Earlier this week, esteemed and generally wonderful entertainment trade publication Variety made the mistake of asking beloved Brother of the Nights Watch himself, Jon Snow (erm, Kit Harington outside of the Realm of Westeros) to speculate on the possibility of a Game of Thrones movie. Because, you know, HBO likes to do that sometimes with their series. To which we say: Oh, seven fucking hells! Are we going to have to deal with this perma-speculation now? Already? Seriously? Noooooooooooo!
"I think it’s an option on the table, maybe,” said Harington at Tuesday night’s Cinema Society screening of Pompeii. "It’s very filmic in its style already, so it’s possible." And thus the floodgates have been opened.
Sure: other HBO series like Sex and the City and Entourage have made the leap from small screen success to big screen adaptation, but Game of Thrones should not be included among them. They already toyed with the idea of it as a film — the novel series' author George R.R. Martin has previously discussed how initially, he'd pitched it for films but found the medium far too limited given what's at play in the A Song of Ice and Fire series on which GoT is based. And you know what? He's right.
The thing that makes it so cinematic in many ways — its grand scope and scale — is ultimately what would hinder its move to the big screen. Because while the expansive beauty and cinematography would stay, the character development and plot that make the series so engaging would be washed away or watered down for what would be, at most, a 2 and a half hour, mostly action-y quest film. Because distilled into easily digestible cinematic form, that's all that would remain: ain't no movie have time for plotlines that span hundreds of years, or are too complicated to be expressed in more than a few seconds.
Plus, having to appeal to a mass audience means ultimately, a lot of sacrifices would have to be made to the story, which in turn hinders the quality. Which is, really, the biggest part of Game of Thrones. It's a sprawling, epic tale: an impressive feat rarely seen in literature. And if you want to fully understand it, you have to consider its myriad moving parts — parts that would be disassembled, re-engineered, or removed completely for the sake of ensuring beaucoup bucks at the box office.
And that's not even considering how many characters would be left out. When you consider that the series currently has 23 stars regularly appearing in every episode (to say nothing of supporting cast), you see the inevitability of cuts that would ultimately render the series and its story as cliché, run-of-the-mill fantasy garbage rather than all the other myriad things the George R.R. Martin novel series is. And, logistically, that means each of the "main players" would logistically see about 6.52 minutes of screen time a piece for their part of the epic battle between ice and fire. And, uh, sorry but that's not nearly enough Jon Snow, or Khaleesi, or Tyrion, or Arya, or anyone else on that series for that matter.
Certainly, there are ways to get around this. If there were, say, a prequel film — perhaps detailing the story of Ned and Catelyn's love affair, or the story of the fall of House Targaryen — that focused on one tiny sliver of the story, a film might be cause for consideration. But the reason Game of Thrones is as successful and wonderful as it is, is wholly due to the perfect confluence that happens when you tell a very long, very compelling story with heaps of detail, character development, and exciting twists and turns, over a long period of time. It allows all the parts to come together in brilliant fashion — something that seems only possible (at least at the moment) on HBO.
So we hate to say it, but it's totally warranted. In this instance, you know nothing, Jon Snow.
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