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Piper

Pilot content: what scenes?

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About the prologue, I definitely think it should be included, but I wonder if it wouldn't be a good idea to be deliberately more vague about what exactly was happening. Scary movies are always scarier to me when the monster/threat/whatever is not fully revealed or understood by either the viewers or the audience. I picture us starting with the three rangers, then following Wil and Royce when they split off to find the dead wildlings. The camera stays with Wil up the tree, and all we hear is Royce spouting a few lines of bravado and perhaps a brief yell from below; we don't actually see any Others (at most we get a vague impression of something whooshing through the forest, seen from above through heavy foliage). When we descend with Wil from the tree, he encounters Royce, and there is clearly something creepily wrong with him but maybe it isn't totally obvious that he's a reanimated corpse. Royce advances on Wil, and the camera pulls back to Gared watching from afar with a growing expression of abject terror, perhaps with the audio track playing the sounds of Wil's death. Crossfade to the execution; I don't remember much description of Gared's manner prior to his execution in the novel, but it might be effective (or it might be too cliche) for him to appear to have been driven a bit insane in the scene. Or maybe he's not insane, just grimly resolved that death is a better alternative than going back out there, and everyone else just *thinks* he's insane because he mentions the Others.

I don't know if the whole scene I'm invisioning is too cliche, or too vague to be effective, or if it'd be a bad idea to eliminate what ends up amounting to most of the action-content of the first episode. Somehow the idea of not knowing right away exactly what is going on with people who are under the control of the Others has a lot of appeal to me, as far as maintaining tension and interest. There are lots of possible sci-fi/fantasy stock explanations: it could be mind control or posession, or it could be shapeshifters taking the place of the people, or any of a dozen variants with which any sci-fi fan is intimately familiar. Heck, when it eventually comes out that it's just a simple zombification, the idea will seem positively innovative in comparison! I guess the fun of speculation might kind of get lost, though, when the answer is already out there on Wikipedia and known by millions of fans.

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I must agree with AverageGuy.
The Others are the biggest threat to the world, the biggest legend of it. You can't just ignore it. The books prologue is just great at putting you in the heat of the subject and the serie should do the same :)

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[quote name='nihil' post='1590530' date='Nov 16 2008, 07.20']I guess the fun of speculation might kind of get lost, though, when the answer is already out there on Wikipedia and known by millions of fans.[/quote]
The problem is that we don't see the Others again till Book 3. I don't think drawing out the "big reveal" would be that satisfactory.

From reading some of the other ideas in this thread, I'm thinking that people are relying on too much flashbacks also. I would think that it can get very confusing if you are flashbacking all over the place. Especially in the first episode, where people are trying to understand what is going on. I could be wrong. Flashbacks can be done well but its quite a challenge compared to including them in a book.

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[quote name='Stark Raving Mad Wolf' post='1589726' date='Nov 14 2008, 20.56']When we read the books - we didnt have a prologue of past battles and I dont see why they would change that in the TV series.[/quote]
Because TV is a different format than printed paper, perhaps?
And let's remember that casual watchers don't retain every detail that gets subtly dropped the way we (big fans) do. I really would think it not such a bad idea to have a prelude roughly outlining the rebellion. But not too much - infodumps suck, too.

If they can do the exposition without a prelude and with carefully placed flashbacks, though, all the better.

[quote name='Matarreyes' post='1590389' date='Nov 15 2008, 20.21']And you don´t need Others either.[/quote]
That's the silliest thing I read today. The Others are crucial to the entire story.

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[quote name='Padraig' post='1591322' date='Nov 17 2008, 02.57']The problem is that we don't see the Others again till Book 3. I don't think drawing out the "big reveal" would be that satisfactory.[/quote]


It's been a while since I've read the books, but doesn't Jon battle an Other in the first book? I thought he burned his hand really early on.

I also agree that the prologue should be included in the show-- it's so crucial to the entire series to have that info right from the start. It really adds to the tone of the book of this doom that's quickly approaching but no one sees coming.

As far as Dany goes, I think that if she's not in the first episode she should definitely be in the second. I'd like to have maybe a quick cut to her in the first episode. When Robert and Ned are talking about the past and different people, maybe they could cut the shot to show the characters' faces, where they are now, etc. Like they talk about Lyanna and they cut to her living, beautiful face and then it fades into the stone crypt of her face. They mention Dany and they show her standing next to her brother looking terrified in a foreign country. You get the idea...

One thing I think will be very important is to make sure it's clear what the geography of this world is. I think that maybe the map of Westeros should be included in the opening credits. Otherwise, understanding where Dany is and how she relates to the Seven Kingdoms will be really confusing.

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[quote name='punkypickett' post='1591892' date='Nov 17 2008, 16.10']It's been a while since I've read the books, but doesn't Jon battle an Other in the first book? I thought he burned his hand really early on.[/quote]
He actually battles a wight. But that's what I was thinking. While the Others themselves don't show up again until ASOS, their influence is shown throughout the books. They're seen in Garrett's execution, in the wights, in Osha's decision to come south, in [i]Mance's[/i] decision to come south. "Winter is coming," the three-eyed crow, Nan's [s]foreshadowing[/s] stories...

I do think Padraig's got a good point, because I do get the problems with not seeing the Others again for awhile, but I worry about leaving them out when they become such a major plot point. I suppose you could just start with Bran I, though.

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How about this.

The prologue in the book is the opening scene, followed by the execution and the finding of the wolf pups. At the end of the wolf scene, show the dead mother wolf with the antler jammed in her neck, then cut to Robert's banner and the Stark banner flying beside each other as Robert pulls into Winterfell. It would be a nice bit of foreshadowing. Ned and Robert visit the crypt and as they're visiting they flashback to Lyanna and her "Promise me Ned". After the flashback Robert asks Ned to be his Hand. Then the feast, which would be a good time to introduce some of the other characters as they enter the room. Jon notices Ned is bothered by something (contemplating Robert's offer) then eventually decides to join the Night's Watch. After the feast Bran gets thrown from the wall and injured. End the first episode with Ned and the girls heading south with Robert, while Catelyn looks on from Bran's bedside.

Not sure if you can jam all that into a one hour episode, but it's just an idea...

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What about modifying the original prologue to include the great epic shots of the wall and a little background on the nights watch. I feel like a monolithic ice wall will capture the intrest of the the viewer as well as anything. Then the prologue would play out as it is written more or less. Also what if you started it with Waymar Royce writing a letter to his father maybe, making refrence to the mountains of the moon in some way. In doing this we may understand the spacial relationship between the wall, winterfell, mountains of the moon/vale of arryn. Or how about Waymar is recieving a letter from home and as hes reading maybe we show a sweet raven in flight scene spaning a reasonable ammount of territory and topography. The viewer is immediatly inserted into the world in this way i believe. Considdering the explanation of the lands south of winterfell is somwhat slow at the beginning and viewers wont have the benifit of a map. I think thats a good excuse for inserting some eyecandy early on that dosent necessary skew the original storyline.

Someone mentioned a prologue with the siege on pyke. This expanded nights watch is what i suggest instead, while a pyke siege would be very cool to start with i dissagree. The ironmen are an important faction but they dont assert themselves until later. I feel like explaining the Ironborn history and the relationship of Theon to the Starks would just be a distraction from the development of the starks themselves. There are going to be a lot of details to throw in, best to just let Theon remain in the back until the right time. Lets face it the story is complicated enough as is, so saving that until the 2nd season/clash of kings seems fitting.

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I also like the idea of developing a smidgen of background on waymar(nothing to distracting or in depth) because this will innitate grrms love of kiling a central character. While i would not considder waymar central a viewer may think he is at first, then they notice a trend of central characters biting it throughout the story, makes sense to me. And besides anything you really reveal about him isnt going to matter to much because he will be dead.

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I had not scrolled up to read punkypickets post before made my previous posts, but i feel that we are on the same page. Stunning clever visual geographic development will be crucial in the first episode. If people don't feel inserted in the world of westeros viewers may very well see the first parts of the story to be abunch of people in period dress which could easily be dismissed as cliche and uninspired etc
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Ok just had a thought on my Ser Waymar writes a letter idea. We encounter him first thing and u can hear the voice in his head as hes writing the letter it would have something to this effect " Dear Father, blah blah blah(this would all be moot, hes talking about his life and junk) blah blah, the winds blow colder in recent weeks, it is a unholy thing to behold penetrating my very soul." Then he might trail off and he is called to head off on his ranging where he dies, not finishing the letter. I know that was a little cheesy but, the point is to suggest the intense cold that is described when the others show up. I think that would make alot of sense later on down the road.

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I'd like to second Nihil's take on the prologue. The prologue must be included, but you don't need to show the Others explicit. I'd think fleeting images works best at this stage. How the Others actually looks like ought to remain uncertain until the Battle of the Fist. We'll see plenty of wights, as well as talk or hints about the Others to keep the mystery alive till then.

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[quote name='The Iceman of the North' post='1592473' date='Nov 18 2008, 12.09']How the Others actually looks like ought to remain uncertain until the Battle of the Fist. We'll see plenty of wights, as well as talk or hints about the Others to keep the mystery alive till then.[/quote]
Why? What's so good about about not knowing about what the Other's look like? I think it'll be confusing for non-readers. Its not like their appearance is shocking or that surprising. When they are revealed, it'll be "oh, they are these ice creatures. That was worth the 2 year wait".

There'll be enough mysteries in the series without inventing another.

I don't like the letter idea either. :P I doubt they are going to waste much time on a character they are going to kill off almost straight away.

Similarly I doubt they would start on Pyke. Its not important enough as mentioned. I don't think they require flashbacks on any scenes in aGoT except for the Tower of Joy scene and maybe the scene where Rhaegar gave Lyanna the rose. Otherwise, we don't need to see how lovely Lyanna was or any of the old battles (accepting that you could begin the series at the Rhaegar v Robert battle, which is important but not neccessarily shown). Everytime I think of all these flashbacks, going back and forth in time, I just think it sounds silly. Admittedly it could be done well but it would be challenging.

The map situation is interesting. I do think knowing what the world looks like would be handy.

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As others have mention a shot paning over westeros to give ppl a good scope of what the seven kingdoms are and how they relate to the wall and beyond would go along way. maybe this could be done indirectly in the opening sequence it starts out in the south then links up with a bird in the north who flys over the wall and lands near our three rangers who our camra then shifts to.

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[quote name='Padraig' post='1593764' date='Nov 19 2008, 03.59']Why? What's so good about about not knowing about what the Other's look like? I think it'll be confusing for non-readers. Its not like their appearance is shocking or that surprising. When they are revealed, it'll be "oh, they are these ice creatures. That was worth the 2 year wait".

There'll be enough mysteries in the series without inventing another.[/quote]


Agreed. Plus, [i]Lost[/i] already did that with "the others." T'would be best to introduce them right away.

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Just recalled the Tyrion acrobatics when Jon leaves the dinner party. I hope for consistency's sake that they scrap that in the script as it's clashes with the Tyrion we'll see for the rest of the series.

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Well, not really. GRRM's always said that he'd revisit the topic of Tyrion's tumbling. It just hasn't been germane since AGoT.

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[quote name='Halfhand' post='1589635' date='Nov 15 2008, 00.44']This was a post from an old thread but I've never been able to get it out of my head and I think it would make a perfect pilot episode.[/quote]



I also loved "this" prologue when I read it in the old thread. In the meantime, I now think that the book prologue will be the better choice.

But as this scene just seems so powerful (and at least the TOJ scene will be most possibly shot for the series anyway) it would make a magnificant trailer. I really would love to see it. Can you imagine how many people would be lured to watch the first episode after seeing this dark, archaic goosebumps-trailer?

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A commentator on the Winter is Coming blog [url="http://winter-is-coming.blogspot.com/2008/12/will-daenerys-be-in-pilot.html"]claims[/url] to have seen a copy of the pilot script.

Maybe it's total BS, but according to him the pilot contains not only pretty much everything in the book from the prologue through to the "things I do for love" moment, but it even merges Dany's first two chapters together, so her storyline ends on her wedding night.

Impressive going, if true.

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