The Plan Is For ‘Game of Thrones’ to Run For 8 or 9 Seasons

Photo credit: HBO

If you haven’t seen the trailer for the third season of Game of Thrones yet, you really need to jump on that. It’s awesome. The most-pirated show in the world returns to HBO (and torrent sites around the world) on March 31.

The first season of the show covered the novel Game of Thrones from George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series and the second covered A Clash of Kings.

The third book in the series, A Storm of Swords, is being spread out across two seasons of the HBO show because it’s long and because HBO likes money — two seasons means twice as many DVD sales.

Understandably, fans of the books and fans of the show (who constitute a Venn diagram with less crossover than you might think) are a little antsy about how long the show might air. A Dance With Dragons, the fifth book in the series, came out in 2011 and it took Martin more than  five years to write it. He’s currently writing The Winds of Winter — when he’s not working on the show and other HBO projects, that is — and he still has yet another book, A Dream of Spring, to write after that.

The show can’t possibly run long enough to allow Martin to write and publish the final two novels, can it?

The short answer is no, it probably can’t.

Asked recently how long they envision Game of Thrones remaining on the air, show-runners Dan Weiss and David Benioff said they’re aiming for eight or nine seasons in total.

Assuming one season per calendar year, which is a reasonable pace, that will take us to 2018(ish).

To put it in other terms, that would be about 80 hours of television — 80 hours of what is probably the most expensive show on television.

For the sake of comparison, the series Lost included 121 hours of show, spread over six seasons.

It’s a very ambitious plan for HBO — shows of this scope rarely run for such an extended time — but it’s one that fans of the show will likely be elated to hear.

The stars of the show might be a bit less thrilled, however. The cast is rife with break-out potential and being tied to one character for nearly a decade isn’t exactly an actor’s dream scenario.

Much like the novels themselves, this sounds like a story that’s still being written, with an undetermined ending contingent upon many factors — chiefly, the continued popularity of the show.

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3 Responses to The Plan Is For ‘Game of Thrones’ to Run For 8 or 9 Seasons

  1. Just for perspective, ‘Lost’ was not 121 hours of television. Unlike ‘Game of Thrones,’ episodes of ‘Lost’ were not a full hour long, just 45 minutes, in fact. The show ran for closer to 90 hours than 120. Still, that’s quite a lot of television!

  2. I can’t see Game of Thrones sustaining its narrative strength over the course of eight or nine seasons. It’s a huge story that people want to see sweep to an epic climax sooner rather than later, but the way the books are written that just isn’t going to happen. I have heard people wondering when the winter is going to arrive and if the White Walkers are going to invade soon.

    The generally gloomy tone is also starting to be a real downer, and as much as fans like to talk about the show’s vaunted ‘realism’, if it’s not entertaining and the ‘good’ characters don’t win once in awhile people will lose interest. A show that’s the most expensive on television, can’t afford to lose viewers.