GAME of Thrones has the look of a conquering king right now – US network HBO has renewed the series for a third season only two weeks after season two’s debut earned glowing reviews and an increased audience.
But one of the stars, Peter Dinklage, says any success is a double-edged sword.
Asked what challenges lie ahead for the Game of Thrones team, the actor, 42, sees them coming from several directions, including the passionate fans.
Specifically, the Emmy and Golden Globe winner said he frets a bit about the relentless Internet drumbeat of fantasy fans who want the medieval epic to be more, well, epic.
‘‘There’s so much pressure to make it bigger,’’ Dinklage says.
‘‘There’s all this talk about, ‘We want more battles!’ and there’s so many fan sites. And the show is based on a very successful series of novels (by George R.R. Martin) and so there was so much anticipation for it – and so much pressure put on it.
‘‘You can’t really listen to all of that if you’re going to be successful. It’s just too much to take in, too much to take on. You have to block all of that out and tell the really smart story that was told by George and not try to take on too much that takes the (priorities) in other directions.’’
It’s hard to find die-hard fantasy fans who don’t love scale and sprawl – one of the defining hallmarks of epic fantasy is the immersive experience of visiting places like Middle-earth, Narnia, Hogwarts or the Dark Tower, where things are strange, magical, ancient and immense. Thrones certainly nods to that too. Dinklage also knows that characters and the fascinating physics of family and power have made Thrones the must-see show that it is, which is why he’s leery of anything that would shift emphasis from words to wars. For that reason, Dinklage sounds conflicted about HBO’s decision to add 15 per cent to the Thrones production budget.
‘‘I think more money can be very detrimental to movies and TV because things get solved economically rather than creatively and that’s never a good solution,’’ he says. ‘‘I think with a lot of filmmakers, their first film is their best film because they had to think on their feet and solve problems with ingenuity.’’
Those are the experiences Dinklage brings in from his film work – his feature credits include Elf, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian and The Station Agent – but he’s not hitting the fire alarm on Thrones: ‘‘Look, the way we just shot the second season and the way it went, I think we’re keeping the right things in mind. Things are going along swimmingly. I think though we always have to keep (the eagerness to expand) in check.’’
If Dinklage sounds as if he’s overworrying, perhaps it’s all the time he’s spent looking through the wary eyes of Tyrion Lannister. This season, he secured his position as Hand of the King but is losing sleep. Dinklage portrays Tyrion with a sly, soulful nuance that cuts against the character’s cynical airs.