As cultural phenomenon Game of Thrones wheels its way back onto our TV screens come April, the ever-burgeoning question comes more into focus: how will it end? George R. R. Martin has told showrunners David Benioff and David Weiss how he imagines his epic series of fantasy novels will wrap up, so whether the rather ill author can actually complete his masterwork shouldn’t have too much of an impact on the show’s narrative – which both Benioff and Weiss are planning to end after seven or eight seasons.
Either way, because of Game of Thrones‘ cinematic grandeur – as advertised by its limited run in IMAX theatres across the US a while back – there has been growing question of a film making a rather large full-stop to the story of Westeros and its treacherous inhabitants. Speaking with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Lombardo – the programming president of HBO – has outlined his hopes for Game of Thrones. He said, ‘This is the hard part of what we do. We started this journey with David and Dan. It’s their vision. Would I love the show to go 10 years as both a fan and a network executive? Absolutely.’ But of course, it’s Benioff and Weiss’ decision. He continues, ‘We’ll have an honest conversation that explores all possible avenues. If they weren’t comfortable going beyond seven seasons, I trust them implicitly and trust that’s the right decision—as horrifying as that is to me. What I’m not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe where they feel they’ve finished with the story.’ But what about a movie? Lombardo had this to say on the matter:
‘Certainly there have been conversations where it’s been said, ‘Wouldn’t it be cool to do that?’ But when you start a series with our subscribers, the promise is that for your HBO fee that we’re going to take you to the end of this. I feel that on some level [a movie would be] changing the rules: Now you have to pay $16 to see how your show ends.’
There are some very fair points there concerning subscribers. And who’s to say that Game of Thrones would even translate cinematically in a satisfying way? There are far too many characters and narrative strands to wrap up in a movie that, realistically, would last no longer than three hours. Either way, we get to see how the story continues when the Season 5 premiere of Game of Thrones airs on April 12.