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ARTICLE JUSTIN TAYLOR

PHOTOGRAPHY CUNEYT AKEROGLU

STYLIST TOBY GRIMDITCH

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HAIR ALEX BROWNSELL USING BUMBLE AND BUMBLE (D+V MANAGEMENT)  GROOMING LISA ELDRIDGE (PREMIER HAIR & MAKEUP)  DIGITAL TECHNICIAN LUKE BENNETT  PHOTO ASSISTANT MICHAEL O WILLIAMS  STYLIST ASSISTANTS TARA GREVILLE AND LAURA CHATTERTON  HAIR ASSISTANT SAPPHIRE LEWIS  GROOMING ASSISTANT JESSIE RICHARDSON  PRODUCTION TERRIE TANAKA  LOCATION SPRING STUDIOS, LONDON

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PHOTOGRAPHY CUNEYT AKEROGLU
FASHION TOBY GRIMDITCH
TEXT JUSTIN TAYLOR

THE WILD SUCCESS OF HBO’S GAME OF THRONES HAS REWRITTEN THE LAWS OF THE TELEVISION DRAMA, DUE LARGELY TO ITS BRILLIANT SOURCE MATERIAL AND ITS DASHING, MASTERLY CAST

Game of Thrones—which you probably know as a bloody, sexy, thrillingly unpredictable HBO drama now in its second season—started life as a novel by George R.R. Martin, the first in a projected trilogy called A Song of Ice and Fire. It was published in 1996 (a year before Harry Potter came out in the U.K., two years before it hit the States) and did pretty well for itself. The follow- up, A Clash of Kings, came out in 1999 and eventually made the New York Times best-seller list. By the time the third book, A Storm of Swords, debuted as a best seller, in 2000, Martin had realized he was going to need more than three books to tell his story of dragons, pal- ace intrigue, dynastic wars, smugglers, slave revolts, religious fanatics, international relations, incest, the undead, and maybe a snowbound apocalypse. A Feast for Crows came out in 2005 and was another best seller, even though it pissed off a significant chunk of his fan base. The problem, basically, was that Martin’s vision had gotten so big that the next installment no longer fit into a single book. He decided to break his story into two 900-plus-page books that would take place more or less simultaneously. Feast is set in the more familiar territory of Westeros, but almost all of its protagonists are characters whom fans regard as bit-players. All the major storylines from Clash, meanwhile, were left untold until Martin finally finished the companion volume, A Dance with Dragons, which came out in 2011—an 11-year cliffhanger! (And you thought almost two years between seasons of Mad Men was bad.)

So why have people stuck around? To put it as sim- ply as I know how: because it’s worth it. Fans bitched and moaned on message boards, and some even tried to confront Martin directly, but when Dance came out they lined up around the block because the Ice and Fire story—whether in book or TV form—is spellbinding. It’s gritty, it’s dirty (sometimes filthy), it keeps you guess- ing, and it feels real. Unlike classic fantasy, where you can figure out who lives and dies based on the color of their armor or the amount of screen time they get (spoiler alert: Harry Potter and Frodo Baggins both live), Martin’s world is more like a sexed-up medieval version of The Wire: you get to know a wide range of characters and factions, each with their own agenda and sense of eth- ics (or lack thereof), and the master narrative unfolds almost anthropologically, as the aggregate effect of everyone’s shifting alignments and competing inter- ests. HBO has done a remarkable job of retaining that all-seeing, all-over-the-place feeling (the story comes to span multiple continents) while doing a lot of stream- lining, without which adaptation would be impossible. Weirdly, the books almost feel like a director’s cut of the show—you get all the same major characters and plot points plus extra helpings of back- and side-stories from extended or deleted scenes.

Another thing that makes Thrones like The Wire is you get the feeling that no character is safe. Viewers of sea- son one remember the “Holy shit!” moment when (okay, real spoiler alert this time) eddard Stark is executed at King’s landing. Here was the nearest thing the show had to a main character, and suddenly he was gone, and it wasn’t even the season finale. I can’t help but wonder how the show will handle the later books. The idea is that each season is based on its corresponding novel in the series, and that’ll be fine through book/season three, but if they try to reproduce the narrative split of books four and five, the show will be canceled. For bet- ter or worse, TV audiences—and, more importantly, TV executives—are not half as loyal as hardcore fantasy nerds. So it’ll be interesting to see how they handle that, as well as the ongoing expansion of the world in which the story is set. (You might have noticed that the map shown during the opening credits had a lot more places on it in season two than it did in season one. Geography is coming!) Major characters will die, minor characters will become major, battles will be waged and won (or lost), and daenerys Targaryen’s baby dragons won’t stay babies forever. What I mean is that one way or another there’s a lot more “Holy shit!” in store.
 

EXTRA CREDITS

HAIR ALEX BROWNSELL USING BUMBLE AND BUMBLE (D+V MANAGEMENT)  GROOMING LISA ELDRIDGE (PREMIER HAIR & MAKEUP)  DIGITAL TECHNICIAN LUKE BENNETT  PHOTO ASSISTANT MICHAEL O WILLIAMS  STYLIST ASSISTANTS TARA GREVILLE AND LAURA CHATTERTON  HAIR ASSISTANT SAPPHIRE LEWIS  GROOMING ASSISTANT JESSIE RICHARDSON  PRODUCTION TERRIE TANAKA  LOCATION SPRING STUDIOS, LONDON

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KTZ IN LA TOP 25 @ #TFF2013 FASHION\'S REDEEMING QUALITY THE AMAZING ANDREW GARFIELD
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