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Panos Targaryen

Why did the project fail?

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Posted (edited)

Sure, Game of Thrones became a cultural phenomenon, one of the most watched series of all time, it set a new bar for high budget Hollywood-like TV shows, made millions of dollars etc.

But as far as being a faithful adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, successfully transferring the "soul/essence" of the series to the small screen, including as much of the books' plot as possible, respecting GRRM's themes, etc., I  think the consensus in this forum, and across the hardcore fanbase, especially the book readers, is that this failed utterly towards the end. This was, ultimately, not the proper and true adaptation of ASOIAF that the fans have wanted since 1996. Too many compromises were made. 

What do you guys think is the source of this? D&D being incompetent writers or bad project managers, the nature of ASOIAF's story itself making it almost possible to make a satisfying TV adaptation of it, not a high enough budget, or something else?

Btw, before anyone says it's because GRRM didn't finish the books in time: While definitely a factor, it could have been possible for GRRM to have more closely overseen the development of the show. It must have been something else imo.

Edited by Panos Targaryen

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To me what made the show good was the dialogue and the slow buildup to the inevitable. The writing was top notch because the writing in the books were top notch. D&D simply can't compare to GRRM on a character dialog level, a lot of people can't.

But when you look back at seasons 1-4 you see how many awful things happened to good people and you realize that all the choices they made to get to that point felt genuine. They felt like choices they would make and unfortunately it just didn't work out. A lot of books do this, it's not that rare, the rare thing was just not having plot armor or a Deus Ex Machina save them just in time.

While I like season 4 of the show, to me that's where the pacing started to pick up. D&D I think were gearing up to tell a story a bit faster, they built up to the red wedding, won the internet, and wanted to coast from there on out. I think they lost interest in the project as well around season 6, especially when they really started to have to write their own stuff and kinda rushed it. HBO wanted 10+ seasons, which would probably be too much, but I think D&D were ready to move on and wanted to tell the story as fast as humanely possible.

 

So a part of it is, you needed GRRM to at least be there to help with the dialog. Better dialog would have been nice. And a more consistent story instead of just trying to finish it up, would have changed a lot. I think Dany going mad should have been the entire plot for her last season, ending with her burning down KL. The slow build could have worked and it would have been better than the possible boat sex baby they kept hinting at all season for no reason. Then you spend this season dealing with her. Last season just felt like such a giant waste of time for the most part that, I think it led to this season where they realized they had a lot to finish and not a lot of time to do it.

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Posted (edited)

I'd say that it's not fair to say that the project failed. In terms of prestige, notoriety, viewers and subscription, it has been the most successful show in HBO ever, by far. The "soul/essence" of the story or the "themes" have never been something that really mattered in the minds of HBO or the showrunners. It has never been among their priorities. You can't call something a failure for not doing what it was never intended to do.

50 minutes ago, Panos Targaryen said:

Btw, before anyone says it's because GRRM didn't finish the books in time: While definitely a factor, it could have been possible for GRRM to have more closely overseen the development of the show.

30 minutes ago, btfu806 said:

So a part of it is, you needed GRRM to at least be there to help with the dialog.

I, and I'm sure many fans are going to be with me here, wouldn't like GRRM to devote any single minute of his time on the show. He already wasted some months writing four episodes for the series, and as far as I'm concerned, those months would have been put to much better use writing Winds.

Only George can write Winds. But there are plenty of writers around who could write good dialogue. D&D could have hired dozens, if they wished. But what we need to realize is that they are proud of their result. They believe that the final product is a masterpiece. They think their dialog is ace, and that anyway their average viewer wants less talking and more action, and shocks, and badassery. And since their show is HBO's most viewed ever, they won't care at all about the ramblings of some hardcore fans in the depth of the internet.

Edited by The hairy bear

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2 minutes ago, The hairy bear said:

I, and I'm sure many fans are going to be with me here, wouldn't like GRRM to devote any single minute of his time on the show. He already wasted some months writing four episodes for the series, and as far as I'm concerned, those months would have been put to much better use writing Winds.

Only George can write Winds. But there are plenty of writers around who could write good dialogue. D&D could have hired dozens, if they wished. But what we need to realize is that they are proud of their result. They believe that the final product is a masterpiece. They think their dialog is ace, and that anyway their average viewer wants less talking and more action, and shocks, and badassery. And since their show is HBO's most viewed ever, they won't care at all about the ramblings of some hardcore fans in the depth of the internet.

I would have rather him be able to do both. Not write Blood and Fire or The Wildcards and focus on TWOW and helping out with the show. Sure there are other writers out there that can write good dialog, but they write good dialog for their characters. GRRM knows his characters, you are going to get the best dialog possible with him writing it. Just like the books, I have spent year's of my life taking in the content of the show, I would rather it be done right, in both cases.

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I can only disagree. I loved getting Fire and Blood. And again, it's something that only George could write. The Wildcards are only edited by him, so his time involvement is very reduced. And he does it mainly for fun.

Of course the show would be better if George had been more involved. But I will always prefer him to produce original material instead diluted adaptations.

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As The hairy bear said, HBO and the showrunners never cared about the soul of the book series. They didn't even name the show A Song of Ice and Fire. They named it Game of Thrones, which shows that they were telling a different story from episode one.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The hairy bear said:

I'd say that it's not fair to say that the project failed. In terms of prestige, notoriety, viewers and subscription, it has been the most successful show in HBO ever, by far. The "soul/essence" of the story or the "themes" have never been something that really mattered in the minds of HBO or the showrunners. It has never been among their priorities. You can't call something a failure for not doing what it was never intended to do.

I, and I'm sure many fans are going to be with me here, wouldn't like GRRM to devote any single minute of his time on the show. He already wasted some months writing four episodes for the series, and as far as I'm concerned, those months would have been put to much better use writing Winds.

Only George can write Winds. But there are plenty of writers around who could write good dialogue. D&D could have hired dozens, if they wished. But what we need to realize is that they are proud of their result. They believe that the final product is a masterpiece. They think their dialog is ace, and that anyway their average viewer wants less talking and more action, and shocks, and badassery. And since their show is HBO's most viewed ever, they won't care at all about the ramblings of some hardcore fans in the depth of the internet.

 

1 hour ago, Loge said:

As The hairy bear said, HBO and the showrunners never cared about the soul of the book series. They didn't even name the show A Song of Ice and Fire. They named it Game of Thrones, which shows that they were telling a different story from episode one.

I see where both of you are coming from, but then how do you explain the show's (mostly) good writing and faithfulness to the books in the early seasons? Sure, signs of laziness were there, like the lack of purple eyes for the Targs, arbitrary, unnecessary changes to dialogue etc., but nothing like the badly-written Hollywood shitshow it became in the end.

Edited by Panos Targaryen

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Posted (edited)

It ultimately failed because of D&D; A combination of them not being good enough to write a good enough story after the source material ended, and of them being too proud to either hire more writers to help them out in the first place, or too proud to simply step down altogether and leave the writing to someone else, more interested in the project - something they should've done the moment they became so bored with the project that they actively wanted less episodes despite HBO wanting more. 

S7 and S8 together being a mere 13 episodes was never going to cut it, and that decision was all on them.
 

Edited by MinscS2

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46 minutes ago, Mordor said:

Failure? Amongst book purists? Sure, but the overall general audience, I doubt it. 

 

I did say that, I'm describing the show's success from the perspective of the fans who have been here since the beginning. The book fans who have wanted to see ASOIAF adapted into a show for 20 years, the people who come up with the theories and analyze every aspect of the story on forums.

Everyone's entitled to their opinion and taste, but let's be honest, it was not supposed to end this way, with a large amount (majority?) of the core fanbase (which doesn't include the average show viewer who thinks Daenerys is named Khaleesi or those people screaming and crying while watching GoT at bars) complaining of bad writing, the show's lead writers being called "dumb and dumber", youtube filled with videos analyzing and explaining why the writing in recent seasons has been very poor etc. Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj are very successful artists, doesn't make their music good.

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They should have hired at least 2 or 3 writers from season 5 onward, once they ran out of most of the book material, so there would be people whose sole job was to write dialogue and make the plot cohesive.  This alone would have probably prevented most of the decline of the series, it may never have been as well written as the parts that were taken straight from the books, but would have been immensely better written and paced and plotted.

I also agree, it was wrong to shorten the seasons.  The show was already taking major short cuts but doing 7 and 6 episodes made the final denouement completely ridiculous which is why the audience is so angry now.

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7 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

They should have hired at least 2 or 3 writers from season 5 onward, once they ran out of most of the book material, so there would be people whose sole job was to write dialogue and make the plot cohesive.  This alone would have probably prevented most of the decline of the series, it may never have been as well written as the parts that were taken straight from the books, but would have been immensely better written and paced and plotted.

I also agree, it was wrong to shorten the seasons.  The show was already taking major short cuts but doing 7 and 6 episodes made the final denouement completely ridiculous which is why the audience is so angry now.

When I think about it more and more, it would have almost been better to do one giant season instead of two small ones. Season 7 and 8 feel so disjointed from each other. The majority of things that happen in the season 7 just didn't matter. Some things of course did, but the majority didn't. Felt like we were just waiting time. Then when you try to do something as complex as turn a major character into a villan, it seems beyond forced doing it in 2 episodes.

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4 minutes ago, btfu806 said:

Season 7 and 8 feel so disjointed from each other. 

They really do don't they?

90% of the buildup, foreshadowing and character arc's during Season 7 was quickly discarded or dealt with without any sort of payoff as soon as Season 8 aired. It's almost like they had a completely different end-game in mind while writing S8 than they did when they wrote S7.

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7 minutes ago, btfu806 said:

When I think about it more and more, it would have almost been better to do one giant season instead of two small ones. Season 7 and 8 feel so disjointed from each other. The majority of things that happen in the season 7 just didn't matter. Some things of course did, but the majority didn't. Felt like we were just waiting time. Then when you try to do something as complex as turn a major character into a villan, it seems beyond forced doing it in 2 episodes.

I feel like a 10 episode season where maybe the last episode of season 7 would  have been a glimmer of Dany being depressed, out of sorts...and then have the whole season be her becoming angry and bitter and #5 would have been the normal #9 would have worked okay.  I can't honestly remember much of anything from season 7, dumb wight hunt, Tryion bizarrely convincing Dany not to roll up to KL with all her fresh forces and demand Cersei surrender.  But, 10 eps would at least have given more time for the 'romance' and people whose sole job was to write could maybe have come to the same plot endpoints w/out shaving off massive IQ of everyone involved...but stuff like that takes time and brainstorming which clearly, the showrunners didn't do any of this.

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8 minutes ago, MinscS2 said:

They really do don't they?

90% of the buildup, foreshadowing and character arc's during Season 7 was quickly discarded or dealt with without any sort of payoff as soon as Season 8 aired. It's almost like they had a completely different end-game in mind while writing S8 than they did when they wrote S7. 

It is incredibly weird. It wouldn't surprise me if after season 7 they decided to change direction on things and just leave plot lines up in the air. I would have preferred if they took that gap year before season 7 so they could write both seasons together to make one solid story line.

8 minutes ago, Cas Stark said:

I feel like a 10 episode season where maybe the last episode of season 7 would  have been a glimmer of Dany being depressed, out of sorts...and then have the whole season be her becoming angry and bitter and #5 would have been the normal #9 would have worked okay.  I can't honestly remember much of anything from season 7, dumb wight hunt, Tryion bizarrely convincing Dany not to roll up to KL with all her fresh forces and demand Cersei surrender.  But, 10 eps would at least have given more time for the 'romance' and people whose sole job was to write could maybe have come to the same plot endpoints w/out shaving off massive IQ of everyone involved...but stuff like that takes time and brainstorming which clearly, the showrunners didn't do any of this.

Agreed 100 percent. I am looking forward to this show ending and re-watching everything, especially season 7 and seeing if there was any real point to it besides giving the NK a dragon.

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Posted (edited)

I also think it was a huge mistake to have Missy and Rhaegal killed the ep before.

Imagine if instead of what we had....a tiny pipsqueak number of people who Cersei should legitimately have killed them all...we had Dany and her whole army...okay, let's parlay bitch, send out Missy or else..she could even call for the people of KL to rise up against Cersei, but they won't.  Cersei, totally in character, says fuck it, I choose violence, and beheads Missy.....the battle starts, during the battle Rhaegal is killed....now we have some legit emotional reasons why Dany would decide to burn them all.  I acknowledge that is a lot to happen on top of a battle, but since I'm not an Emmy winning screen writer, I am sure there were better ways to get to the same place that would have been less jarring for the audience and less dumb for the various characters.

This would also have fixed the stupidity of having in one episode the dragon is hammered with shots and dies, the next one, not a single hit on Drogon.

Edited by Cas Stark

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13 hours ago, Panos Targaryen said:

 

I see where both of you are coming from, but then how do you explain the show's (mostly) good writing and faithfulness to the books in the early seasons? Sure, signs of laziness were there, like the lack of purple eyes for the Targs, arbitrary, unnecessary changes to dialogue etc., but nothing like the badly-written Hollywood shitshow it became in the end.

Was the writing really good? I'd have to rewatch to check (which I don't intend to do), but I don't remember being impressed by it. The early seasons certainly benefitted from the source material, even if they didn't stay true to it. Good source material always shines through, even in a lousy adaptation.  

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, btfu806 said:

While I like season 4 of the show, to me that's where the pacing started to pick up. D&D I think were gearing up to tell a story a bit faster, they built up to the red wedding, won the internet, and wanted to coast from there on out. I think they lost interest in the project as well around season 6, especially when they really started to have to write their own stuff and kinda rushed it. HBO wanted 10+ seasons, which would probably be too much, but I think D&D were ready to move on and wanted to tell the story as fast as humanely possible.

I think this is the biggest problem. They stopped telling the story dynamically and tried to cut too many corners. It feels like they just want to move on to other things and now I'm kind of dreading what they will do to Star Wars...

 

Edited by Thorbearius

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Unrealistically high viewer expectations, the two-year gap between s7 and s8, the two shortened last seasons, the sprawling nature of AFFC and ADWD which necessitated changes, and the lack of source material all contributed to what we ended up with.  I hesitate to use the word "fail" here because in the end it did actually succeed in bringing the thing to a conclusion; just not the conclusion that some might have wanted.  In fact a good chunk of what's actually happened bears all the classic and oh-so-predictable marks of nothing much more than the internet hate machine going into action, and I believe that history will be kinder to what was achieved by this show.

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Posted (edited)

 

15 hours ago, Panos Targaryen said:

I see where both of you are coming from, but then how do you explain the show's (mostly) good writing and faithfulness to the books in the early seasons? Sure, signs of laziness were there, like the lack of purple eyes for the Targs, arbitrary, unnecessary changes to dialogue etc., but nothing like the badly-written Hollywood shitshow it became in the end.

I think that they became bolder and bolder each season, and started to believe they were great writers instead of okayish adaptators.

In the first season, they followed the original material extremely faithfully. In the second season, they dared to do a single major change: Dany's adventures at Qarth. The result was easily the worst part of the season, but that didn't rise any red flag. The more commercial success the show had, the more they were convinced that they were superb writers. And once they ran out of source material, the free fall started.

The sad thing is that, since the ratings have continued rising (due to the excellent characters, acting and production values), they still seem to believe that their writing is genius and are convinced that they've done a superb work.

Just now, 21st Century Moose said:

I hesitate to use the word "fail" here because in the end it did actually succeed in bringing the thing to a conclusion; just not the conclusion that some might have wanted.

I don't think that's the problem here. Most of the criticism, both from the fans and the professional critics, do not come from "what they did", but "how they did it". It's not that the resolution was unpopular, but that it was unearned. It came out of the blue. They preferred to surprise than to make sense.

Edited by The hairy bear

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