FLAPJACKS: So how about that Game of Thrones preview?
ME: I saw it already.
FLAPJACKS: Yes, so how about it?
ME: It was fine.
FLAPJACKS: “It was fine.”
FLAPJACKS: Here we are, about to embark on the great nerd adventure of our generation –
ME: I think technically this isn’t our generation anymore.
FLAPJACKS: Maybe for you. I am filled with the power of youth.
FLAPJACKS: I am all about that Justin Bieber. His pop songs amuse and delight.
ME: Okay, now you’re just kind of sad.
FLAPJACKS: Anyway, here we are about to embark on this great nerd adventure and you’re playing it all cool? Come on, you aren’t fooling anybody. The arrows that they’re shooting have been individually fletched! That is attention to detail!
FLAPJACKS: Are you one of those people who can’t bring themselves to be enthusiastic because you think the books will never be finished?
ME: No, I think Martin will finish the books. He has additional incentive now.
FLAPJACKS: He didn’t before? It’s a crazy successful fantasy series.
ME: There is fantasy nerd money, and then there is HBO TV series money. Martin is now getting the second sort of money. It is a better sort of money that is never spent on anime-girl-boobs-mousepads. This sort of money does not know that steampunk is a thing. It thinks Wild Wild West is steampunk. It is well-bred money, and therefore infinitely superior. Once you have some of that money, you will do anything to keep getting it.
FLAPJACKS: So what you’re saying is that now he’s going to get a lot more money and really finish the books.
ME: Basically, yes. And if he dies early –
FLAPJACKS: Because he’s a fatty?
ME: I was going to skip over probable causes, myself.
FLAPJACKS: It’s not my fault the greatest fantasy writer of our time looks like a decrepit hobo.
ME: Be nice.
FLAPJACKS: Well, he does. I bet his train name is “Sidecar King George The Third.”
ME: Anyway, if he dies early, Hollywood will pay somebody a lot of money to finish the books from his notes. Probably Brandon Sanderson or Kevin Anderson or someone whose name rhymes with either of them. If you’re a fantasy writer looking to make it in the big leagues finishing other peoples’ work, you could do worse than to change your name to “Ganderson.”
FLAPJACKS: Yes, but what if he doesn’t finish the books in time for the series to get made on time?
ME: I’m not worried about that.
FLAPJACKS: But it took him six years and counting to write the fifth book. He’s got at best five years before the TV series catches up. Can he write two books in that time? How can you not be worried about that?
ME: Two reasons. Firstly, the TV series has smartly aged-up some of the kiddie characters, which was a good idea anyway because nobody really wants to see TV where people we would reasonably consider little kids are brutally assaulted or forced into arranged marriages.
FLAPJACKS: I’m sure there are fantasy nerds who would disagree and say that’s exactly what they want to see.
ME: Yes, but they are bad people. And second, I don’t think the TV series will last long enough to make it through to the end of the books, even if Martin gets them all finished on time.
FLAPJACKS: You don’t think it’s good? I watched the preview! The Others look like demon-zombies that you barely see! Sean Bean says “winter is coming” and it is absolutely perfect! Peter Dinklage is Tyrion and fulfills an entire internet’s worth of fantasy casting just by his very existence!
ME: No, I think it’s excellent. And I’ve seen the whole pilot already.
FLAPJACKS: How –
ME: TV critic.
FLAPJACKS: And you didn’t invite me over to watch them?
ME: Confidentiality agreement.
FLAPJACKS: You never care about those.
ME: I do with the HBO ones. HBO sends you a lot of awesome stuff if you’re a TV critic. I got to see the entirety of The Pacific six weeks before it aired. That was pretty sweet. I’m not messing up that deal.
FLAPJACKS: But if it’s so good why don’t you think it’ll last? Is this you being a cynic and believing nothing is good in human nature again?
ME: Not at all.
FLAPJACKS: So you believe now that people have generally good taste?
ME: Don’t be stupid. No, I think Game of Thrones will be popular. But I don’t think it’ll be popular enough. It has to justify its crazy high costs. Those individually fletched arrows don’t grow on trees, you know. They had to go out in the woods to find a crazy old man to fletch them some arrows, and then the crazy old man charged them six barrels of moonshine per arrow because he knew city folks when he saw them. And everything else costs money too: the CGI backdrops, the costuming, the armor, the stuntwork, all of it. We haven’t even seen a battle scene yet. Imagine how much money that’s going to cost!
FLAPJACKS: Maybe they could do everything with CGI sets like Star Wars.
ME: Listen to yourself.
FLAPJACKS: I retract my previous statement.
ME: Good. But here’s the truth: HBO will give this a lot of traction because it’s a prestige product that will draw eyeballs and get critics to jizz themselves. But that only goes so far: networks still gotta make dollars, and this show will need to be the next Sopranos or twice as better to break even.
FLAPJACKS: That’s depressing. Hey, can I borrow some peanut oil? I want to try a new stirfry recipe with my wok.
ME: …you mean my wok.
FLAPJACKS: I’m almost sure you’re wrong about that.