10 things we'd like to see more of in Game Of Thrones
With just days to go until the season 3 premiere, Ron talks us through 10 things he wants more of from the superlative Game Of Thrones...
No TV show is perfect, but for me, Game of Thrones is as close to perfect as television gets. When asked to consider the things I’d want to see in season three and beyond then, my answer was simple: I want more. More battles, more magic, more George R.R. Martin, more animated GIFs of Joffrey’s face on the receiving end of a well-aimed slap… more of everything that makes Game of Thrones one of the best shows on TV.
1. “More wine" - Cersei Lannister
This one is fairly obvious. When ten or eleven episodes of something are incredible, the biggest demand is for more of the same. The books, which number in the thousands of pages at this point, are long and complex and rich and involved, with dozens of characters and potential adventure ideas. Even then, you'll need to cut unless you're going to make a 24 to 36-episode season with nearly as many “main character” roles. Given that they're dividing A Storm of Swords between two seasons, you would think they could add a few extra episodes on during production to keep fans wanting more, and to buy the bearded one a little extra scribbling time.
2. “There's a king in every corner now” - Catelyn Stark
The first season stuck with the same core crew of directors: Tim Van Patten, Alan Taylor, Brian Kirk, and Daniel Minahan. The third season, if the announced list is to be believed, is also sticking to a core crew of Minahan, David Nutter, Alex Graves, Michelle MacLaren, and a couple of one-shot appearances from show guardians David Benioff & D. B. Weiss and award-winning cinematographer Alik Sakharov, who directed a second season episode. So what's missing? Well, some flash in the form of a brilliant, well-known special guest director.
In the second season, Neil Marshall came into the show as a hired gun of sorts and directed the season's highlight episode, Blackwater. The argument could be made that the show doesn't need the flash that comes with bringing in a known film director, but as a fan of both the show and of Neil Marshall, it added a layer of anticipation to what was already the most anticipated episode of the season. It turns the show from must-watch television to a must-watch event, and adds some critical cachet to a genre show that was criminally overlooked during awards season. Perhaps the show could bring back Alan Taylor, who is missing on the third season's call sheet due to his responsibilities as the director of Thor: The Dark World. After helming a hundred million dollars worth of Marvel movie, he'd certainly have his profile raised.
3. “When they write the history of my reign, sweet sister, they will say it began today” - Viserys Targaryen
Blackwater was noteworthy for a number of reasons, not least that it was written by the man himself, George R.R. Martin. So far, Martin has written an episode every season, and he has another scheduled in the third season, but surely an author like him could take on another script or two. After all, this is a man who hops from project to project and takes on multiple things at once, if only to satisfy his own artistic urges. Martin's definitely no stranger to writing for television (having written multiple episodes of Beauty and the Beast and the 1986 revival of The Twilight Zone), so surely it's not a question of competence that prevents him from writing two episodes in a season. I think we'd all much rather him be writing the sixth and seventh books of A Song of Ice and Fire, but while he's doing that, he could always throw in an extra episode of the TV show?
4. “Ah, yes yes. Against Grumpkins and Snarks and all the other monsters your wet nurse warned you about” - Tyrion Lannister
Direwolves and dragons and monsters, oh my! In the first season, Tyrion Lannister dismissed the tales the creatures beyond the wall as merely snarks and grumpkins. And, of course, the dragons have been dead for a thousand years... Until now, that is. The Targaryen dragons are making a comeback, the White Walkers and their wight servants are massing beyond the wall, and the Stark kids are raising a passel of adorable direwolves. However, we haven't seen a lot of Dany's leathery kittens, the Stark pups, or the Walkers. I get the feeling that's going to change, at least for the dragons, but I could use a little more direwolf action. Robb is the young wolf, so let's see Gray Wind get some killing in! That ties in nicely with my fifth idea...
5. “They'll bend the knee or I'll destroy them” - Stannis Baratheon
Blackwater was one of the most impressive feats of television I've seen in a long time. Rather than lean on digital masses, as Rome did in its larger battles, they simply brought in more extras and used creative filming techniques to fill in the places where the battle took place. It worked very, very well. It felt authentic and claustrophobic in a way a CGI battle never could, and it set up Tyrion's bravery and cleverness in a brand new light. There are multiple opportunities for huge battles in the third season. After all, Robb and Tywin Lannister are still at war, with Stannis down but never out so long as he has the Lord of Light on his side; over the wall, there are the wildlings and Mance Rayder (and a whole host of white walkers); even across the sea, there's Dany and her never-ending quest for mercenaries, sell swords, and Dothraki to reclaim the Iron Throne. There's potential there for any number of massive clashes, and rather than implying the combat (though that was successfully implied multiple times last season), I'd like to see a little more of it. Blood and guts and steel make for a nice counterpoint to courtly intrigues and sexposition.
6. “I always wanted to be a wizard” - Samwell Tarly
Well, as we've seen over the second season, it appears that magic and magical creatures are making a comeback. From Melisandre's shadow assassin to Pyat Pree's parlour tricks, magic played an increasing role in the second series of the show, and I believe that's only going to increase as the series goes on. I like the way Game of Thrones has counterbalanced magic by having it exact a cost, either from the caster or from the person who seeks magic to be done on his behalf, and I would like to see Melisandre continue to make mischief on Stannis' behalf. Perhaps some of Pyat Pree's warlock brethren could take their battle to Dany and her dragons in a real clash of supernatural forces, or more of Melisandre's red brethren from Asshai could make appearances in Westeros or in the Free Cities.
7. “It's the family name that lives on. That's all that lives on. Not your personal glory, not your honour, but family” - Tywin Lannister
George R.R. Martin has written a series of novellas detailing the adventures of Dunk and Egg, aka Ser Duncan the Tall and the future King Aegon Targaryen V. If, for some reason, there's a delay in the production of future episode of Game of Thrones due to a Martin-related book writing snag, then HBO would be mad not to commission the in-discussion prequel series based on the Dunk and Egg series. Fans want anything Westeros, and some back story to those tales of legend we here from the younger Stark set would be greatly appreciated. It seemed to work well for Spartacus when Andy Whitfield first got sick, so why not Game of Thrones? If there is a gap, it's a natural filler. If the show somehow completes after Martin finishes the saga, then it's a natural continuation for both the writer and the crew behind the show. Given the ratings, I believe Game of Thrones could run for as long as HBO, Martin, and the fans want it to (especially if Martin writes the six to twelve Dunk and Egg stories he's been talking about). Maybe stagger it, with Game of Thrones in the spring and Dunk and Egg in the fall, so we never have to go too long without guys in armour stabbing one another?
8. “We've had vicious kings and we've had idiot kings, but I don't know if we've ever been cursed with a vicious idiot boy king!” - Tyrion Lannister
I hate Joffrey Baratheon, and it's a hate that feels good. On a show with characters functioning in shades of gray - Tyrion the anti-hero, Bronn the funny mercenary, the self-serving Littlefinger -King Joffrey, first of his name, is the ultimate villain. There's no good in the obnoxious boy king; even Cersei is redeemed by her love for her children, unlike her terrible son. Poor Jack Gleeson's character has a face made for slapping, and I want to see Joffrey get slapped. I want everyone from Cersei to Sansa to take a swing, and then I want someone to cut each slap out, put the clips into a YouTube video, and then I can have a super cut of Joff tasting leather to watch when I'm having a bad day.
9. “Has anyone ever told you you're as boring as you are ugly?” - Jaime Lannister
Talking Dead has been very successful for AMC, serving as a cheap and successful brand extension for The Walking Dead, a way to promote various celebrity fans and guests, a focus of discussion about the show, and a way to plug the soundtrack album via musical performances. AMC must be happy with it, because it's gone from a half-hour show broadcast an hour after The Walking Dead to an hour-long show immediately following it. HBO has had plenty of other talk shows on, from Real Time with Bill Maher to Dennis Miller Live and The Chris Rock Show to stuff like The Ricky Gervais Show, which is just an animated podcast. An official Game of Thrones podcast with cooperation from the cast and crew would be incredible, and if HBO wanted to attach an interesting host to the project, celebrity fans Retta (who was great on Talking Dead and on Parks and Recreation), Nathan Fillion (to bring in the Browncoats), or Aziz Ansari (also Parks and Rec), so much the better. Let's call it A Discussion of Ice and Fire or A Talk Of Thrones or something punny like that.
10. “I am the watcher on the walls.” The oath of The Night's Watch
I may be the only person in the world who really appreciates the two-screen experience that comes with a watch-along app. When I find a show that I like that has a lot of back story and behind-the-scenes stuff that I want to know, I want an app to tell me what's going on. I want pictures, I want games, I want polls, I want secret videos, I want special effects knowledge, I want to hear about filming difficulties and set injuries and crazy weather. The best way to do this, of course, is via an app. Maybe you could tie the app into the potential Discussion of Thrones TV show and give it an interactive flair.
Game of Thrones season 3 starts this Sunday the 31st of March on HBO, and Monday the 1st of April on Sky Atlantic.
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