CinestirTV has posted a Game of Thrones/Princess Bride mashup. Although there are spoilers for Book 1/Season 1, it’s more of a promo to get you excited for season three (as if fans could get more excited). Anyway, enjoy this great mashup of two of my favorite things ever.
As befitting any fantasy nerd, I am a big fan of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire books. I am also a fan of the HBO series, Game of Thrones. And it looks like I’m not the only one. In fact, it looks like Game of Thrones is on track to be the most pirated show in 2012. At the same time, HBO co-president, Eric Kessler, says watching TV over the internet is a fad. I don’t think he could be any more wrong.
High-speed internet is spreading rapidly. Electronic devices are becoming increasingly linked to the internet. I can stream television programs directly to my television. People are dropping high-priced cable to switch to TV-over-the-internet. Netflix is developing original programming and YouTube is allowing people to create channels for programming (as I described here). Apple is developing AppleTV. Everything is pointing in this direction. And yet HBO drags its heels, making it near impossible to view HBO programming over the internet, even if you subscribe to HBO. What’s the result? People pirating Game of Thrones, perhaps most amusingly demonstrated by this Oatmeal comic (very funny, but some NSFW language towards the bottom).
So what is the problem? HBO fears piracy, but the way I see it, there are two types of pirates. The first group contains people who will pirate anything, any time because they don’t want to pay. You will likely never change this behavior. However, I also believe this is a small audience. The second group contains people who want to pay for quality content, but the content providers either make it impossible to do so, or treat buying customers like criminals from the get-go. This second group is far larger, and content-providers can change their behavior. How? By treating them well. Make it easy for them to pay you. Once they buy your content, let them control it. No walled gardens, no DRM, no nonsense. Wil Wheaton says it much better here:
So I’ll keep watching Game of Thrones over my cable system for now, but until HBO wises up and moves into the future, people will continue to pirate the show. But don’t take that as a sign that you can’t beat piracy. Instead, realize people will pay for good content. For example, everyone did not pirate the Avengers; instead, they watched it in the theaters. Just realize people can be convinced not to pirate. Look to the comedians. Louis C.K., Aziz Ansari, and Jim Gaffigan sell their specials direct to consumers without DRM. They make a ton of money, and their fans love them for making things easy. They are the future. HBO? You’re the past.
I came across this blog post earlier today. Molly Flatt covered a speech by Lev Grossman (@leverus) at the Oxford Literary Festival in which he focused on genre versus literary fiction. He traced the division of fiction into literary fiction and genre, and he explained the various institutions that reinforced this division over time. He then went on to say this division is crumbling. Big names within the world of literary fiction are writing novels that contain elements of fantasy, and these books get a lot of attention. And Grossman contended that the big names within literary fiction who refuse to explore fantasy are being left behind.
Grossman argued that we are in a fantasy boom. I see it as a two-pronged boom. One the one hand, literary fiction writers are going fantasy. See, for example, the popularity of books such as Colson Whitehead’s Zone One. On the other prong, fans of fantasy may seek out novels of a more literary bent to try something new and original.
I can see the appeal of mixed genres, due to the originality they often bring to a story; pure literary fiction may seem boring in comparison. It certainly doesn’t help that literary fiction giant Jonathan Franzen has been on a tear, criticizing much of modernity, such as Twitter, the internet, ebooks, and smartphones. He risks alienating many readers with such arguments.
I would love to see genre novels move out of the ghetto and be appreciated by a wider audience. But, and maybe it’s the pessimist in me, I wonder if we might be headed towards a genre bubble instead. Looking around at the rehashing of period novels to include zombies and vampires and the number of creatures appearing on TV and in theaters, I can’t help but wonder. Might we be reaching peak creature? Is fantasy headed for a fall? Maybe it’s just the bad coming along with the good. Or maybe it’s the beginning of the end for genre stories. Only time will tell.
Sorry about only one post yesterday. I was running around like crazy trying to get things sorted because I’m going to a baseball game today. So, this may be the only post for today, unless I see something funny online. Sorry.
To make up for it, please enjoy this–the best moment of the season 2 premiere of Game of Thrones:
If you know what to look for, there is a lot going on in this one. And it has a slightly different soundtrack than the other trailers.
April 1 is coming.