The build-up to Game Of Thrones’ third season has been a torrent of casting news and storyline speculation following the huge battle of King’s Landing. We spoke to the man who knows the books and the TV show by heart, Story Editor and so-called ‘Keeper of the Mythos’ Bryan Cogman, whilst in the middle of filming the new run. “Today I just came from the set where one of the iconic sword fights of the book is being shot and any fan of the books will know what I’m talking about,” he reveals. “I sat watching and thought to myself, ‘I’ve been waiting to see this scene shot in front of me for four years’, and I know fans have been waiting even longer than that. I’m thrilled that we can offer some of those moments this season.”
These events will come from A Storm Of Swords, the third book in George RR Martin’s bestselling saga, but these will be split across Season Four, too. “From now on we’re not looking at a book per season,” Cogman confirms, “there’s going to be a lot more blending of elements from all the books as needed. You might see bits from other books, it just depends what each story needs in terms of adapting for television.” This, he admits, was due to the sheer number of major events packed into the book being too overwhelming for just 10 episodes. Whilst other U.S. shows enjoy a lengthy 22-episode run, the HBO network sticks to half that number for its flagship genre shows, Game Of Thrones and True Blood. Fans have complained that this is too short to do the books justice, with characters being reserved for later or omitted altogether, but Cogman says there is no leeway. “The schedule is such that we really can’t fit in more than 10 episodes per season,” he says, “that’s with us never stopping.”
Showrunners DB Weiss and David Benioff have proven their nerve to deviate from the written word, writing their own epic timeline. Daenerys’ dragons were never stolen, Joffrey didn’t have that awful scene with the prostitutes, and Tyrion had his entire nose and most of his lip hacked off by Mandon Moore to highlight a few changes. But with more noticeable physical alterations on the cards for some regular characters in Book Three, is this going to present a challenge for the screenwriters? “I don’t think so,” he says, “what’s great about this show is that the characters never follow the arc that you think they’re going to follow. George [RR Martin] takes these archetypes and turns them on their heads in every case and I think that’s what excited fans, many of whom would have never gravitated to this genre before.” This could also mean that some characters may dodge the death knell, and Cogman is certainly coy on the topic of the Reaper: “I can just tell you that the books are surprising and so is the TV series…” he teases. “We get more and more amazing cast members every year and we kill a few too to make room and that tradition is going to continue in Season Three.”
Game Of Thrones Season Three will return to Sky Atlantic on March 31st 2013.