Game Of Thrones: How They Make the World’s most Popular Show

Two middleweight novelists, David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, had come to a similar conclusion and obtained Martin’s blessing at what the author calls “that famous lunch that turned into a dinner, because we were there for four or five hours” in 2006. The two writers thought Thrones could only be made as a premium-cable drama, and they walked into HBO’s office with an ambitious pitch to do so that year. “They were talking about this series of books I’d never heard of,” says Carolyn Strauss, head of HBO’s entertainment division at the time. “[I was] somebody who looked around the theater in Lord of the Rings, at all of those rapt faces, and I am just not on this particular ferry … I thought, This sounds interesting. Who knows? It could be a big show.”

HBO bought the idea and handed the reins to Benioff and Weiss, making them showrunners who’d never run a show before. Benioff was best known for having adapted his novel The 25th Hour into a screenplay directed by Spike Lee. Weiss had a novel to his credit too. The two had met in a literature program in Dublin in 1995 and later reconnected in the States. “I decided I wanted to write a screenplay,” Benioff told Vanity Fair in 2014. “I’d never written a script before, and I didn’t know how to do it, so I asked [Weiss] if he would write one with me, because he had written a bunch already.” It never got made.

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‘Inside Out': It’s about the mind, stupid!

inside out

There’s a scene in the movie, when joy and sadness…rather the symbols of joy and sadness are together.  Both of them try to figure it out…. how to save the main character from going downhill.

Simple at its best, this scene might have a thousand meanings and find an echo in several religions and schools of philosophy. The lead to this scene though , is not some maudlin train of thought about life, instead thy are the inner workings of the main character’s mind.. .a small kid’s mind. Yes, Pixar team does this unthinkable of making a child’s mind the center stage of a movie,  to a delightful effect.

‘Inside Out’ has all  the trappings of a wonderful animation film–great quality of animation, terrific characters, super voice-casting etc etc.  But the real deal, is the story idea that blends science with emotion. All the concepts of core-memories, personality islands, memory dump, imagination land, dream factory, dark sub-conscious, train of thought, abstract thoughts etc are presented in an entertaining manner.  A must watch for any movie lover.

bing bong

 

Tailpiece: Bing Bong is probably one of the best Hero characters ever, a-la terminator willing to slip into oblivion to protect her little friend.

Related Links
‘Take her to the moon for me’
Inside Out: a crash course in PhD philosophy of self that kids will get first
The Science of ‘Inside Out’
How ‘Inside Out’ Explains The Science Of Memory

Decoding the success of ‘Game of Thrones’ (S1-6)

game of thrones

 

Game of Thrones is a huge success not just in USA, but world over. It enjoyed record viewership on HBO and has an enormous international fan base. Critical acclaim, awards, controversies…the series had its share of all them including the dubious distinction of a Guinness World Record for the most most-pirated television program.

So, what makes this show so hugely successful?

  1. Universal themes and Canvas: Game of Thrones deals with all the time tested themes like revenge, raw power, redemption, hero journey, magic, survival of fittest, fate etc. And make sure the reveal of these is near perfect, all set against a fantasy landscape
  2. Amazing character arcs with unexpected twists: Most of the characters go through the typical Joseph Campbell Hero Journey. Key Characters from various houses–The Starks, The Lannisters, The Greyjoys, The Targaryens–all of them are displaced from their current comfort and forced on to a tumultous journey. Each season chronicles such journeys giving enough for the audience to identify, even when the characters take darker paths.
  3. Terrific Production values: Everything about the production is top notch when it comes to Production design, comparable to a big Hollywood movie.  Making the fantasy lands come to life with all these characters is no mean feat…and the team pulls it off with aplomb. The Land of Braavos with its huge Titan welcoming the visitors, designs of all forts and fortresses and the title sequence, deserve a special mention. (Theme music by
    Ramin Djawadi is out of the world!)
  4. Visceral elements and Suspense value: Sex, incest and violence are used liberally to move the plot forward, and sometimes even to create the mileu. Most of all, they are used to create a suspense and jerk the narrative forward. It’s almost like all Hitchcock worst fears have come true, in a grand scale, yet easy to consume.
  5. Great casting and acting: All the above wouldn’t matter if the audience did not fall in love with the actors. With a perfect casting in place, all the actors did a terrific job, essaying their true and hidden motives. From season to season they grow in their stature, when their characters continue, while the ones that meet an abrupt continue to linger in the audience minds.
  6. Fan following and content: Like all successful movies and TV shows, fans all over the world make sure that the legend lives on beyond the screening. Wikis, pages, discussions et al, contribute to the lore and mystery behind this series.

Related Links

Game of Thrones on Wikipedia
George R.R. Martin explains why he writes on a DOS machine
List of Houses
Bank of Braavos
Joseph Campbell Hero Journey
When music and dragons meet

 

 

 

 

ET, IT…and the rest