beyond the Wall, and took place earlier in the schedule to allow for more filming time.

External linksEdit

ReferencesEdit

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