By now we know that HBO has decided to split "A Storm of Swords" for the filming of season three and four, since the novel is just too large to cover in ten episodes. Several interesting questions about the future of our favorite "A Song of Ice and Fire" TV adaption arise from this anouncement, especially since it has become clear that the split of "A Storm of Swords" won't arise roughly in the middle of the text, but rather at about two-thirds. The third season will, therefore, clearly incorporate the Red Wedding. I don't want to delve too deep into the question where exactly the split will be, since Winter is Coming does this satisfactory, but rather guess a bit in which direction the series will develop. It should have become sufficiently clear to everybody by now that we can't expect a 1:1 conversion of the books to the small screen, a thing that I continue to argue is good. So, where do the big issues lay?
|Why, here, of course.|
In fact, the biggest problem for the show is how to tackle the exact same question Martin faced when he split "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons" in two, seperating not so much the story but the storylines, a decision that didn't work out that well since you essentially need to read both books parallel to grasp all the themes and interwoven aspects - a case Sean T. Collins and I constantly make and which I`m too lazy to link to just now. Performing the same kind of split for seasons 5 and 6 there won't work. It seems like the creators came to the same conclusion, since the rumor machinery has it that elements of "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons" are already in season 4, providing us the reason for the 2/3 split of "A Storm of Swords". More than half a year ago, I already predicted that "A Dance with Dragons" and "A Feast for Crows" will most likely be condensed into one season, but today I`m not so sure.
|We'll get more of this. Note: not the cleavage.|
|I can see her storyline basically intact, however.|
The most obvious theater for changes is Essos. The storylines there have already been altered more than the Westeros storylines, which have mainly been streamlined, and it's likely that "A Storm of Swords", a.k.a. season 3 and 4, will add to these changes. Speculation tells that Dany will visit only one slave city, which seems to make sense - it spares us the battle and lends more weight to the turning of the Unsullied. From there, almost anything can happen, and before we can speculate on how Dany's storyline will be handled in seasons 4 and 5, we need to see season 3, so I will stop right here. Tyrion is another matter: his road trip along the Rhoyne requires massive sets and provides nice background info, but surely nothing substantial that couldn't be done elsewhere. Most changes will be in that department, I guess.
|Of course, I could end just like this with all my predictions.|
The main challenge will be the sheer number of seasons, however. There aren't that many drama series around that reach a season number of 5 or 6, and from there, we still have two more books (and seasons to go). Even if they do what I suspect and condense both books into seasons 4 and 5 somehow, that still leaves them seven seasons in total. You need a large audience to keep the budget, and you need to keep them long. The conversion of "A Feast for Crows" and "A Dance with Dragons" will give D&D some nightmares, I'd wager. If they really make two seasons out of it, not only would the counter reach eight at the end, there is also a serious risk that the many expectations not kept (Dany returning to Westeros, primarily) will build frustration with an audience that isn't used to Martin's deadline policies.
Seriously, he put the "dead" in deadline.