I don’t know whether to be happy or sad that George R. R. Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire is going to be an HBO mini-series. Not that it’s up to me. HBO has repeatedly proven itself to be capable of creating quality content, one example of which is Rome, which I sometimes watch, and one of the Rome producers is working on the Martin project. (The other producer is a guy named D.B. Weiss — the only credit Variety gives for him is “Halo,” which isn’t exactly promising, given the current deadness of the Halo movie project.)
But dammit, I wanted to see Martin’s work on the big screen, with big stars and a big budget. I want to see Peter Dinklage, playing Tyrion Lannister, on a big, big screen. I bow to no one in my Martin fanboyism. I think he’s the premier contemporary writer in the Tolkien tradition, and I would have liked to see him get his due as a serious movie property. Maybe Martin feels more comfortable with this — he wrote for TV for years. Maybe premium cable is the only place to deal with his edginess — he’s fantastically cruel to his characters, and he’s not prissy about sex, or decapitation, or burning people alive. Maybe a mini-series is the only form (besides a series of novels) to lay out his insanely complex, woven storylines (I met him once, and he told me it’s all in his head — he hasn’t written down an outline of the rest of the series, for fear that some hack will be hired to finish it for him if he’s hit by a bus).
Well, whatever the format, it’s time. Martin is the major fantasy writer of our era. Just remember: get me Dinklage. Or face the wrath of my huge railgun.