Some less non-clickbait news from the A Song of Ice and Fire / Game of Thrones front is new casting for season five which you can see here. This link is for book readers only. If you have read books four and five feel free to click on that link.
Now, I don’t know what your spoiler threshold is. You may find just the name of a character a spoiler, you may not. I am going to discuss one casting that pertains to the whole point of my blog post. I’m not going to discuss the plot at all but only one casting. If you find that to be a spoiler than don’t go past the image.
Imogen, a young 12 year old blonde girl who does not exist in the books is believed to actually be the casting for a young Cersei Lannister, thanks to this spoil sport who tweeted his friend had been cast for a young Cersei.
The implication that I take from this is that the show is going to use a technique it has never before used: Flashbacks. The show so far has avoided using any flashbacks, The show has covered books one through three and a little bit of four and five without so much as a glimpse of the past. If the past is brought up it’s explained in dialog as the show does not have the inner monologue of a specific point of view that the books do.
From the production standpoint this position makes sense. Not only would you have to cast young versions of most of the main cast for each season but characters that are long since dead. Here’s a short list of characters, without spoilers, that they would have to cast just to do the flashbacks that are in the book: Rhaegar Targaryen, Aerys “The Mad King” Targaryen, Lyanna Stark, Lord Rickard Stark, Brandon Stark, Tysha (Tyrion’s former wife), and more that I cannot mention.
With this casting however, all of that may be out the window. If you’re doing a flashback from Cersei’s life, why not other characters? If you’re doing scenes of flashback why not whole episodes? Why not whole seasons while a certain author finishes his books? In the books, the flashbacks are mere glimpses and Martin has already said he has no intention of writing a prequel to the series depicting Robert’s Rebellion so why not let the show do it?
This isn’t a new concept. This has been brought up before but it didn’t having the backing of the show already casting a younger version of their main cast. Yes, they’ve said they want to finish the show in eight or nine seasons but with ‘Game of Thrones’ Now Rivaling ‘The Walking Dead’ With 18 Million Viewers This Season (Hollywood Reporter) doesn’t the possibility of the show being able to do this seem more probable?
Here’s how I picture it in my mind. The showrunners, Dan Benioff and Dan Weiss know how the series ends and since the younger characters are getting older they don’t want to stop to do a prequel season. With the show gaining more success HBO grants them a larger budget, giving them the ability to continue film the main plotline while beginning to film the prequel plotline. They still finish the main plotline in eight or nine seasons without the characters getting too old while being able to let Martin finish the books without halting the show altogether.
Show watchers and book readers both get a treat from prequel seasons or episodes. They both get to see a part of Westeros’ history they have never seen before and to some extent an equal playing field. The flashbacks in the books are sparse so when show watchers and book readers watch Robert’s Rebellion on the show they’ll both be witness a large majority of story neither has seen before.
In this happy scenario maybe the books and the show become more aligned in release without the show’s ending overtaking the books. I would settle for just their endings being closer together in release. Do I honestly think a scenario like this is going to happen? Not really. Benioff and Weiss both know that a show that overstays their welcome lose their momentum in the end. Also, HBO isn’t likely to give them a large enough budget to do this, at least not any larger than they already receive. If anything, maybe, maybe flashbacks in the following seasons will spread out the story a little more giving Martin a bit more time.
Still, the casting of a young Cersei makes the scenario I’ve written here plausible if still highly improbable. Then again, hope is a dangerous concept to play with when it comes to A Song of Ice and Fire, considering the body count.