George RR Martin is a prolific writer, having writen numerous novels, short stories, even teleplays. Along with writing, he has been an editor, notably on the Wild Card series of anthologies. In 1996, his latest work, A Song of Ice and Fire, was released beginning with A Game of Thrones. The epic story follows the upheavals of Westeros and its peoples as the status quo is once again upset with the death of Robert the Usuper, who had taken over the throne of Westeros after killing the previous tyrant. The books follows the politics, the maneuverings, the desires of the various pieces on the board, from pawn to queen, with chapters written from a different character's point of view. A Game of Thrones sets up the upheaval, showing how members of House Stark (led by Lord Eddard), House Baratheon (formerly led by King Robert the Usurper), House Targaryen (the family of the deposed King Aegon), and House Lannister King Robert's death. Allegiances are made and broken. Characters are promoted or killed. Script immunity is non-existant. There are children crippled, respected characters killed, and foul men who avoid karmic punishment. The plot and the characters pull the readers into the world and leave them wanting more.
In 2011, HBO takes a chance on adapting the novels. The cable channel's success rate with adaptations of late has been excellent, with True Blood, based on the Sookie Stackhouse books by Charlaine Harris, and Deadwood, based on the historical western town, having received critical and popular appeal. The TV series A Game of Thrones was no exception. The first season followed the events from the first book. The adaptation was relatively faithful. There were a few cuts of minor scenes, and several characters were aged up, notably the younger ones. The aging made sense, though – what was acceptable in the era portrayed in the book would result in serious criminal charges today. And, being an HBO production, a little extra sex and nudity was added, though nothing that wasn't implied in the novel.
So, was the first season a success? HBO believed so, enough to renew the series after the first episode. The minor changes mentioned above didn't detract from the story. Casting of the roles worked brilliantly from Sean Bean as Lord Eddard Stark to Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister. The format is perfect for the story – a miniseries format with no need to expand or contract to deal with the vagaries of a 22 episode season or a two hour movie. Successful, indeed.
Next time, could this be something recent?