George R.R. Martin’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ Greenlit By HBO

Published 6 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 4:24 pm,

a song of ice and fire George R.R. Martins Game Of Thrones Greenlit By HBO

We had a Screen Rant reader request inquiring if we could find any information on a possible television series that may spring up on HBO, based on the book series called A Song of Ice and Fire. The book series has become a TV project and it looks like they’re starting from the beginning as the TV project is called Game of Thrones.

I can imagine this makes the community of George R. R. Martin fans pretty happy.

A Sparse Outline On The Book Series

A Song of Ice and Fire book series is written by American novelist and screenwriter George R. R. Martin. It takes place in a fictional realm on the continent of Westeros and other surrounding lands. The characters are mostly human who deal with “others” from the north or fire-breathing dragons from the east.

The series touches on a dynastic civil war for control of Westeros, rising threats from outside of Westeros and an exiled daughter of a once murdered king, as she looks to return to Westeros to claim her rightful throne.

The three story lines are said to be well interwoven upon each other.

Taking place in a fictional land helps, as the series is said to be inspired more by medieval history.  Medieval times is an awesome time period for fantasy and romantic premises. There’s lots of room to create new and different origins without the restrictions that come from the reality of it all!

I think one of the draws of the books is the comparison to Rome and Deadwood, with its underlying adult themes of crafty writing alluding to sex and the obvious violence surrounding the three story lines. It seems to be a popular mix of plot delivery as the book series has been placed as the number 2 rated series at the Internet Book List as of March 10, 2009.

Is There Any News On The Television Series?

In January of 2007, fans of the series found a little bit of hope. It was reported that HBO acquired the rights to the books with the intent of creating a dramatic series. (At least they beat Sci-Fi to it.)  Of course a studio optioning rights can sometimes mean they’re going to sit on them for 10 years sometimes, and Martin even cautioned against too much optimism at first.

As it stood, the plan laid out by HBO was that the series would be written and exec produced by David Benioff (Troy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine) and D.B. Weiss (Halo draft, prequel to I am Legend. Oh!  Did I just say prequel?). They were hoping to shoot in Europe or New Zealand.

The next bit of news then came around November of 2008 with a few new developments.

a game of thones George R.R. Martins Game Of Thrones Greenlit By HBO

The project is now called Game of Thrones, as in the title of the first book.  The co-executive producers lined up were reported to be former HBO entertainment prexy Carolyn Strauss, Guymon Casady, Vincent Gerardis and the book series author himself, Geroge R. R. Martin. I always like seeing the author of the inspiration for a show on the creative team. It increases the chance of the project having a bit more of the original authors vision, or voice in the project.

I came across some unsubstantiated information that they will begin filming later this year in Ireland.  But I saw only reference to this in a bulletin board and so the warning label!

This project is one of a dozen projects that HBO is looking at in hopes of increasing their number of original series over the upcoming 2-year period. Which is a nice change of pace from the reality noise we keep having to put up with.  Crap… I may actually have to get HBO? They do pump out some nice, gritty content that captures our imaginations.

Screen Rant Is On The Case

Now that I’ve started investigating this new series, whenever we see new information, we’ll be sure to update you.

So now I’m curious.  With you, the expert fans, what are you hoping for with the show?  Are you looking for the dark, flawed characters or kicking some dragon butt?  What actor / actress would be perfect for the different characters?  Let us know what you think!

Sources: Wikipedia, IB List, Winter Is Coming, Variety; Cover Art Image:

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  1. I’ve only read the first book in this series, but I can say that this will definitely make for some good TV viewing. This will also knock quite a view TV watchers for a loop, because it does deserve the comparison with Rome (Perhaps my TV fav series of all time). The one challenge I foresee is that this series is also nicknamed, “Everyone You Like Dies.” Martin doesn’t shy away from killing off major characters, which will make for an intense show, but runs the risk of losing fans who haven’t read the books and aren’t prepared for characters they like to get killed off.

    If this show can provide the kind of visual quality or Rome and offer some well-written scripts, then this will turn into one of the greatest, mainstream fantasy series in TV history. We’ll just have to wait and see, but I’m optimistic based on what I’ve seen and heard thus far.

  2. Awesome to hear Bill!

  3. Before this article I did not knew the book and now I may pick up the first one.

    Also I have to say it really is good to hear that more scripted shows are beeing picked up and specially one that has a story to it.

    And by the way, one more reason to like Screen Rant. Thank you for going the extra mile.
    Great article Bruce, and special thanks to you.

  4. Thanks for the Kudo David. I appreciate that you appreciate the work.

  5. The Winter is Coming blog has been tracking progress on the project since last year:

    The filming in Ireland has been confirmed by several sources, including the head of HBO’s drama department at an industry event and David Benioff himself in an interview with a Swedish magazine:

    (that’s in Swedish, but his comment is that they start filming the pilot in Ireland in October)

  6. Great update Adam… I never found those sources, but I tend to restrict myself to certain avenues of info.

    And um, yea, Swedish looks like what everything looks like after several long island ice teas to me, so I tend to skip stuff that I can’t read!

    Thanks again for the update!

  7. @Bruce & Adam

    I want to echo David’s “Thanks.” This is the most I’ve heard about this potential series in a long time. Glad to know it’s still moving ahead and not lingering in Hollywood Limbo.

  8. As a huge fan of the books, I am very wary of how they will approach this. If they are anything like Rome or Deadwood, I am hopeful of a huge success. Great book series have been massacred by TV before. The Sword of Truth series is a brilliant book series but destroyed by a horrible TV show called Legend of the Seeker.

    The books have a great cast of characters full of intrigue. I expect great things.

  9. A question if I may, does this series have any magic qualities to it? I find this time period fun to watch with/without “magic” elements but to read I find it a little too boring without magic. I’m a huge Terry Goodkind fan and I haven’t found anything I have liked since. Seriously I’ve tried a few series non of which can keep my attention.

  10. Well, I can only speak for the first book. The first book doesn’t offer much in the way of magic, but it does offer plenty of supernatural elements.

    Whether that means you’ll like this reality of Martin’s is hard for me to say. I must confess that I’m not a big fan of magic. I’m more in favor of Martin’s style, which seems to offer a “realistic” setting coupled with supernatural elements. Magic doesn’t often go over well on film, another reason Martin’s series might do well on HBO.

    With this in mind, the magic elements to Goodkind’s series are not the reason I dislike his work. I had to give up on his first book halfway through it. His writing style favors plot moving characters as opposed to characters driving the plot, and that just irritates me. No disrespect intended, because “The Sword of Truth” has certainly earned a strong following, too, but just doesn’t hold my interest.

  11. The basic premise of the setting is that magic disappeared from the western half of the world 400 years ago (for reasons that become obvious) and no-one believes in it any more. However, evidence arises that magic is, very slowly, starting to filter back into the world. It’s very light at the start (although there’s some in the very first scene) and gets more prevalent as the series continues.

  12. Hmm thats starting to sound really interesting.

  13. I heard rumors of this, and was never sure if it’d come to light. Glad to hear it. The book series (thus far) is an excellent read. Amazing how he (Martin) can keep track of all these characters and their plots and subplots! Just mind-blowing! Yes, there are characters you get attached to and it’s a real downer when they’re offed.

    What I want to know is who they’re going to get to play Tyrion, the mis-shapened dwarf. By far my most favorite characters as he’s so misunderstood and layered… yeah, that’s all I’ll say.

  14. @Doug… even from just reading the first book, I would agree with your assessment of Tyrion. He is a verrrrry interesting character. I’ll also be curious to see who gets cast in that role, because they won’t have a lot of options… and it’s quite an important part.

  15. The rumour is that HBO are keen for Peter Dinklage to play the role of Tyrion. Having seen some of the roles he’s played, he seems like he could pull it off.

  16. @Adam… Looking at Dinglage’s picture, I do recognize him. Seen him in quite a few things, and he could definitely pull off that part.

  17. A lot of supernatural aspects, as Bill said. The series is incredible. It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for the 5th book.

  18. The whole Song of Ice and Fire series is so good that I read all 5 books within a couple of months. If the TV series become successful, it’s going to last for a long time because the book is so rich in character and stories. I can’t wait to see how they translate the book into TV.

  19. I found that Swedish interview with “Benioff” online and had “Google” do the translating.

    Here is a quick and dirty translation of the part about A Game of Thrones with “Benioff”.

    “I loved fantasy stories until I was 13, 14 years old and discovered girls. But George RR Martins stories are more complex. It’s more human emotions than battle against evil monsters. As a writer for TV (HBO) I also get a bigger responsibility. I’m involved in casting, who is dire”.


    Game of Thrones pilot script (pdf format)


    Benioff and Weiss have stated that all casting suggestions should be posted over at the Westeros forums. The producers have an account there and have promised to check the suggestions.

    If I mentioned something already posted my appologies.

  20. I’ve read a lot of “epic” novels in my time. But, I confess that this series by Martin is dangerous…you WILL loose sleep because you cannot put it down. Seeing it on the screen will be just as exciting as the Lord of the Rings films were for most people. I just wish the 5th book (A Dance with Dragons) would come out…it’s been soooo long. And, as previously mentioned, don’t get too attached to the characters…some meet an unfortunate demise, which to me, only adds more suspense to the whole project. I’m estatic that this project is actually moving forward. I loved “Rome” and if they do as good a job with this series, we’re in for another classic from HBO. Thanks for the great updates on this outstanding adventure.

  21. I cannot wait to see this. My favourite character is Cersei and i’m wracking my brain trying to think of the right actress to play her. A young Glenn Close would have been perfect. Any suggestions??

  22. GRRM keeps a ‘not a blog’ on livejournal where he updates about this stuff too. Today he officially announced that filming for the pilot will take place in October in Ireland (as was confirmed above) in this ‘not a post’

    ASOIAF is definitely one of my favorite series and I am ever so looking forward to A Dance With Dragons, but lord knows when that’ll come out.

    My only worry is there are about 40 main characters thus far throughout the books. There isn’t anyway that this could have been done through a movie, but a t.v. show is still gonna be tough. I am extremely excited about this either way and absolutely will subscribe to HBO if this makes it to being a show.

  23. Not quite 40. There’s been 25 POV characters, but some of them were one-shots who won’t reappear. But put in the non-POV characters in AGoT who also play a big role (Robert, Tywin, Jaime, Cersei, Littlefinger, Luwin, Robb etc) and you get up to about 20 pretty easily. If it’s any help though, ROME had a larger cast of characters if you threw in the recurring-but-not-main characters as well.

    In addition to confirmation of the filming in Northern Ireland, there are strong but unconfirmed rumours that there will be additional unit filming in Morocco and Scotland. No casting announced yet, but it’s coming soon-ish I believe.

    As for Cersei, a lot of people were suggesting Tricia Helfer, but she’s been attached to another project, so it’s not likely to be her.

  24. This is a series that will knock readers on their butt. Mr.Martin is indeed a cruel writer. Character you grow attached to die horrible deaths and you never see it coming. Other characters you like are so tortured you almost wish he’d kill them, just to put them out of their misery.(like little Arya Stark)….It is an amazing read…not only for fantasy fans,but fans of great writing. I would describe the books as a ‘ medievel political thriller’ with a hint of magic and lots of battles and intrigue. Thankyou Screen Rant for covering this story. I think HBO will turn this into a masterpiece….be forewarned….this is not a series for kids…it features brutal violence, but not needlessly. Mr.Martin writes the way things would really be in That world…,people are often cruel and he writes it that way…..most characters are more gray than black or white…it’s hard to pick a side LOL

  25. just went to the Winteriscoming site…speculation and the evidence is leading to the conclusion that HBO may be picking up the series outright. They are spending a ton of dough on the pilot and have just been given free rent at one of europes largest production facilities( paint hall) in Belfast ,Ireland. Filming in Morrocco and Scotland apparently…yippppeeeee

  26. Belfast Telegraph: Film & TV

    “April 21, 2009 it was announced that the Game of Thrones A US television pilot is to be filmed in Belfast this autumn.”

    “The announcement follows the visit by Mr Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to Los Angeles in March. An undisclosed amount of production finance was offered by the government.”

    “The pilot could be worth up to £10 million, film sources said. Jobs will be created with extras, construction workers, caterers and electricians.”

    “It will take around 10 weeks to prepare and shoot and there are hopes the entire series could be filmed there.”

  27. I just have to say that I am also on the edge of my seat waiting for both the T.V. series AND the next two books…

    I just hope they portray the characters in the series as good as Martin describes them in his books.

  28. I’m an enomous fan of these novels and am so happy that HBO has picked up the series! Like everyone else here I loved Rome and see A Game of Thrones as a similar venue. Just need to make it clear though that this will be a show for adults and mature teenagers! Not for the weak stomachs…
    I hope Peter Dinklage is cast as Tyrion, I thought Sophia Myles would make a gret Cercei, Philip Winchester as Jaime, thought Gemma Ward would be perfect for Dany… I could go on and on. I’m assuming most of the cast will be from the U.K. or Ireland, unless they get an American actor who can do a believable British accent, as the case of Dinklage and Winchester.

  29. And some big news just in:

    Peter Dinklage confirmed to be playing Tyrion Lannister.
    Tom McCarthy confirmed as the pilot episode’s director.