Praise the old gods and the new, as Game of Thrones has just officially been picked up for a seventh season.
HBO have confirmed that its flagship drama has been renewed – after “lengthy negotiations” – ahead of its season six premiere on Sunday.
More to follow…
This announcement follows a wave of press surrounding the show’s return on Sunday, including executive producer and writer Brian Cogman opening up to EW about what to expect from season six.
Talking about the show finally branching off from the books, Cogman says “While we’re still drawing from a lot of situations and arcs in the books, it’s obviously not a direct adaptation of any of the books this year. I will say you’ll see character versions and interpretations that are in some of the previous books that we hadn’t gotten to yet. I think of it as Westeros 2 – the alternate universe version of Westeros. There’s the book universe and a show universe and this is what happens in the show universe.”
It seems that this new series will also be paying tribute to the show’s history, as Cogman continues “This many seasons in, you have the chance as a storyteller to draw on the past in a way we haven’t been able to do before. There are a lot of thematic and explicit callbacks to season 1, and the seasons that preceded this one, and even to events that preceded them — in terms of the mythology. There’s also a trend that began in season 5 and continues even more so in this season of worlds colliding, with characters meeting in hopefully very unexpected ways. Seasons 2–4 were about the expansion of this world; seasons 5 and 6 are about contracting. Characters who were rivals, and in some cases enemies, are being forced to work together, which makes for a lot of juicy dramatic tension.”
Speaking on the show’s step up in what the budget allows them to do, he says “The scope of this season was so vast that we felt hearing the story lines all together out loud and seeing how it played would be beneficial – especially since we are creating a lot of this stuff ourselves based on themes and ideas from George’s books. There was a proof of concept we wanted from the read-throughs… I remember thinking: “Holy s–t, this is huge, how are we going to do this? We’ve always wanted to get to a place, story-wise and budget-wise and time-wise and resource-wise, when we would be able to do a proper battle – with one army on one side, one army on another side.”
When speaking about the show’s ’shock value’, Cogman is quick to state “People also say we love to terrorize the Game of Thrones audience. That’s not how we see it. Ultimately it’s putting characters through situations that are realistic. This is a story about a world war, and war is hell on everybody. The innocents and the vulnerable play a terrible price for the games rulers play. I’ve been listening to this podcast on World War I and you think what we do on Thrones is terrible, look at world history, look at what’s happening now. We’re not pulling this stuff out of thin air. It’s a very easy, and frankly very lazy thing to say, “Oh, they’re just doing this for shock value.” If that makes you feel better, fine, but we don’t do anything for shock value. The idea that we’re sitting around going, “What can we do to this person to shock people next?” … that’s not how this works.”